Your Coffee is Killing You


Iain Chang


Caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the Unites States.  The stimulating affects of the substance give some the energy to help finish a task, boost their mood, and for most get them through the day.  Despite its apparent benefits, caffeine is highly addictive and alters many biological functions throughout the body, contributing to positive and negative reactions.


What is Caffeine

Caffeine is a substance naturally derived from over 50 plants.  The most common of these being coffee beans, tea leaves, kola nuts (used to produce cola beverages), and cacao pods (produces chocolate).  The substance can be synthetically produced to be used for pain relief and cold medicines as well as energy drinks.  Oftentimes, people will use caffeine to stimulate the central nervous system causing a heightened sense of alertness.  Caffeine stimulation reaches its peak levels at around an hour of consumption, and the effects can last between four to six hours.


Visible Benefits 


It is estimated that between 80 to 90% of children and adults consume caffeine regularly.  This is because when consumed, caffeine molecules penetrate the blood-brain barrier entering the brain.  Due to it’s similar structure, it almost nearly resembles the chemical adenosine (responsible for causing drowsiness) fitting neatly into brain receptors and blocking the adenosine from entering the brain.  This chemical reaction causes a very visibly felt affect within the brain, improving mood due to a surge in dopamine production, increasing metabolism and concentration.  This effect causes a dependency to develop for many, feeling that it is a solution to get through the day.


Problems Facing Caffeine Addiction 

Caffeine Addiction can cause a surge of issues throughout the body including, headaches, dizziness, increased blood pressure, and nervousness.  When consumed to increase work performance, it can contribute to the problem of work addiction. Withdrawal, however, can reduce mental alertness, slow reaction times and worsen memory of individuals.  The panic attacks can worsen symptoms of anxiety, affecting heart rate and thoughts, increasing the likelihood of panic attacks.



When quitting caffeine, it’s important to gradually reduce your intake rather than cutting cold turkey.  This will help to greatly reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms overall.  The only downside to this however is that a gradual decrease in caffeine intake will take much longer to eliminate addiction rather than cutting out the substance entirely.