The Dangers of Coffee Addiction

For many years, I took great pride in my ability to consume quantities of coffee that would make lesser men tremble, literally. I’ve boasted about how I, at the tender age of 10, would brew a pot of coffee and drink it before school, on my way to the bus stop. My coffee consumption was so great, that in most of the social circles I frequented, when the terms “Java Junkie” or “Coffee Addict” are brought up, my name was at the top of the list of given examples. In fact, the following graphic was my avatar on most public sites for several years.

Java Junkie Picture

Some who know me have mentioned that I bear a certain likeness to the above image. Perhaps after a couple pots of my world famous (in my own mind) Jimbo’s Special Brew coffee. It’s about 50% stronger than the recommended directions… That’s for Colombian and Black Silk blends.

As a further testament to my previous fascination with coffee, for my Speech 111 class, I actually did my informative speech on coffee. Seriously. I even served chocolate covered coffee beans!

To most people, this mindless drivel can all be summed up as, “Ok, we get it, the guy likes his coffee. Big deal!” I thought the same thing. So, I never made much of it other than the passing comment where it would get a chuckle. That is, until I started experiencing the dark side of coffee addiction. (pun not intended)

As noted, my coffee addiction started at a young age, approximately 10 yrs old. 21 years later, I had developed such a tolerance for caffeine that 2 NOS Energy Drinks barely gave me a nudge and 3 pots of my special brew were my daily minimum. This was the norm for several years. So much so that all of my family, my doctor and my dentist had all told me to lay off the coffee!

Soft numbers do not tell much of a tale, but it wasn’t until I started having health problems that I cared about how much coffee I was consuming. After all, it was my bragging right that I could drink more coffee than anyone I’ve ever met. So what if I exceed a gallon a day. Even better! But then, again, the health problems started.

About 6 years ago, I started having very frequent chest pains. At first, I didn’t think anything of it. After all, I had been having chest pains most of my life and I’ve never keeled over. As these pains became more frequent, I started to get concerned and started monitoring my blood pressure levels frequently. I was shocked at what I saw. Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159/90-99! I was on the low end, but there it was, bright as day on the little LCD screen.

At the time, I thought, meh, OK, so I’m drinking a little too much coffee, I should cut down to less than a pack of cigarettes a day and I need a less stressful job. While all of the above were certainly contributing factors, I underestimated how much of an effect caffeine had. I made some adjustments in my diet and lifestyle and my blood pressure eventually returned back down to relatively normal levels.

Several months passed and while those months were some of the most stressful I had in many, many years, my blood pressure stayed within acceptable levels. However, my coffee addiction wasn’t done with me yet. I was still drinking way more coffee than I should and this is definitely not a good thing for someone with ADHD.

As time passed, my coffee consumption continued to increase again. At first, it was just 1 more 8 cup pot a day, then two, then I started having “other” side effects. I ignored these side effects for a while and just chalked them up to the stress of my life. Eventually, these effects became more pronounced and started causing real problems in my daily routine. To give you a better idea of what excessive coffee consumption can do to you, I’ve researched and come up with the following list of 10 symptoms that are rather common. All of which I have experienced personally.

  1. Confusion
  2. Dehydration
  3. Frequent Urination
  4. Increases Heart Rate
  5. Insomnia/Waking Frequently
  6. Irritability/Restlessness
  7. Labored Breathing
  8. Ringing In The Ears
  9. Stomach Pain
  10. Trembling And Twitching

There are other potential symptoms, and I have had other symptoms, but the above 10 are the most common.

So, how much caffeine does one have to consume to experience such symptoms. A couple pots of coffee? Two or three energy drinks? A six pack of Mountain Dewยฎ? The answer is, it depends. For myself, I had spent 21 years building a tolerance to coffee that is the stuff of legends. I’m sure there are those who can tolerate more in one sitting, but I had consistently been consuming near fatal quantities for a very long time. To find out how much caffeine I had been subjecting my body to, I did some conservative calculations based on reputable values. Here’s what I found out.

Caffeine Content of Coffee
Percolated (7 oz) 140
Drip (7 oz) 115-175
Espresso (1.5-2 oz) 100
Brewed (7 oz) 80-135
Instant (7 oz) 65-100
Decaf, brewed (6 oz) 5
Decaf, instant (6 oz) 3

Source: Caffeine Content of Coffee & Teas

Oral Caffeine Dosages
Threshold 10 – 20 mg
Common 50 – 150 mg
Strong 150 – 400 mg
Heavy 400 + mg
Lethal 3-20 grams oral (estimated, see refs)
LD50 (Lethal Dose*) 192 mg/kg in rats

Source: Caffeine Dosage by Erowid

Using the above charts, which come from Erowid, a reputable source in all things psychoactive, I measured the volume of my usual coffee cups, which was 12 oz.. Then, I filled enough cups to brew my usual “8 cup” pot going by the marking on my coffee pot. It takes 3 full [my] cups to equal 1 8 cup pot of coffee. This comes to 36 oz. I then divided the amount of caffeine in a 7 oz. cup by 7 oz. to come up with a single oz. value, then multiplied it by 36. Using the ranges given, here’s what I came up with.

80mg รท 7oz. = ~11.43 mg/oz.
135mg รท 7oz. = ~19.29 mg/oz.
~11.43 mg/oz. x 36oz = 411.48mg per pot min.
~19.29 mg/oz. x 36oz = 694.44mg per pot max.

Now, on an average day, I drank no less than 3 of these pots of coffee. So, we take our min. of 411.48mg then multiply it by 3 and get a whopping 1234.44mg per day minimum. To further sober up the mind, look at the much more likely number of 694.44mg x 3 = 2083.32mg per day. A 3 pot day was a slow coffee day for me and I know I make my coffee much stronger than recommended. However, for the sake of argument, let’s go with these conservative figures.

When I sat back and looked at these figures after a very unpleasant day of being mentally foggy and quite “green in the gills” from drinking too much coffee, it really hit me, I had a problem. From that, I started wondering how many of my colleagues and friends had a similar problem and don’t realize it. That’s what prompted this post. I wanted to share what info I have found with others in the hope that, like me, when you look at the facts and figures, your eyes will be opened and you too will realize how dangerous another cup can be.

It’s now approximately 6 years after I originally did the research for this post. My road to recovery from coffee addiction was not easy. I’m happy to say that I no longer consume such large quantities. At most, I consume 5 or 6 cups a day, but usually no more than 4 cups. This is still a little high for most people, but it’s far less than I use to take. Also, I no longer smoke, and I no longer consume other caffeine-laced substances, like energy drinks or caffeine pills.

I’m happy to report that since I’ve cut back on my coffee consumption, my health has improved tremendously, I have more energy, and I’m actually more alert mentally. Please do keep in mind that when it comes to coffee, as it is with most things, moderation is truly the key.

I’m an ENFP – What Are You?

Have you ever been curious about the general personality type of someone you just met? Do you sometimes sit and ponder the personality of friends, relatives and coworkers? Do you enjoy analyzing generalizations of your personality type just to pick out the inaccuracies? Maybe I’m just strange, but I do enjoy these little mental excursions.

My Personality Type: ENFP

ENFPs are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events. ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity. ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental.

Source: MyPersonality.info

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Well, that’s a pretty good picture painted there, but I have to admit that it’s not entirely accurate. Still, it is pretty close to the reflection I see in the mirror, as it were. I do tend to be very outgoing, energetic and friendly. I have very strong convictions and I am not willing to sacrifice those convictions. I’m a “hand-talker” and I often express myself through music and this blog, so extremely expressive would be accurate. I wouldn’t say my people skills are excellent, but I do tend to get a positive response from people. The more I think about it, yeah, that summary would be pretty accurate.

I thoroughly enjoy getting to know people better. Sometimes, that involves analyzing their personality. Some might call this mental masturbation. Personally, I consider it inquisitiveness. I’ve always been fascinated by sociology and psychology. I enjoy learning about how people think, the motivations that guide them and how they interact with others.

I’d like to take this opportunity to really get to know my visitors better. Why? Well, because I’m curious about who visits this site, why they visit, what attracts them here, what they like and don’t like, what we share in common, what makes us different, how I can better cater this site to those who visit and a whole host of other reasons. If for no other reason, it’s just simply a good time getting to know people.

You have read my two cents. Now have your say!
If you also enjoy learning more about those you interact with, why don’t you join me in the discovery. What is your personality type?
Is your personality truly reflective of how you see your personality?
Have something else on your mind? Don’t be shy. Speak Up! ๐Ÿ™‚

Silent Suffering

For the record… I write some pretty strange stuff. Some of it is based on reality, much of it is not. Some things are pretty touching and benign. Some things are pretty damn dark. The assumption I take in all my writings is that you, as the reader, understand that they are just a form of art. Sometimes this art can be beautiful, sometimes it can be down right scary. Nevertheless, art it is and should be taken as such.

With that being said, I was listening to KoRn earlier (hell of a way to start a blog post ๐Ÿ˜€ ) and a couple lines of one of their darker songs (um, they have not dark songs?) got stuck in my head. From there, creative juices started flowing and the following came out. I’m going to be honest, I thought twice about posting this. This poem is some pretty dark stuff! Still, it’s art and sometimes the best thing an artist can do is just put their work out there and let it touch who it will. It’s with that, I let you continue onto the poem…

Silent Suffering

Am I immortal, peel the flesh let’s look and see
What lies beneath that makes me me

Is the anguish intelligent design
Am I randomness running blind

You sit there so righteous looking at me
Dare you not open your eyes and see what I see

I live in pain I cannot express
Torture I take until my last breath

You know me not well, no not well at all
You see not on my stomach I squirm and I crawl

The man in the mirror, is that man me
He is not who I feel like, nor what I can see

Tormented I walk along this dark lonely path
A danger to the present, a victim to the past

I cry out for forgiveness, to have my sin washed away
I live in duality, it is with my sanity I shall pay

You try to comfort and say this too shall pass
I just want to hurt you and knock you on your ass

This rage inside is so strong and so raw
Even my own skin I bite and I claw

My bloody face does not tell the whole tail
I must gain control, one of us must fail

The ultimate sacrifice is one release, one way out
But that leaves eternity cast in a shadow of doubt

Yet I cannot continue living in this torment, this insanity
So I sit here and silently cry as my skin slowly bleeds

[SOLVED] Windows 7 Update Freezes

By now, most people who are using Microsoft Windows are either running Windows 8 or have taken the risk of updating to Windows 10. However, some of us have either chosen to hold off for the time being or have older computers that are not compatible with Microsoft’s latest offerings.

Recently I had to reinstall Windows 7 on a system. Since the installation media is a few years old, it didn’t have the benefit of having recent service packs and updates installed. On older versions of Windows, this wasn’t as much of a problem. You simply ran Windows Update and clicked Install Updates. Come back in a couple hours and everything was done. Well, for whatever reason, Windows 7 doesn’t play nice like this.

When I was an IT Technician at WVU-P, we would always setup a sandbox system where we would test all updates before rolling them out to the network through RIS. The main reason is some Microsoft updates simply don’t play well with all systems. That seems to be the case with many people’s computers and Windows 7.

The following outlines the steps I took to get Windows 7 to complete Windows Update without completely locking up on me.

Step 1: Backup your computer! Before you make any major changes to your computer, you should always make a backup. There are many free backup tools out there that are far superior to the native Microsoft backup utilities. As to which is best, I cannot say as I’ve used Acronis (not free) for a number of years.

Step 2: Next, you need to make sure your system is clean of any and all malicious software. Malware can prevent you from installing Windows Update! You can use free tools like this antivirus software and malware protection suite. Install these, run them, and make sure you get rid of any little nasties hiding on your system.

Step 3: Get rid of any junk software and files on your computer. The easiest way to accomplish this is with CCleaner. Inside CCleaner, you can uninstall unneeded software and perform a cleanup of your junk files. It’s super easy to use and free.

Step 4: Once you’ve done the above steps and determined that your computer is working fine, perform another backup. This will give you a known good state to return to if things go wrong in the update process.

Step 5: Start Windows Update from the Control Panel and go to the xxx important updates are available section. In there, you will likely see the following screen.

Tons of Windows Updates Screen Capture

As you can see, Microsoft selects all updates (or nearly all) to be installed. What you want to do is deselect all and only attempt to install the first few updates one-at-a-time. Reason is, these first few updates tend to be the ones that like to freeze.

Windows Update One-At-A-Time Screenshot

If the update freezes and will not install, make a note of which update it was and reboot your system. Then, go back into Windows update and try a different update package to install. Once you get an update package to install, you need to reboot, even if Windows Update does not prompt you to do so.

Windows Update Reboot Your System Screenshot

Step 6: Once you reboot, go back into Windows Update and repeat these steps until you get to a point where you are presented with groups of updates that all look kinda the same. the main difference will be the Microsoft Knowledge Base article number at the end of the update title. Usually, this will be in the form of (KBxxxxxxx).

Windows Update by Update Type Screenshot

As seen above, select the above updates by update type and install. Then, once they install, reboot your system, whether you’re prompted or not. You will need to repeat this process until you’ve gone through all important updates. If you plan to install any optional updates, I strongly recommend you repeat this process.

Step 7: Once all Windows Updates are installed and you’ve verified that your computer is functioning properly, do one more full backup of your system so you have a fail-safe/fall-back in case anything happens again in the future.

This process took a few hours to complete on my old Dell Vostro 1520, but it’s not an overly complex task. It just takes a little time and patience and all will be working again as it should.

I hope this helps anyone who has had problems with Windows 7 locking up on Windows Update.

Now I Know

Now I know why you had to come before me
Now I know why you made the blind man see

Now I know why your lessons are known by the few
Now I know why many doubters say it is not true

Now I know why you endured so much pain
Now I know why I am the one who is to gain

Now I know why you show love when you heal
Now I know why when I look at my life, I reel

Now I know why you never turned your back
Now I know why there is nothing that you lack

Now I know why I feel the way I do inside
Now I know why because in my heart you do abide

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.

–Ephesians 1:17, KJV

A head full of the world and a heart full of the Lord never mixes. The war within never ceases…