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What Are The Psychological Effects of Coffee?

How Coffee Affects Your Brain

image of psychological effects of coffee and the brain

Much progress has been made lately in the scientific community regarding emerging research into the beneficial physiological effects of drinking coffee in moderation. Everything from prevention of dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease) to prevention of cirrhosis of the lever has been labeled a beneficial effect of drinking coffee.

While the Internet and popular media have been abuzz (sorry) about coffee’s beneficial physiological effects, they have also remained largely silent regarding the potentially detrimental effects that overconsumption of caffeine may have on a person, psychologically speaking.

Coffee contains a varying concentration of the stimulant caffeine. Caffeine is a very powerful stimulant that should only be consumed in small doses, when consumed at all. And, while the other properties of coffee positively affect a person’s health, the potential negative psychological effects of overconsumption of caffeine may be doing damage to their brain and central nervous system.

Cognitive Deficits You Can Overcome With Coffee Consumption

Let’s talk about what coffee can do for us psychologically if consumed in appropriate moderate doses.

Caffeine can greatly help us overcome the cognitive (thinking) deficit primarily associated with sleep deprivation. When we don’t get enough sleep, we have trouble with retention and retrieval of information as well as with analytical, critical, and abstract thinking.

Caffeine, at a dose equivalent to what is in one or two cups of coffee, can erase this deficit in thinking.

When Coffee Becomes Too Much of Good Thing

Unfortunately, overconsumption of caffeine throughout the day (or consuming caffeine too late in the day) can lead to trouble with getting to sleep, sleeping deeply, and remaining asleep long enough to enter deep sleep and REM states for many people.

Too much caffeine can also lead to a host of other unpleasant psychological issues such as irritability, anxiety, agitation, restlessness, stomach troubles, and even headaches.

image of psychological effects of coffee and the brain

The Longing and The Lack Associated With Consuming Coffee

Another unfortunate aspect to consuming caffeine is the fact that it can be physically and mentally addictive. Studies have shown that consuming as little as the caffeine present in two regular cups of coffee on a daily basis can create feelings of dependency in as little as six days to two weeks.

Once a level of dependency is present, a person can feel sluggish, lethargic, mentally unfocused, irritable, and may have headaches without caffeine in their system.

All Things in Moderation – Even Your Coffee!

The key to enjoying coffee and reaping the psychological benefits of its component caffeine without dealing with dependency issues and the negative effects of overconsumption is to consume caffeinated coffee in moderation only.

Resist the urge to reach for a third, fourth, or fifth cup. Or switch to decaf once you’ve had your first cup or two of the day. You’ll thank yourself for it in the long run, and you’ll still be reaping the physiological benefits without dealing with the potentially negative psychological issues.