Benefits vs. Risks of Caffeine for Adolescents
By Emma Wu
Around 80% of the world’s population consumes caffeine everyday and roughly 73% of kids consume caffeine everyday. This is a shocking statistic, which raises the question: is caffeine good for adolescents?
Some benefits of caffeine consumption, albeit in small doses, are the following:
1. Caffeine can increase alertness and mental energy
2. It can improve cognitive function
3. Provides relief from fatigue in a convenient and effective way
4. Helps boost memory
5. Tends to be a social interaction tool; many teenagers gather around small cups of coffee to talk
These benefits are helpful for sure, especially during exam weeks or stressful days loaded with homework. However, there are several long-term damages that can also be done to the developing body of a teenager.
Some side effects of caffeine are the following:
- Appetite suppressor
- Accelerated heart rate
- Anxiety or jitteriness
- Muscle twitching
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
- Physical dependance
Caffeine classifies as a drug, as such, as time goes on, a physical dependence begins to develop on caffeine. Withdrawal from caffeine can lead to anger, moodiness, lethargy, and headaches. In addition, the more one drinks coffee, the more one will need to achieve the same level of alertness than needed when first started drinking coffee.
Adolescents should definitely not consume large amounts of caffeine, and in small doses, caffeine helps quite a bit. However, keep in mind that there are side effects to caffeine consumption. Do the benefits outweigh the risks for teenagers?