Caffeine is a stimulant that is extracted from plants with its major source being coffee plants. In its extracted form, caffeine exists as crystals which are bitter in taste. As a stimulating drug, caffeine is commonly used by youths especially those in college. This paper seeks to discuss the reasons why college students should not turn to caffeine. The paper will look at some of the trend of involvement of college students into caffeine consumption and the risks that surround consumption of caffeine by college students.
Caffeine usage by college students
The use of caffeine by students has been identified as a common issue. Being readily available in soft drinks such as “coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, soft drinks and over the counter preparations” (Landrum 151), students who have come to believe that caffeine can stimulate their bodies to respond more to the demands for more study time are increasingly getting involved in the consumption of caffeine purposely for its stimulating effects (Landrum 151).
A number of researches that have over time been conducted on the use of caffeine by college students revealed some trends in such consumptions. One of the trends that have been realized with respect to the consumption of the drug in college is that caffeine consumption by students bears some relationship to the level of effort that students need at a particular time in their study. This follows the college system that has less work for the students at the beginning of an academic season which gradually increases with time as the students approach their exams. According to researches, it has been significantly identified that as students approach the exam periods, their rate of consumption of caffeine increases. The students have therefore associated caffeine with the capacity to study, an opinion that is promoting the consumption of the substance among college students (Landrum 151). Females have been identified to consume caffeine more than male students. For whatever reasons, the consumption of the substance is thus dependent on sex and the more female students are in a college institution, the more consumption of caffeine is likely to be registered by the institution. The level of seniority of students in college also influences consumption of the substance.
It has, for example, been identified that the level of consumption of caffeine is directly proportional to the study levels in college. A higher level of consumption is thus realized by senior students than their junior counterparts. It therefore brings about the impression that college environment has a characteristic feature of influencing students to use the substance. Whether this influence is induced by the institutions’ systems or just a mere influence that is driven by college students among themselves, the issue is that college students are turning to the consumption of caffeine as a means of securing their academic success. The relationship between the consumption of the substance to the level of study of students and the academic season in relation to exams supports the claim that college students are resorting to caffeine (Landrum 151).
Why college students should not turn to caffeine
The use of caffeine by college students can be attributed to influence that is triggered by either the students or the academic environment that is occasionally strenuous to students forcing them to resort into substances that can stimulate their bodies to sustain extra efforts as they extend their studying time.
There are, however, a number of reasons as to why students should not see caffeine as a solution to acquiring of extra efforts in studies. Consumption of caffeine has been associated with a number of risks and dangers that can pose some limitations to a student. One of the effects of caffeine is the interruption that it causes to a person’s sleep. People who are deeply into high level of caffeine consumptions have the problems of interrupted sleeps. This interruption is particularly dangerous for students as they are expected to have enough rest and sleep in their lives. The students will on the contrary have insufficient amount of sleep that is most likely transmitted into the day when full attention is required in class. Attending classes in a sleepy condition will therefore reduce the student’s effectiveness in understanding. According to Kley Kara, consumption of caffeine has the effect of increasing “heart rate and blood pressure” (Kley 1).
Such impacts have a possibility of overworking the heart which may lead to malfunctioning of the heart. Students who are much into caffeine consumption are therefore in danger of heart problems that can arise from issues such as cardiac arrests due to the heart muscles being overworked. Such complications have greater impacts in the life of an individual including death in the case of severe arrests. Same complications can arise in the case increased blood pressure. Dizziness has also been an impact of consumption of significant level of caffeine. Together with “irritability and restlessness”, a student’s level of concentration will be compromised following consumption of caffeine (Kley 1).
Other effects of caffeine include “decreased blood flow to the stomach, increased risk of osteoporosis in later age” (Kley 1) besides its addictive nature. An individual who falls into addiction of caffeine consumption further has the danger of prolonged and more severe impacts of the general effects of caffeine consumption (Kley 1). Excess consumption of caffeine has also been associated with “dehydration, diarrhea and ulcers” (Faith Purpose 1).
Medical complications of these effects have negative impacts on a student’s ability to attend and concentrate in class. Dehydration, for example, leads to extreme exhaustion of the body following reduced functionality of body organs; some of these functions are related to the brain system and thus induces a state that may not be favorable for a student to study. Cases such as ulcers on the other hand have the capacity of subjecting a person to hospitalization. A student will therefore suffer from pain as well as miss class lessons while undergoing treatment following medical complications that are induced by consumption of caffeine. Other direct impacts of excessive consumption of caffeine include “increased premenstrual, problems in the stomach and the esophagus, headaches and risen body temperature” (Faith Purpose 1). Usage of caffeine also has the threat of reducing levels of some minerals in the body. It has, for example, been established that excess caffeine in the body plays a role in reducing the level of iron and calcium in the body. An individual who consumes large amounts of caffeine therefore risks deficiency of such minerals and the consequences of such deficiencies.
Deficiency of iron, for example, which is essential in the development of bones and the production of red blood cells, can therefore pose threat to a person’s well being. Excessive caffeine usage is thus identified to be dangerous to lives of students (Faith Purpose 1). Upon consumption of substances that are rich in caffeine, a person experiences decreased time duration taken to react to situations. This means that consumption of caffeine rich substances can induce faster unmediated reactions. Whether in class work or outside class, a student is subject to making quick decisions that could be erroneous.
A case of a mistake made in a class assignment or an exam due to the induced quick response of caffeine can cost a student marks and even grades in final grading in college. Since female college students are adults who can at the same time get pregnant, the dangers of caffeine to the health of an unborn child or an infant is equally a reason why caffeine consumption should be checked by female students. This danger can be discussed in two aspects: that of a college student who is expectant in school and is consuming high level of caffeine and that of a woman who got addicted to caffeine consumption while in college.
Excessive intake of caffeine by an expectant woman is particularly dangerous in the fact that caffeine easily diffuses through the placenta into the unborn child’s system. Similarly, a breast feeding mother can pass caffeine content into her child’s body through the breast’s milk. The danger under these considerations is that while the adults’ body systems are developed enough to eliminate the toxic caffeine by natural processes, the body of an unborn or a young child is not developed enough to eliminate the caffeine contents in itself. Usage of caffeine by these women therefore induces a level of intoxication to their children. The concern should be adequately addressed under caffeine consumption at the college due to the possibility of addiction which might be effective through out a woman’s life (Goldberg 235). There is a possibility that a student engaged in consumption of caffeine products may be taking too much of the caffeine without being aware. Following the lack of specification of substances in terms of the level of caffeine that they contain, a student might as well get into excessive consumption of caffeine without his or her notice. This means that a student can still be subjected to the risks of excessive caffeine consumption without being aware (Walker and Humphries 75).
There is, however, those arguments that seem to support the consumption of caffeine by college students. There are opinions that caffeine usage induces “increased sense of alertness, positive mood and alleviate headaches” among other benefits (Kley 1).
Consumption of substances that are rich in caffeine is highly adopted among students in collage following its stimulating effect. Though there are opinions of some benefits of caffeine in the body, the negative impacts that are associated with the consumption outnumbers the benefits and some of the consequences of caffeine consumption such as ulcers and heart and blood complications are fatal. It can therefore be concluded that college students should avoid or control their consumption of caffeine rich substances.
Faith Purpose. Dangers of excessive caffeine consumption.
Assatashakur, 2011. Web. May 19, 2011.
New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 2009. Print Kley, Kara. Caffeine, what every college student should know. Housing, 2010. Web. May 19, 2011. edu/dining/wellness/caffeine.php> Landrum, Erick. College students’ use of caffeine and its relationship to personality. Psych, n. d. Web. May 19, 2011.
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