Four surprising ways coffee can help people recovering from alcoholism

May 15th, 2019

By Sally Writes

Around 90 percent of recovering alcoholics drink coffee, with many reporting that coffee helps them feel better and retains their focus throughout the day. But this poses the question: Does coffee or caffeine really help people recover from alcohol addiction? The short answer is yes, it can. When consumed in moderation, coffee has a multitude of health benefits that can help with many symptoms of early recovery.

Coffee can make you happier

Depressed people are more likely to turn to alcohol and drugs to lift their spirits, which may seem to help initially but can result in addictive behavior and aggravation of mental health issues in the long run. But committing to drinking coffee regularly may be able to lift your mood more effectively. Research has found that regular coffee drinkers are 10 percent less likely to be depressed compared to someone who doesn’t drink coffee at all.

Caffeine may also double as a mild antidepressant, as it boosts the production of “happy hormones” like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. So next time you find yourself down in the dumps and reaching for a drink, leave the alcohol and get yourself a delicious cup of joe instead.

Just the smell of coffee can help lighten your mood

And since we’re on the subject of happiness, it turns out that you may not even have to drink coffee to reap its benefits. Researchers studying the brains of rats stressed with sleep deprivation found that the mere aroma of coffee helped alleviate stress. Though it’s important to note that the study only focused on stress caused by sleep deprivation, insomnia is a common symptom in early recovery, which is why a little aromatherapy can go a long way.

Caffeine helps with headaches

Caffeine helps narrow the blood vessels surrounding your brain, relieving headaches. But that’s not the only way caffeine helps get rid of headaches. Studies have found that caffeine can help your body absorb pain medication faster, making common pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin more effective. It’s no wonder, then, that plenty of popular pain medications contain caffeine!

Coffee can do wonders for your liver

Most of us are well aware of the damage that excessive alcohol consumption can wreak on your liver. But few know that coffee may help deter liver damage. One study found that people who drink at least one cup of coffee a day were 22 percent less likely to develop alcoholic cirrhosis. According to the researchers, the more coffee you drink, the better it is for your liver.

A Caveat: Moderation is key

Coffee can be great for your health, but it’s important that you don’t overdo it. As with anything, taking too much coffee can have negative side-effects — including addiction. Experts recommend limiting your caffeine intake to 400 milligrams a day, which is the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee. It’s also a good idea to skip caffeine in the late afternoon to avoid insomnia. To reap coffee’s health benefits, enjoy it in moderation. It’s really just as simple as that.