Not just the consumption of caffeinated beverages, like coffee and tea, but even the cases of caffeine overdose are on rise all over the world. If you happen to be one of those self-proclaimed coffee aficionados, here’s some information on caffeine overdose treatment measures that might come in handy for you.
Coffee is the first name that’s likely to come to your mind when we say ‘caffeine’; tea is likely to come a close second. That isn’t surprising considering that these two are by far the most popular caffeinated beverages in the world. In fact, around 90 percent of the people in North America are known to drink either of these two on a daily basis. Other than coffee and tea, caffeine is also found in soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, and even in some over-the-counter stimulants in varying quantities.
Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant drug, which stimulates our central nervous system and causes us to feel more alert. That, however, is only the case when it’s taken in moderation. In excess, usually more than 300 milligrams, caffeine can adversely affect the nervous system. Generally, caffeine overdose refers to a health condition wherein excess caffeine intake leads to overstimulation of the central nervous system and causes adverse effects on the individual’s body.
How to Deal With Caffeine Overdose
Caffeine overdose treatment usually includes supportive care that is aimed at the treatment of the immediate symptoms of this condition. To begin with, the patient’s condition has to be monitored, which is done by checking his vitals and looking out for the signs and symptoms of overdose. These signs and symptoms can be classified into three categories based on their severity.
► Acute Caffeine Overdose Effects: Excitement, gastrointestinal disturbance, increased urination (caffeine being a diuretic), insomnia, irregular or rapid heartbeat, irritability, muscle twitching, nervousness, psychomotor agitation, and restlessness.
► Severe Caffeine Overdose Effects: Mania, disorientation, delusion, depression, hallucination, lapses in judgment, psychosis, and rhabdomyolysis.
► Extreme Caffeine Overdose Effects: Irregular heartbeat and convulsions, which can eventually result in death at times.
The severity of these effects depends on the amount of caffeine, individual’s weight, tolerance levels, and the source of caffeine. While a mild overdose can be attributed to the consumption of some caffeinated beverage, severe overdose is more likely to occur as a result of using caffeinated stimulant or, in rare cases, when a person who is not used to caffeine resorts to caffeinated products. In either case, medical attention is definitely a must.
In case of a severe overdose, the patient will be subjected to treatment methods that are specifically aimed at getting rid of caffeine from the stomach. Though quite a few sources recommend making the person vomit to throw out the drug, it should not be done unless advised by a certified medical practitioner, or an expert at the poison control center. If you happen to reside in the United States, for instance, you can call the 24-hour national toll-free poison control center helpline at 1-800-222-1222 for assistance.
The experts at the medical facility may use other means of treatment, including hemodialysis or hemofiltration to clean the stomach in case of high to very high serum levels. Other means of caffeine overdose cure include the use of activated charcoal, laxatives, and a procedure known as the gastric lavage, wherein a pipe is inserted through the nose to wash out the contents of the stomach.
Did you know?
Caffeine was discovered as a chemical compound in coffee by renowned German chemist, Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge in 1819. The word “caffeine” was derived from the word Kaffein coined by Runge himself. This compound is found in varying quantities in the beans, leaves, and even the fruits of some plants. When it comes to human consumption though, most of the caffeine is derived from the coffee beans and tea leaves.
Caffeine overdose is a serious health condition which can even result in death at times and therefore, should not be taken lightly. You don’t have to entirely give up on coffee or any other beverage for that matter; it will only trigger a series of withdrawal symptoms, including headache, depression, nausea, etc. Instead, a wise option would be to drink it in moderation. Like we said earlier, caffeinated beverages are consumed by people across the world. While that is not exactly a problem, the fact that most of these people have no idea about the ill effects of caffeine definitely is.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. If you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention, you can call the poison control center 24-hour hotline – 1-800-222-1222 (for the U.S. residents only).