North Texas Daily

Caffeine addiction should not be normalized

Caffeine addiction should not be normalized

Caffeine addiction should not be normalized
October 22
02:00 2021

Students are no stranger to feeling exhausted while they are in class, whether after staying up all night studying or just not getting enough sleep. Any young person today normally reaches for a can of Red Bull or Monster to stay up during class. It is also not uncommon to see high school students in line at Starbucks, ordering something with dozens of syrups and sweeteners.

Coffee and soda are the most popular sources of caffeine for young people along with tea and energy drinks. Though caffeine is served in a lot of the things that we consume, its side effects can be risky for young people. Too much caffeine can decrease the amount of calcium in the human body, which affects bone growth and could even lead to osteoporosis.

Some of the side effects of taking excess caffeine also include jumpiness, lack of appetite and headaches, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Consuming caffeine for energy can lead to dependence, making it harder to cut back. Not to mention that once the human body has a tolerance for caffeine, the consumer will require more in order to get the desired effects.

Caffeine is only harmful when people drink it too often when they are young, but it does have good side effects. Consuming it in moderation can help keep you alert and focused as well as reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Studies show that 30-50 percent of young people consume energy drinks.  It is not a surprise that teens are drawn to consuming caffeine with how many factors push them towards it. Advertisements for energy drinks are clearly targeted towards younger people, like Red Bull’s endorsement deal with Twitch streamer Ninja. This introduces younger audiences to these drinks and encourages them to try them.

Although energy drinks do carry warning labels that warn buyers not to consume them if they are under the age of 18, it does little to deter them. People seem to have a connotation between caffeine and increased performance and believe it will help them get more done.

This is also something that they might pick up from their own parents. A mother might wake up in the morning cranky and sluggish until she downs a cup of coffee and is more amicable and energized.

Cutting it out of their lives completely is not a viable option as it may just make them seek it out through other means or have them suffer from withdrawals.

Teens should not be discouraged from drinking it altogether either but their parents should instead teach them healthy habits. It is the same with electronics or social media — using them can be fun and beneficial as long as you do it in moderation.

Parents should also contact a doctor if their child is struggling to sleep or having trouble at school in order to find a healthy solution. People who consume caffeine in order to function should not be shamed or scolded for their habits. People need to be encouraged to seek out help instead of self-medicating with caffeine, especially if they are young so they do not form bad habits that will last for years to come.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Arelys Morales Conty

Arelys Morales Conty

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