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Caffeine and Teenagers

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and people become more alert and energetic with caffeine consumption, thus it is classified as a drug. It occurs naturally in coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa and cola nuts. There are many other foods and beverages besides coffee that provide substantial amounts of caffeine these include soda, carbonated beverages, cold drinks, caffeinated soft drinks, chocolates, coffee ice creams, tea, iced tea, hot cocoa and also used in some drugs for the treatment of cold, asthma and over the counter pills for pain. Caffeine is very bitter in taste in natural form; however it goes through many processes to camouflage its bitter taster before it is used in caffeinated drinks and soft drinks.
Most of the caffeine intake in a teenager’s diet is through soft drinks that not only is a source of caffeine, but also gives substantial amount of sugar – empty calories and artificial flavor.

Café shops have become a common place for teen’s hangout. But they don’t realize that they are just sitting with a cup of fat, sugar and caffeine, unless they choose skim milk instead of cream in their coffee.

Side effects of caffeine on teenagers

  1. Caffeine when taken in moderate amounts can increase mental alertness. However when taken in higher doses, it can cause anxiety, headaches, moods, dizziness and may also interfere with normal sleep. Caffeine when taken in very high dose can be very harmful to the body.
  2. Caffeine is addictive and if stopped abruptly can cause many withdrawal symptoms like headache, irritability, temporary depression and muscle ache.
  3. Regular caffeine consumption can reduce caffeine sensitivity that means the caffeine required is higher to achieve the same effects. Thus more caffeine a teenager consumes the more will be its need to feel the same effects.
  4. Caffeine is a diuretic it causes water loss from the body (through urination). Especially in summers caffeine is a very bad choice and it may cause dehydration.
  5. Caffeine is not stored in the body and is passed through the urine, but if the person is sensitive to caffeine he/she might feel its effects up to six hours.
  6. Caffeine when consumed in large amounts can cause loss of calcium and potassium from the body that can lead to sore muscles and delayed recovery time after any exercise.
  7. Some teenagers may be unaware of the fact that caffeine in high amounts can cause nervous disorders and may also aggravate heart problems.

Try to cut down the caffeine in your diet gradually; moderation is the key (amounts less than 100 milligrams). Include healthy options like fresh fruit juices, water, milk, flavored seltzer, decaffeinated soda or tea instead of caffeinated beverages, soft drinks, sodas and other caffeine rich drinks. Make sure to read the nutritional fact labels for caffeine content before consuming the product.

Effects of Caffeine on Teenagers

Caffeine consumption is known all over the world to be one of the best methods of pulling through long, weary nights in order to meet certain deadlines and complete projects. Because of the kind of stimulus that caffeine provides the body, it is considered to be a drug, although socially acceptable. As a result, caffeine is known to be probably the most used drug all over the world and studies show that over 50 percent of the population of the United States of America consumes caffeine in some form or the other every single day. Further details in the study show that about half of the entire American population shows that the consumption per individual could be as high as about 300 milligrams. Before getting into the details of caffeine and the effects it has on the human body, it helps to know exactly what caffeine is. Essentially caffeine is a bitter psychoactive stimulant drug that can be easily found in varying quantities in the leaves, beans and fruits of certain plants. Caffeine plays an important role in the plants where it can be found as it acts as a pesticide – killing any parasites that feed off the plant. Caffeine is regularly used in the manufacture of a number of commercially available products, with some new contributions to the production of soaps and shampoos. Initially, caffeine used to be primarily used for the manufacture of chocolate and coffee beans. The initiative of adding caffeine to shampoo is relatively new and studies have shown that caffeine-laden shampoo tends to be absorbed by the skin and guided through to the bloodstream much faster than regular shampoo. The number of young adolescents who drink coffee and other caffeinated products is steadily rising, and the link between caffeine and teenagers’ health issues has been studied in great detail. Caffeine effects on teenagers, especially the effects of coffee on teenagers, is currently under observation due to the rapid increase in coffee shops all across the country.

Although it is a legally allowed psychoactive rug, it is important to be aware of the various effects of caffeine on teenagers as well as full grown adults – especially when they tend to lose control and the consumption becomes an addiction. It is important to understand that each individual has a different tolerance level to the effects of caffeine and that the reactions are likely to differ as well. Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that caffeine does not actually eliminate the need for sleep, but merely reduces the sensation of being tired. Submitted reports show that an intake of about 25 to 50 milligrams of caffeine consumption is sufficient to cause the increased alertness and lower the levels of fatigue. The fact that the effect of caffeine on a teenager means that he or she is able to put in longer hours performing the task that they set out to do means that it is a very common psychoactive drug used when the individual chooses to stay awake all night either completing homework, studying for some kind of test or completing a project.

Although all of the above information show the effects of caffeine on a teenager as being very positive, it is important to remember that caffeine consumption in large quantities over a significant period of time are likely to combine the caffeine dependency with a wide range of physical as well as mental conditions including the likes of irritability, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, respiratory alkalosis heart palpitations and muscle twitching. Moreover, because of the fact that one of the other very common effects of caffeine consumption is the fact that it increases the production of stomach acid, the high intake of the substance can easily lead to the development of peptic ulcers and gastrointestinal reflux disease.

The body is known to be able to adapt rather easily to caffeine consumption and complete tolerance will tend to disrupt sleep patterns substantially. Medical papers published on the effects of effects of caffeine on teens shows that there are four primary caffeine induced psychiatric disorders that are recognized by the medical community – caffeine induced anxiety disorder, caffeine induced sleep disorder, caffeine intoxicant and caffeine related disorder not otherwise specified. A caffeine overdose is known to occur in instances where the individual consumes more than 300 milligrams of the substance on a regular basis. The symptoms that the individual will exhibit when affected by a caffeine overdose are similar to the way the human body reacts to any other kind of stimulant overdose. Some of the more common symptoms include excitement, euphoria, flushing of the face, increased urination, muscle twitching and irregular as well as rapid heartbeat. When the individual is experiencing a very intense overdose, the symptoms will usually progress to instances of depression, disinhibition, delusions and psychosis.

Despite the fact that caffeine consumption is widely used to help individuals fight off the effects of sleep and drowsiness in order to accomplish tasks such as studying, research has shown that the substance could easily have nootropic effects and induce certain changes in an individuals memory and learning patterns. Although most of the research has been performed on lab rats, these studies show that a long term consumption of low doses of caffeine will tend to impair the long term memory. Teenagers and caffeine consumption is therefore intimately linked and it is because of this effect on one’s memory  coffee and other energy drinks that usually have high caffeine content have been banned all over the world. One of the most popular myths is that the consumption of caffeine by a growing child will tend to stunt his or her height has been disproved by a number of medical research papers into the same.

Because of the fact that caffeine is an addictive psychoactive drug, withdrawal symptoms are a likely occurrence when trying to fight off the habit. Some of the most common symptoms include irritability, drowsiness, insomnia, stomach pain as well as pain in the upper body and joints. These symptoms are more likely to be intensely felt between  12 to 24 hours after the cessation of caffeine intake. Withdrawal from an overreliance on caffeine should be performed in phases in order to prevent your body from experiencing the sudden shock of being denied the stimulant substance that  it is so used to receiving regularly.

Submitted on January 16, 2014