Existing scientific research reveals that in addition to energizing the body, caffeine affects the brain broadly by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which plays a role in processes related to reward and addiction. In fact, it is known that people who regularly consume caffeine are much more likely to have a substance abuse disorder. All my life my mom stressed over my susceptibility to addiction, considering our family history of alcoholism and drug problems. Should she have cared more about the gallons of Starbucks I drank as a teen?
Personally, I haven’t tried cocaine. But if I decided to snort a line at a party, would this data mean I would become addicted, given my history with caffeine? Certainly, I wouldn’t be the only one at risk considering the ways in which caffeine is reaching kids today, given marketing efforts from soda companies. Should we be on board with initiatives to curb caffeine consumption among kids? You can never know if your child is going to take drugs one day, so for now, it may be best to offer your coffee-craving kid a cup of calming chamomile instead.
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