By a show of hands, who loves themselves some caffeine? I am pretty sure my blood type is C for “caffeine,” that is how much I drink. Sadly, not everyone can handle absurd doses of caffeine.
Overdosing is no joke, and it can happen in the course of one day, when you are not even thinking about it. Like when you are studying for a big test or writing a Master’s dissertation perhaps?
The thing is, ingesting massive amounts of caffeine all at once is dangerous since the body does not have time to react. It takes at least four hours before you start feeling the effects of an overdose.
To make sure you do not drink more caffeine than your body can handle, here are the signs and symptoms of caffeine overdose to keep you on your toes:
This is your number one signal to stop consuming caffeine for the rest of the day. Jitters are a sensation of tremors or shaking. Sometimes, they are minute, and you may just think your nerves are getting to you. In some cases, jitters can be so bad that they look like a small seizure or conniption.
Other signs of overdose
Maybe you are not the type to experience jitters (like me). Here are some other conditions to look out for that, while might not seem connected to caffeine overload, are definitely signs:
- Headaches – contrary to some people’s way of thinking, this is not a call for more caffeine!
- Dehydration or an increased feeling of thirst
Funny how these can often be mistaken for caffeine withdrawal. If you just had a shot of espresso an hour ago and are already feeling or experiencing these ill-effects, don’t go reaching for another cup!
Lastly, I just wanted to touch on the most portentous of symptoms that come with consuming more caffeine than what your body can handle. If these ensure, be sure to get yourself medical attention immediately:
- Chest pain
- Irregular or “tachy” heartbeat
- Muscle spasms and other uncontrollable movements
- Trouble breathing
When the amount of caffeine in your body reaches toxic levels, usually the only way to treat it is to consume a laxative or a gastric lavage. The latter is where the doctor or nurse takes a tube and washes out the contents of your stomach. Your heart-rate will also be monitored via EKG, and if necessary, you will have breathing support.
In more mild cases, you can, fortunately, forego having your stomach washed out and take care of the issue yourself. Stop drinking caffeine and opt for water. Get some mild exercise to help pump the caffeine from your body.
Finally, eat foods that are rich in potassium and magnesium, such as leafy greens and bananas. This should accelerate the metabolism of the caffeine.
Taking in more caffeine than what your body can handle can be a life-threatening issue, so be aware of the conditions that can occur with overload and think twice before ordering your next double espresso. Coffee has many health benefits, yet moderation is a must. In the season of pumpkin spiced lattes, school work, and stress, be careful that you’re not flooding your system with too much stimulant.