A Caffeinated Classroom


Daniel Farrow, Staff Reporter

If you’re a high schooler on the regular sleep schedule of four to six hours per night, you fall in with the majority of your classmates, and chances are, you also relate to them in many other ways. According to Medical News Today, 96% of high school students consume an addictive substance on an occasional basis, however the daily users comprise 83% of our student body. Out of those 83% that are daily users, only 30% recognize that they are addicted, but how would you guess that you or any of your classmates were addicted to coffee?

Yes, the fuel for late night study sessions, early morning wakeup motivation, and midday pick-me-ups is considered an addictive substance. Coffee, and specifically caffeine, the chemical stimulant in coffee, is so normalized in society that we wouldn’t even think twice about grabbing a cup when our eyes begin to droop around lunch time. Caffeine comes in many forms nowadays and with many different uses. Pre-workout powders, pills and drinks all include caffeine as their primary stimulant. Popular energy drinks like Bang, Redbull, Monster, Rockstar, Reign and others have been a staple in pop culture since 1985, where “Jolt Cola” was specifically marketed to stressed out students and professionals. Now, while caffeine can have positive effects when used occasionally, caffeine addiction can be severely harmful to the brain and body, especially of high school aged students.

The half life of caffeine in the body is six hours, which means it takes 12-14 for you to completely rid your body of the caffeine you’ve consumed. Think about your friends who have a coffee in their hand every morning before school, every lunch break, and every night to study. Even if they have just those three drinks a day, spaced out evenly, their body never completely purges the caffeine, which can lead to addiction and side effects like insomnia, restlessness, gastrointestinal problems, twitching, heart palpitations, and rushing thoughts and speech. On top of that, processing caffeine contributes to loss of calcium in the body, which weakens your bones. Later on, caffeine causes heart problems, as your heart is beating harder when you’ve consumed caffeine compared to none at all.

Caffeine dependence is common among students, and among many other habits created in school, it can be lifelong. When without caffeine, you’ll experience headaches, fatigue, concentration issues, irritability, anxiety, and even flu-like symptoms such as chills, vomiting, etc.

Now that you know the signs and symptoms of caffeine usage, addiction, and withdrawal, where do you fall in among your peers?