Why Can’t People With CFS Just Drink a Coke and Get on With It?

why can't caffeine cure chronic fatigue

We human beings have a habit of trying to fix things.  We hear a problem, we try to fix it in the easiest way possible.  Because of this nice little habit we have, I tend to get a lot of people ‘fixing’ my problem 10 seconds after hearing about it.  One of the main suggestions I get is to drink caffeine.  I mean, I’m tired all the time and caffeine makes a person not tired.  Easy peasy, right?  I wish!

Trust me, I’ve tried drinking a diet Coke during a crash.  And it’s true, caffeine gives me a burst of energy.  In fact, I almost start to feel like my pre-sick self.  Almost.  And only for about 20 minutes.  And then I crash like nobody’s business for about a day and a half in payment for those 20 blissful minutes.

why can't caffeine cure chronic fatigue syndrome

I think the main difference is that for a healthy person, being tired is the actual problem, so a bit of caffeine can solve the problem until your body can get to bed and get untired.  For me, being tired all the time is just a side effect of a real health issue- my body is working so hard to fight an illness that it gets tired without me even sitting up.  When I take a Coke, not only does my body have to fight my illness, but suddenly it has to use as much energy as a healthy person.  All that energy has to come from somewhere, and for me that ‘somewhere’ happens to be tomorrow’s energy reserves.

So, the answer is yes, caffeine is nice to have around on occasion.  I keep an emergency Coke in my car in case I start to get brain fog while I’m driving and it has come in handy several times.  But the crash I get after it wears off is so bad, it’s really only worth using in emergencies.

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