Psychoactive Drug: Caffeine

By Jacqueline Kapoian


Caffeine is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system. Caffeine's main effect on your body is to make you feel more awake and alert. It is most commonly found naturally in coffee beans, tea leaves, kola nuts (used to flavor soft drinks like colas) and cacao pods (used to make chocolate products). Man- made caffeine is sometimes added to foods, drinks and medicines.

Slang Terms for Caffeine

Slang terms for caffeine include Java, Go, Mud, and Go Juice.

Ways to Ingest Caffeine

Drink it- Most of the 80% of Americans who consume caffeine daily, drink it. Caffeine is most commonly found in coffee, energy drinks and sodas, especially colas.

Eat it- People who take caffeine medication usually ingest them in the form of a tablet or pill. Eating foods like chocolate, ice cream, and different types of candy (yum!) also have a bolt of caffeine within them.

The moderate amount of daily caffeine intake is about 200mg (one to two 5 ounce cups of coffee) however, it differs for each individual. Anything over 600mg (four to seven cups of coffee) a day would be considered to much caffeine and unhealthy.

Medical Use of Caffeine

Caffeine belongs to a group of medicine called the central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. The most commonly prescribed caffeine medications are Cafergot Suppositories, Fiorinal Capsules, and Norgesic Forte; Norphadrine Forte. These medications are used to increase alertness, decrease fatigue, and improves muscle coordination.

Different ways in which caffeine is used in medicine are:

- Caffeine is used in combination with ergotamine (medicine used to treat migraines and headaches) or with certain types of pain killers, such as aspirin. When used in this way, caffeine may increase the effectiveness of the other medicines

- Citrated caffeine is used to treat breathing problems in premature babies.

- Caffeine is sometimes used in combination with an antihistamine to overcome the drowsiness caused by the antihistamine.

Alteration of Counsciouness

Caffeine affects your body by increasing concentration, reaction time, alertness, and leaving behind renewed energy, which allows you to stay awake longer than usual. It increases neuron firing in your brain, that triggers the pituitary glands to release hormones. When the pituitary glands releases hormones they signal the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, which gives your body a boost of energy.

Effects of Caffeine

The normal duration of the stimulating effects of caffeine last between 2 to 7 hours. It all depends on the users height, weight, and gender.

Physiological Effects:

When caffeine is taken either in normal amounts or in larger quantities the immediate short term effects could be nervousness and restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate and respiration.

The long term effects of caffeine can enhance or trigger already existing diseases. This includes; consuming a large amount of caffeine could increase blood pressure in a person with already high blood pressure, caffeine may affect the way the body uses sugar and it might worsen a persons diabetes, caffeine might aggravate bleeding disorders, and caffeine can cause irregular heartbeat in people with heart conditions.

Psychological Effects:

When taking caffeine mild mental disorders such as anxiety disorder or depression worsen for a short amount of time during the effects of caffeine. High doses of caffeine can induce psychotic and manic symptoms, most commonly in anxiety disorders.

Just like psychological effects the long term effects of caffeine can enhance or trigger already existing mental disorders such as, people with bipolar disorder, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Specifically patients with panic disorder and performance social anxiety disorder overtime feel the worsening symptoms of their disorder.

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Dependence on Caffeine

When people have caffeine every day, their bodies get used to it. They don’t get the effect of feeling more awake and able to concentrate unless they have more caffeine(Tolerance!). When a person who has become dependent on caffeine stops taking it they start to experience withdrawal symptoms - this is their physical dependence to caffeine. These symptoms include severe headaches, muscle aches, temporary feelings of depression, and irritability. When people experience these symptoms, they often just take in more caffeine to make them go away.

A person who is psychologically dependent on caffeine will take it everyday in order to function. For example when a person who is dependent on caffeine wakes up in the morning the first thing they do is drink a cup of coffee. To them this coffee is vital for their body to "work". Without having their coffee they may feel as though they can not function and make it through the day because they psychologically think that they do not have that "bolt of energy" to do so.

Myth and Fun Facts on Caffeine!

Myth: Caffeine makes a drunk person sober and gets rid of or decreases the effects of alcohol.

Myth Busted: It may make the person a little less tired and more awake but caffeine does not make a drunk person sober and does not get rid of the effects of alcohol.

Fun Fact: The chemical name for caffeine is trimethylxanthine.

Funner Fact: It is estimated that 12,000 tons of caffeine is consumed every year.

The Most Fun Fact: The International Olympic Committee banned caffeine in Olympic competitions.

Anti Caffeine Graph

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While looking for an anti caffeine video (which I could not find) I came across this funny SpongeBob caffeine clip so I thought I would post that instead.....

Spongebob Doesn't Need Caffeine