"I'd Given Myself an Arrhythmia at 21 Years Old" — Woman Explains Caffeine Addiction

A woman explains how her formerly high caffeine intake actually caused a heart condition for her and how she knew something was wrong.

Chrissy Bobic - Author

Sep. 26 2023, Published 10:51 a.m. ET

It would take a lot for me to give up my morning energy drink (hey, it's sugar free and I don't drink coffee), but one woman's story on TikTok about her caffeine intake resulting in a heart condition could be the thing to do it. A user by the name of @hydrationceo, whose real name is Rachel, shared a video where she details how her caffeine addiction resulted in what could have been a much more serious health matter.

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In the video, Rachel explains how she started drinking espresso shots in high school. By the time she got to college and worked in a restaurant with an espresso bar, things got a bit out of hand. Like, "six to seven shots a day" out of hand. And that's from espresso alone. As a result, Rachel was diagnosed with a heart condition, and it could be a wake up call for some.

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A woman's caffeine intake resulted in a heart condition.

Rachel says that when she was in college, she drank up to eight espresso shots a day for energy and because, according to her, she liked the way it made her feel. And then, in order to stay up later to go out after the inevitable crash from the caffeine, she took caffeine pills for more energy. And it became a cycle that she continued until she saw a doctor.

"I was up, like all night, with palpitations, and I was just like, 'Oh, it's probably because I'm, like, stressed,'" Rachel says in her TikTok. "I was not putting two and two together, clearly… So I go to the cardiologist. Turns out, I'd given myself an arrhythmia at 21 years old. And I basically had to cut caffeine out of my life forever."

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An espresso shot can have as much as 75 mg of caffeine. If Rachel was having even six of the eight estimated shots per day, that's 450 mg right there. That's not even including the 100-200 mg of caffeine in each dose of caffeine pills. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 400 mg of caffeine is the typical recommended amount not to exceed.

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There are other factors, like an individual's health, weight, and tolerance for caffeine. Those factors could make the recommended dosage less. But Rachel was clearly well over her limit when she experienced health issues.

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And as a caffeine lover myself, I know all too well the feeling Rachel describes in her video. Having a burst of energy gives you a feeling of optimism and happiness, however fleeting it may be if you crash afterwards. That feeling can be addictive for some people, and Rachel says she has a history of addiction in her family. So yeah, not a great combination.

Other people understand caffeine addiction.

While Rachel's story is serious, some of the comments under her TikTok make light of the situation. "'If you're on your third Celsius today, keep that in mind,'" one user commented, quoting Rachel in her video. "Me, who only had two cans of Celsius: 'Whew, thank God I'm in the clear.'"

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Another person commented, "Me watching this on beta blockers at 22 with a Red Bull in my fridge." Someone else shared, "Me drinking coffee [right now]." Let's face it — we all have some kind of experience or even need for caffeine.

But overall, everyone seems to take Rachel's story pretty seriously, if only because they never even knew about the serious ramifications of too much caffeine. And, like Rachel, others shared their own stories in the comments about experiencing heart palpitations and giving up caffeine as well. Clearly, Rachel isn't alone, and who knows — her story could be the wake up call some of us need.

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