Hyped Up On Caffeine

While many assume drugs only come in the illegal forms, something they consume daily may be equally as addictive.

Many throughout the school, community and United States are using a drug unknowingly. Currently, caffeine is the most commonly used and most accessible drug in the United States, according to the website VeryWellMind. Caffeinated drinks are available all over town, including coffee shops, grocery stores, pharmacies and vending machines. Every morning it seems that most of the students and teachers at Antioch Community High School are drinking coffee or some sort of caffeinated drink.  One may assume that a drink consumed by so many and available everywhere is safe to drink daily, but what are the health effects of drinking coffee at least once everyday?

According to the website Livestrong, the main part of the body that caffeine effects is the brain, something essential for school and daily life. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and when it reaches the brain, it causes one to feel more awake and focused. For some students, coffee is their drink of choice for this reason.

“I usually drink coffee in the morning before school starts and maybe one around 6 or 7 [p.m.], so I’m doing homework and staying motivated,” senior Anli Butler said. “I like the flavor and the energy it gives me, even if it’s only temporary.”

Caffeine can affect the body and mind in more ways than one; caffeine may improve one’s mood temporarily, but it can also counteract itself and cause anxiety after the “high” wears off. According to HealthLine, it has been proven that caffeine can also improve mental performance, but only for a short period of time. This jolt of energy may not be worth it to some, considering the aches and pains throughout the body after consuming just one cup of coffee.

“After I drink coffee I usually have a stomach ache and it’s hard for me to sit still,” sophomore Audrey Selander said. “Especially for school, it’s better for me to just lay low and not have any.”

Other than stomach aches, muscle pain and headaches are both common as well. These can be symptoms of caffeine withdrawal or too much caffeine. In coffee shops, caffeine can be served in very high amounts depending on what the customers order.

“We have a handful of customers that come in regularly at the same time and purchase the same drinks,” The Latte Cafe owner, Shannon said. “The amount of caffeine usually depends on the size. A small has one shot of espresso, but our sizing goes up to 24 ounces. A few customers will come in and order up to eight shots.”

To put this into perspective, one shot of espresso contains 77 milligrams of caffeine, according to Caffeine Informer. Customers at local shops sometimes order up to eight shots, which exceeds the daily recommendation of 400 milligrams by over 200 milligrams. It may not be understood by many, but caffeine addiction is a real thing and is so common that one might not even think twice about what they are consuming. There are few benefits to caffeine and only a small amount of it is healthy. As little as two cups a day can lead to a caffeine addiction. If a person is dependent on caffeine, withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, depression and irritability, according to VeryWellMind. It can also be harder to think clearly when the body is dependent on caffeine. As a student, teacher or just an everyday individual it is important to be able to focus and think clearly without anything in the way.

According to VeryWellMind, some recommendations for students and teachers here at school would be to drink non-caffeinated drinks if they prefer something with more flavor. There are a variety of choices, such as smoothies, decaf green tea and flavored water. According to Livestrong, one can achieve a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle by getting enough sleep and staying hydrated. It can do more for the body than caffeine can in a short or long span.