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Caffeine’s Mixed Reviews

Posted Oct 21 2008 12:00am

By Samantha Morgenstern, Assistant Online Editor

It only takes one cup of coffee to become hooked on its caffeine. Well, I believe it:  I have been a regular coffee consumer since the age of 10.

 In a CBS News article “Kicking Caffeine Habit”, Dr. Roland Griffiths says, “We know about 80 percent of the population consumes caffeine, so we have millions and millions of people out there who are physically dependent.” It has become enough of a problem that he has even set up a caffeine addiction clinic at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

 

 Caffeine addiction is actually considered a mental disorder according to the National Geographic’s Caffeine Addiction Is a Mental Disorder, Doctors Say” article in 2005. Many people experience withdrawal symptoms including headache, irritability, and decreased concentration without their daily dose of caffeine.

 These symptoms now classify as a psychiatric disorder, according to WebMD research. Even so, there is no need to worry; even with the addictive traits and withdrawal symptoms, people do not need to start searching for ways to quit caffeine. However, if for any reason you muster the willpower to try, proceed with caution and do so gradually. Incorporate some decaf into your life so you can still have the taste and aroma of coffee, and try setting up a two-week plan to wean yourself off the stuff.

Wondering  how much of a jolt you were really getting from your Starbucks coffee beverage? Slate magazine said that “a 16-ounce Starbucks house blend coffee contained 223 milligrams of caffeine, compared with 174 and 141 milligrams in comparable amounts of Dunkin’ Donuts and 7-Eleven coffee” And the Wall Street Journal says the average Starbucks coffee drink contains 320 milligrams of caffeine. 

 

On the pro side of the coffee consumption argument, there are health benefits to consuming coffee on a regular basis: it prevents muscle soreness, may decrease your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and liver diseases.

 

 However, if you would rather have the ability to function normally sans caffeine, try the gradual approach, or even try switching to tea. I was able to stand a week without buying a cup of coffee—if I can do it, anyone can. Trust me, your body and your wallet will thank you.

 

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