Caffeine Isn’t Good for Teenagers’ Body, Mind and Spirit
Your adolescent might think drinking coffee like a grown up is a cool thing to do. However, caffeine can be damaging to the adolescent mind, body and spirit.
Caffeine’s Effect on the Adolescent Body
Caffeinated drinks have been causing heart problems along with other physical ailments in adolescents for some time. Popular energy drinks which contain high amounts of different kinds of caffeine have caused heart failure and other heart problems in adolescents. High amounts of caffeine can also cause problems in the kidneys and other important organs. Additionally, caffeine consumption can cause dehydration which weakens the body.
Caffeine’s Effect on the Adolescent Mind
Caffeine is a stimulant substance much like cocaine and other amphetamines. The adolescent brain is still developing in key areas most significantly affected by substance use. Caffeine in regular doses and caffeine in high doses can compromise the brain’s development and cause other issues. According to the NIDA, “Caffeine consumption is also known to be correlated with increased risk for illicit drug use and substance use disorders…since caffeine affects brain areas and circuits where cocaine acts, this study explored whether caffeine use by adolescents can impact the brain’s sensitivity to cocaine in adulthood.” Citing a recent study, the article explains that the use of caffeine in adolescent rats did result in a higher tendency toward cocaine as adults. The use of caffeine, a stimulant, altered the dopamine reward neural pathways the same way that other addictive substances do. Programming the brain for stimulated reward by outside substances, the use of caffeine in adolescence can cause an array of compulsive behavioral problems.
Caffeine’s Effect on the Adolescent Spirit
Caffeine causes ups and downs in one’s energy. Adults who regularly drink coffee know that there is always a lull or a slump after the initial “high” caffeine produces. For adults, this can result in emotional responses. For adolescents, these emotional responses can be especially extreme. Adolescents are still in the learning stages when it comes to their emotions and how to cope with stress. Caffeine can exacerbate these difficulties and create more of a disadvantage should another chemical addiction like cocaine come into the picture. Spiritually, blocked emotions and emotional regulation can turn to anger, bitterness and resentment. Stimulant amphetamine substances are known to cause this problem. Adolescents turn their anger toward parents, peers, school systems, and most problematically, toward themselves or toward their conception of a higher power. Becoming physically weak, mentally weak, and spiritually weak, adolescents are at high risk.
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