Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Caffeine Delusions

By bobjim in Culture
Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 09:27:59 AM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

Chances are, you and most people you know drink coffee. If not coffee, then Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew or even Jolt. Perhaps you're a student who pops caffeine pills before exams. Maybe you've bought some of those caffeinated mints with penguins on the front. There are few people who abstain from caffeine, the most common of all drugs. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you took too much? One night at work, laughing in exhaustion's face, I found out.

Sleep Deprivation

I've always been nocturnal. Even as a baby, I'm told, I never slept well at night. Growing up, my sleep patterns became slowly worse. By the time I was fourteen, I was regularly staying awake all night and catching up on sleep during the day. I spent most of my school-days ridiculously tired or, quite often, absent, sleeping during the day. When the opportunity came to escape this hell, I leapt at it. Rather than continuing my education through the normal route, I took evening classes, which suited my nocturnal ways perfectly. This didn't lead to any useful skills and the time came when I needed employment. The humble convenience store suited my routine perfectly - I could work in the mornings when I was still awake from the previous day, or in the evenings, when I had just woken up. This was how I came to work at One Stop.

Soon I came to realise, as if I had ever doubted it, that One Stop was another hell, so I did the obvious thing for someone with no usable skills and no desire to work. I applied to study at a university. The following report of my idiocy and its effects took place in the final months before I became a student. In my defence, I was very tired, having been awake during the day to open my student bank account. Sleep deprivation had made me irrational.


I turned up for work at the usual time with the usual amount of joy at the hordes of customers demanding my limited attention. My alertness was decreasing rapidly and I had little wish to fall asleep on-camera. Fortunately, I was surrounded by the tools I needed to complete my shift. Behind me, with the rest of the over-the-counter medications were boxes of Pro-Plus, caffeine in pill form. In the soft-drinks chiller were cans of Red Bull, a stimulant drink containing caffeine. I purchased one of each, using the Red Bull to wash down the pills. In the course of one hour, I had swallowed eighteen pills, each containing fifty milligrams for a grand total of 900mg. The can of Red Bull, by itself contained a further 80mg and I'd been drinking coffee earlier in the day. I had over a gram of caffeine in my body - the equivalent of drinking eleven cups of strong coffee all at once.

I had been a fairly heavy caffeine user before. In my average day, I'd consume around 300mg of caffeine. Even today, I drink my coffee double-strength. This was the first time I'd consumed so much in so little time. I wasn't completely ignorant about what I was doing. I knew the LD-50 (the lethal dose for 50% of the population) had been reported as 75mg per kilogram of body-weight. I'm not a small guy; to reach the LD-50 I'd have to consume almost seven times as much as I did that night. Of course, deaths and heart damage have occurred at much lower levels. Consuming a gram of caffeine might not be suicidal, but it's far from smart.

Immediate Effects of Stupidity

How did it feel? At the time I made some notes: "Imagine surfing on waves of energy, huge amounts of power beneath you, but only expressed in your board perched upon the crest of a wave. Imagine your pulse tapping out its own beat, regardless of what you, the mere owner of it, thinks it should be doing. Caffeine takes between one and three quarters of an hour to really kick in. My pulse had hit one hundred beats per minute only ten minutes after ingestion. I was in for a rough night. Large amounts of caffeine, I found, don't really make you any less tired, it just makes you have huge amounts of energy whilst feeling dead to the world."

Four hours of work later, I did a spot of shopping, counted the night's takings and began to lock up, feeling more than a little jittery. I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed, regardless of whether I could sleep. Fate was not kind to me that night. As I opened the door to set the alarm, the area manager bustled in. To be fair, the security check would have been completely painless if I hadn't taken the caffeine. A certain amount of baseless paranoia accompanied my interrogation. Five minutes later, it was all over and the shop was locked up. It's possibly worth noting that if you think my pulse was quite fast before, it got even faster as I walked up the twenty-minute hill to my house.

The next hours of my life may have been a good deal more comfortable if I had been a smoker. Many things affect the length of time a human body takes to process caffeine. The average non-smoker processes half the caffeine in their body in 6 hours. If you're pregnant it takes three times as long. For smokers, the half-life of caffeine averages 3 hours. If I had been a smoker, the caffeine in my system would have been down to one cup of coffee in 9 hours. For me, lacking that particular habit, the same process took a whole day. When restful sleep eluded me, I became quite obsessed with these figures.

More Sleep Deprivation

For the first few hours, I didn't bother to sleep, but by 2AM, sheer exhaustion overwhelmed me and I was determined to give it my best shot. I'd slept with fevers before; why, I thought, should this be any different? I was wrong. Trying to sleep whilst overdosed on caffeine is bizarre. The analogy to a fever is quite apt. I did not dream. You have to be asleep to dream. I was neither fully asleep nor awake, but caught in the moment between the two. While I knew I was in bed, I was at the same time on the floor of some jungle. I was beneath my bed covers, which were also leaves. Beneath me was the mattress; soil and decaying forest floor. A light mist filled the room/jungle.

Delirium isn't a state in which memory works particularly well. Being well acquainted with acute and chronic lack of sleep, I've had a number of these experiences. Sometimes on particularly bad days, for the first few minutes after waking, when people spoke I'd feel a spring balance weigh their words. I perceived my mind as a spring, the process by which I understood language as a literal act of weighing and their words themselves as the weights. In those minutes, this was for me in no way a metaphor. On one occasion, I perceived causality in reverse - 'causes' were caused by their 'effects'. On that day I had to go to work. Instead of people purchasing items by giving money to me, people were giving money to me by purchasing items. It wasn't a perception which readily lends itself to description.

I wasn't considering the effects of delirium and my previous acquaintances with it. I was far too busy trying to pull all the wet leaves off myself. This went on forever, because like logic, my sense of time had run away for the night. Back in consensus reality it lasted a couple of hours. Eventually, somehow, I managed to get to sleep. The next day I was feeling better, but drained. I seem to have suffered no lasting ill effects.

I Learned Nothing

I can honestly say I learnt nothing from the experience. I found out that taking large amounts of a stimulant is dumb, but I knew that before. It's interesting to note, however, that caffeine in large enough doses can have similar, although much less pleasant, effects to various illegal drugs. Similar to many drugs, people occasionally die of overdose, sometimes even intentionally. Although I can find no reliable sources, there's a persistent rumour that caffeine tablets are illegal to buy without a prescription in Norway and that Norwegian youths cross the border into Sweden to stock up on their local equivalents of No-Doze and Pro-Plus.

Overdosing on caffeine, whilst interesting from a detached point of view a year on, was at the time entirely unpleasant. It's a stupid thing to do, especially if you have any heart defects (whether you know about them or not). While you sip your wake-me-up coffee in the morning, consider that the drug you're ingesting can have very different effects at higher doses and that people have died from taking too much.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


You for coffee?
o Hate it. 18%
o Decaff, please. 2%
o Sure. 22%
o OK, but I'll make it. 12%
o Yes! Another Coffee! Now! Now! 16%
o I'll have twenty cups. 10%
o Isn't it nice and crunchy? 16%

Votes: 106
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o ridiculous ly tired
o One Stop
o Pro-Plus
o Red Bull
o 75mg per kilogram of body-weight
o if I had been a smoker
o die
o of
o overdose
o intentiona lly
o Also by bobjim

Display: Sort:
Caffeine Delusions | 88 comments (82 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
One thing I know (3.44 / 9) (#2)
by medham on Mon Sep 02, 2002 at 11:42:29 PM EST

Athletes at large universities, who are often as valuable as race horses, have their diets as carefully monitored; and they're allowed very little caffeine.

Caffeine is bad for you, and the reason you feel like you need it is the artificially increased speed of life under capitalism.

Relax. Go fishing. Practice autoerotic. asphyxiation. Live life without coffee or Mountain Dew, dude!

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

But why? (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by sholden on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 03:23:25 AM EST

Athletes at large universities, who are often as valuable as race horses, have their diets as carefully monitored; and they're allowed very little caffeine.

Caffeine is a masking agent for some banned performance enhancing drugs and hence is a banned substance in some sports. So couldn't the reason for that be paranoia about returning a positive drug test?

What are the performance decreasing effects of caffeine in the short/medium term? I can't see why a university would care that their atheletes might develop cancer (or whatever) from caffeine in 20 years time...

The world's dullest web page

[ Parent ]
I read somewhere once... (4.00 / 2) (#22)
by Nick Ives on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 03:55:10 AM EST

That long distance runners use caffeine during training because of the artificial raise in heart rate. Kinda makes sense, you use caffeine to make your heart stronger, come down off it a fortnight or so before a big race and by the time the firing gun goes off your body is back to producing the right level of adrenaline.


[ Parent ]

Close... (5.00 / 3) (#25)
by bobjim on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 04:50:25 AM EST

Athletes use caffeine because it causes higher levels of fatty acids in the bloodstream, which leads to higher blood sugar levels for longer periods of time, which means that athletes using caffeine can train for longer. This is useful for endurance sports like long-distance running.

Sensible use of caffeine for athletic purposes will be designed to prevent tolerance developing.
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

Also (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by benzapp on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 05:56:31 PM EST

Like most stimulants however, the beneficial effects diminish with continued use.  Amphetamine is a much better choice, as it directly affects blood sugar levels. In fact, the opposite effect of Amphetamine (an alpha-adrenogenic antagonist) raises blood levels of insulin, diminishing available glucose.  Your body will adapt to amphetamine as well however.

[ Parent ]
Legality (none / 0) (#74)
by Rhodes on Wed Sep 04, 2002 at 08:03:04 PM EST

And caffiene is legal and allowed under all drug rules- difficult to say the same for amphemtamines (sp?)?

[ Parent ]
Bad effects .. (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by maxl on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 12:09:24 AM EST

I drank too much coke and had too much caffeine in general over a period of time and eventually it caught up with me. It ended up causing heart palpatations (extra beats of the heart). Extra electrical reactions in my heart. It kind of felt like a roller coaster.. but wasn't as fun. In fact, it was scary as hell. We weren't quite sure as to what was causing it, and after a few doctor visits, they weren't either..until I went to get an EKG and the person monitoring it said "well, do you drink a lot of caffeine?"... I stopped drinking caffeine that day, had a killer headache the next week, but haven't had a heart problem since. I also feel just healthier in general, it's hard to explain. I feel like I have more actual energy, instead of false energy.

I quit it some years ago... (3.33 / 3) (#6)
by ariux on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 01:03:20 AM EST

...and have never regretted that. At least for some people, caffeine is really a lot stronger than its ubiquity implies.

[ Parent ]

I tried to give up coffee yesterday (4.00 / 3) (#7)
by iwnbap on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 01:10:52 AM EST

I tried to give up coffee yesterday, and had two car accidents in the space of an hour.  My mind was bumbling, I had no idea what was going on.  Eventually I got off the road, sat down and had some coffee, made sure I was normal, and drove slowly home.

Next time, I will do this while I am on vacation.

Been there, done that (4.44 / 9) (#8)
by PullNoPunches on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 01:30:26 AM EST

I've been through all of this, though perhaps not quite the level of overdose you describe. I too was a night owl even from a young age, and have never been able to keep a job that required daytime hours. I literally could not control when I slept and when I woke up. I could influence it, but I use the analogy of steering a boat, you don't actually steer it, you just suggest which way you'd like it to go. (I'm not a boating enthusiast, so forgive me if the analogy is wrong.) When I finally got my present job, it became necessary to fix it. I struggled with it for a long time, with the indulgence of my boss who tolerated me coming in as late as 1 pm, (and that with making every possible effort to make it in by 10), and making up the time by staying late and coming in weekends

Here's what has finally been working for me. First, I quit caffeine cold turkey, particularly to break the habit of having it mid-day and late at night. It is absolute pure hell for three days, so allow a long weekend for this where you can stay in bed. Imagine the worst hangover you've ever had, multiply it by three, and add quitting heroin or smoking at the same time, and then make it last 72 straight hours.

Now, between 9 and 10 pm, I've started taking .75 milligrams of melatonin. YMMV, I started with 3mg and found it to be too much ( I literally could not stand an hour later), experimented a little and found .5mg to be too little before settling on .75 for a nice predictable and gradual fading into sleep. Since I started that, (about a month now) I have never once had trouble falling asleep before 11:00-11:30.

To handle the other end of the problem, waking up, I bought a mini-fridge and put it next to the bed, stuffed with Frappucino (iced coffee from Starbucks). When the alarm rings at 7, I get a bottle out of the fridge, then immediately fall asleep with it in my hand. By the second snooze, I can manage to get the cover off, but have occasionally fallen back asleep with it open. By the third snooze, I can mange to down it entirely. Within 60 seconds of downing it, I cannot sleep at all, and I bounce out of bed fully awake. Apparently, jsut enough melatonin remains in my system to prevent me from waking naturally, but not enough that the caffeine won't knock it back.

Since then, I am out of bed reliably between 7:30-8:00. I've found a new problem now, that is that I don't know how to manage my time. All of my habits have been centered around unpredictable sleep cycles. I've always had rush to make it where I need to be, and then at night waste a lot of time trying to sleep and failing. It's very hard to plan and make commintments, so now I have to learn to plan for a somewhat normal 9-5 day. Normal caffine use, such as a regular sized Coke at lunch or even dinner, or the occasional cup of coffee at work, does not cause a problem, but its best not to push it.

Hope this helps.


Although generally safe, turmeric in large doses may cause gastrointestinal problems or even ulcers. -- Reader's Digest (UK)

Slightly OT : Melatonin (4.33 / 3) (#11)
by Glowing Fish on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 01:51:44 AM EST

When I first took melatonin, a single 3 mg pill gave me a wonderful warm hearted floating relaxed feeling. The first time I took 9 mg, I had a lucid dream (something that is not common for me). Now, I can take 18 milligrams of melatonin and not be phased. In fact, I can take that much melatonin, a gram of niacin, 50 milligrams of diphenahydramine, half a bottle of wine and be listening to King Black Acid, and still not be able to sleep.

Anyway, now that you all know how tragic my life is, I would recommend taking some niacin to both help you dream and help you sleep. Start with 100 milligrams, that is usually more than enough for newcomers. Watch out for the transient but uncomfortable side effects. And get more information off the internet.

[ Parent ]
Suggestion: (5.00 / 2) (#13)
by bobjim on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 02:34:17 AM EST

I'm not the person to be giving advice on sleeping, lord knows, but from my pathetic knowledge of neurochemistry, here's a suggestion:

As I understand it, melatonin is naturally metabolised from serotonin in the parts of the brain which need it. Serotonin is metabolised using the amino acid tryptamine. Now, tryptamine can't pass the blood-brain barrier without transport. However, there's nine (or so, I don't recall exactly and it's not important) other amino acids that use the same transport into the brain, so tryptamine has a hard time getting there because it's outnumbered and the others do it better. When you ingest carbohydrates, your body produces insulin, which "shunts" the other amino acids out of the blood system, leaving trypamine alone with a free ride. Once in the brain, tryptamine is used to make serotonin.

So, after eating a nice carbohydrate-high meal you get a boost of serotonin in the brain, which allows lots to be metabolised into melatonin in the areas its needed. Peole generally feel sleepy after good meals and in some European countries siesta is a long held tradition.

Of course, I could be talking crap.
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

You're close... (4.66 / 3) (#58)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 06:05:44 PM EST

> the amino acid tryptamine
> I could be talking crap.

You're not talking crap, but you've got the wrong amino acid. Well... not quite, but but it's not tryptamine that's in your food.

The amino acid you're looking for is tryptophan. It is present, in high quantities, in turkey, wines, and certian cheeses... amongst MANY other foods. (I mentioned those because it's present in unusually high amounts in those three. Read the warnings on an MAOI sometime... those foods are specificlly mentioned as ones to avoid for this very reasson)

Now, when tryptophan is metabolised it turns, as an intermediate step, into tryptomine; which is, in turn, converted into seratonin, as well as a few other neurotransmitters.

(All of that is, of course, a gross simplification of the full story, but it'll suffice here)

Tryptamine is also the base chemical behind a whole family of psychedelics called, unsuprisingly, tryptamines. Dr. Alexander Shulgin documented many of these in his sequel to PIHKAL: TIHKAL (Tryptamines I Have Known And Loved).

Some of the tryptamines with which K5-ers ight be familiar are: DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, 4-HO-DMT (aka. psilocin), DET, 5-MeO-DiPT (Foxy Methoxy), and, of course, Foxy's direct chemical precursor: melatonin.

Yup... plain old melatonin, the stuff that makes you sleep, is a tryptamine AND the step right before a rathar funky psychedelic! It shouldn't suprise anyone, then, that people have reported strange mental affects from high doses of melatonin.

Melatonin isn't exactly something to be trifled with, either. Taken in high doses, and ESPECIALLY if you take it with something that's boosting your seratonin levels like 5-HTP, it can contribute to seratonin syndrome, a farily serious condition.

Of course, some people have been known to take 5-HTP and melatonin together to enable them to sleep when their seratonin levels are depleted... for... eh... whatever reason. (Hey... it works. And it's hard to get seratonin syndrome if you've got hardly any seratonin!)


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

I'm not sure what you are getting at (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by PullNoPunches on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 12:49:08 PM EST

It sounds like you are saying that I'll build up a tolerance for melatonin. I did a couple of hours of research on the net before doing this, so I'm no expert, but I found out enough to convince me to try it. (Particularly the fact that there appears to be no evidence of harmful effects). The question of tolerance is still open from what I read, and seems to vary from person to person. If I had continued taking the 3mg dose, the effects were so severe that I assume that my body would have had ot find some way to adjust.

I'm not taking enough to produce an overt effect. As it is, the amount I take is just enough to push me over the edge into sleep. I can stay awake after taking it if I need to, but when I want to sleep, I can. Also, I take it at the same time every day, and wake up early, so I am naturally tired at night anyway. I've found that if I don't take it, I still start to feel very tired at 11-ish, and have no trouble sleeping anyway. Sometimes when I skip taking it, however, I wake up several times through the night.

This tells me there are two effects happening here. Rather than being forced to sleep when my body is not ready, my body is being trained to an 11-7 sleep cycle. Secondly, the melatonin makes my sleep more complete and restful. I have not had any problems with sleepiness during the day like I used to have constantly.

Tolerance is a possible issue, but I have seen no evidence of it over the month I've been doing it. If it starts to happen, I'll have to figure out a way to deal with it.


Although generally safe, turmeric in large doses may cause gastrointestinal problems or even ulcers. -- Reader's Digest (UK)
[ Parent ]

God is in the details of melatonin (4.00 / 1) (#41)
by robson on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 01:21:44 PM EST

I've seen two types of melatonin -- "regular" (swallowed) and sublingual. My mileage suggests that they're completely different in terms of effectiveness. Swallowed melatonin does nothing for me. At all.

Sublingual melatonin, however, has made a significant difference in my life. It's not that I couldn't get to sleep -- it's that I couldn't wake up. Sublingual melatonin (just 500 micrograms, .5 mg) before bed enables me to wake up like a normal person.

BTW, Glowing Fish -- careful with the Niacin. High doses like a gram won't hurt you if it's every once in a while, but consistently high doses (say, a gram a day) can...
It seemed real but wasn't.
[ Parent ]
Similar to my experience (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by PullNoPunches on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 03:08:01 PM EST

We're different in that the swallowed melatonin works for me, but the waking up is an interesting issue. Prior to taking it, I could not wake up normally either. I'd sleep through an hour or sometimes two of snooze alarms, or not even hear the alarm and sleep through until it got tired and shut itself off. Even with coffee and ten hours of sleep, I'd be sluggish for some time before fully waking up and then would be tired all day.

Now, the melatonin is obviously is still having some effect in the morning, since I will sleep very late in the absence of any help waking up. But the difference is that with a small jolt of caffeine and sugar, I wake up very fully and completely, and feel no sleepyness during the day. I suspect that it is because now my sleep is really accomplishing something, so by morning I have had, for the first time in my life, a full eight hours of real sleep.


Although generally safe, turmeric in large doses may cause gastrointestinal problems or even ulcers. -- Reader's Digest (UK)
[ Parent ]

But I'm so tempted! (2.00 / 1) (#9)
by czar chasm on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 01:31:42 AM EST

See, in my dorm there's a convenience store downstairs that lets me buy Jolt Cola for under a dollar a bottle.  I can't help but be tempted to drink it!
-Czar Chasm
add 2 bottles of NoDoz to email me
Give in. (4.33 / 3) (#10)
by bobjim on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 01:46:20 AM EST

Give in to the cola. Can't you hear it singing to you? Little caffeine molecules trapped in the bottles waiting to be drunk, waiting to bond with your adenosine receptors. Listen to the cola. Listen to it. And obey.
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]
NO! I musn't! (4.00 / 2) (#12)
by czar chasm on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 02:09:39 AM EST

*splashes water on face*
The power of christ compells me!  The power of christ compells me!
-Czar Chasm
add 2 bottles of NoDoz to email me
[ Parent ]
The power of christ compells you to... drink jolt! (4.28 / 7) (#14)
by bobjim on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 02:47:46 AM EST

Caffeine is Christ in a molecule.
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]
Exactly! (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by BLU ICE on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 12:03:22 PM EST

And whosoeverth drink jolt will not perish, but recieve everlasting awakefullness

John 5:12

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

Another side effect of too much caffeine (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by mayo on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 03:04:17 AM EST

I used to go to this cafe that served coffee in a "bucket". A bucket was basically a big ass coffee cup that they put four regular shots worth of coffee into. I'd usually wander in and down two or three of these in 30-45 minutes, earning the nick Caffeine Fiend from the cute waitresses. Yep, I thought it was pretty sweet at the time.

Now although the coffee high was nice and my mouth started working too fast, non-stop, which was fun, I started to notice that caffeine, even in small amounts, makes me more aggressive. In such large amounts it makes me quite aggressive. Needless to say I have since quit coffee and caffeine in general apart from one here and there but I was wondering if anybody else has experienced a similar effect?

God DAMMIT (3.10 / 10) (#17)
by ubu on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 03:10:11 AM EST

Why is it that everyone feels the need to make a big pointy statement about overdosing on various wonderful things, just for the hell of it? Caffeine, an excellent emetic, stimulant, appetite suppressant, headache remedy, and otherwise fabulous all-'round chemical, comes under undue fire for the jackasses who think it's somehow charming or hilarious to ingest massive quantities.

Haw haw! Try rat poison next! Fuckwad.


As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
Well... if you put it like that... (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by bobjim on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 04:27:50 AM EST

What I did was, admittedly stupid, and can be classified as an overdose. If I'd had heart problems that I didn't know about I might have died (but if I'd chosen to bungee jump or any one of many similar heart-stressing things, the same could have happened).

From an entirely different point of view, what I did was take a larger dosage than most people to explore the effects on my body and mind. Whilst caffeine can hardly be said to be a "mind-expanding" drug, that experience was interesting. It added another data point to my range of experiences. No-one knew of my caffeine experience at the time.

I didn't post this because it was charming or hilarious, I posted this because it seemed it might be interesting and entertaining.

Compared to the levels of caffeine at which healthy people die (the two linked in the article were both students who ingested 90 pills of 200mg (18000mg of caffeine) the levels I ingested were small. They're only large compared to general caffeine intake. Before I ever considered taking that much caffeine, I had researched the drug, knew the LD-50 for it and had a general idea of what to expect. I was stupid, but I wasn't that damn stupid (which is why I won't try rat poison).

Also, you seem to be wrong on several things. Although caffeine undoubtedly affects metabolism (by increasing the level of circulating fatty acids) there's no particular evidence that it is an appetite suppressant. It is sometimes used in the treatment of obesity in combination with ephedrine, but that's as a thermogenic agent and is "minimally effective". Caffeine in combination with over-the-counter diet pills was banned by the FDA some time ago due to lack of evidence.

Caffeine does tend to be added to over-the-counter analgesics and may have a synergistic effect with them although actual data is scarce. There's little evidence that caffeine alone is therapeutic.

Caffeine is also used in combination with ergotamine in the treatment of migraines, but only because it increases the absorption rate of ergotamine. Again, there's little evidence that there's much therapeutic effect with caffeine alone.

I like caffeine, but I wouldn't take it at those levels again. What would be the point? I know what that's like now.
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

One time (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by BLU ICE on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 12:09:41 PM EST

I mildly o/d on coffee. I drank 2 smallish pots of coffee (about 18 8 oz. servings) in about an hour. (The Yuban coffee was quite excellent and I got carried away. :-p)

I drink quite a bit of caffeine normally, so I had quite a tolerence for it.

What's weird is that I wasn't bouncing of the walls or anything. I just felt tired. Terribly tired. And I had a horrible acid stomach.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

Headaches... (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by Kintanon on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 04:20:28 PM EST

Depends on what kind of headache you have. Caffiene has a similar affect on the bloodvesels as Cocain, causing them to expand, this can relieve some kinds of headaches.

Unfortunately, if you stop drinking caffiene completely, you get blinding headaches and vertigo for a few days if you were previously a heavy caffiene consumer.


[ Parent ]

Umm No. (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by benzapp on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 05:51:26 PM EST

Caffeine is an adenosine reuptake inhibitor.  Adenosine, amazingly,is a neuro-peptide involved with the sleep cycle.  Most directly, it involves to a degree the natural lowering of blood pressure when asleep.  

Essentially, the more adenosine your blood there is, the higher your blood pressure and the more awake your are. Caffeine consumption diminishes your body's sensitivity to adenosine, as your body tries to adapt to increased levels of this substance.  

Caffine withdrawal is a direct result of this decreased sensitivity.  The amount of adenosine your body naturally produces is no longer sufficient.   The result is significantly lowered blood pressure, which results in greater vaso-dialation and a headache.

The reason Excedrin and the like containe caffeine is not because it is an analgesic, but because it returns your blood pressure to normal and your blood vessels to constrict.  

Cocaine affects hormone receptors that cause increased levels of cortisol in the body, which precipitates increased levels of adrenalin.  This cause respiratory stimulation, greater blood pressure, and strong pulse.  For those who consume opiods in wheat, dairy, and opium products, asthma is reversed. Cocaine has powerful vaso-constriction effects however. Heart attack and stroke are real concerns. However, if you survie cocaine's short duration of action (about 30 minutes) you will be fine.  

Amphetamine has a very similar structure to adrenalin and binds to the alpha-adrenal receptors in the brain directly, thereby causing stimulation.  Contrary to popular belief, amphetamine is a relatively weak CNS stimulant.  It is extremely safe, with a fatal dose being about 100 times the stand prescribed dose of 5mg.  It is usually long lasting however, which makes casual usage difficult.    

Because caffeine withdrawal is caused by a marked drop in blood pressure, consuming any of the popular stimulants will relieve the headache.  While cocaine can be legally prescribed, it is generally only administered by doctors for its local anesthetic and vaso-constricting properties.  Many doctors however prescribe Methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Ritilan which is metabolized into an amphetamine analog in the liver.  Its short duration of action and lower propensity for agitation makes it an excellent temporary cure for migraine headaches.

[ Parent ]

Ahhh. (none / 0) (#70)
by Kintanon on Wed Sep 04, 2002 at 02:17:02 PM EST

That is a MUCH better explanation than the one I originally was given for why I had blinding headaches after I stopped drinking caffeine.


[ Parent ]

The real problem (4.50 / 2) (#35)
by pyro9 on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 11:07:11 AM EST

Is paternalistic groups (such as the U.S. government) that just can't understand that no matter how safe something is, there's always someone who can manage to get themselves killed with it. That and a society that can't understand a basic right to assume a risk for oneself.

Note that I do make a distinction between protecting people from the consequences of their own actions vs. protecting people from the actions of others (such as D.U.I laws and product labling laws).

It doesn't help that everytime some idiot manages to die by ingesting 1000 times the normal dose of something for months at a time, the media has a field day with their endless stream of 'hidden dangers' stories.

The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
gah (4.50 / 2) (#20)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 03:49:47 AM EST

I'm gonna get all lame mutual support wank with strangers on the worldwideinterweb now, but here goes:

Caffeine -- I hope you already know that too much of it can kill you. 900mg won't, but I would count myself lucky if I took that much and didn't end up in the hospital with a nervous attack or something.

Caffeine in normal form (e.g. coca-cola, tea) has never done much for me. Then one day I took like 200 mg in pills over the course of one hour, hoping to be more productive that afternoon after an all nighter. Boy. I did not do any actual work; instead, I was fucking paranoid the rest of the day. Luckily, it was summer, so I had no friends around to freak out.

Sleep Deprivation -- The advantage of the late years of grad school is that you don't have to take many classes, so waking up 11:30am each day is a viable proposition.

Melatonin -- 1mg doesn't do shit for me, 2mg means I'll be sluggish the next day throughout, 1.5mg should be what I should try.

Wasabi -- this stuff can give you a nice rush that will wake you up for 5 mins. Try continuously eating some of it all day-- it'll help you. Helps if you enjoy the damn thing to begin with.


Different experience (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by gazbo on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 04:41:41 AM EST

I was planning to go clubbing, but was tired. Not being particularly into E or speed etc I took pro-plus to wake me up. It is worth mentioning that I have always been sceptical as to their stimulant qualities viz staying up late.

I took 14 pro-plus in one go, and waited for my friend to get ready, and the pills to take effect. We got something to eat, then (for some reason I forget) he was unable to go clubbing, so I went home. I watched TV for about 30 minutes and then went to bed, and to sleep.

All in all, about 2 hours had passed since I took the pills, and I was now asleep. Nothing kept me awake there.

In fact, the only effect they had was to make me shit a little bit funny...Therefore, I call psychosomatic; obviously caffeine is a stimulant, but I found zero noticeable effects having had about 7 times the dose (not including my many cups of tea)

Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

Well... (5.00 / 2) (#27)
by bobjim on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 05:13:14 AM EST

There's a number of things that affect the effect caffeine has on individuals, including metabolism, tolerance and individual sensitivity. Rate of absorpton is also an issue. If you consume lots of caffeine regularly (lots of cups of tea?), your tolerance to caffeine will be higher. You may just be naturally resistant to caffeine.

14 Pro-plus is 700mg of caffeine. "Doses ranging from 250 to 750 mg (2 to 7 cups of coffee or tablets of NoDoz) can produce restlessness, nausea, headache, tense muscles, sleep disturbances, and irregular heart beats." Above 750mg you get into the anxiety attack/delerium levels.

The mechanism by which caffeine promotes wakefullness is still under a bit of contention, which is why I didn't mention it in my article. Caffeine is an adenosine antagonist (it binds to adenosine receptors in the brain without, blocking real adenosine molecules from binding). Adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter - it slows down nerve cell activity. So, by blocking this inhibition, caffeine causes you to stay alert and awake. Maybe. It's complex and the action of caffeine in the brain is not entirely understood.

Still, there's quite a lot of evidence (including some quite sick experimentation on animals) that caffeine does inhibit sleep, so I think it's a real effect.
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

Maybe you were burned by your pro-plus dealer.(nt) (5.00 / 2) (#63)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 08:32:11 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Ya missed one, I believe... (none / 0) (#26)
by kaemaril on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 05:09:28 AM EST

Chances are, you and most people you know drink coffee. If not coffee, then Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew or even Jolt.

Coffee, Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Jolt, other caffeinated fizzy drinks... no, no, no, no, no and no.

There are few people who abstain from caffeine

And I'm not one of them :) I drink tea. If memory serves, this also contains caffeine.

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?

I know... (none / 0) (#28)
by bobjim on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 05:15:41 AM EST

But I'm English and I hate tea (the only time I was ever persuaded to drink it was when we were evacuated from our house). So I try to get away from that stereotype.
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]
Yeah, well ... (none / 0) (#59)
by kaemaril on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 06:23:36 PM EST

I'm English and I love the stuff. Sorry about pandering to the stereotype, and all. In fact, I feel so bad about it I'm going to go and make myself a nice cup of te- oh, damn, doing it again :)

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?

[ Parent ]
Tea rules (none / 0) (#60)
by Freaky on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 07:03:44 PM EST

I drink about 30x as much tea as I do coffee, and ironically I drink coffee when I don't want a caffeinated drink, since it's easier to get decaffeinated coffee than tea :)

And yes, I'm English.  We should not be ashamed that we have better taste than most commoners ;)

[ Parent ]

OT: You Brits and your tea... (none / 0) (#61)
by Mzilikazi on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 07:47:00 PM EST

I'm primarily a tea drinker in America, preferring it in almost every regard to coffee. I drink coffee occasionally, but always return to tea. I don't ascribe any magic qualities to it, though...

Two quick stories about the attitude toward tea in England:

1. My grandmother was in somewhere in Yorkshire, on a bus between two towns. There was another elderly American woman on the bus, and they talked for a while. The other woman eventually fell asleep, and when she woke up at the destination, she had kind of flipped out. Apparently she was a little senile, and when she woke up she had no idea what her name was or where she was or what she was doing in England. Gram went and got a police officer and tried to explain the situation, along with the fact that she wasn't a relative or guardian of the woman. The police officer listened politely, nodded, and said, "Well, we'll bring her in and give her a cup of tea, and she should be right as rain!" My grandmother explained that there were some more serious psychological problems involved, but the policeman was certain that a quick cuppa would solve everything.

2. My roommate was in England last year, and had her luggage stolen on the train on the way to Bristol. Upon arriving in Bristol, she went to the nearest police station and stated what happened, and asked what forms needed to be filled out and what she needed to do. The officer on duty said, "Well, the first thing we'll do is get a cup of tea in you, and--" She interrupted him, "I'm not English, that tea trick doesn't work on me! Now how do I go about getting my goddamned luggage back?" Naturally, the luggage was never found, but she did get a nice pamphlet from the Home Office a couple of months after getting back with the attractive title "How to cope with being a victim of crime" or something to that effect. :)


[ Parent ]

Tea works (none / 0) (#78)
by pyro9 on Thu Sep 05, 2002 at 11:04:40 AM EST

I suspect that the tea actually can work. For one, it provides a comforting 'ritual' that can cue the subconscious that all is not lost.

Also, it doverts the mind just a bit from the problem at hand, possably lending perspective.

Finally, it provides a social cue that it's time to be calm and talk. Also good for putting the problem in perspective.

So in story number 1, I suspect that the cop felt that a combination of a mild stimulant and some time to calm down might help her to recover. Although the woman clearly had larger underlying problems that would need to be addressed (as best as possable) by a doctor in the long term, he was probably right about handling the short term problem.

It is worth noting that caffeine from tea is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly due its other constituants. This results in a more slowly rising level, lower peak, and less of a crash towards the end.

The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Did this... (3.66 / 3) (#29)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 05:42:19 AM EST

This pretty much happened to me when I was in high school, especially the delirium part. I drank around 5 cups of coffee in the early evening, and I don't think I got any sleep that night. I remember lying in bed with my heart pounding, unable to think straight. Not a fun experience. Just goes to show, even if a drug is legal or socially acceptable you should still take it seriously.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
Nearly a gram (5.00 / 2) (#30)
by Nick Ives on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 07:33:26 AM EST

Man, that's like, half my daily intake. I can actually recall an occasion where I consumed 1.2g of caffeine in the form of Pro-Plus tablets over the course of an hour whilst drinking cups of coffee and I was fine, not even a rise in heart rate. I stayed awake for quite a few hours, but that was kinda the plan considering I had already been awake for the previous 24.

Are you sure you're counting your caffeine properly? You say that when you were a heavy caffeine user you'd drink 300mg daily, but that's only 3 cups of coffee. 75mg/Kg as the LD-50 is bogus, the LD-50 I've seen quoted for caffeine is 150mg/Kg. Check here for more information, including charts on how much caffeine you get in various type's of coffee. I just checked Erowid's FAQ page and it's that FAQ and it even has the same LD-50 in it. Go figure. I reckon Erowid is just just listing a low LD-50 to cover their arse, I notice they tend to show low doses for quite a few substances on their "dose" pages, most likely to stop jackasses taking doses listed as "heavy" in the hope of getting a killer trip and ending up dead.

So yea, in short, you took a moderate dose of caffeine and ended up feeling a little sick. Pah. I have to take caffeine to stop feeling sick, last time I went three days without caffeine I ended up curled up on the floor vomiting bile. Caffeine sucks, the Coca-Cola company is evil for getting kids hooked on their drinks so they'll get a lifelong addiction and lots of other stuff I cant be arsed ranting about right now. Grrrr.

time for more caffeine...

It;s these stupid imperial weights. (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by bobjim on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 08:00:37 AM EST

I don't think in fluid oz, which is a real hindrance. And what kind of crazy idea is it to list mg/12oz? Mixing metric and imperial is just wrong. Especially when US oz are different to UK oz. Redoing my calculations, I see that I was out by quite a bit. It's more like 700-800mg of caffeine regularly. I should have worked out that 300mg sounded wrong. Although you're taking quite a high value for coffee (Almost every cup of coffee I drink is instant, so values there are slightly lower).

My caffeine intake is relatively high and most of it takes place within a few hours - I don't drink caffeine during the day usually, only in the evening. I know that it's nothing compared to my brother who drinks coffee almost continuously. And I'm sure you intake a huge amount of caffeine. You're obviously very tolerant to it.

The thing about LD-50s is that most of the data comes from extrapolating from mice, rats and rabbits. This is an inaccurate art, so the real human LD-50 for many substances isn't conclusively known. Erring on the low side seems sensible to me.
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

That sounds more reasonable (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by Nick Ives on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 08:52:52 AM EST

Yea, my caffeine tolerance is the stuff of legend amongst my friends. I need it to get up in the morning (waking up without caffeine is not an option) although I actually detest the stuff, especially after the 3 days without caffeine incident. I went from drinking lots of caffeineated soft drinks to drinking lots of strong filter coffee. I've cut down quite a bit though, and am now actually beneath 2g/day. I'm hoping to cut half that by this time next year. 800mg is still above average for most people though, if you were to have kept that up for 5yrs then I'm fairly sure you'd have as bad a caffeine problem as I do =).

And yea, I do actually agree with Erowid's practice of erring on the side of caution. Whenever I try out a new substance I tend to use the Erowid doseage charts to see what the threshold levels are and just take about either that amount or the next level up so that I can get a feel for the substance. Some people aren't so clever though, so going low on the maximum dose is definitely a good idea.

Why is ~ 1.1GB?

[ Parent ]

Norway rumor (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by Protagonist on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 09:50:09 AM EST

It's true, and the strict policies go for energy drinks as well: Red Bull, for instance, is illegal because of the high caffeine content. Similarly, while we have Jolt Cola, our version is limited to half the amount of caffeine that's in a cup of coffee. Which is why I always make sure to stack up on Red Bull whenever I'm in Sweden :)

Hahah! Your ferris-wheel attack is as pathetic and ineffective as your system of government!
Canada as well. (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by mindstrm on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 02:54:32 PM EST

I noticed there is no more RedBull on the shelf, at least in British Columbia.
And Mountain Dew in Canada is NOT the same caffeinated monster that it is in the states.

Of course, there is a common sense reason for this as well.. RedBull contains a rediculous amount of stimulant for such a small, sweet package. It's very easy to develop a serious caffeine habit on redbull.

[ Parent ]

Caffeine in canada (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by jaeden on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 07:55:13 PM EST

There is a law in Canada that restricts the addition of caffeine to beverages. Basically anything that's not "cola-coloured" can't have any added caffeine. So Mountian Dew here doesn't have any.

[ Parent ]
Right! (none / 0) (#87)
by mindstrm on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 04:21:19 PM EST

I remember that now.

What a silly law.. but it makes sense in a weird way.

Why not just bring out dark colored mountain dew?

[ Parent ]

My experiences with caffeine (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by fishpi on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 10:43:00 AM EST

I used to use caffeine a lot a few years ago, and several times took well over a gram of it. I even know several people who've tried snorting the stuff. As far as I can tell, the stimulant effect is real but easily outweighed by the feeling of illness it often gives - somewhat like having the 'flu. The effect tablets have is limited by the time it takes for them to dissolve (leaving them under the tongue seems to speed this up), and I'd be surprised if enough caffeine had entered the bloodstream in ten minutes to have such a large effect as the original poster claims.

It seems to me that it does have a genuine effect on the physical manifestation of tiredness, but not necessarily on the psychological component. When I'm tired but high on caffeine, I still feel pretty lousy (and can fall asleep if I want to) but with appropriate mental effort I can overcome the tiredness and work. When I'm in extreme tiredness (48 hours without sleep and beyond) I'm almost helpless to prevent myself from sleeping when I don't have enough caffeine.

In terms of other psychological effects, I've not experienced hallucinations (although friends claim to) but I have experienced memory loss (only when combining with alcohol - draw your own conclusions here). I also only experienced caffeine shakes very rarely, and they don't seem to be related to the dose.

Combo Caffeine. (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by Kintanon on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 04:11:31 PM EST

I just got back from DragonCon (A roleplaying, Anime, gaming convention in Atlanta) and from Friday morning at 7am until midnight monday night my total sleep came to 7.5 hours. I was only mildly  truly tired for a little while. And that was because I couldn't find any music to listen to. I drank a lot of code red, some caffeinated candy, and a few other things. But mostly I just kept going. I had gone totally off of caffeine for about 2-3 weeks priot to dragoncon, so the affect was much stronger than was common to me before I went off of it. but the thing that kept me awake best was Music. A good mix of Trance/House style music, or Celtic music will keep your brain awake while the caffeine keeps your body from failing you.
I feel like total crap today though... But I'll recover. It was worth it to stay up through the entire Con.


[ Parent ]

Sleep deprivation (3.80 / 10) (#36)
by jabber on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 11:10:23 AM EST

Sleep deprivation is an essential component of any brain-washing process. The mind is more apt to accept information it is given when it is deprived of sleep, since in this state it is less able to question the validity of this information.

This is why it is very important to party as hard as possible while in College, to put your mind into an optimally receptive state for all the nutty goodness that gets shoveled into it during lecture.

There is good reason why all serious education sessions, from college to Navy SEAL training, push you to the point of breaking and keep you there until after you can't stand up any longer. The first reason is to break your self-doubt, to show you that you can take more than you think you can. The second, and more important reason, is to exhaust you into submission, to reduce your mind to putty that the trainers can then shape into what you need to become to get the job done.

Self-programming is a valid training technique. Start partying immediately after class on Thursday... Drink plenty of caffeine to keep you awake all weekend. Drink plenty of alcohol too, as it only kills of the weak brain cells, and you don't need those anyway. Stay up all weekend, drink, dance, fuck, puke, and do whatever else you feel is necessary to prepare your mind for the hard hours in lecture.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

It's like a bad relationship (3.00 / 1) (#39)
by Myriad on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 12:42:40 PM EST

I have been a heavy coffee drinker for about five years now, starting when I was 15. It has come to the point where, like millions of other Americans, I cannot fully wake up without at least two cups of coffee. Of course too much caffeine makes me feel awful. I sweat profusely, lose concentration, and generally just don't function as well. And of course, I work up a horrible sleep debt during the week which causes me to sleep solid through the weekend.

I recently tried some Red Bull with less than stellar results.

35. The Liberal hates you.

Reminds me.. (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by bobaloo on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 01:55:55 PM EST

of when I was working on a medical floor in a teaching hospital. We had a guy admitted who was having heart problems and seizures. Spent three days doing the whole drill of workups, couldn't find anything wrong. Finally, a med student thought it would be a good idea to actually take a history on the guy and as part of it asked about his coffee consumption. The guy responded that he drank 6-7 POTS of coffee everyday. Seems he was a cop and worked night shift, had a coffeemaker next to his desk and "chain-smoked" coffee.

Took a while to dry him out, but that was the problem. Long-term overuse can have significant consequences.

Caffeine and Me (3.50 / 2) (#43)
by titivillus on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 02:38:59 PM EST

I've been so caffinated that I couldn't think. I was awake, but the part of my brain that needed to be working wasn't, because the caffeine was not working there. I've been so caffinated that I shook. Years ago, in my first collegiate educational experience, I found that, if you want to keep the brain awake, fruit juice was far better than caffeine. I'm starting a week of caffeine today, incidently.

Grrr (none / 0) (#51)
by titivillus on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 05:05:19 PM EST

"...a week off caffeine..."!!!!

[ Parent ]
Jesus drank coffee (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by maynard on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 03:12:42 PM EST

Coffee is God's drink. I slug four to five double shots a day, either as straight espresso or skim caps. But I do it on the cheap, I roast my own beans and own a good grinder and a good pump action espresso maker. I pay about 50 - 60 cents a drink like this. All that said, I slug my drug of choice in the morning and stop in the early afternoon. Sleep is a good thing; coffee being no substitute. Go get a good nap and come back after you've rested. You'll feel a whole lot better. :)


Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.

Canada regulates caffeine as a controlled substanc (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by theantix on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 03:37:35 PM EST

In Canadia, caffeine is much more controlled than it is in America.  The caffeine pills that you see in corner stores are prescription-only.  More frustrating is the regulation of caffeinated beverages.  Technically it has been decided that for cola flavored beverages (coke/pepsi) and coffee, caffeine is a flavour-enhancement so it is legal.  However for citrus flavoured beverages caffeine is considered a drug.  This means that popular beverages like Mountain Dew have no caffiene when sold in Canada.  Even worse, energy drinks such as my particular favourite Red Bull are completely unavailable.

My solution (being a caffeine addict myself) is to drive down to America and purchase it by the caseload.  I drink some of it so that it's clear that I'm not going to resell the case and bring it into canada.  In the past 2-3 years I've never had any problems doing that, so I can only assume that the customs officals don't know or don't care about importing it.  Thank god, because I honestly think that having an emergency supply of red bull in my car has saved my life in some late-night drives home.

You sir, are worse than Hitler!

Wow, no V (none / 0) (#53)
by rodgerd on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 05:37:22 PM EST

No V? How awful!

[ Parent ]
Sorry, but not true... (none / 0) (#79)
by hanst on Thu Sep 05, 2002 at 12:00:11 PM EST

In Quebec, you may purchase Wake-Ups (100 mg caffeine tablets) without any prescription. Most large pharmacies have them plainly visible, no need to even ask the pharmacist. Several health supplement stores in Montreal sell caffeine tabs in 200 mg as cheaper generic. Since in Canada drug scheduling is federal, I suspect you will be able to buy your fix pretty easily in any province -- I'm puzzled why you had to go all the way to the USA.

[ Parent ]
Hmm.... (none / 0) (#83)
by theantix on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:03:40 PM EST

I think you are wrong, I've never seen caffeine pills sold over-the-counter before.  I'll check into it though and get back to you on it.

You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
Caffeine is outdated (4.75 / 4) (#48)
by koreth on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 03:54:17 PM EST

Without my daily dose of caffeine, I used to get seriously zoned out every day, even if I'd been getting plenty of sleep. I would go out of my way to not be on the road in the afternoon unless I'd had my can of caffeinated soda a couple hours earlier, and by early evening I usually felt half-dead. I don't have sleep apnea or restless-legs syndrome or any of the other common sleep disorders; I just run out of steam.

Despite all that, about six months ago I successfully gave up caffeine. Okay, I'm not 100% rabid about it; if someone offers me a slice of chocolate cake at a birthday party I won't refuse to eat it. But I no longer drink caffeinated soft drinks or coffee and I have no desire to buy a box of No-Doz pills.

All that, because I've replaced it with a much better stay-awake drug, modafinil . Modafinil is a prescription drug, originally made for the treatment of narcolepsy. But nowadays doctors are prescribing it for excessive daytime sleepiness, and, if you don't want to go that route, it can be found online from overseas pharmacies who'll ship it without a prescription.

This stuff is golden. None of the jitters or paranoia or other side effects of getting pumped up on caffeine; I just don't feel sleepy, not even the typical mid-afternoon dip in energy level everyone feels to some degree. And it's not the "wiped out but couldn't shut my eyes for 30 seconds if I tried" feeling of a can of Red Bull, more of an "I can feel a little nugget of tiredness, but I can ignore it and keep doing whatever I'm doing" feeling. Best of all, it doesn't stop me from getting to sleep; I can still go to bed and sleep soundly if I choose.

I highly recommend everyone give modafinil a try as an alternative to massive doses of caffeine. Fewer side effects and more effective -- hard to argue with that. The only real downside is that it's a little on the pricey side, being a prescription drug. For me, though, it's definitely worth it.

Eek! (none / 0) (#52)
by rodgerd on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 05:34:45 PM EST

Wouldn't it be better to, you know, get more sleep at night and be awake the next day without being perpetually dosed up?

[ Parent ]
Well, yeah, but... (none / 0) (#71)
by koreth on Wed Sep 04, 2002 at 02:47:24 PM EST

Like I said, I used to feel worn out even when I did get plenty of sleep. Which I still try to do, since I've found I tend to get sick a lot more easily when I haven't slept enough. It's not like I was staying up till 4 in the morning and getting blasted out of bed at 7 to go to work; I'd typically go to bed a little after midnight and get up around 8. My natural sleep duration seems to be around 7 hours a night, a little more if I've done something especially strenuous the day before. For a couple months I tried to force myself to sleep more than that to see if it would take care of the problem. (No effect other than spending more time in bed.)

My point wasn't that modafinil is a substitute for sleep, but rather that if you're already using caffeine to stay awake, it's worth a look since it's more effective and has fewer nasty side effects. If you're able to sleep through the night and wake up feeling refreshed and energetic the next day, by all means do that instead.

[ Parent ]

Worth looking at lifestyle tweaks, though. (none / 0) (#73)
by rodgerd on Wed Sep 04, 2002 at 06:04:23 PM EST

Of course, it won't work for everyone. But I was having real trouble with endless exhaustion, poor sleep patterns and so on for about a year, which was driving me nuts (and my wife), since it was an issue I'd never had before - previously I'd been a 4-6 hours a night, have a nap on Sunday afternoon kind of guy. Now I was sleeping 9 hours a night and still exhausted. I tried sleeping more, less, you name it, no joy. And all the coffee/V I could drink didn't help a damn.

Anyway, my doctor looked over my lifestyle and made suggestions, the main one of which seemed counter-intuitive: move my gym workouts from after dinner to before breakfast. I now get up to get to the gym at six, get to bed at ten, and feel a lot happier and better rested for it. And no pills, which seems like a good thing.

[ Parent ]
looks good (none / 0) (#66)
by 5pectre on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 10:22:49 PM EST

i read the url, it looks pretty good.

it seems to be only for narcoleptics in the us, and probably the same in the uk, so where do you buy it from?

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

Prescription and not (none / 0) (#72)
by koreth on Wed Sep 04, 2002 at 03:05:04 PM EST

It's approved for narcolepsy in the US. But it's in the class of drugs that doctors can prescribe at their discretion. So your best bet is to try a few doctors till you find one who agrees that it's a good treatment for daytime sleepiness. (IMO there's nothing unethical about doing that; people shop around for second opinions all the time, and prescribing modafinil for non-narcoleptic sleepiness isn't an outlandish medical decision.)

Barring that, I suggest you do a search for "modafinil" on Google. You'll find several overseas pharmacies who'll ship it if you sign a waiver that says you're aware it's a prescription drug. You'll pay more that way, and your health insurance won't cover any of the cost, but I know people who do it.

[ Parent ]

Ex Starbucks exmployee (4.66 / 3) (#56)
by rayab on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 06:00:01 PM EST

I slaved for starbucks as a barista for eight months, at the end of that time my work authorization card was expiring and I had to quit.
Before working for starbucks I was your average starbuckian. I drank coffee, I enjoyed the whole "starbucks experience" and all the other crap they sell you.
While on duty our drinks were free, so I could load myself up as much as I wanted. A silly thing I remember is that we actually had to pay for juice but the coffee was free.
After a few weeks I got to know all of our regulars, in fact I realized that about 90% of our store's revenue came from regulars. Some of these people came in just in the morning, some came in at lunch, and the worse cases came in three times a day. After watching these people down three shots of espresso three times a day I got really sick. One lady, after purchasing her second triple-iced-venti-latte-with lots of vanilla, asked me, "gosh I didnt have one of these this morning and I got a really bad headache, do you think this stuff is addictive". Of course according to Starbucks policy I simply ignored her question and smiled.

I have been caffeine free for many months now, so long I cant remember the last time I savored on a coffee drink. In fact water constitutes about 99% of my liquid intake in the last year or so.
Now if I take a sip of any kind of flavored drink I find it too sweet. I used to love diet coke, but now I wouldnt be able to drink that. After drinking water for so long I realize how nasty all soft drinks are.

Oh and another bad thing about coffee is that it stains your teeth, and really bad too!

Y popa bila sobaka on yeyo lyubil, ona syela kusok myasa on yeyo ubil, v zemlyu zakopal, i na mogile napisal...
You should see a doctor (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by shellac on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 06:03:41 PM EST

Certain psychiatrists are well-trained at treating sleeping disorders, and it sounds to me like you have a pretty severe one. Obviously, it has majorly affected your life. A lot of these sleeping problems are very treatable. Some of the other comments talk about using melatonin, which is something the psychiatrist could give you.

When I read your account, one particular DSM-IV diagnosis comes to my mind, but like I said, you should be professionally evaluted.

Dear Lord! (none / 0) (#69)
by bobjim on Wed Sep 04, 2002 at 11:28:01 AM EST

I'd never heard of this until now, but it definitely fits. Sometimes I wonder just how many of those lovely DSM-IV disorders I meet. My psychiatrist's going to have such fun with me when I finally get around to finding one.

Goodness... one day I might actually be a productive member of society.
"I know your type quite well. Physically weak and intellectually stunted. Full of resentment against women." - Medham, talking about me.
[ Parent ]

Speed (none / 0) (#88)
by toadi on Wed Sep 25, 2002 at 12:02:12 PM EST

well i used it years ago and i don't like to be awake when the fun part not working anymore and you just stay awake. That's not the fun of taking stimula.

But Do like I do if your going to medicate and the problem is not getting asleep. Get hooked on sleeping pills. This addiction will fix the problem you have better.

Even better is using caffeine in the day. Get the nice feeling you had the first day and at the evening take a sleeping pil to get a good rest. This is a good cycle up/down. Off course if you watched the movie: Requiem for a dream. And saw what happened to the mum. You'll need to know what your doing an need the character for not ending in a drug-rehabilitation centre.

[ Parent ]
caffeine free for a while (4.00 / 3) (#64)
by xbradx on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 09:34:32 PM EST

I gave up caffeine almost 2 years ago. I used to not be able to function at all in the mornings. I would go to class and immediately fall asleep unless I managed to down some coffee or a few caffeinated soft drinks. If for some reason I had forgotten to bring some money along and couldn't buy a Coke or two I would be in agony from the headaches.

That is until I quit caffeine cold turkey. Yeah, it hurt for the first few days but in a few weeks I had so much more energy than I used to. I could wake up and actually feel awake instead of being a zombie until around noon.

Now I mostly drink water or fruit juices, occassionally a Sprite but I find soft drinks to be too sweet after not drinking them for so long. I was like most people and had a caffeine habit that I thought wasn't hurting me. Give it a try - go without caffeine for a week or too. It's surprising how much energy you have without the drug in your system.

caffeine swings (none / 0) (#84)
by bored on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 01:47:51 PM EST

I have experienced this as well. I went on and off caffeine for about 5 years. On for a month, off for two weeks (approximate time periods). I did it to shake up my routine. When I was constantly tired for a few days I would start the next part of the cycle. Going off caffeine sucked. I had a day of really bad headaches, and two days where I was absolutely non functional (all I wanted to do was sleep) with a annoying but not really painful headache. Then the energy burst would start. For about 4 days or so I was a minor god. I usually would only sleep for about 4 hours a night, and I would get more done in 2 days at work than 3 weeks of using caffeine. I think it was my body bouncing back from the three days of hell. Eventually I would reach a 'normal' state, this would last for a week or so until temptation got to strong and I would take another drink. I would then get a less intense high for about 2 days or so and a gentle (completely unnoticeable) slide over a couple weeks into a state where my normal energy levels were lower than my 'normal' levels. When I would finally notice this, I would drop the caffeine again.

About 6 months ago I finally stopped the cycle. Primarily because I noticed that my stomachs was upset more when I was using caffeine. I also had noticed that when I was on caffeine my average energy levels seemed much lower than when I was off. I also slept better (more soundly) when I wasn't using caffeine.

It was HARD for about the first 3 months. I really like Dr Pepper. A good brew of coffee smells wonderful. Some of it was convince. Its hard to find sugar free, caffeine free soda, and when they are available the choices often taste like ass. Diet sprite is just plain nasty. Some of it was social. I have friends who just go out for coffee and sit around BS'ing while drinking it.

So what do I drink now? Water, grapefruit juice, and diet orange soda. I've always drank a decent amount of water. There isn't anything quite like a cold glass of water after running. Nothing!!! The grapefruit juice is refreshing, and I have to drink it slowly because I don't buy the sweetened ones. Then there is orange soda. Strange flavor but it works. Of course I do drink other things, the avoid processed sugar rule can be broken, so I enjoy sprite, Gatorade, root beer floats and other things. The no caffeine rule though must not be violated. I think it must be like smoking. Just don't try the first drink and you won't get suckered into the second, third, forth and on it goes.

BTW: My stomach is much better now. I have meet other people who also quit caffeine. They almost all quit it for a physical reason. One person I know started to get uncontrollable facial twitches from caffeine.

[ Parent ]
bah (4.50 / 2) (#65)
by 5pectre on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 10:02:35 PM EST

"Imagine surfing on waves of energy, huge amounts of power beneath you, but only expressed in your board perched upon the crest of a wave. Imagine your pulse tapping out its own beat, regardless of what you, the mere owner of it, thinks it should be doing."

I've never had that kind of experience on caffeine. I find caffeine to be a very poor stimulant, I have a friend who took 8 pro-plus and then fell asleep (admittedly this was at 2am and we'd been up since 4am the previous morning).

The only stimulant i've taken to have any real effect was speed, 250mg's of that and i was hopping like a bunny, it was really quite invigorating :)

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

my daily intake (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by yamcha666 on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 11:00:42 PM EST

While I've never overdosed on caffeine to the point of serious physical harm, there are those times when I drank a hell of a lot of coffee in one day. I'm also a smoker, so I have this breaking point where my heart rate goes up, my joints become stiff, and I get very sleepy. I usually need 3 cups of coffee a day to operate.

The most coffee I've ever drank in one day was 6 cups of coffee in the morning and early afternoon, a visit to Starbucks for a 4-shot Machiatto, and then a late night visit to a local all night coffee house round midnight where I got a 6 shot espresso/chilled mocha drink

Needless to say, I was up until 11am the next morning. Though I did not notice any increase in heart rate or any stiff joints. Just a 1 hour period of hyperactivity followed by normal alertness.

Fun. Fun.
You want a .sig, aye?

caffeine is subjective (3.00 / 1) (#68)
by jann on Tue Sep 03, 2002 at 11:02:38 PM EST

some people it effects, some it doesn't. I can drop 3 double espressos 30 mins before bed and it makes no difference ... out like a light. Being a diuretic, though, whenever I drink coffee I need to go to the toilet in fairly short order.

me. (none / 0) (#75)
by /dev/trash on Wed Sep 04, 2002 at 11:46:56 PM EST

I used to wake up all fucked up and needing a can of dew, while I was in college.  Being wired on caffeine is no way to be.

I drink very little caffeine these days.  I still have a fucked up sleep schedule.

Updated 02/20/2004
New Site

Non caffeine-using night owl (none / 0) (#76)
by plenty on Thu Sep 05, 2002 at 02:52:45 AM EST

I've always found it easier to sleep during daylight hours than after dark. Left to its own devices, my body reverts to a 3 pm - 7 am natural cycle, like clockwork. I always thought I was a bit of a freak until I started reading on the web about sleep disorders, delayed sleep phase syndrome and the like. I don't know if I'd go as far as to admit I have a condition, but it's like I'm permanently jetlagged now that I have to keep office hours like everyone else. It sounds ridiculous to most people to say so, but getting up regularly in the morning is a daily challenge that for me has been harder than quitting smoking, or any academic or professional situation that I've ever had to face. As for caffeine, I wouldn't know how it feels as I can't stand the taste of coffee. I've tried Red Bull and Pro-Plus but they've never had any discernible effect. A good cup of tea does make me feel better in the morning, but I think that's because of the ritual rather than any chemical stimulant.

It should get better (none / 0) (#81)
by pyro9 on Thu Sep 05, 2002 at 06:35:35 PM EST

I was the same way for a good while. As I got older, it got better, and finally stopped being such a problem around 35.

Research has shown that a naturally later day (perhaps not as late as yours) is normal starting with puberty and fading in the early 20s. Some people keep the later day until older, and for some, it never goes away.

Not hating my job helped a lot too.

The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Daily intoxication (none / 0) (#77)
by mounsterr on Thu Sep 05, 2002 at 09:26:08 AM EST

Oxygen can cause delerium in high dosages. Food can give you a sense of detachment after a session of gluttony (my friends and I call it, "food coma"). That is a point that is imperative to be made in everything that you do. In moderation, everything is ok. Even jumping off a cliff... ...if it's a small cliff... you'll still be ok.

I'm a Coke-a-holic (none / 0) (#80)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Sep 05, 2002 at 02:23:22 PM EST

But I can quit anytime!
Information wants to be beer.
Athelete's Friend (none / 0) (#82)
by brokenspoke on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 10:27:03 AM EST

In high concentrations it is banned in cycling.  Not just because of the obvious stimulation that it provides but also the "glycogen spareing" effect that it can create.  See: http://www.cptips.com/caff.htm for a bit of info.

By the way never mix vodka and Red Bull.  Nice buzz but being veh, veh drunk and unable to sleep is horrible.
I ate all the pies

TVR (none / 0) (#86)
by oracuk on Tue Sep 17, 2002 at 10:51:19 AM EST

Although an evening of TVRs (Tequila / Vodka / Redbull) cocktails will soon turn into 6am the next day desperately trying to find someone who is awake to talk to.

I think there have been a couple of cases where high doses of Taurine (the main protagonist in Redbull) have been linked to heart attacks in athletes.

[ Parent ]

mmh! (none / 0) (#85)
by phym on Wed Sep 11, 2002 at 08:25:30 AM EST

i´m addicted to coffee for some yrs now and must admit it´s harder to stop doing coffe than any other drug...

Caffeine Delusions | 88 comments (82 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!