How Does Caffeine Addiction Influence a Personality?
There are many products that people are used to using in everyday life. However., the long story of using does not guarantee that the product is safe for human health. One of the most famous examples can be tobacco – it is known fact that using it can lead to many negative consequences for human health. However, there is a high number of cases when this knowledge does not make people break the habit. One more controversial question is caffeine addiction influence a personality. Considering this question one can notice that there are different views on the phenomenon of caffeine addiction. Some researchers claim that it is, but other tells that habit to use caffeine does not become an addiction. Finding compromise one can say that in any case, overindulgence of any product can lead to negative consequences, and caffeine is not an exception, whatever is its overindulgence named addition or not. On the other hand, it was proved that moderate use of caffeine could have some positive effect on personality.
Considering the issue of caffeine addiction, one can notice that even though the first association with this issue will be coffee, there is a wide amount of products that contain caffeine. Joseph notices that there are more than sixty plant products, including tea, coffee and kola nuts that hold caffeine. Crocq saw that “approximately 80% of the inhabitants of affluent countries drink coffee or tea daily” (182). Considering the reasons for such popularity Crocq wrote that “subjectively, caffeine increases feelings of well-being, a motivation for work, and desire to socialize” (182). Considering the effect of caffeine more detailed, on a biological level, Joseph refers to Groves and Rebec claiming that caffeine “stimulates the heart and increases tension in the skeletal muscles while relaxing the respiratory smooth muscle.” Joseph also describes the two main ways in which caffeine acts: it “stimulating cellular metabolism and mimicking neurotransmitters to stimulate the brain and nervous system.” Considering the data about caffeine effect and subjective perception of it one can say that it seems to be quite positive.
Some sources confirm the positive effect of caffeine. Crocq already cited above noticed that caffeine “induces alertness, elevates mood, and facilitates ideation” (182). Smith also notices that caffeine have some beneficial effects that “can be most easily demonstrated in low arousal situations” and that “improved performance has been shown when reduced alertness is not involved” (1250). Smith also noticed “caffeine improves the performance of artificial tasks and simulations of driving and industrial work” that allows suggesting that “it will be of benefit in safety-critical situations and will improve operational efficiency” (1250). Hale is one more researcher who noticed the positive effects of caffeine. The researcher noticed that brain processes that have been shown “to benefit from caffeine include selective visual attention, task switching, conflict monitoring, and response inhibition” (Hale). Hale also wrote that caffeine positively influences sustained attention and selective attention.
Moreover, Satel made research the results of which shown that “caffeine use meets neither the common sense nor the scientific definitions of an addictive substance” (500). Satel noticed that even though most coffee drinkers become tolerant to the negative effects rather than becoming tolerant to caffeine’s desirable effects such as wakefulness and alertness, “with standard drugs of abuse it generally takes additional drugs to achieve the desired effect of a high or a feeling of tranquility” (495). Satel wrote that caffeine use does not fit the profile of addition because there is no harm to individuals or society and, there is rarely a strong compulsion to use (500). The researcher wrote that even though cessation of caffeine regular use may result in symptoms such as a headache and lethargy, these are “easily and reliably reversed by ingestion of caffeine” (Satel 500). Thus, Satel claims that “more correctly the pattern of use can be described as a dedicated habit” (500). Taking into account all the facts shown above one can conclude that caffeine is a positive phenomenon. It allows to improve alertness, mood, increases attentiveness effectiveness in work and any activity in general. It was even shown that caffeine addiction is an incorrect definition and it is correct to call it just a dedicated habit. In this way it seems that caffeine addiction influences a personality, that be better-called caffeine habit, have a positive effect on the character, making a person more cheerful, attentive and competent.
However, it hardly can be that some phenomenon will have only positive features and no negative characteristics. There is another view on caffeine addiction followers of which claims that caffeine addiction is precisely an addiction and it can lead to different negative consequences for the people who have it. Thus Crocq wrote that “a study of the generic DSM-IV criteria for dependence in one hundred sixty-two caffeine users found that the “strong desire or unsuccessful attempt to stop use” criterion was endorsed by fifty-six percent of interviewees” (182). Julian and Roland, who paid attention to the specific symptoms and signs related to human caffeine withdrawal. The researchers noticed that of forty-eight symptom categories identified, the following ten fulfilled validity criteria: “a headache, fatigue, decreased energy/activeness, decreased alertness, drowsiness, decreased contentedness, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and foggy/not clearheaded” (Julian and Roland 1).
Moreover, “flu-like symptoms, nausea/vomiting, and muscle pain/stiffness were judged likely to represent valid symptom categories” (Julian and Roland 1). As one can see, there is a quite high number of symptoms and signs that appeared when people try to withdrawal caffeine. This allows suggesting that caffeine is not such safe as the previous view followers wanted it to be. Studeville also noticed the negative effects of caffeine, relating it not only with coffee but also with other products that contain caffeine. Thus, Studeville wrote that “some heavy caffeine users grow irritable, get headaches, or feel lethargic when they can’t get that coffee, soft drink, energy drink, or a cup of tea.” Studeville refers to Griffiths, writing about caffeine users that “with regard to severity, thirteen percent of people had clinically significant distress or functional impairment” and “caffeine withdrawal involved missing work, canceling social functions, and going to bed with the belief that they had the flu.” What is important, Studeville refers to Griffiths again, noticing that “regular caffeine consumers may use it more to stave off withdrawal symptoms than to simply enjoy the” and that “people who take in as little as a hundred milligrams of caffeine per day – about the amount in half a cup of coffee – can acquire a physical dependence that would trigger withdrawal symptoms”. Hale, concluding caffeine addiction study wrote that “more than moderate use does not offer additional benefits, and higher doses sometimes lead to negative effects.” As one can see from the information shown above, the phenomenon of caffeine addiction exists, and it is precisely the addiction, not just a habit. Moreover, it is quite easy to get this addition, and the consequences of it can be very harmful.
In this way, there are two controversial views on the phenomenon of caffeine addiction. The followers of one aspect claim that caffeine addiction exists and it has a high number of negative consequences. The followers of another view claim that it is just a dedicated habit which can be easily broken. Searching for a solution for this controversial issue one can find the compromise in considering the caffeine habit and caffeine addiction as two different phenomena. Separating this two phenomena one can define the caffeine habit as the case when a person under certain circumstances is used to have a cup of coffee. What is essential, considering the caffeine habit or addiction, one can notice that habit or addiction can be caused not because of coffee effect on a human organism, but by some other reason. One also can see that there can be a wide amount of reason that can lead to caffeine habit or addiction. Some people can like the taste of coffee, with some additions like milk, sugar, and other additions or without them. For some people, a cup of coffee creates the unique atmosphere and make a person relax even though the biological effect of coffee, on the contrary, is excitatory. It is also can be a case when some drink or dish is associated with some positive memories, and it is the reason why a person like it, not because of the taste. In any way, one must separate a habit – the case when a person chose the product with caffeine because of psychological circumstances in which he or she used to do such a choice.
Another example is caffeine addiction when a person each time use caffeine because of a physical need of caffeine. Comparing this two cases one can claim that if a person, having a habit for this, could not get caffeine product, he or she will feel only psychological discomfort, and perhaps even do without it. In the case of caffeine addition the person can have all that unpleasant symptoms – “a headache, fatigue, decreased energy/activeness, decreased alertness, drowsiness, decreased contentedness, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and foggy/not clearheaded” (1), and other, described by Julian and Roland, and other researchers. The probable negative consequence is related to the statement of Griffiths, cited by Studeville that the dose of caffeine, necessary to appearing the addiction is quite low. In this way, considering the difference of caffeine habit and addiction one can say that they have a different impact on personality. The caffeine habit has not such a wide amount of negative consequence as the addiction have. Having a habit of drinking coffee a person can have better social skills if he or she used to drink coffee in a company. Sometimes a cup of coffee can have a necessary impact on the human organism, allowing to become cheerful more quickly after waking up or having essential extra power when a person is already tired. This options can have a positive impact on a personality of that who have a habit to drink coffee. On the other hand, when a person has the caffeine addiction, not a habit, it can have the negative impact on a personality. Being without caffeine, a person can become irritable, and that consequence can have a negative effect on a personality.
In this way, one can conclude the caffeine addiction that it is quite a controversial issue. Some researchers deny the fact of caffeine addiction, claiming that caffeine is not dangerous and there can not be any addiction because of it. On the other hand, there are researchers with a controversial view, who claims that even a small dose of caffeine daily can lead to addiction. These facts caused the case that one has to consider separately drinking coffee as a habit and caffeine addiction as two different phenomena. Thus, drinking coffee as a habit can have positive consequences for one’s personality. Have a habit of drinking coffee a person can have better social skills. Besides, he or she can use caffeine as an additional stimulant to cheer up. However, the caffeine addiction, in contrast, has negative consequences for one’s personality. A person who has caffeine addiction can feel unwell because of regular intake of caffeine doses. Moreover, trying to get rid of addiction one can have unpleasant symptoms like a headache, irritability and many others. In this way, caffeine addiction can have a negative impact on a personality, while the habit of drinking coffee is a quite safe.
Crocq, Marc-Antoine. “Alcohol, Nicotine, Caffeine, And Mental Disorders.” Dialogues In Clinical Neuroscience, vol 5, no. 2, 2003, pp. 175–185.
Joseph, Simon. “Caffeine Addiction And Its Effects.” Nursing Times, 2001, https://www.nursingtimes.net/roles/nurse-educators/caffeine-addiction-and-its-effects/200735.article.
Juliano, Laura M., and Roland R. Griffiths. “A Critical Review Of Caffeine Withdrawal: Empirical Validation Of Symptoms And Signs, Incidence, Severity, And Associated Features.” Psychopharmacology, vol 176, no. 1, 2004, pp. 1-29.
Hale, Jamie. “Caffeine’s Effects On Your Thinking | World Of Psychology.” World Of Psychology, 2012, https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/04/15/caffeines-effects-on-your-thinking/.
Satel, Sally. “Is Caffeine Addictive?—A Review Of The Literature.” The American Journal Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse, vol 32, no. 4, 2006, pp. 493-502. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/00952990600918965.
Smith, Andrew. “Effects Of Caffeine On Human Behavior..” Food And Chemical Toxicology, vol 40, no. 9, 2002, pp. 1243-1255.