Caffeine: Is it really worth it?

Caffeine: Is it really worth it?

By Stephanie Caputo, Staff Writer

High school students balance homework, part time jobs, and a social life that keep them bustling around into the late hours of the night. It has become inevitable that these hectic, not to mention unhealthy, schedules become second nature.

After about 6 hours of sleep you’re up once again clinging to your bed sheets like your life depends on it, and resenting that alarm clock no matter what song you have it set to. The secret that gets most of these students out of bed and awake enough to hold themselves up right during first period is the popular and common drug caffeine.

Caffeine, which is found in the second most popular beverage in the world (tea), comes in many different forms. For most students the drug comes in some form of coffee, tea, or energy drinks.

One of the reasons it is so appealing to students is because it stimulates the body’s central nervous system, helping them to power through those late night study sessions, and get through the morning with a clearer head. According to overcaffeinated.org, caffeine also increases Dopamine levels in the brain, which essentially makes you more happy and less grumpy. The results come relatively fast, in fact Druginfo.org states that it can take only 5- 30 minutes for something like a cup of coffee too circulate through your body.

One of the negative effects of caffeine is that it stays in your system for such a long period of time. Webmd.com says it can take about 5-7 hours for just about half to leave your body. Plus, if you continue to drink it regularly the body will become accustomed to caffeine, just like it would with cigarettes or any other dangerous drug. Consequently, you would need to drink more and more of it every day to keep feeling any of the original positive effects, while it continues taking an even bigger toll on the body.

Although it could take over 80 cups too suffer from an overdose, said druginfo.org, negative effects still linger with the amount students are taking every day. Withdrawal symptoms can include headache, irritability, fatigue, and loss of concentration. Wasn’t the point of taking Caffeine to avoid these symptoms in the first place? Woman’s World magazine stated that according to NIH researches, avoiding caffeine can stifle anxiety in just 72 hours.

Looking at it from a different aspect, imagine all the unneeded sugar and calories being consumed with chai teas, frappuccinos, and surplus energy drinks. It would be better to stick with a piece of dark chocolate, which can help curve both your sweet tooth, and caffeine craving with less calories because of its smaller portion. It also has just about half of the caffeine as a cup of coffee! For another alternative, switch to decaf and trick your body into taking lower doses of the drug.

All effects depend on your metabolism and the amount consumed, so I suggest just sticking to a few cups every once in awhile when you really need it. We all know how hectic high school schedules can be, but next time you are about to get that double shot of espresso, think twice. Will the lasting affects the Caffeine has on your body really be worth it?