The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Henry: For a culture that hates addiction, we drink a lot of caffeine

Cappuccino+inside+Proper+Grounds+Coffee+in+Lafayette%2C+Colorado.+%28Brooke+Buchan+%7C+Collegian%29+

Cappuccino inside Proper Grounds Coffee in Lafayette, Colorado. (Brooke Buchan | Collegian)

Brendan Henry, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

There is nothing quite like a nice cup of coffee to get the day started, at least according to the about 150 million American coffee drinkers. It provides a nice burst of jitters to get us just anxious enough to pull through the day and helps avoid the headache that comes when the caffeine deprivation kicks in.

Ad

We do this to ourselves pretty much every day despite the drawbacks.

There are many types of chemical dependencies in the world, including addiction to caffeine. Caffeine dependency is very common among adults and naturally lures in those who stay up late to study for an exam and wake up early to take said exam: college students. Caffeine gives just enough boost to stay awake, but after a while, the brain’s biochemistry adjusts to this artificial energy, thus initiating a toxic relationship between the brain and caffeine.

Growing up, we’ve all been lectured on the harmful effects of addiction and dependency from the same adults that were simultaneously working on gulping down their second pot of coffee that day.

There is no doubt that other substances such as cocaine — which was used medically back in the day — are arguably worse for the brain than caffeine due to their potency. The strange thing is that many adults are dependent on caffeine, and it is simply normalized within our culture despite the social adversity to addiction.

“Does caffeine make a huge impact on your life? If not, you should be fine to carry on your habit, but if you find yourself in a cycle of lacking sleep but needing caffeine to wake up or wind up drinking five energy drinks within a day, you might want to cut back a bit.”

“There’s actually a distinction (between) drugs that are considered … foods versus substances of abuse,” said Mark Prince, an assistant professor and associate director of addiction counseling at Colorado State University. “So alcohol use disorder in places like Italy (is) much lower because it’s sort of normalized in the culture as … a food rather than as a drug. Caffeine is like that, too.”

Prince defines a cup of coffee in the morning as “habitual use,” which is not always problematic.

While most of us may not be addicted, caffeine does have addictive qualities. The fact that it typically does not disrupt everyday activities, Prince said, can lead people to be more prone to developing a dependency.

Even with habitual use, the brain still typically develops some form of dependency, and Western culture is happily accepting of it, especially in a higher education environment. Starbucks, Dutch Bros and mom and pop coffee shops stand at lots of corners around Fort Collins, and we eat it — or drink it — up. To these places, we take friends, family and dates, usually have a good time and yet simultaneously build a monument for a dependency on caffeine in our brains.

Just because it is normalized, does that make it OK? Should we put our brains at risk of dependency for a chemical that everyone generalizes as normal? Most of us — including myself — already have, but should we continue?

Ad

The true answer is a hard “maybe.” Does caffeine make a huge impact on your life? If not, you should be fine to carry on your habit, but if you find yourself in a cycle of lacking sleep but needing caffeine to wake up or wind up drinking five energy drinks within a day, you might want to cut back a bit.

Reach Brendan Henry at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @BrendanHenryRMC.

Leave a Comment
Navigate Left
  • An illustration of a woman looking into a pink mirror with several figures in white hooded cloaks to her right. The background of the image is a bunch of scattered Greek letters.

    Collegian Columnists

    Masia: Greek life is a cult on CSU’s campus

  • A graphic of CAM the Ram speaking into a microphone to the left of the words, Collegian Columnist.

    Collegian Columnists

    Pavelko: Cultish fandoms are unwelcoming, polarizing

  • An illustration of two dramatic masks, one depicting joy and the other sadness, among strips of film and next to a movie projector.

    Collegian Columnists

    Thorn: Stop making cult classic movies into musicals

  • An illustration of a roadside sign reading, Colorado: the Subaru State, with mountains in the background and the sun shining down from the top right corner.

    Collegian Columnists

    Souza: Drive a Subaru? Congrats — you’re in a cult

  • An illustration of an athlete sitting on the back of Cam the Ram while holding a football and wearing a crown as three other athletes in different uniforms watch from the right side.

    Collegian Columnists

    Nini: College sports is more about representation than money

  • A drawing of two hands in different shades of green holding on to each other surrounded by flowing turquoise ribbons on a purple background. One ribbon in the center of the image, right above the hands, is folded in a manner typical of a ribbon that represents a societal movement of some sort.

    Collegian Columnists

    Thorn: Supporting sexual assault survivors is more than just listening

  • Pavelko: Old-school teaching methods are more engaging

    Collegian Columnists

    Pavelko: Old-school teaching methods are more engaging

  • Proulx: Im tired of having to vet TikTok influencers

    Collegian Columnists

    Proulx: I’m tired of having to vet TikTok influencers

  • Souza: Dont wish your life away with existentialism

    Collegian Columnists

    Souza: Don’t wish your life away with existentialism

  • Attendees at the Riley Gaines talk, hosted by Colorado State Universitys student chapter of Turning Point USA and The Riley Gaines Center at the Leadership Institute, hold up posters and signs for a photo April 3. Defend your daughters; defend your kids, Gaines said.

    Collegian Columnists

    Askren: Riley Gaines’ presence at CSU violates Principles of Community

Navigate Right

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *