The student news site of Casa Grande High School

The Gaucho Gazette

Caffeine: A Legal Addiction

Photo by Holly Keaton, Katie Marr

Photo by Holly Keaton, Katie Marr

Holly Keaton and Katie Marr

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Caffeine can be a student’s best friend; however, this quick fix is not all sunshine and rainbows. As kids we’ve always been warned about the dangers of addiction, yet so many of us fall victim to society’s most accepted drug.

It’s 7:00 a.m., and your alarm jolts you out of your slumber, shrieking at you to get up and go to school. Groggily, you search for the snooze button. Just nine more minutes of precious sleep. One or two snoozes later, you realize that you must get out of bed. You need something, anything that will snap you out of your sleep-deprived stupor, and you wouldn’t be alone when you reach for the cup of coffee that will keep you alert for the day ahead.

   Caffeine is a stimulant that directly affects your central nervous system, allowing you to stay awake and alert by mimicking a specific neurotransmitter, adenosine. Unfortunately for the regular coffee-drinker, your body builds up a tolerance, creating more receptors for adenosine; as time progresses, you will need multiple cups of coffee to feel the same effect, and you will eventually become physiologically dependent on caffeine. Junior Nick Eaton has firsthand experience of this addiction.

   “I can’t function without coffee. I find that when I don’t have coffee, I suffer from headaches, I’m extremely tired, and I can’t think straight at all. Typically [I have] two or three [cups] on weekdays and up to five on weekends. If I need to study for a test or get some really hard homework done, I always have a cup of coffee,” said Eaton.

   Coffee not only keeps you awake: it can also boost your mood and may even reduce depression. Additionally, it makes straightforward memorization easier and increases attention span. However, caffeine is a double-edged sword; although it triggers your fight-or-flight response by boosting your adrenaline levels — which may improve athletic performance — it also leaves you irritable and anxious. Caffeine can also cause heartburn, and once a tolerance has been established, many of its benefits become ineffective, such as mood and alertness.

   “I find that [coffee] doesn’t really affect me anymore the next day. It doesn’t make me feel more tired or more energetic; I’ve even fallen asleep drinking a cup of coffee,” said Eaton.

   Junior Grace Walraven is aware of the drawbacks of caffeine, and regulates her coffee intake so that she does not become addicted. She only allows herself to have caffeine for two days in a row: she has found, through trial-and-error, that she becomes addicted after three.

   “I was warned mostly by my dad [about caffeine], because he’s addicted to caffeine and if he doesn’t have coffee in the morning at a specific time, then he has a headache for the rest of the day,” said Walraven.

   The withdrawal effects described by Walraven are common to any person coming off an addiction of any type of drug. After your body starts to develop a physiological dependence, the removal of the drug from your system results in negative effects.

   “The biggest hindrance is that I’m now very reliant on it. I’m now extremely tired and groggy and can’t function without caffeine,” said Eaton.

   Although she tries not to depend on coffee for school work, Walraven, like most students, occasionally falls victim to procrastination. This leads to frantic, late nights that require a boost.

   “I try to not have [caffeine] after five o’clock, but sometimes I do when I have a lot of homework, and I’m like ‘you know what, screw it,’” said Walraven.

    Eaton also uses caffeine to improve his school performance.

   “This year I’m on AcDec, and the night before we were getting placed on teams, I felt really nervous, so I stayed up the whole night studying — I probably had about eight to ten cups of coffee. But [being placed on a good team] wouldn’t have been possible without [coffee], plus I was able to stay awake the next day and not pass out in any classes,” said Eaton.

   Although it is not unusual to use caffeine to pull an all-nighter, it’s important to remember that caffeine is not a substitute for sleep. According to “Psychology: Eighth Edition,” sleep deprivation — suffered by most, if not all, students at some point — can cause a variety of problems. Stanford University reported that 80 percent of students are “dangerously sleep-deprived,” which results in poorer functioning, difficulty studying, irritability, and fatigue. Lack of sleep adds up and results in sleep debt, meaning that many people are living a less than optimal life marked by a poorer immune system and slower reaction time. The latter can result in dangerous situations on the road, as The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that sleep deprivation is responsible for 100,000 crashes and 1,550 fatalities a year.

   While coffee is a gift to students and working adults everywhere, perhaps it’s a good idea to acknowledge the drawbacks of caffeine. It’s tempting to any student to procrastinate and rely on coffee to study late into the night, but the drawbacks of long term sleep deprivation can be deadly, so consider the consequences before you reach for your next cup. However students are often overloaded with work, an occasional cup to get you through an all-nighter — or simply another day of school — may be a necessity, not a choice.

Print Friendly

Leave a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation. Inflammatory and inappropriate comments will be removed.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Caffeine: A Legal Addiction

    Features

    Social Stalkers

  • Caffeine: A Legal Addiction

    Features

    The Season of Festival-ing

  • Caffeine: A Legal Addiction

    Features

    Night Life

  • Caffeine: A Legal Addiction

    Features

    Fidget Phenomenon

  • Caffeine: A Legal Addiction

    Features

    An Unbreakable Bond: Pills and Cottle

  • Caffeine: A Legal Addiction

    Features

    The Art of Observation: Student Photographers

  • Caffeine: A Legal Addiction

    Features

    Art Therapy

  • Features

    The Homecoming Dance: Expectations vs. Reality

  • Caffeine: A Legal Addiction

    Features

    Animal Testing: Things a conscientious buyer should be aware of

  • Caffeine: A Legal Addiction

    Features

    Musical Mindset: Students on the importance of music in their lives

The student news site of Casa Grande High School
Caffeine: A Legal Addiction