Caffeine is considered as one of the commonly used mood altering substance and has been reported to be consumed by millions of individuals all over the globe. Even though caffeine is safe and well tolerated, it can trigger certain side effects once consumed in large doses. Additionally, regular use of caffeine can lead to dependency resulting to the withdrawal symptoms once caffeine is not ingested. Always remember that headaches can be a symptom of excessive use of caffeine or diminished level in the body. By enrolling in a first aid course, you will learn how to manage this type of headache.
Excessive use of caffeine
Always bear in mind that caffeine works as a stimulant on the nervous system and disrupts the action of a particular neurotransmitter in the brain known as adenosine. Upon ingestion of caffeine, it triggers various effects on the body including an elevated heart rate, stimulating the brain and constricting the blood vessels. A potential side effect of these is a headache.
An individual who consumes higher doses of caffeine is more likely to experience a headache or other side effects. Those who regularly drink 240mg of coffee on a daily basis which is equal to 4-5 cups face a higher risk for headaches than those who do not consume caffeine.
An individual who regularly consumes caffeine can lead to physical dependence on the substance. Once an individual who becomes dependent on caffeine could not drink the regular amount of caffeine, the withdrawal symptoms will manifest usually between six or several hours after the last consumption of caffeine.
The withdrawal symptoms usually last for 2-9 days. Based on studies conducted, the consumption of at least 100mg of caffeine for three days can result to dependence yet some who regularly drink larger amounts often experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Once the withdrawal symptoms start, the individual should ingest as little as 25mg of caffeine in order to minimize the symptoms.
What are the causes of headaches during caffeine withdrawal?
The headaches triggered by caffeine withdrawal can be connected to the ability of the caffeine to disrupt the neurotransmitter adenosine. The dependency can develop since the body attempts to compensate for the regular presence of caffeine by becoming more sensitive to adenosine. An effect of adenosine is to widen the blood vessels especially in the brain. Once caffeine is withdrawn, it could no longer disrupt the activity of adenosine, thus resulting to an increase in the widening of the blood vessels and increased flow of blood to the brain, leading to headaches and other accompanying symptoms.
What are the other symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?
Due to the increased flow of blood to the head during caffeine withdrawal, it can trigger other effects such as fatigue, drowsiness and concentration difficulties. Irritability and depression are also known to occur. In case of a severe caffeine withdrawal, it can trigger flu-like symptoms including vomiting, nausea and muscle aches. In some cases, individuals end up completely incapacitated and find it difficult to work due to the caffeine withdrawal.