Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. But, unlike other drugs that affect the brain, it’s legal, unregulated, and is available in many different forms.
Once in our bodies, caffeine will
- bind to receptors on the surface of nerve cells increasing their activity
- stimulate the pituitary glad to release hormones
- prompt the adrenal glands to make the “fight or flight” hormone adrenaline
Caffeine also increases the levels of the “feel good” dopamine, a chemical messenger in our brain, activating the pleasure centers of the brain. This increase in dopamine may be behind caffeine addiction.