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Caffeine Addicts Get No Additional Perk, Only a Return To Baseline

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the aren't-all-perks-relative? dept.

Medicine 506

Dthief writes "Bristol University researchers found that coffee drinkers develop a tolerance to both the anxiety-producing and the stimulating effects of caffeine, meaning that it only brings them back to baseline levels of alertness, not above them. 'Although frequent consumers feel alerted by caffeine, especially by their morning tea, coffee, or other caffeine-containing drink, evidence suggests that this is actually merely the reversal of the fatiguing effects of acute caffeine withdrawal,' wrote the scientists, led by Peter Rogers of Bristol's department of experimental psychology."

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506 comments

A return to baseline... (4, Interesting)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437470)

Isn't that what everyone is trying to do with their entire life?

Re:A return to baseline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437496)

What's that? Returning to the womb?

Re:A return to baseline... (3, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437520)

I believe it's called 'homeostasis.'

Re:A return to baseline... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437826)

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Re:A return to baseline... (5, Funny)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437764)

Yes, we start our life by getting out of one, and spend the rest trying to get back in there. Into any womb.

well GREAT (5, Funny)

DeadJesusRodeo (1813846) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437482)

So either I have to use Red Bull's oddball sugar-enriched BS for a charge (which I'll probably build up a tolerance to), or seek out alternatives like - METH (it's what's for breakfast! Yummy mmmmmeth!).

Re:well GREAT (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437514)

So either I have to use Red Bull's oddball sugar-enriched BS for a charge (which I'll probably build up a tolerance to), or seek out alternatives like - METH (it's what's for breakfast! Yummy mmmmmeth!).

At least, with the METH, you will have

a. better memory performance
b. less of a need to visit a dentist

Seems like a win/win!

Re:well GREAT (4, Interesting)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437938)

I actually attended a lecture by Dr. Carl Hart at The Secret Science Club [blogspot.com]. His lecture was pretty interesting, namely the experiments they preformed where they give moderate to large amounts of orally administered methamphetamine to human research subjects. The majority of them administered it early in the day just like you would a cup of coffee. The expected "Binge" activity was actually pretty uncommon in the majority of the test subjects.

Re:well GREAT (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437572)

So either I have to use Red Bull's oddball sugar-enriched BS for a charge (which I'll probably build up a tolerance to), or seek out alternatives like - METH (it's what's for breakfast! Yummy mmmmmeth!).

Otherwise known as 'Adderall,' yes, it is what's for breakfast. [theonion.com]

Re:well GREAT (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437698)

Adderall's honorary degree comes in the wake of OxyContin's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, and Valium's recent Academy Award for its performance in Robert Downey, Jr.

Re:well GREAT (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437718)

Adderall is speed (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), not meth. Meth is sold medically under the brand name Desoxyn but prescription is rare.

Re:well GREAT (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437848)

Adderall is speed (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine), not meth. Meth is sold medically under the brand name Desoxyn but prescription is rare.

The More You Know!

As I always say (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437484)

I never touch coffee - it's a vile habit, especially when abused. Now that that's out of the way, barkeep, another pilsner please.

In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437490)

...regu drug addiction.

Much like violence, (5, Funny)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437502)

Coffee reaches its full potential at the 100th cup.

Re:Much like violence, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437798)

Another cup, another theorem.

The truth about caffeine (5, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437506)

As a former caffeine addict, I would *love* to see some serious studies come out describing the long term consequences to long term caffeine use. Of course, we'll never see that because there's more money behind caffeine than alcohol and tobacco, combined.

Re:The truth about caffeine (2, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437538)

For some weird reason, I have never met someone outside of the US that even had the slightest conception of "caffeine withdrawal". All the usually described effects - headaches, sleepiness - on caffeine withdrawal, just don't seem to happen for people outside of the US. Now that would be a topic for some serious psych dissertation...

Re:The truth about caffeine (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437614)

as a caffeine addict in the uk, I can definitely say that we suffer from caffeine withdrawal symptoms here. At least, I do.

Re:The truth about caffeine (2, Insightful)

logjon (1411219) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437696)

I'm not sure what being American has to do with anything. I mean clearly you can see everything from your little corner of the world where there's something magical about the stimulant caffeine to the point that it doesn't cause withdrawal, so check out:
http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/05/28/1740208/The-Scientific-Impotence-Excuse [slashdot.org]

Then:

http://www.google.com/search?q=caffeine+withdrawal+uk [google.com]
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=caffeine+withdrawal+canada [google.com]
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=caffeine+withdrawal+australia [google.com]

You know, at this point it's just easier to call you an idiot

Re:The truth about caffeine (0, Offtopic)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437790)

LOL, what a crock of shit. I can't believe you were modded insightful. Oh wait, yes I can.

Re:The truth about caffeine (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437936)

It's a thinly veiled attack. It doesn't matter who they're against, they always get modded up.

Re:The truth about caffeine (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437830)

For some weird reason, I have never met someone outside of the US that even had the slightest conception of "caffeine withdrawal". All the usually described effects - headaches, sleepiness - on caffeine withdrawal, just don't seem to happen for people outside of the US. Now that would be a topic for some serious psych dissertation...

That would be a lame topic. It's either you've never been outside of the U.S., or the people you've met never stopped consuming caffeine products, or never consumed enough to form a dependence. Withdrawal doesn't happen until you stop consuming it. Serious psych dissertation...you just need to get your head checked. =D

Re:The truth about caffeine (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437866)

Actually, I live outside the US - I heard about the whole topic of caffeine "addiction" and "withdrawal" first when I spent a year in California. I am not trying to do some US bashing here - I seriously never heard anyone talking about the notion of "caffeine withdrawal" before getting there, and nowadays, I only hear about it on American forums. It is simply weird, and it interests me why this is so.

Re:The truth about caffeine (2)

wondafucka (621502) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437932)

Actually, I live outside the US - I heard about the whole topic of caffeine "addiction" and "withdrawal" first when I spent a year in California. I am not trying to do some US bashing here - I seriously never heard anyone talking about the notion of "caffeine withdrawal" before getting there, and nowadays, I only hear about it on American forums. It is simply weird, and it interests me why this is so.

As someone who is going through caffeine withdrawal right now (notice that I don't use quotation marks because it's real), I have a really simple answer.

My splitting headache and lethargy are due to the the fact that I consume at least two pots of coffee a day until yesterday. If you've never heard of anyone getting caffeine withdrawal outside the US, then you've never met anyone who has consumed enough coffee on a regular basis to become addicted.

I realize that you are predisposed to believe that Americans make up trouble for themselves (and for good reason), but this one is backed up by facts [slashdot.org].

Re:The truth about caffeine (1)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437556)

Not to sound completely unconvinced, exactly how much money is behind caffeine?

Re:The truth about caffeine (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437670)

I agree; I doubt that the caffeine in coca-cola makes it sell better.

Re:The truth about caffeine (2, Funny)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437780)

Works for me. When I see something with "Caffeine Free!" plastered all over it I dump that zero and get myself an xx milligram hero.

Re:The truth about caffeine (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437560)

Hypertension, Heart Problems.

Re:The truth about caffeine (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437668)

Hypertension, Heart Problems.

No [highwire.org]

and

No [nih.gov]

Hard to prove a negative, but for a drug, caffeine has been remarkably safe.

(Appropriate Heinlein quote "Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal".

Re:The truth about caffeine (3, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437632)

Or that there really aren't any except withdrawal symptoms and slightly brownish teeth.

We're awash in chemicals all day. Why do we have to vilify certain ones? People have withdrawal symptoms when they break up with their girlfriends, too, but we don't go around trying to treat people for love addiction. I can assure you that the feelings are just a bunch of chemicals.

Re:The truth about caffeine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437712)

...we don't go around trying to treat people for love addiction.

Yes we do. I've dated a so-called "love addict." "Love addiction" is a euphemism for excessive neediness and co-dependence, look it up.

Speaking of which, it's about that time for a coffee fix...

Re:The truth about caffeine (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437800)

We're awash in chemicals all day. Why do we have to vilify certain ones?

Because different chemicals have different effects, and some of those effects are harmful but may be non-obvious unless they are studied.

I mean, duh?

Re:The truth about caffeine (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437844)

Just a collection of chemicals interacting with other collections of chemicals awash in the energy of the big bang.

Re:The truth about caffeine (1)

chinakow (83588) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437898)

LOL, wut? SA [sa.org]

Some withdrawal is normal, when humans abuse(as in,'habitually use,' not, 'strike') something that started as good but is now needed to maintain a 'normal' life, it is generally considered a problem, no matter the domain.

Re:The truth about caffeine (4, Funny)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437758)

As a former caffeine addict, I would *love* to see some serious studies come out describing the long term consequences to long term caffeine use. Of course, we'll never see that because there's more money behind caffeine than alcohol and tobacco, combined.

jjjjust look at-t me...

Ya, maybe you should look then? (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437812)

Of course, we'll never see that because there's more money behind caffeine than alcohol and tobacco, combined.

You sir are a paranoid or an idiot (or both). Behold, the power of teh Google [google.com]. No thanks needed.

Makes sense (1)

areusche (1297613) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437510)

When I drink coffee it helps me wake up. No more no less. Granted I could run a mile and wake up that way, but coffee does it a lot faster.

Re:Makes sense (5, Insightful)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437564)

And if you stop drinking coffee your body will adapt to waking up on its own with no need for it. I used to drink tons of soda (even more caffeine than coffee) and always had to have a can in the morning to wake up, I stopped drinking it (well aside from about 2 cans worth a week) and suddenly it was significantly easier to get up in the morning, to the point where, going to sleep at the same time, I was waking up an hour earlier and feeling much better.

Caffeine is not a good way to start your day off, no matter what folgers may say. It's a useful drug for maintaining alertness every once in a while but used daily it reduces your overall alertness, which is bad.

Re:Makes sense (3, Informative)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437738)

I used to drink tons of soda (even more caffeine than coffee)

[citation needed]

How much soda were you drinking at one time?

From http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/caffeine/an01211 [mayoclinic.com]
generic brewed coffee has (on the low end) 95 mg of caffeine in 8 oz. (200 mg on the high end)
Mountain dew has 54 mg for 12 oz. (Vault has 71 mg, but Mt. Dew is "well known" as having high caffeine, and besides Vault is the highest in the list shown on that page.)

So if you drank a lot of soda, over the course of the day you'd likely get more caffeine than one cup of coffee a day.. But IMHO, do typical coffee drinkers drink only one cup a day? I don't think so.

Re:Makes sense (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437586)

Yes, but you're waking up from caffeine withdrawal, not sleepiness. If you quit caffeine right now in a week or so you would wake up naturally. That's the point of the study.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437612)

Did you even read the headline?

Re:Makes sense (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437916)

When you drink coffee, you're making it harder to wake up tomorrow without coffee.

Not having coffee results in the same amount of wakefulness, only without the money spent on coffee.

Sustained effect (2, Interesting)

toppavak (943659) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437516)

The more interesting question isn't whether caffeine gets one to above normal levels of energy but whether it can enable a user to remain at baseline for longer periods of time compared to someone not on caffeine.

Re:Sustained effect (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437602)

Uh, a person not on caffeine is "baseline". That's the point. A caffeine addict goes below baseline because they're suffering from withdrawal, and drinking caffeine only counters those symptoms. This doesn't happen to not-drinkers for obvious reasons.

Re:Sustained effect (3, Interesting)

toppavak (943659) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437740)

A non-coffee drinker will also fall below baseline- when they're exhausted / sleepy. The question I was asking is if one could use caffeine to extend the amount of time that they can stay at baseline before becoming tired as a non-caffeine user would at that point.

Re:Sustained effect (2, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437962)

No, because the addicted coffee drinker's tolerance means they don't experience the stimulating effect of caffeine. It's that effect that makes you feel not tired, but addicts don't get that effect. They simply lose the effects of withdrawal.

Imagine "baseline" as meaning "whatever level a non-drinker would be at that time". For an addict their caffeine fix will bring them up to that level, but no higher. An addict who was tired and experiencing withdrawal would be below a tired non-drinker, and when they drink the coffee they'll lose the withdrawal and just be tired. So it'll feel like an improvement (and surely is) but it won't be an improvement over not being an addict in the first place.

Frankly this matches my experiences as a caffeine addict. While my morning cup of joe is essential to getting my brain up and running, if I didn't get enough sleep then it doesn't make me not tired. I can drink a double shot of espresso shortly before bed time and not have any trouble falling asleep, and I've tried drinking copious amounts of coffee to help me stay up late and it doesn't work.

My caffeine addiction really kicked in during my last couple years of college when I was pulling lots of all-nighters for projects. The stimulant effect sure helped then, but I just don't feel the benefit anymore.

Re:Sustained effect (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437870)

The more interesting question isn't whether caffeine gets one to above normal levels of energy but whether it can enable a user to remain at baseline for longer periods of time compared to someone not on caffeine.

I would say the more interesting question would be, what if any are the tasks or activities that could benefit as the result of caffeine use.

This is VERY old news (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437552)

We've known this for a very long time.

Read "Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine" -- ISBN-10: 0140268456

Re:This is VERY old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437784)

Correct. I had a little run-in with coffee addiction a few years ago* and my GP basically told me that. I asked her why there are no warnings on pots of instant coffee; she replied that it will never happen during our lifetimes. It took decades to get them on tobacco products, and there are more coffee drinkers and even more powerful lobbies involved.
* Coffee can actually be very dangerous if you know nothing about what it does to you.

That's how addiction works. (3, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437570)

Heroin addicts don't really get high like they used to, they just get well.

LK

Re:That's how addiction works. (0)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437884)

Heroin addicts don't really get high like they used to, they just get well.

LK

Good heroins are hard to find too. Now that Sigourney Weaver is old, we need new ones...

They are missing the point... (1, Troll)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437580)

Tolerance Yes... But it is all about keeping the body off balance. There is little doubt that coffee (aka caffeine) makes you more focused and energized. I mean to suggest that over 300 years of active "research" has no validity is kind of nieve in my mind. Sometimes so called researches have a hard time remembering this...

Except that (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437594)

In real non-caffeine-addicted life, there is nothing you can do to make your brain go from 0-100 within a matter of a minute. With caffeine, you can do that.

When I come into work in the morning, I am my arshole-y, foggy, caffeine-withdrawal self. Totally useless. But then I have my cup over coffee as I work over something, and before you know it, my mind is racing along. I remember what it was like in those B.C. days ("before caffeine"). I was a thinking being back then, too, but I had no control over when. Becoming caffeine-addicted was a conscious choice.

Also, caffeine makes me like doing things that I would normally hate, like going to work. Totally worth the tradeoff.

Re:Except that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437702)

All you're doing is handicapping yourself during your non-work time, and returning to your normal (ie, how you would have been anyway if you didn't drink coffee) state when you get to work.

You could have the same effect by having yourself constantly tortured (unless you're into that sort of thing) whenever you aren't at work. Of course you'll end up with a positive work association, as that's the only break you get from the torture.

That is, if the article (and all the articles I've read in the past that say the exact same thing) is to be believed.

Re:Except that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437766)

Well if he drinks caffeine all day he won't handicap himself until before bed; which is fine.

Re:Except that (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437824)

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed,
the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning.
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.

It could be that... (5, Interesting)

cortesoft (1150075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437634)

This study asked people to 'rate their levels of alertness' after being given either caffeine or a placebo. The people who normally consumed caffeine rated their alertness levels the same after receiving caffeine as the non-caffeine users rated their alertness levels after receiving a placebo.

Now this could mean a couple of things. One meaning could be what the study authors said; that caffeine addicts need their caffeine to be at the same level of alertness that non-caffeine users need. OR it could mean that the non-caffeine users aren't used to the higher levels of alertness that caffeine gives you, and therefore don't use the same scale to rate their alertness that caffeine users do. A caffeine user may think that the 'normal' (non-caffeinated) level of alertness is actually low (because they are used to being more alert from caffeine) even though they have the same 'actual' level of alertness. In other words, non-caffeinated people might not realize how un-alert they are.

A much better test would be to actually TEST their alertness, instead of relying on a subjective self-assessment. Make them do tasks that require alertness, and measure the differences. You might get different results.

Re:It could be that... (5, Informative)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437762)

This is the reason I highly dislike the mainstream media. I guess it's okay for them to at least try to summarize research, even though they fail horribly most of the time, but for fuck's sake at least provide a link to the original research [nature.com] or at least the press release [bristol.ac.uk] from the university!

A much better test would be to actually TEST their alertness, instead of relying on a subjective self-assessment.

They did that. From the press release:

Approximately half of the participants were non/low caffeine consumers and the other half were medium/high caffeine consumers. All were asked to rate their personal levels of anxiety, alertness and headache before and after being given either the caffeine or the placebo. They were also asked to carry out a series of computer tasks to test for their levels of memory, attentiveness and vigilance.

Re:It could be that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437868)

This was a red herring for the ACTUAL test being conducted as we speak.
The actual test was to see how many /. readers are caffeine addicts.

Based on a textual analysis of your verbose, run-on, over-analytical response, you are a jittery, drugged-up caffeine addict.

I have a different caffeine experience (1)

adeft (1805910) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437640)

If I drink more than a cup or two of coffee I get awesome dizziness, and spectacular stomach rot. I'm jealous of those that use more to keep going, more just makes me want to lay down and give up for the day.

Re:I have a different caffeine experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437810)

I actually have the same with coffee. I think its the combination hot drink with caffeine. but red bull and coke and other highly caffeinated cold drinks work great without the crappy feelings i get from coffee

Re:I have a different caffeine experience (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437960)

I'm jealous of those that use more to keep going, more just makes me want to lay down and give up for the day.

To me, coffee means a well-deserved break from work. I associate it with relaxing, for example after a heavy meal. It's not uncommon for me to fall asleep after a cup of coffee. So I believe a lot of the buzz is psychological.

However, I did experience a weekend of withdrawal symptoms, after a summer job where I ended up drinking lots of coffee. I normally drink quite a lot of green tea, but I can easily go without it for days or weeks, so there is clearly something about coffee and its higher caffeine content. In my case, I only got the negative effects.

One thing I've never understood is drinking coffee first thing in the morning. Even at the times I've drunk coffee, I could never handle the taste in the morning. Surely I'm not the only one with heightened senses in the morning? Conversely, I've met many people who only drink coffee or black tea in the morning (though often with milk, wussies).

Tolerance and Withdrawal (1)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437646)

This idea applies to caffeine addicts. But to someone new to caffeine who hasn't developed a high tolerance, caffeine has its perks. So for addicts who want to relive those first moments, the idea is to go through periods of withdrawal intentionally in order to lower their tolerance, and then return to caffeine when needed. I do this all the time. Caution: withdrawal is not fun.

Re:Tolerance and Withdrawal (1)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437806)

May I ask how long this process generally takes for you? I.e. how long from last cup of coffee to refreshed nubile non-addict state. Thanks

Is this new data? (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437692)

I was a caffeine freak for years. I would drink coffee from waking to bedtime, frequently I would go to bed and read and then go to sleep with a coffee mug that still some coffee in it. Sometimes on weekends when I was doing other things, I would get headaches from not having enough coffee. I would tell people that coffee did not keep me up, it merely gave me the option of wether or not I wanted to sleep. The other drugs I've been addicted to were a different story. Actually, I guess alcohol and nicotine are the only drugs that I have been addicted to. Getting off of alcohol was rough. Still smoke like 2-3 packs a week. Drink coffee in the morning. Only drink like 6 beers a week max. Getting old or something.

Thanks For The Medical Advice: +1, Methgood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437708)

I have felt for sometime I needed a bigger kick in the morning.

Now I can get my doctor to prescribe
Methamphetamines [google.com].

Yours In Novosibirsk,
Kilgore Trout

*GASP* (4, Insightful)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437722)

I don't believe it. Next you'll be telling me that smoking a cigarette doesn't actually calm me down, it just reverses the effects of nicotine withdraw!

Re:*GASP* (2, Funny)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437912)

I don't believe it. Next you'll be telling me that smoking a cigarette doesn't actually calm me down, it just reverses the effects of nicotine withdraw!

Just go crazy. Sip your coffee through your still smoldering cigarette. Put some vodka in your coffee for the best effect of all 3 worlds.

I don't care. It still feels good. (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437732)

Q.E.D.

Additionally, caffeine has mood-elevating effects. Like, thank God I'm at the coffee machine talking to the hot girl from payroll instead of at my desk being a Java monkey.

dubious methodology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32437746)

Participants rated their levels of anxiety, alertness and headache. The medium/high caffeine consumers who got the placebo reported a decrease in alertness and increased headache, neither of which were reported by those who received caffeine.

Somehow I missed the part where participants in caffeinated and non-caffeinated groups were asked to write a Perl script to automate a series of edits in several hundred files in which the substitution context was not fully understood, given a half hour deadline.

This is me (1)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437748)

Although throwing in a bit of ADHD or whatever probably messes it up. I drink almost a whole pot of coffee in the morning, mostly because it's a habit. Sitting at the computer, early morning, be it work related or just reading the news on the weekends, never is the same unless I have a hot mug of coffee to sip on while I do it. I never feel 'more' awake, I just feel normal after a few mugs.

Findings reflect my experience (1)

neiras (723124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437804)

I quit coffee after a decade of drinking at least two cups a day. At least 4 days a week I would have three or more cups. I bought into the stereotypical "caffeinated coder" personality in the early days, and never lost the habit... ...until two months ago when I ditched it. A couple of weeks in, I dropped all caffeinated beverages.

Quitting was painful. Four-day headaches that never fade and don't respond to Advil. I broke once, walked down to Starbucks and ordered a coffee. One sip and the pain just vanished. I dumped the rest of the cup out on the sidewalk. The rule was "one sip of coffee is allowed if a headache lasts an hour." I only had four sips after that.

The difference is astounding. I snap asleep at night and wake up in a good mood. I've been told I smile more and am generally more pleasant to be around (your mileage may vary). Weirdly, I sweat far less at the gym. Having battled depression since my late teens, I have the odd 'down' day now, but generally I feel good about things. I don't second-guess myself at work and my confidence has soared.

Moral of story? If you're feeling shitty about life, and you're a big coffee drinker, stop drinking the stuff. Really, stop. No half measures, no "just one cup a week" attempts. There is no try, young Jedi. You'll feel much better .

Just be sure to keep going to the coffee shop or wherever you used to get your fix. Order caffeine free tea. You need to be around coffee while you quit. You'll want it less.

Also, the "caffeine" section of this [theoatmeal.com] is interesting.

This entire study is based on flawed semantics. (3, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437832)

"Baseline" is properly defined as the levels of mental alertness and physiological activation when mediated by an appropriately-high level of serum caffeine. People fall below baseline because they're caffeine-deprived.

Don't think of it as a drug. Think of it as a vital metabolic nutrient. "Caffeine addicts" are addicts the same exact way that "protein addicts" and "vitamin C addicts" are.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine if I'm serious.

Go Figure (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437834)

This is the kind of finding I've the greatest trouble with. 1st, I didn't RTFA (I'm a /.er now; I don't do that). Putting that aside my problems centre on the complex issues that are couched in a few words that are presumed to carry very specific findings in the broad meaning of those words. "alertness", really? Someone has a definition for the word alertness that carries a one to one correspondence with their findings in organic chemistry. What about caffeine as a drug and a genetic predisposition to an uncommon response to caffeine? What about cultural conditioning? What about the complexity of the endocrine system? How to you isolate all the factors impinging upon a broad term like alertness and map it onto a number of cups of coffee or tea? There should be science tabloids, like those pop star, supermarket lineup tabloids, that pander to findings just as these.

The public is asked not only to have the rudimentary knowledge base to understand the article but to be able to critique findings that speak to terms like alertness.

I always suspected... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437846)

I come at it from the other direction. I know people who won't drink coffee after 7 at night, claiming it will keep them up. They look at me like I'm some kind of mutant when I tell them I can have a large mug of it and go straight to sleep afterward.

I plan on printing TFA off and waving it under a lot of noses. Once again, geeks strut, pound our narrow chests and proclaim our mastery over humanity.

Re:I always suspected... (1)

HumanEmulator (1062440) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437982)

Not all sleep is created equal.

I used to be able to drink a ton of coffee and fall asleep without any problem. It took me years to make the connection that I was having easily-interrupted, non-restful sleep due to caffeine. I've recently confirmed this with an iPhone app (Sleep Cycle) that measures your restlessness in bed while you sleep. I need to give it about 6 hours to get out of my system to really sleep well.

Pretty much (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437850)

As a three-can a day addict, I'd say this pretty much fits.

Re:Pretty much (1)

snowboardin159 (1744212) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437886)

I also would agree. Drinking a can of Mt. Dew does 2 things for me though; 1) returns me to baseline and 2) makes my headache from the caffeine withdrawal go away. Just like after many years of smoking, a toke will bring you back to your baseline, but youll never feel that same buzz you had on your first smoke.

Caffeine Addiction (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#32437880)

Caffeine is evil, it needs to immediately needs a tax increase of 2000% to keep the public from abusing it. Might I further suggest that flavored coffee which appeals to children needs to be immediatedly banned.

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