Teens and Caffeine Consumption

Paige Stapp, Reporter

Teenagers consume caffeine on a daily basis, but why?  It simple! Most teenagers, ages 12 to 18, drink energy drinks on a regular basis to stay awake or just for that extra pick me up in the morning. sometimes teenagers drink caffeine at night for the long hours of homework they have to do. But not a lot of teens understand the side effects of the caffeine they drink. For later in life, or even after they drink it, side effects of caffeine are shaking, stomach ache, anxiety, and dehydration.

More than 10% of ER visits per year are because of side effects of energy drinks. In 2011,20,783 people went to the ER because of difficulties with high-caffeinated drinks. only 11% of them were hospitalized. Nurse Mandy hillcrest nurse, said last year she got about 2 to 3 students in her office because they had the shakes from energy drinks. Energy drinks are a stimulant that hits the part of the brain that helps you focus. Nurse Mandy stated that every kid she has seen in the past few years would come in and have “ chest pains and that’s because it squeezing their heart’’, 

The amount of caffeine a teenager 12-18 should only consume should not exceed 100mg. Two teenagers at Hillcrest, Maddy Goodwin and Lauren Jackson both said they only drink about 1 or 2. Lauren who prefers coffee over energy drinks said “I only drink about one a day per 2 depending on the day.” Lauren drinks the Starbuck double shot coffee which has about 100 mg of caffeine in each of them. Maddy does not really have a preference but when asked how many she drinks daily she said, “If its a day I have sports one or maybe none, but if no sports ill drink one as a pick me up”

Makayla Deloach who I also asked how many she drinks in a week said, “if given the opportunity I would drink one every day but most of the time its 1 to 2 times a week”.

How did teens start drinking energy drinks? Some started drinking them because of trends on TikTok. Nurses Mandy said, “ yes the cans are always so colorful and stand out to kids.”

Makayla reported “I started drinking them because I started sipping some from my friend’s, and I got hooked and started buying them.”

Maddy and Lauren also both said they started because their friends were either drinking coffee or energy drinks. When I asked all teenagers interviewed, they agreed there shouldn’t be restrictions on highly caffeinated drinks, but warning labels should be bigger. 

Doctors also notice that energy drinks hold a lot of empty calories, and not enough of calcium which teens need for growth. And without enough calcium, teen’s bones can grow without enough bone mass. Another thing doctors have noticed is bad insomnia which then causes twitchiness and sleepy days ahead.

Caffeine also heightens teen’s alertness. A little bit maybe ok, but A lot will be heightened. them so to hinder the ability to focus. The FDA says that a teaspoon of caffeine is equivalent to about 26 cups of coffee.

Energy drinks can have supplements in them to help improve sports and stamina. Another huge side effect is mania. Most people see energy drinks as a trend and the cans are very marketable and colorful, so they are used to attract adolescents. Some parents don’t watch how much caffeine their teen consumes to these parents it’s not drugs and they think it doesn’t cause any life threatening risk. The problem is that caffeine addicting just like drugs.  It has the same type of withdraws as drugs such as headaches shake. 

People with ADHD use caffeine to concentrate and it helps. Scientists agreed that caffeine does work and helps since typical ADHD medicine is a brain stimulant. Scientists say caffeine has the same effect as the other drugs they would normally give kids. Although everyone is different, it isn’t recommended to mix medicine and energy drinks because they will most likely make you overdose on caffeine and over stimulate your body.

In conclusion,, caffeine is a huge thing teens need to watch out for. It very dangerous if consumed too often. It has bad side effects and very bad health-related. So, that extra pick-me-up they need in the morning may just be the wrong thing for teens do with that caffeinated  drink.