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Caffeine Overdose -

Caffeine is considered to be among the most popular drugs that works as a stimulant and is used by many people in driving away the feeling of fatigue. Moderate consumption of caffeine which is between 2 to 4 cups in a day or is between 200 mg to 300 mg is not considered to be harmful especially in the case of the healthy people. However if it is consumed in excess it is considered to be dangerous and harmful for the human body. 6 to 7 cups of brewed or instant coffee or between 600 mg to 700 mg shots of caffeine in a day is considered to be excess consumption of caffeine and would amount to an over dose of caffeine. Some of the beverages that contain caffeine include coffees, teas and various kinds of energy drinks.

There are various ways in which one can try and limit their caffeine intake.

One of the basic steps that one can take as a caffeine overdose remedy is to consciously try and limit the number of cups of coffee being drunk in a day. It is also always recommended that a person should read the ingredients and label content which lists the nutritional levels on all caffeine products to establish if they are unwittingly consuming more caffeine that they intended to do. One can also gradually reduce their weekly consumption of caffeine by 10 percent. Start by maybe drinking smaller servings. Another useful caffeine overdose treatment is to combine caffeinated beverages with decaffeinated ones. Pregnant women should definitely avoid all kinds of caffeine products as drinking caffeine while pregnant can raise the chances of miscarriage. It can also cause birth defects and the underdevelopment of the fetus. Brewing coffee for a lesser time can also help in reducing the quantity of caffeine being consumed. Another negative aspect to caffeinated products is that they may be full of sweet substances or sugar. Caffeine along with sugary substances can combine to really affect one’s health.

Caffeine overdose side effects -

Caffeine overdose side effects include one feeling unusually restless and excited for a brief period of time. Too much caffeine side effects also includes a feeling of nervousness, irritability, nausea, indigestion and diarrhea. Along with these basic side effects, caffeine also leads to an irregular heartbeat, anxiety, frequent urination, hallucination, depression, sleep disorders, manias, lack of concentration and memory loss. In some extreme cases of caffeine overdose among it can lead to the dysfuntioning of a person’s heart. It can also lead to extreme cases of convulsions and can eventually lead to the death of the individual.

The moment it has been ascertained, that a person is suffering from an overdose, it is essential to monitor the signs and symptoms being displayed by the person affected. Some of the minor indications of a caffeine overdose will go away or subside on its own. However of the symptoms displayed are serious, then it is essential that caution is displayed. Medical intervention is necessary depending on the severity of the caffeine overdose. Various different kinds of caffeine overdose treatments will be recommended. In the more serious cases as gastric lavage may be recommended. This process involves a tube being inserted in an individual’s body from his or her nose and in to the stomach to help in emptying the contents of the stomach. At times another common treatment used in treating a case of caffeine overdose is to make the person vomit. Induced vomiting causes the person to throw up all the contents of her or his stomach thus providing some relief from the overdose symptoms. Thus caffeine overdose is always considered to be a health hazard.

Caffeine Overdose Symptoms

Caffeine in your morning cuppa helps you kick start the day or relax after dinner. A psychoactive stimulant, caffeine is present in varying measures in coffee, tea, and colas and in a number of food and drink products available in the stores today. Many natural and artificial energy drinks also contain caffeine. In fact, some oral medication such as pain relievers may also contain caffeine. Other natural sources of caffeine include plants found in South America and some parts of North America called Guarana berries, Yerba mate, and Yaupon holly. Caffeine in these plants is usually a toxic and defensive protection against birds and insects.

With so many sources of caffeine, it is not surprising that individuals are getting alarmed about ingesting too much caffeine into their system. Is it possible to suffer from too much caffeine symptoms? How does one calculate what is considered a caffeine overdose amount? A moderate dose of caffeine may include about 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine. This is akin to consuming two to four medium-sized cups of coffee. Depending on various factors such as gender, height, body weight, and level of tolerance towards caffeine, an individual may suffer from symptoms of too much caffeine when they exceed this recommended caffeine amount of 300 milligrams per day.

Coffee overdose symptoms. A caffeine overdose occurs when an individual has consumed more than the recommended amount of caffeine. Consuming five to seven cups of coffee or tea per day could result in ingesting almost 500 to 600 milligrams of caffeine per day, a definite caffeine overdose amount. This amount could rise even further considering other food and drink products you consume during the day that may also contain either miniscule or significant amounts of caffeine. Many online caffeine overdose calculators can help you list down all the food and beverages that you consume in a day, and the amount of caffeine kick you receive from each. The total caffeine calculated might give you an idea of how much caffeine is running through your body, and even the effect it has on you with each increasing level.

Some caffeine overdose side effects may warrant cutting back on your daily intake of coffee and other caffeine products. In some severe cases, you may have to stop consuming caffeine altogether. From time to time, the media also runs stories about tragic results of a caffeine overdose. The caffeine overdose symptoms in such cases may spiral out of control due to pre-existing medical conditions. Although a few reports of caffeine overdose death have been published in the past, in many cases, these deaths were later declared accidental or due to a combination of factors.
Following is a list of what too much caffeine and its side effects may read like:

•   Too much caffeine in your system can lead to nausea, vomiting, and further gastro intestinal conditions such as abdominal cramps, bloating, or diarrhea.
•   Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system. It heightens your alertness levels and provides a quick energy boost. However, too much caffeine may also result in headaches, insomnia, and irritability. Several sleep disorders like sleep apnea, loss of sleep, and irregular sleep patterns have been studied in individuals who consume too much caffeine. Sleep disorders can lead to decreased alertness during daytime, putting individuals at risk performing tasks with heavy machinery or driving and so on. Unfortunately, individuals who suffer from these caffeine side effects, try to combat it by drinking more coffee or tea to keep alert, thus worsening the situation.
•   Some individuals may suffer from anxiety or nervousness. While some of these caffeine side effects may be psychosomatic, too much caffeine may also result in bodily conditions such as muscle convulsions. Jerking movements or muscle twitching has been reported after a caffeine overdose.
•    Side effects of caffeine overdose may include breathing abnormalities, heart palpitations, and irregular heartbeats. In the long-term, these may also cause cardiovascular conditions such as stroke or heart attack. Rapid breathing may result in dizziness or giddiness. It may even make the individual pass out for a few moments or lose consciousness.
•    Caffeine is a diuretic, and excess amounts of caffeine may result in frequent urination. Unless your bodily fluids are replaced, a caffeine overdose can leave you feeling dehydrated.
•    In severe cases, an overdose of caffeine may result in fever, chills, fatigue, and hallucinations or delusions.
•   Most medical experts agree that consuming too much caffeine while pregnant is harmful to the mother and developing fetus. Since caffeine is easily absorbed into the blood stream, an overdose of caffeine may reach the infant via the placenta. Caffeine may affect the child’s growth and developing cells.
•   Too much caffeine during pregnancy may also increase the risk of miscarriage. Pregnant women should consume less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day to avoid side effects such as insomnia, rapid heart rate or breathing rate, heartburn and indigestion. For women who are trying to get pregnant, some studies suggest that caffeine overdose maybe related to infertility. 

Caffeine overdose treatment. If you experience any of the above symptoms, it may be time to figure a cure for too much caffeine. A caffeine overdose remedy may not be so easy for those individuals who are habitual coffee, tea or cola consumers. Kicking the habit may take patience and perseverance just like drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. If you have too much caffeine, one remedy involves cutting down gradually on the amount of caffeinated beverages you have during the day. You are likely to experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms, and you will be tempted to reach out for your next cup of Joe. However, replacing the need for a caffeinated drink with water, juice, even green tea may satisfy the urge without the overdose. If multiple cups of coffee are resulting in too much caffeine, turn to decaffeinated beverages as remedy for too much caffeine. You will drastically cut down on the amount of caffeine without missing the taste and feel of coffee. If you think you are consuming too much caffeine, one defense against an overdose is switching to herbal tea or non-caffeinated beverages.

Too much caffeine may result in caffeine addiction. Treatment may necessitate the need for supportive care. Like other addictions, caffeine may turn into a crutch and need psychological as well as medical intervention. In the case of a caffeine overdose, medical help may mean detoxifying your body through the process of dialysis or filtration to reduce high levels of serum or toxin. Gastrointestinal problems due to too much caffeine may require help in the form of laxatives or induced vomiting to lower caffeine levels. However, these procedures should be carefully followed under medical supervision. Lack of knowledge often results in a caffeine overdose. With the variety of products available in the market, caffeine may be hidden or a by-product. Cocoa products contain caffeine but may not list them as ingredient. Read labels carefully to verify the amount of caffeine in products. Control the food and drink items that may spike these levels.

If you or a loved one is suffering from caffeine overdose or addiction, some of the above ‘what to do’ tips may help. However, caffeine overdose is a health hazard, and in some rare cases, a fatal condition. Therefore, at the first sign of an overdose, consult your doctor and take the required steps to eliminate excess caffeine from your system. Caffeine overdose is a serious problem and medical treatment maybe challenging. In such a scenario, prevention of caffeine overdose is the best solution. Encourage yourself to pick healthy alternatives to caffeinated beverages, and insist on fluids like water, fruit juices and non-fizzy drinks for children, especially during summer.

Submitted on January 16, 2014