Though smoking and drug abuse are common addictions, those who consume large amounts of caffeine may also suffer from harmful repercussions down the line, a recent study found.

Paul Wong
Ann Arbor resident Brian Reed makes a cup of espresso at Cafe Ambrosa on Maynard Street last night.

The most common short-term side effects of caffeine are headaches, stomach cramps and increased muscle tension. Some of the more serious symptoms include depression, diarrhea, sleep deprivation and an increase in blood pressure, according to a study conducted by the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois.

LSA senior Kim Love admits to drinking coffee at least once a day when school is in session.

“It helps me concentrate on my work when I need to stay awake. At the same time, it makes me jumpy and sometimes distracts me more than it helps. It’s a no-win situation,” Love said.

When people who heavily consume caffeine cut or limit their daily intake, the body experiences several withdrawal symptoms similar to quitting smoking. These symptoms occur because caffeine, like nicotine, is a central nervous system stimulant, the study found.

But caffeine is not listed as a drug that causes dependency by The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders.

Caffeine is consumed by more than 80 percent of Americans, making it the most commonly used drug, and more than half of Americans consume more than the recommended amount of 200 milligrams per day, according to the study. The average cup of coffee contains 100 milligrams of caffeine.

Most people are unaware that caffeine is present in products other than coffee and soda. Caffeine exists in chocolate, tea and many over-the-counter pain medications, meaning that staying within the advised dose of caffeine consumption may be more challenging than putting down that last cup of Joe.

Tim Gronniger, a second-year School of Public Health student, said coffee is his drug of choice.

“Studying would be hopeless without it,” Gronniger said.

The Coffee Beanery on South University Avenue sells at least 20 gallons of coffee every day and extends their hours during midterms and finals due to the rapid increase in sales, said manager Jacob Brabbs.

“We do most of our business in the morning. Caffeine is a great way to start the day and stay awake for it,” Bapps said.

Some students said they turn toward strong doses of caffeine in the form of pills. Yaniv Cohen, a junior in the School of Engineering, uses over-the-counter drugs once in awhile to help keep him focused at night.

“I’m usually so worn out from my classes that I’ll take a No-Doz so I won’t fall asleep while studying. It gives me just the right kick to help me get through my work,” Cohen said. Cohen added that his sleeping patterns do slightly alter and often cause fatigue the following day.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration rated caffeine as Generally Recognized as Safe in 1958 and reaffirmed its statement in 1987. They conclude that caffeine poses no considerable health risks but may lead to a mild increase in blood pressure. Doctors do not recommend those people prone to arrhythmias, or irregular heart patterns, the use of products where caffeine is present.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *