U.S. Budget Essay

This essay has a total of 990 words and 5 pages.

U.S. Budget

Caffeine

A lot of people often wonder what caffeine is. When isolated in pure form, caffeine is a
white crystalline powder that tastes very bitter. The chief source of pure caffeine is the
process of decaffeinating coffee or tea. Caffeine is used to provide"boost energy" or a
feeling of heightened alertness. It is often used to stay awake longer and late into the
night. Many people feel as though they "cannot function" in the morning without a cup of
coffee to provide caffeine and the boost it gives them. Caffeine is an addictive drug. It
operates using the same mechanisms that amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin use to stimulate
the brain. Caffeine effects are more mild than amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin, but it
is manipulating the same channels, and that is one of the things that gives caffeine its
addictive qualities. If you feel like you have to have caffeine everyday and cannot live
without it, then you are considered addicted to caffeine.

Caffeine also increases dopamine levels in the same way that amphetamines do (heroine, and
cocaine also manipulate dopamine levels by slowing down the rate of dopamine reuptake).
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that, in certain parts of the brain, activates the pleasure
center. Caffeine's effects are obviously much lower than heroin's, but it is the same
mechanism. The long term problem with caffeine is the effect it has on sleep. The half
life of caffeine in your body is about 6 hours. That means that if you have a big cup of
coffee with 200 mg of caffeine in it at 3:00pm, by 9:00pm about 100 mg of that caffeine is
still in your system. You will still be able to fall asleep but your body is going to miss
out on the benefits of deep sleep. The next day you are probably going to feel worse, so
to make yourself feel better, you will need caffeine as soon as you get up and out of bed.
This cycle can start to continue day after day. This is why 90% of Americans consume
caffeine everyday. Once you get in the cycle, you have to keep taking the drug
(home.howstuffworks.com).

Caffeine raises adrenaline levels and heavy coffee consumption can lead to a state of
adrenal gland exhaustion where the adrenal glands are no longer able to adequately respond
to stress by releasing enough adrenaline. Adrenal insufficiency can then lead to a host of
other problems, including a weakened immune system response, anxiety and panic attacks.
Caffeine also interferes with adenosine, a brain chemical that normally has a calming
effect, and raises the level of lactate, a biochemical known to produce panic attacks.
Caffeine raises the production of the adrenal hormone cortisol, another stress hormone.
Cortisol causes the blood vessels to constrict and the heart to pump harder, which leads
to high blood pressure. Coffee is known to worsen the symptoms of persons with high blood
pressure and can cancel out the effect of high blood pressure medications, making
expensive drugs useless.

During pregnancy and breast feeding, all caffeine should be avoided. Fetuses and newborns
cannot metabolize caffeine in their livers, so it remains in their bodies for up to four
days, stimulating their nervous system the entire time, causing irritability and sleeping
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