About two to three times a week after staying up from the night before, senior Marissa Villaseñor will wake up to get Starbucks and occasionally add four extra shots to her drink just to have a little boost to prepare her for the day. Drinking coffee became a daily habit for Villaseñor and has slowly turned her daily cup of joe to her daily cup of joy.
Adolescents have become accustomed to consuming coffee on a daily basis and it has become a form of “brain fuel” for many teenagers. According to the American Dietetic Association, the amount of caffeine a teen consumes has tripled since the 1970’s and teens are progressively drinking more and more coffee every year. Small amounts of coffee will not necessarily ruin a student’s health, but drinking excessive amounts can cause effects to an individual.
“I don’t think the amount of caffeine that some of these kids are drinking is good. It’s pretty intense because when I was growing up, coffee was an adult beverage and [now] you see everybody coming in with their Starbucks and it has just become normal,” health teacher Shannon Bruce said.
Caffeine can affect a teen physically and mentally. Majority of the time, students use coffee as a source of energy to get through the day. As coffee becomes more prevalent in society, it becomes a habit for teens to consume amounts of caffeine. Through a study conducted by MedicalNewsToday, 83.2 percent of teenagers consume caffeinated drinks regularly and at least 96 percent of them occasionally.
“If I didn’t have coffee in my life I would just drink gallons of tea all the time or lots of soda because it’s really the caffeine that helps me, not just coffee. started drinking coffee because of school and staying up late for assignments and studying. Now, it’s just become a daily routine for me,” Villaseñor said.
Many students use coffee as a source of energy for lack of sleep and late nights. According to the website e-importz.com/coffee-statistics, an average U.S. American will drink 3.1 cups of coffee per day. Most adults can safely drink about two or four cups of caffeine per day. However, according to newportacademy.com, anything higher than that can result to side effects such as agitation, anxiety and shakiness.
“A little bit [of coffee] can be beneficial but, I think that in large amounts, you [can become] addicted faster, [and] get withdrawal later. I don’t think it’s a major problem. I think we’re in a society that [has been] very addicted to coffee,” Bruce said.
For many, this drink may become an addiction. Caffeine is a mild stimulant drug that people can become addicted to as much as nicotine. 10 years ago, Bruce claims she counted on coffee during her college years as a source of energy and was completely addicted to it. Anyone who drinks an excessive amount of coffee can receive withdrawals and any individual who is taking in too much caffeine is recommended to cut back slowly. Bruce suggests that healthier alternatives from coffee would be tea or water.
“I am seeing the withdrawal factors of caffeine. I don’t think that it is all that great for high school kids. It is fine, once you’re well developed and going out to college,” Bruce said. “I think a little bit can be good for us and help us focus a little bit. I was totally addicted to coffee. But for some reason, I naturally just stopped and I’m more of a tea drinker again.”
Although excessive amounts of coffee can affect anyone negatively, there are some positive aspects to drinking coffee in moderation. According to the Benefits of Coffee, for teenagers, drinking coffee can relieve fatigue, replacing the use of drugs or alcohol, and can even work as a way to boost memory. Junior Kayla Bolton drinks coffee everyday and often believes that she needs the amount of coffee she drink. According to Bolton, a day without coffee can give her major migraines and the result of coffee helps her get throughout the day.
“Coffee just makes me a better person as in I get really grouchy and sick when I don’t have it. A day without coffee is actually trash,” Bolton said. “I drink coffee because sometimes I just need a boost. It is super hard for me to focus on anything, let alone school, [without coffee.].”
Students often use coffee as a way to stay up at night, but because of that it affects a high school student negatively because students need sleep. Even then, coffee has become a significant factor in the majority of people’s lives and is an easily accessible source of enjoyment and energy.
“Coffee helps me get through the day and keeps up my energy for days where I’m exhausted after school. Coffee has a positive effect on me. It helps me out a lot even though I know it isn’t the healthiest thing in the world I’m still going to drink it everyday,” Villaseñor said.