Waking in the morning, the desire (ok the need) for coffee, is unassailable. However, it’s important not to position coffee as simply another vice. When Peter Martin, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the
So after admitting that the beloved dark brew is addictive, Dr. Martin felt compelled to comment, saying: “I’m an addiction psychiatrist and regularly face the challenge of treating patients addicted to alcohol, cocaine, morphine, etcetera. I would like to underline that there is no evidence that coffee, or even caffeine, is addictive in the way that those drugs are. Even though headaches and the urge to drink coffee can occur after precipitously stopping drinking coffee, people do not destroy their lives and their marriages, rob banks, and commit assault or murder in order to obtain coffee.”
I watched as my neighbor and good friend struggled with coffee withdrawal during Yom Kippur. Not eating, he explained, was tolerable---but a day without coffee was challenging to the say least. But, he survived and is currently well-caffeinated.
Coffee does not destroy lives. It’s difficult to say that about alcohol, nicotine, and narcotics---but, remember, this is a scientific, empirical argument. Not a forum for moral judgment. In a recent film starring Anne Hathway as Kym, a recovering addict, Ms. Hathway is largely depicted as a sympathetic and chronically coffee-drinking character. Toasting her about-to-be-married sister, Kym proclaims, “L’Chaim” as she raises her cup of coffee 'to life'.
The end of pre-election coverage led to a news hangover, which is definitely suggestive of an addiction to excitement of the navel-gazing, we-are-making-history, this-is-a-seminal-moment variety. But that’s ok. Life---that is what we are mostly addicted to---and maybe, many other things too….Art, jazz, exercise, the New Yorker (who knew), National Pubic Radio, friends, family, and the thrum of life in our community. All very, very good things. To coffee---to life.