The Addiction to Soft Drinks

CPTSD Foundation
6 min readMay 1


Did you know that soda can be addictive? Soft drinks look harmless and are consumed by millions of people worldwide. Soda has been thought of as a benign substance meant to be enjoyed and served at nearly all restaurants and supermarkets.

A few of you reading this article may be skeptical that you can become addicted to soda. You may be saying, “Isn’t soda widely available? No one has ever gone to jail for drinking soda and driving. No laws state you should only consume a certain amount of soda because it will kill you.”

Hopefully, by the time you have read this article, it will help shed light on how potentially harmful soda can be to the human body and psyche.

This article will focus on soft drink addiction, how to recognize it, and how to get the help you need.

The Relationship Between Soda and Alcohol

In our last article, we studied together about sugar addiction and how insidious it is because sugar is in everything we as a society eat. But have you ever considered there is a link between the sugar in your soda and alcohol?

Both alcohol and soda have copious amounts of sugar used in their manufacturing. The sugar contained in each substance is often highly addictive because of the high that one gets from drinking them.

The sugar in soda impacts the same brain regions as alcohol, stimulating the pleasure center and causing it to release increasing amounts of dopamine and other neurotransmitters. A study found that sugar activates the brain’s pleasure center as much as cocaine and that sugar can be more rewarding than alcohol or drugs.

When someone decides to give up alcohol, they will experience withdrawal, and their body will crave sugar. As anyone who has tried to quit soft drinks can tell you, giving up soda is a painful process, with withdrawal causing severe headaches and other physical manifestations.

Yet, you do not see people marching in the streets or legislatures demanding that soda be pulled from the shelves.

The Symptoms and Signs That You Are Addicted to Soda

There are numerous symptoms that people who are addicted to soda have, such as a lack of control over it, cravings, and withdrawal. However, here is a list of other signs and symptoms of soda addiction.

  • Constantly thinking about soda and how to get it
  • Experiencing immense cravings for soda
  • You may feel the compulsion to drink more significant amounts of soda to feel pleasure
  • Being thirsty that only soda can quench
  • Feeling guilty because you are consuming soda
  • Hiding your consumption of soda from other people, including your loved ones
  • Feeling withdrawal symptoms like a headache when you cannot get a soda
  • You have physical health problems such as tooth decay or weight gain
  • You might develop a mental health condition such as anxiety and depression

If you recognize yourself in any of these signs and symptoms, it is time to consider suffering withdrawal because your health will be, not might be, but will be adversely affected.

The Side-Effects of Soda Addiction

Although drinking soda may seem a healthier choice than alcohol, the suffering it causes is cumulative, having built up over time.

Consuming soft drinks can cause many health issues in adults, such as:

(Hamad, 2019)

Soft drinks sometimes affect children’s lives as they can experience kidney failure, decreased metabolism, inhibited brain function, bone damage, and reproduction problems later in life.

Women are significantly affected in their reproductive system circulatory system, forming diabetes and other vital body structures. Women may experience super-long menstrual cycles.

Research has concluded that there are no nutrients that can be gained by consuming soda and that there are only harmful ingredients. Since soda has no nutrients, drinking it fills the stomach and takes the place of good nutrients from food consumption.

Why and How to Defeat Soda Addiction

Perhaps the most significant problem related to soda consumption is that it is socially acceptable to drink it. No one ever complained to the police that their neighbor was drinking soda on their lawn.

However, the sugar in soda causes an increase in inflammatory responses in the body. Low to chronic inflammation is directly related to metabolic diseases. Inflammation doesn’t only affect the metabolism; it also affects the brain, and as the brain swells, it cannot transmit information from one region to another efficiently.

Another horrific side effect of drinking soda is that it can trigger an abnormal immune response where the immune system attacks the body’s tissue resulting in chronic destruction of these tissues, thus severely reducing the person’s quality of life.

Some autoimmune diseases are Graves’ disease, myasthenia gravis, and multiple sclerosis.

Now that you have the facts in hand, there is something you can do now to keep yourself from injuring or reversing the impacts of soda consumption. While going off soda cold turkey may seem to be the wisest decision, because of the depression, anxiety, and headaches you would endure, it is recommended that you wean off of soda gradually.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. Numerous research studies suggest that CBT significantly improves functioning and quality of life.”

Put more simply, CBT aims to end negative cycles by breaking down things like anxiety or addiction by changing your negative thought patterns and improving your feelings.

Ending Our Time Together

This article aimed to bring awareness to a problem that has long been ignored by the public and in the medical professions. Research does exist, but it is limited, which makes proving to someone, especially a doctor, that soda addiction is a real problem.

To be clear, I’m not speaking of someone who drinks an occasional soda out with friends; I’m talking about people who feel they cannot live without soft drinks and spend copious amounts of money on them.

Because soda is so accepted in our society and ads on television sell the product, soda addiction is not only accepted; it is pushed down our throats. From a young age, we are convinced that soda is a harmless substance we can indulge in without worry.

I hope this article has opened your eyes to the reality that soda is just as addictive as any drug or alcoholic beverage.

The makers of soft drinks have lied to you.


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Successfully equipping complex trauma survivors and practitioners with compassionate support, skills, and trauma-informed education since 2014.

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