How many of you wake up every day and make yourself a cup of coffee to stay awake? How many of you opt for a 2nd cup of coffee to feel even more “energized”? Teenagers and adults alike consume coffee because of caffeine that it contains; the stimulant that affects the brain’s concentration, mood, and overall metabolism. 2/3s of Canadians have been found to drink at least 1 cup a day and 3.2 cups per day on average. I’m not a huge fan of drinking coffee, but I have many friends that already drink several cups of coffee a day every day (Even though we’re only in high school). I never really quite understood why my friends were so hooked and often teased them about having a “caffeine addiction”. But, is it an addiction? What exactly does caffeine do to us that makes us love it so much?
What’s Really Happening?
The truth is, caffeine obsession is not an addiction but rather better defined as a “dependency” as it does cause withdrawal effects but doesn’t affect our brains the same way that other actual drugs do.
To truly understand and visualize what caffeine does, try imagining the brain with cell tower receptors that can receive “tired” signals better known as molecules known as adenosine. Caffeine is a molecule or in this case a very similar signal that blocks the cell tower from receiving the “tired” signals. The tired feeling is blocked until the caffeine signal fades or is metabolized/fully used and broken down by the body. Other naturally occurring stimulants or signals in this case, like dopamine work better when the adenosine is blocked making people feel happier simply be in a better mood. However, over time the brain will create more cell tower receptors to create a better balance which means there needs to be more of the blocking signal/caffeine to prevent a person from feeling tired. This is also how caffeine tolerance is created and alters how a person’s brain works and looks.
Now that we know how it affects within, we can understand how these effects show up outside in our personality and mood. Caffeine definitely boosts alertness and overall how we work/ perform. It definitely has it’s benefits.
boosts mood and because the body gets used it, withdrawal is in fact a thing
that happens even though it’s not technically an addiction. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressed mood
- Low energy
Overall, caffeine isn’t bad for you, it’s just easy to become over-dependent on it, but even then it’s not that hard to overcome and return your brain back to what it was before. However, it’s still very important to understand what caffeine really does for you before you start drinking more and more.