Coffee: The New Face of Addiction in Edinboro?

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 at 9:57 PM

Another semester has started and the time for essays, projects and exams has arrived. Students here at Edinboro University may drink coffee to get them through the day; such is the case with Bella-Gayane Grigorian, Mollie Maloney and Josh Manross. But can coffee be addictive?

Bella-Gayane Grigorian, a freshman who has just begun her college education this past fall, has been drinking coffee since the age of 9.

“I’m addicted to the taste of coffee because it is absolutely perfect and I crave it at least four times a day,” Gregorian said.

She visits the campus Starbucks inside the Baron-Forness Library on a daily basis. About three years ago, Gregorian attempted to stop drinking coffee due to an increase in anxiety attacks, but she couldn’t keep herself away from her favorite drinks, even for a month: the mocha lattes and black coffees. Gregorian believes addiction to coffee can cause harm to people.

On the other hand, John Manross believes he is addicted to coffee itself. He starts every morning with one and sometimes even two pots of coffee, each with seven to eight spoonfuls of his favorite, Dark Roast Folgers coffee. Josh has been drinking coffee since 8 years old and has never tried to stop.

“I can’t. It’s like chew. I will become irritated and even begin to shake until I drink my morning coffee,” Manross said.

Mollie Maloney, a senior, believes the addiction is from caffeine and not from coffee in general.

“I attempt to avoid coffee while I am not in school, but I will try and grab a Kickstart for early shifts at work,” said Maloney. Unlike Gregorian and Manross, Maloney uses coffee to stay awake through the school year and not for the taste.

Maloney has been drinking coffee since her sophomore year in high school and starts her mornings with a cup of regular roast blend made from her Keurig, which she then mixes with some hot chocolate and milk. When her schedule becomes filled with exams and essays, she will occasionally have a second cup later on in the afternoon if needed. Quitting coffee is easy for Maloney.

“If I woke up tomorrow morning and didn’t have coffee, nothing would happen. But sometimes after a long time without skipping it, like during the last few weeks of the semester, I’ll get a headache,” Maloney said.

Coffee or caffeine addiction has not made it into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), although caffeine withdrawal and caffeine intoxication have. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association placed caffeine addiction in a category of “Conditions for Further Study.”

What is keeping caffeine and thus coffee, from being listed as an addiction in the health community? Research has shown that so far there is little to no evidence of caffeine being harmful. In addition, it doesn’t seem to cause a strong psychological craving like other addictions do, especially when it comes to withdrawal.

In fact, according to Kris Gunnars from Authority Nutrition, coffee has been found to provide health benefits such as: boosting energy levels which help to fire more neurons and help with learning, increasing metabolism and burning fat.

By itself, coffee is not an addictive substance. However, if you go from drinking two to three cups (of coffee) per day, to not drinking any you could suffer from headaches and other health problems.

Andrew Vest is a Contributing Writer for The Spectator.

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