Caffeine? A drug? Well, yes. And you may be surprised about what you are going to read here this week. I remember when I was growing up Mom did not allow us to drink coffee. But Grandma was a corrupting influence when she served us coffee with milk and sugar. Mmmmmm. It was tasty! We didn't drink much soda, either, and when we did, it was usually 7-Up. There are so many more choices today! And children drink a lot of those beverages.
"Caffeine is a drug that is naturally produced in the leaves and seeds of many plants," advises the TeensHealth.org web site. "It's also produced artificially and added to certain foods." It is a stimulant that affects energy and mood and can be found in chocolate, coffee, soft drinks, tea and over-the-counter drugs. It also has a bitter taste until it is processed into its final form.
"Tom" drank coffee with his meals, between his meals, when he sat down to read the newspaper or smoke a cigarette. He carried a Thermos to work and between him and his wife, drank several pots of coffee a day, suffering headaches and anxiety, and his hands shook terribly. His doctor asked how much coffee he drank each day and urged him to limit his caffeine intake.
Ten eight-ounce cups of coffee per day is considered excessive consumption, advises the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Caffeine is a diuretic, causes calcium loss and increases the risk of osteoporosis. It can affect heart problems, interact with the medications and supplements you may take daily. It can make headaches worse and it can worsen anxiety of stress. Caffeine goes quickly to the brain and it stays with the body for hours.
Those energy drinks teens like? If moderate caffeine intake is 200-300 mg daily for adults (100 mg for teens), and 100 mg can cause a caffeine dependency, how much caffeine is your teen getting? Reading labels and teaching your teens to do the same is a good practice. For instance, 16 ounces of Monster energy drinks have 160 mg. of caffeine. Eight ounces of Sobe No Fear contains 83 mg.; 12 ounces of Jolt cola is 72 mg, Mountain Dew, 55 mg and Coca Cola, 34 mg.
The NIH says you may want to limit your caffeine intake if:
You are prone to stress, anxiety or sleep problems.
You are a woman with painful, lumpy breasts.
You have acid reflux or stomach ulcers.
You have high blood pressure that gets lower with medicines.
You have problems with fast or irregular heart rhythm.
You have chronic headaches.
Now comes another villain: powdered caffeine. Autopsy results show that a Lorain County teen died at the end of May, killed by caffeine powder overdose. He suffered a seizure and irregular heart beat and had more than 70 mg of caffeine per milliliter of blood, reported CBS News.
Know!, a newsletter by Drug Free Action Alliance (DFAA) says, "Most of us, however, do not think of caffeine as being a drug, and certainly not a dangerous drug, until now. Meet powdered caffeine."
"Though rare, cases of fatalities have been reported due to caffeine overdose"
DFAA recommends that parents talk to their children about products like powdered caffeine. "Just because a substance is legal and its use socially acceptable, doesn't mean it's completely safe."
Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related mental health issues. For more information, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.