Why Am I Craving Coffee

When it comes to coffee, cravings often come down to habits and physical dependence on caffeine.

Here are seven reasons why coffee cravings may be creeping up on you.

1. Coffee-drinking habit

It’s possible that you’re craving coffee out of habit. It may be a key part of your morning routine or a basis for social interactions. Over the course of time, you may have become psychologically dependent on the ritual of coffee drinking. So when you try to remove a binding psychological element like coffee, it can feel awkward.

2. Coping with stress

Stress affects your whole body, causing anxiety and fatigue. Many adults use chemical boosters, including nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine, as an emotional crutch in times of distress. It’s normal to want to retreat to the safety of familiar patterns, especially those that give you a pick-me-up.

3. Low iron levels

If you have iron deficiency anemia (low iron levels) you may be struggling with symptoms such as extreme fatigue and weakness. If you’re chronically tired, it makes sense that you might turn to caffeine to “wake up.” Unfortunately, coffee contains natural compounds called tannins that can prevent your body from absorbing iron. Coffee may help you overcome tiredness in the short-term, but in the long-term it can exacerbate symptoms of anemia.

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4. Pica and olfactory cravings

Pica is a disorder that causes people to crave or compulsively eat items that have no nutrition. It’s characterized by cravings for things that often aren’t even food, like sand or ash.

One small study looked at a phenomenon similar to pica, which researchers called desiderosmia. This condition causes people to crave pica substances either just for their taste, smell, or the experience of chewing it, rather than actually eating it. In three cases, this was a “novel symptom” of iron deficiency anemia where the participants craved the smell and/or taste of items including coffee, charcoal, and canned cat food. When the underlying health condition was addressed (iron levels brought to healthy levels), the craving for the items stopped.


If you’re experiencing lack of energy or tiredness that’s keeping you from your normal activities or from doing things that you want to do, talk to your health provider.

5. Avoiding withdrawal symptoms like headaches

Headaches are a well-known symptom of caffeine withdrawal. In the United States, more than 90 percent of adults use caffeine. When attempting to stop drinking coffee, about 70 percent of people will experience withdrawal symptoms, like headache. Other reported symptoms include tiredness and lack of focus.

Because these headaches typically go away immediately after consuming caffeine, many people drink coffee to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal. You may not even realize that you’re doing it; you just know coffee will make you feel better.

6. It’s in your genes

A study of thousands of coffee drinkers recently helped researchers pinpoint six genetic variants that determine someone’s responsiveness to caffeine. These genes predict whether someone will be a heavy coffee drinker. So go ahead and blame your latte habit on your parents!

7. Caffeine dependency

In the mental health world, addiction means something different than dependence. Someone who is addicted to something continues to use that substance even though it’s causing problems for them, like making them sick or preventing them from functioning normally in society. Although it’s possible to become addicted to caffeine, it isn’t common. Caffeine dependence, however, is a widespread problem affecting both children and adults. Physical dependence happens when your body gets so used to a substance, you experience withdrawal symptoms without it.