Essay on Is Caffeine Addictive?

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Is Caffeine Addictive?

As exams approach, students everywhere reach for their coffee mugs, their Vivarine and No-Doz. Legions of wide-eyed and shaky young people stay up late into the night, printing out final papers and cramming a year worth of information into their over-burned minds. Falling asleep over books is not acceptable at this time of year. But this is not a new thing; many students have a late-night lifestyle supported by caffeine, getting an average of 5 hours of sleep a night. These young people are a part of the nearly 80% of Americans who depend on caffeine (1). They use it to stay awake when their bodies tell them they need to sleep. Many people use it simply to feel more awake or simply because they like the taste of
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Reading a single article may convince you of one perspective, for there is a vast amount of information supporting both sides. Most agree that drinking caffinated beverages forms dependence, but those defending caffeine dismiss this as trivial while others see it as a very unhealthy cancer on society. The reality is somewhere in between. Caffeine is addictive but it is certainly not a strong physical addiction, for it is relatively easy to stop taking caffeine. The true addiction is psychological and is the most widespread addiction on earth.

The fact that caffeine is a drug cannot be denied. It effects the entire body in many ways, many involving chemical interactions in the central nervous system. One question is whether caffeine is even bad for you, if there is any reason to worry that one might be taking too much. The answer is that while providing many short-term benfits, caffeine has many short and long-term negative effects, which are and must be taken into consideration when deciding whether calling a craving for caffeine an addiction is justifiable.

Caffeine acts directly on the central nervous system as a mild stimulant (2). Once caffeine enters the blood stream, it takes only a few minutes for it to be all over the body. Only about 3% passes through and is released in urine. Most of its effects are short-term and are the ones everyone associates with it. The peak levels of caffeine in the blood are reached about
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