Caffeine is naturally found in various plants, including tea leaves, coffee beans and cocoa beans (Esgate, Groome & Baker, 2005). However, caffeine is synthetically added to many food products, including energy, sports and vitamin drinks. Statistics reveals that, in the US, more than 80% of the population consumes caffeine each day. Today, the consumption of caffeine in the United States of America has surpassed the alcohol and nicotine. The research shows that expectant mothers are prone to caffeine from various sources, unknowingly. However, literature on caffeine does not indicate whether it has an impact on infants and fetuses. The young individuals account for and influence the spread of caffeine consumption. They mainly derive money for spending from gifts, allowances and earnings. The youth spends most of their income on alcohol and drugs. Notably, young people have a strong qualitative, as well as quantitative association with drugs. Thus, caffeine is among the most popular drugs in the US (Akli et al, 2005).
The interrelationship between coffee consumption and its impact on human health is highly debatable, with one school of thought establishing a direct connection and the other showing no relation at all. In their different posts, various authors have either supported or opposed the claim that coffee consumption has negative effects on people’s health. However, it is not a myth that it provokes addiction, increases cardiovascular risk and causes high blood pressure. According to Weinberg (2002), caffeine consumption greatly stimulates the central nervous system. This, in turn, increases brain alertness, as well as heartbeat. Therefore, caffeine is highly addictive and has adverse effects on humans. Its immoderate consumption often results in nervousness, heart problems and boredom.
Continued caffeine use often leads to its abuse and/or dependence. Though related in many ways, drug abuse is not exactly the same as drug dependence. Drug abuse occurs when people use it irresponsibly without concern of the potential hazards they are exposing themselves to. Dependence, on the other hand, is mainly characterized by tolerance to the drug, whereby one feels the need to increase the intake of the substance in order to achieve the intoxication. There are also undesirable withdrawal symptoms whenever one attempts to quit abusing the drug. Abuse or dependence on caffeine is associated with a host of troublesome characteristics. The first major problem is developing tolerance to the effects of caffeine. It means that in order to achieve the same effect, more caffeine is required. Tolerance to caffeine often leads to physical and psychological dependencies. 9% of those who have used the drug at any point of their lives develop dependence. In addition, 10-20% of daily caffeine users also develop dependence. Weinberg (2002) argues that the reaction of caffeine is determined by one’s size, diet, and the amount of exercises. Therefore, the response to the drug is highly individual. Different people react to caffeine differently (Benjamin & Robbins, 2007).
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Since caffeine is highly addictive, withdrawal is not easy as with other drug withdrawal attempts. Various painful symptoms are associated with caffeine withdrawal, including physical, psychological and even social ones. Caffeine withdrawal makes the users highly prone to relapsing. Other caffeine withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, depression and painful headaches. Caffeine users can overcome their addiction by gradually weaning themselves off the drug over 2-3 weeks by mixing their ordinary chocolate, tea and coffee with Teecino. Addicts should also reduce their daily caffeine consumption to less than 400 mg. To address concerns on the caffeine content in their drinks, coffee companies throughout the world, including Starbucks, offer several decaffeinated coffees. Thus, healthy teas and other drinks like Frappuccino blended beverages appear in most markets. In addition, they provide consumers with information about the health effects of caffeine online.
Despite its negative effects, consumption of caffeine has several health benefits. The antioxidants that are found in coffee play a critical role in reducing cardiovascular risks. Research studies demonstrate that caffeine consumption reduces the likelihood of developing chronic illnesses, including diabetes. Caffeine is also associated with medical use. According to health care providers, caffeine use enables one to forget about his or her chronic pain. Thus, it is a pain relieving drug, which is beneficial to people experiencing chronic pain. In addition, the consumption of caffeine is favorable because it enhances short-term memory. Caffeine consumption assists in improving people’s mood, sharpening reasoning ability, and enhancing muscular endurance. Caffeine consumption also decreases cerebral blood flow, especially in those parts of the human body that experience high metabolism rates. Thus, it is used by mathematicians, chess players, weight lifters, and athletes. According to researchers, caffeine helps to ease painful cerebrovasodilation that is related with vascular headaches.
Despite positive aspects, most people view coffee consumption negatively, and do not consider various health benefits it brings to their organisms. They are right in that too much consumption of caffeine affects the brain cells. Caffeine disturbs adenosine receptors that influence pressure, concentration, coordinated movement, thinking and memory. Therefore, caffeine users experience altered moods and perception, difficulties with memory, problem solving, thinking and learning, and impaired coordination. When continually used, brain development gets affected, especially if used heavily by young people (Brener et, al. 1995).
In conclusion, caffeine is slowly but surely becoming a major drug among the youths in the US. Consumption of caffeine has increased significantly over the recent years. The above research has clearly demonstrated that caffeine consumption has both positive and negative effects on people’s health. However, the negative effects outweigh the benefits, which proves the need to reduce the consumption of caffeine in the US.
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