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The Trouble with Coffee

Coffee. Arguably the best drink on the planet. The warm, crisp smell, the rush of adrenaline when the caffeine hits, and of course, the taste. As useful as coffee is (and it was especially in high school), nothing good comes without a catch. In the case of coffee, the unfortunate argument can be made that the costs outweigh the benefits of drinking coffee on the daily, but it is always good to know what you’re getting into. Let’s dive in!



Caffeine Addiction

What exactly is it? A caffeine addiction occurs when the body develops a tolerance for caffeine due to high levels of consumption. It surfaces when caffeine stops being a pick-me-up and starts becoming a necessity. At this stage, people find themselves facing the symptoms of withdrawal should they miss their daily dose of caffeine-symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, nausea, and headaches. With a caffeine addiction, people find that caffeinated products do not last as long as they used to, do not work as well as they used to, and must be taken more frequently and in larger doses to receive the same effect. It can be easy to develop a caffeine addiction, but difficult to kick it. A caffeine addiction can be countered by reducing one’s dependence on the substance-limiting the number of caffeinated beverages consumed, receiving healthy levels of sleep, and avoiding the consumption of caffeinated beverages without a necessity. Of course, it is always better to avoid developing a tolerance for caffeine in the first place, but with school and work, this is often easier said than done. 




Coffee can cause a vicious cycle of dependence. Drinking a caffeinated beverage such as coffee before sleeping can cause difficulty sleeping or insomnia and may impact the quality of sleep received. This can result in fatigue and the need for caffeine the following morning, as well as throughout the day, which can lead to the same problems the following evening. Like I said, it is relatively easy to develop a coffee addiction, and it is even easier to keep it up. 




As enjoyable as the feeling of caffeine can be, it can sometimes backfire. The consumption of coffee releases adrenaline and other stimulating hormones, which can heighten feelings of anxiety or stress. This can prompt symptoms like increased heart rate, shaky hands, difficulty concentrating, and feelings of panic. When rushing to finish an essay or stay up late to do homework, this can be extremely counterintuitive. 



Of course, one cup of coffee a day or every few days is not likely to cause many of these symptoms or very severe symptoms; drinking 2 or more cups daily might. As beneficial as coffee can be to someone with a busy schedule, it is always beneficial to know all the risks involved with drinking the beverage along with the benefits. It is always better to save coffee as a pleasure or a once in a while necessity than it is to allow the drink to become a crutch.  

Tulane freshman on the pre-med track
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