Caffeine consumption has become a daily ritual and addiction for many people, especially students. Caffeine exists in coffee, soda, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. Five common withdrawal systems are headache, fatigue or drowsiness, depression or irritability, difficulty in concentrating and flu like systems including nausea, muscle pain and stiffness.
Stimulating the senses as it trickles through the body, caffeine can be both an elevator and an intoxicator.
Whether it’s the exhilarating aroma of coffee that drags someone out of bed, or the java jump-start that pulls up heavy eyelids during a morning class, caffeine is the drug of choice for many students and faculty members at the University of La Verne.
“I am trying to control my caffeine intake … because it is so addictive,” said Kamol Somvichian, a political science professor at ULV.
It seems that many students and faculty at ULV incorporate caffeine into their daily schedules.
And although most know that caffeine isn’t exactly healthy – many find that without it, school can feel exhausting.
“I stopped drinking coffee because I was horribly addicted … so I drink tea, but it doesn’t provide the rush,” said Kim Grey, a junior art major.
Coffee, tea and soda are just some of the sources from which students boost their tired bodies with the promise of a rush.
And although coffee seems to dominate the caffeine categories, other sources of caffeine – like tea – are becoming more and more popular.
Starbucks is the powerhouse where creative caffeine confections are morphed into designer drinks like chai lattes and green tea frappucinos.
“Now because of Starbucks, the commercialization of coffee has added to it being more flavorful and sugary,” Grey said.
Thanks to Starbucks, getting a coffee before class has become more of a social endeavor.
“Starbucks is a place to go hang-out and chit chat,” said Lindsey Salt, a sophomore liberal studies major.
Maybe the frenzy over coffee has boomed because businesses like Starbucks have found new ways to make coffee more appealing in the taste department.
“I don’t like plain coffee; mine has to be flavored and cold,” Salt said. “I go to Starbucks to get their cold coffee drinks.”
Black coffee is a thing of the past for many coffee drinkers.
The variety when choosing a daily java has become so vast that sometimes it’s hard to remember that a double mocha macchiato is even coffee anymore.
With coffee shops lining every street corner from La Verne to Timbuktu, it’s no wonder that coffee has become a part of our daily lives.
Since coffee is popular on campus, many students have voiced a concern about the health risks associated with coffee and caffeine.
According to mothernature.com, drinking coffee can increase blood pressure and cause insomnia.
Other health risks that can occur from too much caffeine intake include an increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Luckily, many students at La Verne appear to be informed about the health risks of coffee and caffeine.
“Soda is bad for you – everything that has caffeine is bad for you,” said Lindsey Jones, a freshman liberal studies major.
Despite these concerns, the American Dietetic Association claims that a moderate intake of caffeine has no direct link to any health problems.
Some recent studies have even proven that caffeine and coffee have health benefits.
A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that coffee can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
What’s more shocking is that they claim that the more coffee you drink the better chance you have of avoiding diabetes.
Whether or not coffee is healthy is up to interpretation; however what is known for sure is that coffee is addictive.
That persistent headache that mourns the loss of that daily fix.
Those droopy eyelids that miss their morning buzz.
School without caffeine can be both painful and tiresome.
An increase in irritability, headaches and anxiety are just some of the withdrawal side effects that the body may experience.
Even so, because our society is saturated with coffee and caffeine, the fact that it’s addictive seems to be of little importance.
Students need caffeine to give them a lift during a grueling homework session, and teachers need it to get through a dense lecture – and no one appears to be ready to give this habit up.
Caffeine may be addictive, but when it’s masked in a cup of coffee or tea it appears to be healthier than when it is in a soda like Coca Cola.
Because drinks like Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper have both caffeine and sugar along with many other unhealthy ingredients, some students feel that instead of coffee, soda should be avoided.
“I used to drink two or three cans of soda a day, I felt that it was really bad so I slowly weaned myself off of it,” Jones said.
Soda is full of empty calories that many college students would like to avoid.
“When I was in high school I drank two liters of soda a day, but it was all about the taste not the caffeine,” said Manuel Lopez, a senior political science major. “I basically stopped because it was hindering my performance as an athlete.”
Soda is also commonly accepted in society, however more and more students are realizing its negative health aspects like – obesity and diabetes.
With the persistence of modern creativity and technology, caffeine nowadays comes in many shapes and sizes.
But what many people are realizing is that not all forms of caffeine are exactly healthy.
Students and faculty at La Verne seem to prefer coffee and tea drinks to sodas and energy drinks.
The classic morning coffee or cup of tea is still the most popular choice for that first boost and, as far as health goes, that is probably for the best.
Caffeine is a major player in the college environment, but even still there are some students that would prefer it wasn’t.
Even though so far there have been no serious health risks associated with having one or two cups of coffee a day, many students still feel that it’s not very healthy.
Caffeine is an artificial stimulant that some students try to avoid.
“I’ve been off caffeine for two weeks now,” Lopez said.
Some students seem to have found other ways to perk themselves up each morning.
Having a morning cup of coffee isn’t the only way to start the day.
Stretching in the morning or working out are other ways to liven up the body and help get the blood pumping.
So whether someone prefers to drink up the java or run a lap or two before class, it’s pretty clear that we all need some sort of pick me up to survive the stresses of a college schedule.
Katie Hillier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.