Midterms week is approaching and stress is on the rise. It’s a bright Sunday afternoon and while everyone is enjoying the weather Sarah and Anna have to study for their exams. On their way to the library, Sarah stops by the café to get her regular everyday dose of caffeine; a medium iced coffee. Anna waits for her outside, as even the smell of coffee makes her nauseous; she’s never been a fan of caffeine especially coffee. A few weeks later, Sarah receives her exam grades, smiles and thinks to herself “What would I do without coffee?”
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in motivation, expectation of reward and stress, amongst other functions.
O’Neil’s study found that chronic caffeine consumption in adolescence enhances the effects of cocaine in adulthood; specifically, it enhances the increase of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens.
The nucleus accumbens is a brain structure that largely plays a role in the reward circuit and is part of the dopaminergic pathway. A possible explanation for these results suggest that chronic caffeine exposure in adolescence alters brain chemistry in adulthood, specifically in the nucleus accumbens.
Moreover, adolescence is a critical period in which the brain is still developing and vulnerable to stimulants/drugs such as caffeine that can alter its structure and function; however, the adult brain is fully developed and less vulnerable to caffeine making it harder for caffeine or any drugs to have the same effect.
Created with images by Nathan Dumlao - "untitled image" • Engin_Akyurt - "computer laptop notebook" • Sarthak Navjivan - "untitled image" • Michael Discenza - "untitled image" • Betsssssy - "11/365: Shower Paranoia" • ampiistola - "Paranoia : you must breath out .. so i can breath you in" • Eliott Reyna - "untitled image" • Ravi Sharma - "untitled image" • Kawin Harasai - "untitled image"