The Scary Thing That Happens to Your Body When You Don't Have Your Morning Coffee

Looks like you'd better get yourself to Starbucks, then.

The scary thing that happens to your body when you don't have your morning coffee
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It's not difficult to become reliant on coffee. You're far from alone if you're the kind of person who doesn't feel remotely alive until you've had your morning flat white and the caffeine buzz kick-starts your day for real.

But what happens when you don't get your daily dose? You might report feeling drowsy, irritable, and headache-y if you go without, but according to Michael J. Kuhar, PhD, professor of neuropharmacology at Emory University, there's actually a pretty worrying reason you have this physical reaction to your lack of coffee.


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Speaking to (opens in new tab)the professor explained that "you’re basically going through withdrawal" in a similar way as people who become addicted to drugs suffer extreme withdrawal symptoms when they try to wean themselves off it.

While the expert clarifies you can't become addicted to coffee in the same way you can with drugs or alcohol, your body can certainly become dependent on it—and it's this that causes the physical symptoms you experience when you don't get your usual caffeine hit.


While it doesn't sound ideal putting your body through such trauma every time you skip your daily coffee, Kuhar advises that the withdrawal effects will definitely disappear after a while. Plus, reducing your intake of coffee will likely benefit your overall health.

He does advise, however, if you are trying to cut back on your consumption of coffee, you should go about it gradually so as not to expose your body to more intense withdrawals.

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Catriona Harvey-Jenner
Catriona Harvey-Jenner

Cat is Cosmopolitan UK's features editor covering women's issues, health and current affairs. newsfeatures and health. The route to her heart is a simple combination of pasta and cheese (somewhat ironic considering the whole health writing thing), and she finds it difficult to commit to TV series so currently has about 14 different ones on the go.