Caffeine: Is It Really a Drug?
By Genevieve Cunningham
We live in a world that despises drug use. Sure, plenty of people use illegal substances, but most of us are aware that they’re bad for our health and well-being. But what about legal substances? So many of us use legal substances that bring about some negative symptoms and might very well be classified as a drug. Take caffeine as an example. Though legal, it definitely has some negative ramifications. But is it bad enough to be called a drug? Check out these facts about caffeine, and make a decision for yourself.
It’s Definitely Addictive
Though not as addictive as hard drugs, caffeine definitely has some addictive properties. Don’t believe me? Just try skipping your morning cup of coffee. You might notice difficulty concentrating, a lack of energy, and headaches. Technically, these are caused by caffeine withdrawal. Your body is used to the morning jolt, and without it, your body rebels. Is the addiction harmful to you? Only you can determine the answer to this question, but know that when you begin using caffeine on a regular basis, addiction to the substance is likely to follow.
It’s Technically Possible to Overdose
OK, let’s be real. Overdose on caffeine is absolutely rare. It’s not a common occurrence, mostly because people don’t consume enough for it to be dangerous. But with the rising popularity of energy drinks, we are seeing a few more instances of caffeine overload. This can cause rapid heartbeat, sweating, nervousness, and in extreme cases, heart attack. So can you overdose? Technically, yes. But if you use it in moderation, the risk of an overdose is incredibly low.
It Can Disrupt Sleep
Even if you restrict your caffeine intake to the mornings, it can still get in the way of proper sleep. If you choose to use caffeine in the afternoons or evenings, it can make it even worse. While this is probably not that surprising, the effects of a lack of sleep may surprise you a bit. A lack of concentration, headaches, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, and anxiety are all caused by a lack of sleep. Does this make it a drug? Not necessarily, but it definitely doesn’t help its case for regular use.
So is caffeine really a drug? This probably all boils down to your personal definition. Many doctors classify it as a drug (just like medication), but not necessarily a seriously harmful one. The truth is that caffeine isn’t all bad, but it’s not all good either. Get informed, ask your doctor, and make a decision about caffeine use that works for you.