Junior journalism and mass communications major Lily Huff once said, “If you’re in college and don’t have a caffeine dependency, are you even in college?”
This brought up a genuine curiosity, especially in light of the month of October.
How many people at OBU would say they have a caffeine dependency?
Caffeine can not only cause negative effects within itself, but lack thereof can also negatively affect the consumer.
According to the Mayo Clinic, reasons to cut back on caffeine intake may be insomnia, restlessness, irritability, rapid heartbeat, stomach issues and anxiety.
On top of these symptoms of caffeine addiction, symptoms of withdrawal are also a sign of addictions.
So for individuals who have ever experienced a headache that can only be remedied by a cup of joe, a lack of concentration that can only be focused by an energy drink or a chronic drowsiness that can only be energized with a couple full cups of mountain dew, October may be a month of realization – and maybe even rehabilitation.
October is Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month.
So if there are any OBU students who’ve been concerned about their daily caffeine intake, now is the time to make a change.
According to a study conducted by pubmed.com, caffeine of any form was consumed by 92 percent of college students in the year 2019.
While coffee was the main source of caffeine intake in male and female consumers, energy drinks, sodas and tea were also reported amongst the forms of daily consumption.
The study also recorded the multiple reasons students provided for caffeine use.
These reasons include, “to feel awake (79%); enjoy the taste (68%); the social aspects of consumption (39%); improve concentration (31%); increase physical energy (27%); improve mood (18%); and alleviate stress (9%).”
These numbers reflect those of the responses gathered from OBU students and faculty by a report conducted by The Bison student newspaper.
[Insert year and Major] Megan Presley shared her daily caffeine habits after answering, yes, she has a caffeine dependency.
“I drink pop or soda. So like Diet Coke or Coke, normally,” Presley said.
On average, Presley said she consumes three or four cans of soda on a daily basis.
But soda isn’t the only form of caffeine OBU students are consuming.
Seeing as there is a Starbucks on Bison Hill, coffee is a common choice amongst caffeine enjoying college students.
[Insert year and Major] Caleb Finch is one of such students.
Finch claimed his order depends on how much money he wants to spend, but his go-to Starbucks drink is four shots of espresso with half and half and vanilla.
Finch described his caffeine intake in terms of shots of espresso.
“Probably two, three shots a day,” Finch said.
According to Finch, he picked up his caffeine habit first semester of 2019 due to a “bad sleep schedule.”
A member of OBU faculty that claims a caffeine dependency is Assistant Professor of Communication Arts and Debate Scot Loyd.
With Coke Zero being his caffeine of choice, Loyd claims to intake at least two cans of this soda a day.
Loyd said this presents many problems for him because of recent news surrounding Coke Zero production.
“Coke Zero, as I understand, is not being manufactured anymore,” Loyd said.
“Now this contributes to my stress greatly as an American. I think as Americans we have a right to Coke Zero. Wouldn’t you agree?”
Loyd explained how a lack of Coke Zero consumption affects his physical and mental state.
“I experience an existential crisis followed by kicking and screaming and me ending up in a fetal position on the floor,” Loyd said.
But all jokes aside, caffeine dependence can cause serious signs of withdrawal within caffeine consumers.
According to an article written by psychologist, professor and Director of the Centre for Health Leadership and Research at Royal Roads University, Canada, Elizabeth Hartney for
verywellmind.com, caffeine withdrawal can affect not only the physical physical state of the individual, but the mental state as well.
“As with all addictions, the pattern of intoxication and withdrawal can mask emotional difficulties that are avoided by seeking out the pleasurable effects of caffeine. Lack of energy, lack of motivation, and depression may underlie caffeine addiction,” Hartney writes.
“It can also overlap with work addiction, as some people use the stimulating effects of caffeine both to increase energy for and interest in the mental and physical activities associated with their jobs. Similarly, caffeine addiction can mask the avoidance of more fulfilling activities and relationships.”
So if any OBU students or faculty feel that they might have a caffeine dependency, it might be a good idea to try and wean off of caffeine intake throughout the month of October.
Instead of drinking a soda or cup of coffee, try adding morning and afternoon walks to your day, replacing your caffeinated beverage with sparkling water, herbal teas or lemon water or even try to add five-minute desk stretches to your daily routine.
Though it might be difficult at first and could cause a few headaches, individuals may find that dropping a caffeine dependency betters their day-to-day functionality by cutting out the time it takes to prepare a caffeinated drink, decreasing the amount of money spent on caffeine and even just making them feel healthier.
Who knows? Maybe October could be the start of a new, caffeine-free lifestyle.