Opposing Viewpoints: Is caffeine addictive?

Cole Haas '20 and Sierra McIntosh '20

Caffeine is Addictive

Cole Haas

I personally believe that caffeine is addictive… depending on two things: What you drink, and how much you drink it. In my eyes, there are two types of caffeinated drinks: natural drinks like coffee, as it comes from coffee beans, and energy drinks, such as Kickstart or Five Hour Energy. Both can be bad for you if you drink too much of it.

“I once saw someone who wanted to get four Kickstarts out of the Kickstart machine!” Junior Alexa Richardson told me, who had a Kickstart beside her.

She also added that Redbull, “tastes like battery acid.”

At JGHS, we have vending machines that sell Kickstarts throughout the school, which come in different flavors. Like Mountain Dew, the drink is very sugary and contains high amounts of caffeine. Walking around the school before first hour, it is likely that you will see multiple students carrying a Kickstart in their hands.

Coffee, on the other hand, is something that teachers drink more than students or at least is more noticeable.

Art teacher Mrs. Darling says she drinks 1-2 cups a day and says that you can “maybe become dependent.”

“Sometimes I can get a headache if I don’t drink coffee for a bit,” Darling said.

She also implies that it can affect kids. “If [kids] get too much, it can affect their heart.”

JGHS Principal Mr. Wegher, who is also an avid coffee drinker, admits that he needs coffee every day.

“It shouldn’t become an everyday thing, it’s funny coming from someone who needs it every day.”

Wegher also added that “caffeine is like every other drug that you crave.”

And he’s right! According to kidshealth.org, “Caffeine is defined as a drug because it stimulates the central nervous system.”

If you drink too much, you may want to cut back, but slowly, because “you could get headaches and feel tired, irritable, or just plain lousy”.

There you have it, the withdrawal symptoms of caffeine. Therefore it is addictive.

 

Caffeine is not Addictive

Sierra McIntosh

Every day, about 90 percent of adults consume caffeinated products according to kuakini.org. Caffeine, society views it as something that helps energize the common folk in the form of coffee typically, with the occasional soda or energy drink mixed in as well. But is it truly an addictive substance?

It definitely has the potential to be depending on the intake an individual consumes of said product, but as an avid drinker of caffeinated products like energy drinks, kickstart, and coffee; I personally think that most people are not addicted to caffeine, as most people can truly quit if they wanted to.

According to webmd.com, the stimulant caffeine is categorized as a dependence drug, not as an actual “addictive” drug due to the user not experiencing the same severe withdrawal or harmful drug-seeking behaviors of drugs such as alcohol or cocaine. Instead the user would only endure side effects of a post-caffeine world for a day or so, depending on the amount they consumed on a daily basis.

“You can have an upset stomach, lack of sleep, if you overdo how much caffeine you drink,” Math teacher Mr.Hurick said.

Other types of symptoms could be: headache, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depressed mood, and having difficulty concentrating. Depending on if the individual is a long term user, consuming enough products with caffeine in it can build up tolerance to the drug. Therefore forcing the individual to want to drink more in order to achieve that same effect.

But, why would caffeine not be classified as an addictive drug? Well, according to addictioncenter.com, compared to other drugs like amphetamines or meth, caffeine does not release as much Dopamine(releases positive feelings into your body) so therefore isn’t classified as an addictive substance.

“Caffeine is addictive due to its marketing,” said Gym teacher Mr.Polk.

With influencers such as Danielle Cohn, who gained fame on the app Musical.ly doing ads for companies like Bang Energy, it has quite an impact on kids who look up to Cohn as an inspiration. If she does it, then her audience will want to do it as well; therefore kids aren’t addicted to caffeine itself but instead want to be like their idol.

But how do people get introduced to caffeinated products in the first place?

“By starting at a young age and having them easy to get,” Senior Jonathon Craig said.