Friday, July 5, 2013

Coffee Addicts Anonymous

Yesterday I celebrated Independence Day in the traditional way. I ate too much, played with sparklers, let my son light smoke bombs, watched some fireworks, and stayed up too late. It was just as the forefathers intended. And, though the hardest thing I had to drink was a water on the rocks, I am nursing a serious holiday hangover today.

I woke up this morning 2 hours later than normal. I was completely out of it. Unmotivated. I had only one thought on my mind. Coffee. 

I actually found myself worried about the number of minutes it would take my coffee maker to produce my first cup. I was almost anxious about it. Like it was an emergency. In those (approximately 3) minutes between hitting that 'brew' button and taking my first sip, I remembered an article I read in The Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago. It was all about how caffeine addiction and withdrawal are now classified as mental health disorders. 

I have liked (loved, needed) coffee my entire adult life. I have made a pot first thing every morning for years and years. During both pregnancies I (very painfully) switched to decaf, but I could never give up the feeling of that warm mug in my hand. However, I never considered my coffee addiction to be a mental disease. I think that's called 'denial'.

I love my coffee, and my coffee loves me too.
According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (World's most boring name. I think The Great Big Book of Crazy is a bit more of an eye-catcher, but whatever.), you have to have 5 of 12 symptoms to be considered intoxicated by caffeine. I have at least 7 most days. That's not a great number. But, my love of...or addiction to, if you is so serious that even as I write this, I'm thinking "That means there are 5 symptoms I don't experience.  That's not bad at all!" See?? Denial is awesome.

Also according to The Great Big Book of Crazy, you have to have 3 of 5 symptoms to be diagnosed with caffeine withdrawal. When I'm not exhibiting those first 7, I'm exhibiting all 5 of these. An even worse number. And these symptoms don't mess around.  A headache so severe that it makes me consider an at home DIY lobotomy being one of them.

It's kind of funny to me that the American Psychiatric Association considers it a little bit bonkers if you use caffeine regularly or if you quit using caffeine regularly. You can't really win.

So, the question becomes which mental health disorder do I choose. Do I choose to be all bitchy and headachey, and attempt to kick the habit? Or, do I continue to wake up every morning and push the brew button, meet friends for a latte at my favorite cafe, and continue to be a (somewhat) pleasant and high functioning human? 

The choice is a fairly simple one.  For my own comfort, and for the well-being of my husband and kids, I think I'll stick with the kind of crazy that allows me my coffee each day.  

I am actively deciding to pay no attention to these latest studies and findings.  But, if the American Psychiatric Association releases the next version of it's DSM and expands it to include's lightning deals addiction, I'll start to take it personally. 

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