Caffeine addiction now more common

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As young people find themselves with more on their plate, Delta College students like second-year Lily Moreno turn to caffeine to provide them with the fuel needed to get through the day.

Moreno began drinking coffee during her first year of college, when her workload started getting heavier. With many tasks to complete and little time to rest, Moreno found coffee energized her.

Second-year student Jose Garcia pours sugar into his coffee in Danner Hall on Oct. 22.

“There’s only 24 hours in a day and there’s so many things we have to do,” she said. “I feel like students, myself included, do depend on caffeine.”

According to a 2019 study published in ScienceDirect, caffeine, in any form, was consumed by 92 percent of students surveyed in the past year.

Mayo Clinic reports that negative side effects of excessive caffeine consumption include, but are not limited to: migraines, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, frequent urination, upset stomach, fast heartbeat and muscle tremors.

Moreno has experienced insomnia and the jitters after drinking coffee.

Despite this, she doesn’t plan on cutting back as her need for caffeine outweighs the negative side effects she has experienced.

“It’s like my go-to,” Moreno said.

Like Moreno, second-year Jose Garcia starts most mornings with a cup of coffee from Danner Hall.

Garcia, however, is adamant he doesn’t depend upon caffeine to boost his energy.

“I only get coffee every morning out of habit,” he said.

Unlike Moreno and Garcia, second-year Josiah Blevins recently made the decision to give up consuming caffeine on a daily basis.

Blevins used to drink caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea when he had to stay up late to study, but now only does so in moderation.

“I gave up caffeine mostly because I’m trying not to ‘need’ to rely on it,” Blevins said. “I want to rely on myself to either get more sleep or study during the day.”

Blevins said he thinks students consume an excessive amount of caffeine because it is “addictive”.

“Caffeine is a drug,” he said.

Unknown to some, caffeine is indeed defined as a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system. This causes increased alertness.

Health experts have even compared caffeine to cocaine. Both drugs raise the levels of dopamine in the body. Caffeine is also classified as a stimulant by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, just as cocaine is.

Second-year Nicolas De la Cruz thinks it’s “unfortunate” there are students who have developed a dependency on caffeine.

“I’ve never really found caffeine that helpful to me personally,” De la Cruz said.

However, he could understand the perspective of those students who benefit from caffeine.

“It’s great if it helps them, but it’s important for them to moderate their usage, too,” he said.