Thoughts about Recovering from Caffeine


Folks ask me, “Lynn, why do I have to stop drinking coffee? Why do you want me to stop caffeine? I love cola, I love coffee.” First and foremost, homeopathics do not work if you are downing coffee daily. It’s the bean. The bean has psychotropic effects. Yes, psychotropic, drug effects. Those drug effects interfere with your body’s response to the homeopathic remedy. And yes, the psychotropic effect is why you drink it. You get high and have abundant clear thoughts and pumped up energy.

Originally coffee was not a beverage of daily use, but a beverage of sacred import, bringing you into contact with the divine. It was a sacred drink just like wine was a sacrament and tobacco a sacred smoke. Unfortunately, those who subjugated slaves and menial workers found that coffee revived their victims. Coffee allowed their victims to work longer and harder until complete exhaustion made them dispensable. That is happening to you too but perhaps more subtly. Everyday that you use the drug coffee, you get high. Then at either 4 pm or 4 am, when your liver does it’s detox work, the caffeine is eliminated and you become very very tired. So tired that you reach for caffeine on waking or by late afternoon. And the cycle starts again. But everyday that the caffeine in the coffee pumps you up, it depletes your fight or flight response – a response regulated by cortisol (made by your adrenal glands). With each depletion you slowly become more exhausted.

Some of you are pumping yourselves up cause you are not dedicating yourself to getting 8 hours of restorative sleep every night. Others of you are keeping your brain awake, either because of ADD or an anxiety disorder or a mood disorder or because of the slow advance of Parkinson’s or dementia. Yeah, coffee is holding you up and masking the signs of these disorders.

So the broad effects of coffee – and eventually all caffeine – are:
1- adrenal exhaustion: early aging, poor skin color and tone, dark circles under the eyes and just plain dog tired in the mornings.
2- added risk for high blood pressure: remember that fight or flight response? Caffeine stresses you out!
3- thyroid dysfunction: when the adrenals are overworked that makes the thyroid overwork too.
4- added risk for Type 2 Diabetes: that fight or flight energy surge after using caffeine causes a sympathetic surge of insulin – after all, those muscles that are fighting or fleeing will need a quick burst of blood glucose to work so hard. Too many blood sugar peaks leads to insulin resistance, thus eventually to Type 2 Diabetes.
5- added risk for osteoporosis: the high levels of tannin in coffee and tea interfere with calcium absorption, especially post menopause, contributing to bone loss.
6- elevated reproductive cancer risk: in women, the caffeine molecule so resembles the estrogen molecule that the female body deposits the caffeine molecule into estrogen receptive sites – the breasts and reproductive organs. That is why many many women get painful swollen breasts before their menstrual cycle. The caffeine is reacted to like extra estrogen (hence estrogenic) and prompts the breasts to retain fluid and thus swell, painfully. The National Institute of Health lists the use of caffeine (and alcohol too) as risk factors in breast cancer because it is so estrogenic.
7- menopausal hot flashes: I can reduce a menopausal woman’s hot flashes by 50% just by helping her to stop caffeine. It is that fight or flight response again, interfering with adrenal, thyroid, insulin and eventually pituitary function.

Years ago someone wrote in to Ann Landers and asked her about the drug problem in America. Ann’s response was that the problem is not cocaine nor meth, but that the top three drugs in America are caffeine, nicotine, and sugar in the form of alcohol. Whenever you see a word ending in ‘ine’, know that that substance is addictive. Caffeine, nicotine, codeine, morphine, methamphetamine…..  Stop taking drugs!

So what to do?
Stopping caffeine can hurt. Some people get major headache pain and fatigue and body aches and irritability in the withdrawal process. Homeopathy can deal with that.
First it is important to cultivate a drug free environment. Social, marital, and peer support are essential in drug use recovery. You can sell your French Press on EBay. Your StarBuck habit can pay to see me :).
Secondly, stock up on coffee/tea/cola substitutes that are yummy and good for you. You can transition through de-caf green tea (still a bit of caffeine but the decaf water processed stuff is at least not full of decaf chemicals). Hot soups, cocoa, some chocolate (yes, I do not put myself between a woman and her chocolate) in moderation (yeah, yeah).
Third, get plenty of sleep and relaxation to restore your adrenal function. And plenty of magnesium rich vegetable broth’s and soups too. And B complex vitamins.
Fourth, get constitutional homeopathic help for all those reasons you were propping yourself up. That means healing the anxiety, ADD, mood swings, almost-Parkinsons-stuff you have going on.

Fifth, to prevent the headaches etc., use:
Homeopathic Nux vomica 30c , 2 to 4 doses per day for up to 5 days. The Nux vomica will help your liver detoxify and your nervous system wind down.

To calculate how much caffeine you may be consuming, log onto this site:
www.caffeinefiend.com
To read more about getting off caffeine see:
Caffeine Blues by Stephen Cherniske
To get other help getting off caffeine see:
www.caffeinedependence.org
(a Johns Hopkins caffeine withdrawal program)

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What a great blog! Thanks. You say a lot about coffee, but only a little about tea. I love tea. Is tea just as bad as coffee? For someone who is not having health problems, is there a safe amount of tea they can consume without damaging their health?

Thank you Susan. Tea does not interfere with homeopathic remedies like coffee does, BUT….all the caffeine and tannic acids are not healthful choices. The caffeine still is estrogenic and can play havoc with your hormones. The cumulative effects are problems with the menopause and thyroid/adrenal dysfunction. The tannic acid is, well, acidic and contributes to osteoporosis. Better to choose herbal teas or Rooibos tea or a water processed decaf green tea. Hope this is helpful. Lynn