Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coffee And The Voices In Our Heads

According to a study, big coffee drinkers hallucinate more. Below in italics are quotes from the article:

People who drink more than seven cups of coffee a day tend to hallucinate more than less caffeine-driven colleagues, according to a study published Wednesday.

Those with a high caffeine intake are three times more likely to have heard a non-existent person's voice than those who drink one cup a day, said the research by psychologists at Durham University.

I have friends who develop L.B.M. after more than just one cup of coffee. Not on topic? Oops. Sorry. Let me just say that when they develop L.B.M. they end up talking in funny voices.

But the study noted that the tendency to hear voices or have other hallucinations may not be caused by caffeine, but simply reflect the kind of people who drink lots of coffee.

I know a lot of writers who need a mug of coffee beside them when they write. With all the voices they hear, maybe that's why they can write terrific dialogue.

So what's the real reason? Is it the coffee, or the kind of people who drink coffee?

Co-author Charles Fernyhough stressed that the study did not confirm a causal link between caffeine intake and hallucinations, noting also that three percent of people regularly hear voices in their head.

It's the kind of people who drink coffee.

"It's surprising that there has been so little research into nutrition and hallucinations. In some countries high consumption levels of sugar and saturated fat are linked to poor mental health outcomes," said Jones.

So I can now blame my food for the way I think!

I remember that Nick Joaquin was a great drinker of beer. Maybe we should all try this: Drink hefty amounts of beer and coffee (at the same time, if you wish), sit down with pen in hand and paper at the ready (or your computer or typewriter beside you), and see what wonders will result!

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