Ah Monday. The beginning of a new week has arrived and you’re tired, stressed and feeling like you just “can’t even.” It’s no secret that high school is overwhelming sometimes, well, most of the time, and a lot of different people deal with it in many different ways be it therapy, sleeping, eating, procrastinating, etc.
But there is one method that people turn to that more people have varying opinions about than most other options. I’m talking about caffeine, of course. Caffeine, more specifically coffee, seems to be dotted around every high school, college and work place in the world. It’s an easy jolt of energy and it tastes good (to many people anyway).
But what is really in coffee? What does caffeine really do to you? What do people who drink caffeine think about it? Let’s find out.
According to the official Wikipedia entry on caffeine; “Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant of the methylxanthine class. It is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug. Unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world.” Really? A psychoactive drug? Looking at caffeine under a different light may waver opinions if we think about it in this way.
“You could be addicted to just about anything – chocolate, weed, soda – anything! I see [caffeine] more as a tool, not like in a way positive way, but on occasions, yeah, it helps a lot.”
There definitely are some very harmful effects of excessive caffeine. Insomnia, headaches, indigestion, anxiety, and addiction to name a few. It can also have some long term effects like gout, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart attacks, up to 4x as likely to have one even. Of course, like any drug, caffeine has different effects on different people so not all symptoms are unanimous.
Naomi Lunt, a senior at LHS, is a regular coffee drinker, and she shared a lot about the positive effects coffee has on her life. She finds herself more focused, positive, happy – even bubbly after she’s had hers. When she doesn’t have it, she finds herself being more easily provoked and upset but claims not to be dependent on it.
When discussing how long she could go without it, she said, “If I got told tomorrow that I could never have it again, I’d be fine. I’m not dependent on it or anything.”
However, she does say that during times of intensity be it work, exams or just stress, “compared to things like Red Bull and Mountain Dew, which I see a TON of people drink, it’s actually a much better alternative.”
When presented with the negative effects caffeine has on your body, she responded with this: “You could be addicted to just about anything – chocolate, weed, soda – anything! I see it more as a tool, not like in a way positive way, but on occasions, yeah, it helps a lot.”
As we can see, it’s all about perspective. Here in Cache Valley the majority of our population is LDS and follow the dietary restrictions the religion lists: no coffee, tea or alcohol. So, by default, the rate of caffeine consumed goes down considerably compared to where I’m from originally– Las Vegas. There is a coffee shop in almost every shopping district, and the rate of coffee drinkers increases profoundly... So before you prejudge caffeine over what your culture has told you about it, make the judgment for yourself about your favorite non-regulated psychoactive drug.