How Does Caffeine Work In The Brain
Like many psychoactive drugs, caffeine works by influencing naturally occurring chemicals and receptors in the brain. Specifically, it binds to receptors that are designed to interact with a chemical called adenosine. When adenosine binds to its receptors, it activates them to slow down nervous system activity and promote sleep. When someone introduces caffeine into their system, it can bind to adenosine receptors as an antagonist. That means it binds to receptors and keeps them inactive, blocking adenosine from binding and activating it. For that reason, caffeine can stave off sleep and increase wakefulness. It also triggers the release of adrenaline, which is the fight-or-flight hormone. That can create feelings of elevated energy and increased focus.
Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol And Energy Drinks
- Energy drinks typically contain caffeine, plant-based stimulants, simple sugars, and other additives.3
- Mixing alcohol with energy drinks is a popular practice, especially among young people in the United States.68 In 2017, 10.6% of students in grades 8, 10, and 12 and 31.8% of young adults aged 19 to 28 reported consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks at least once in the past year.7,8
- In a study among Michigan high school students, those who binge drank were more than twice as likely to mix alcohol with energy drinks as non-binge drinkers . Liquor was the usual type of alcohol consumed by students who reported mixing alcohol and energy drinks .9
- Drinkers aged 15 to 23 who mix alcohol with energy drinks are 4 times more likely to binge drink at high intensity than drinkers who do not mix alcohol with energy drinks.10
- Drinkers who mix alcohol with energy drinks are more likely than drinkers who do not mix alcohol with energy drinks to report unwanted or unprotected sex, driving drunk or riding with a driver who was intoxicated, or sustaining alcohol-related injuries.11
Benefits Of Caffeine To The Human Body
Unfortunately, a review of the literature shows two important limitations in caffeine research. Firstly, research on animals uses doses that are hundreds to thousands of times higher than those seen in human consumption. Therefore, relating the results to humans becomes difficult . Secondly, some studies investigate pure caffeine, while others pose research questions pertaining to coffee, not pointing out the other components in coffee and their potential confounding effects .
Despite these limitations, extensive explorations of caffeine have been carried out and have provided a great deal of information regarding the effects of caffeine. Under the next few headings the major neurophysiologic effects of caffeine are discussed as the main focus of this article.
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Tea And Coffee Provide A Different Buzz
The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine about the psychoactive effects of coffee and tea.
Both contain caffeine and therefore have a stimulant-like effect on the brain, but we agreed that the nature of these effects is quite different.
My friend used an interesting analogy: The effect provided by tea is like being gently encouraged to do something by a loving grandmother, while coffee is like being kicked in the butt by a military officer.
After our conversation, Ive been doing some reading on tea and how it affects the mind.
Dont get me wrong, I do love coffee and I believe it to be healthy. In fact, I tend to call it my all-time favorite health drink.
However, coffee does definitely have a downside for me.
While it tends to give me a nice and strong energy boost, I believe it sometimes prevents me from getting much done because the wired feeling can cause my brain to wander.
This excessive stimulant effect of coffee can make me spend a lot of time on unproductive tasks like checking emails, scrolling through Facebook, reading pointless news stories, etc.
It turns out that tea has less caffeine than coffee, but it also contains three stimulant substances that may provide some sort of synergistic effect.
Coffee gives a stronger boost and greater stimulating effects than tea. It can even be so powerful that it may affect your productivity.
Stimulants In Tea More Than Just Caffeine
Tea contains 4 substances that have stimulatory effects on your brain.
The most well-known is caffeine, a potent stimulant that you can also get from coffee and soft drinks.
Tea also contains two substances related to caffeine: theobromine and theophylline.
Finally, it provides a rather unique amino acid called L-theanine, which has some very interesting effects on the brain.
This article discusses these 4 stimulants in tea.
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How Caffeine Affects The Brain
Caffeine is addictive because of the way that the drug affects the human brain and produces the alert feeling that people crave. Soon after Caffeine is consumed, its absorbed through the small intestine and dissolved into the bloodstream. Because the chemical is both water and fat-soluble, its able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain.
Structurally, Caffeine closely resembles a molecule called adenosine thats naturally present in the brain. Caffeine resembles the molecule so much that it can fit neatly into the brain cells receptors for adenosine, effectively blocking them off. Normally, the adenosine produced over time locks into these receptors and produces a feeling of tiredness. When Caffeine molecules are blocking those receptors, they prevent this from occurring a sense of alertness and energy is experienced until the caffeine is metabolized. Additionally, some of the brains own natural Stimulants are released such as dopamine and work more effectively when the adenosine receptors are blocked. The surplus of adenosine cues the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline, another Stimulant, and this further increases alertness and reduces feelings of tiredness.
Gastrointestinal And Urinary Effects
Caffeine excites the small intestine, causing secretion of water and sodium . Its pharmacological effects include diuresis.
From a medical view, caffeine has been seen to promote apoptosis in UVB-damaged cells, to antagonize adenosine receptors for regulating contraction of blood vessels and even serves as a psychoactive drug in the treatment of Parkinsons disease . With its potential utilization in medicine, the safety and effects of caffeine are important issues.
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Public Health Impact Of Excessive Alcohol Use
- Excessive alcohol use is responsible for about 93,000 deaths in the United States each year15 and $249 billion in economic costs in 2010.16
- Binge drinking is responsible for almost half of these deaths and three quarters of economic costs.15,16
- Binge drinking is also associated with many health and social problems, including alcohol-impaired driving, interpersonal violence, risky sexual activity, and unintended pregnancy.17
- Most people younger than age 21 who drink report binge drinking, usually on multiple occasions.18
- The Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends effective population-based strategies for preventing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms, including increasing alcohol excise taxes, limiting alcohol outlet density, and commercial host liability for service to underage or intoxicated customers.19
- States and communities have also developed educational strategies to alert consumers to the risks of mixing alcohol with energy drinks. At least one community enacted an ordinance requiring retailers to post warning signs informing consumers of the risks of mixing alcohol and energy drinks.20
- Monitoring and reducing youth exposure to alcohol advertising through no-buy lists could also help reduce underage drinking. No-buy lists identify television programming that advertisers can avoid to improve compliance with the alcohol industrys self-regulated alcohol marketing guidelines.21
Mouth Throat And Other Cancers
In a study of 968,432 men and women, participants who drank than 4 cups of coffee a day had a 49-percent lower risk of death from oral cancer, compared with those who drank no coffee at all or only an occasional cup.
Other possible cancer-related benefits include:
- a lower risk of endometrial cancer
- a reduced risk of prostate cancer
- protection against head and neck cancer
- protection against the recurrence of breast cancer
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What Commonly Known Drugs Are Stimulants
Prescription drugs used as medications for ADHD and narcolepsy are examples of medicines in the stimulant drug class. These include amphetamine and methylphenidate . Illegal and recreational substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA and cathinone are also stimulants. The most popular and widely used stimulant in the world however, is caffeine! Yes, coffee is a drug. While caffeine is relatively safe, in large doses, it can have negative effects.
Can You Get A Caffeine High
Its possible to get a high-like feeling from consuming a large amount of caffeine or if you are drinking caffeine on a routine basis. You dont have to drink it throughout the day, but even just a cup or two each day can create a level of dependency. After a cup of coffee, you feel more energized or even have a sense of euphoria.
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Common Toxicoses In Horses
In comparison to food-producing animals and cats and dogs, horses are less frequently poisoned. The most commonly encountered equine toxicoses are caused by pesticides, snakebites, arsenic, selenium, monensin, cantharidin, and mycotoxins. Most plants that are hazardous to food-producing animals are also toxic to horses, but horses are less frequently affected since owners usually assure the availability of good feed. Horses are very sensitive to monensin and cantharidin poisonings.
The pesticides most frequently responsible for equine poisonings are the organophosphate, carbamate, and chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides. Both the organophosphates and the carbamates are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and present clinical pictures similar to those seen in food-producing animals. Affected horses salivate and sweat profusely and have muscle incoordination and ataxia. The chlorinated hydrocarbons are strong CNS stimulants affected horses become hyperalert, then excited, and, in severe cases, develop convulsions. In almost all instances, the mode of horses being exposed to pesticides is topical.
Lead poisoning in horses is characterized by neurological effects. Affected horses will be either depressed or excited. Colic and diarrhea are also seen. Because of laryngeal nerve paralysis, horses poisoned by lead also present with difficult respirations and a roaring syndrome. Abortions may also occur.
Energy Drinks And Caffeine
Energy drinks contain caffeine, as well as ingredients such as taurine and guarana . Energy drinks do not hydrate and should not be confused with sports drinks.
The caffeine and sugar content of energy drinks is high. In fact it is often higher than in soft drinks. The levels of caffeine in energy drinks vary between brands, so it is important to read the label before having them.
Children and pregnant women should avoid drinking energy drinks.
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Is Caffeine Addictive
In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association added caffeine withdrawal to the list of recognized conditions in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . However, not all caffeine consumers have withdrawal symptoms if they stop consuming caffeine.
People who suddenly stop drinking coffee may experience symptoms about 12 to 24 hours after quitting. These peak after 20 to 48 hours before disappearing. Gradually reducing caffeine intake over a period of days does not trigger these symptoms.
Unlike other drugs, caffeine has not been shown to activate the pathways in the brain that are related to addiction.
Therefore, caffeine is not considered an addictive substance.
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What Happens When We Use Caffeine
Caffeine is absorbed through the stomach into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, it travels to the brain. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it increases activity in the brain and other parts of the central nervous system. Some people may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others. Instead of feeling energetic, some of us may feel nervous or restless. The factors that can influence how caffeine will affect us include
how much and how often we have used caffeine,
our present mood and surroundings, and
our mental and physical health condition.
Impact on well-being
Caffeine can have both positive and negative effects on our well-being. For instance, research shows the addition of caffeine to commonly used analgesics such as ASA and acetaminophen improves the pain relief benefits of the medications. Moderate amounts of caffeine may help increase our focus and attention. However, consuming larger amounts may lead to agitation, irritability and sleep problems. And, while energy drinks may help boost stamina on the dance floor or when playing sports, the combination of fluid loss from sweating and the diuretic effects of more than moderate amounts of caffeine can leave us dehydrated.
Digestive And Excretory Systems
Caffeine increases the amount of acid in your stomach and may cause heartburn or upset stomach. Extra caffeine doesnt get stored in your body either. Its processed in the liver and exits through your urine. This is why you might have an increase in urination shortly after having caffeine.
If you have experience stomach problems, like acid reflux or ulcers, ask your doctor if its okay for you to have caffeine.
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The Facts About Drugs
WHAT ARE DRUGS? A drug is any substance, which alters brain chemistry in order to give a specific effect. Both physical and psychological dependence play a part in all drugs. Drugs such as heroin create great physical dependence the bodys chemistry changes through heavy and continual use and withdrawal symptoms develop if the drug is not taken regularly. Psychological dependence means that people feel they cant face life without the help of certain drugs. There is much debate about the extent and role of these types of dependence in the use of certain drugs, such as crack cocaine.
CAFFEINE is the most commonly used mood altering drug used in the UK. It is contained in tea, coffee, many soft drinks and colas, some confectionery, included in many medicines and available in over-the-counter stimulant preparations such as Pro Plus. The next most commonly used drug is alcohol, followed by the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco based products. There are three basic categories of drugs:
DEPRESSANTS such as alcohol, tranquillisers, heroin, methadone and solvents slow down the central nervous system and therefore affect co-ordination and reaction time. Because of this, depressant use is particularly dangerous whilst driving or operating machinery.
STIMULANTS such as amphetamines , ecstasy, cocaine, tobacco and caffeine increase the heart rate and give the user a sense of increased alertness and energy.
How To Get Help
If you use a lot of caffeinedrinking the equivalent of more than three cups of tea or coffee per dayit may be negatively affecting your health, so lowering your intake is worth considering.
The best approach is to gradually taper your caffeine consumption. Doing this lowers your dependence gradually while minimizing the negative effects of withdrawal.
It is important to be aware of all of the different sources of your intake, including foods, energy drinks, caffeine, tea, and soft drinks. Try eliminating these sources progressively by replacing them with lower-caffeine or caffeine-free alternatives.
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your caffeine use, or contact SAMSHA at 1-800-662-4357 to find mental health services in your area.
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Circulatory And Respiratory Systems
Caffeine is absorbed from your stomach. It reaches its highest levels in your bloodstream within an hour or two.
Caffeine can make your blood pressure go up for a short time. This effect is thought to be attributed to either an increase in adrenaline or a temporary block on the hormones that naturally widen your arteries. In most people, there is no long-term effect on blood pressure, but if you have irregular heart rhythms, caffeine may make your heart work harder. If you have high blood pressure or heart-related problems, ask your doctor if caffeine is safe for you to consume.
An overdose of caffeine may cause rapid or irregular heartbeat and breathing trouble. In rare cases, caffeine overdose can result in death due to convulsions or irregular heartbeat.
Caffeine in large amounts may interfere with absorption and metabolism of calcium. This can contribute to bone thinning .If you consume too much, caffeine may cause also your muscles to twitch.
If experiencing caffeine withdrawal, a symptom may include achy muscles.
Does Caffeine Make Adhd Worse
Caffeine is one of the most popular psychoactive substances in the world, next to alcohol and nicotine. Its a minor stimulant thats found in coffee, tea, and a variety of medications. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can increase energy levels, wakefulness, and suppresses appetite. It can also cause some side effects like increased blood pressure, insomnia, and anxiety. Because caffeine is so prevalent, its important to know how it will affect medications, disorders, and conditions that youre dealing with.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a disorder thats thought to be caused by a lack of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Its often treated with stimulants. So how does caffeine affect ADHD? Does it make it better or worse? Learn more about how this common substance affects people that have ADHD.
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How Should You Classify Marijuana
Consumers may find it more helpful to consider the variables that could cause a cannabis strain to act as a depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogen. The effects of marijuana are the result of three interacting variables:
- The drug: the unique cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid profile of the strain, the dosage, and method of administration all play a major role in how a person reacts to cannabis. For example, the ratio of THC to CBD will influence the high of any given strain.
- The individual user: physiological factors, such as gender, age, and history of marijuana use will change how marijuana affects each person. For example, a first-time user will be more sensitive to THC than someone who has built up a tolerance through long-term use over time. Also, individuals who carry specific genes are more susceptible to marijuana-induced psychosis .
- The environment: your reaction to any given strain of marijuana is influenced by the environment. For example, the effects of any given strain can be different if taken alone at home as opposed to with strangers at a wild party.