Caffeine Overdose

The New York Times Magazine published an article by Mali Wollan titled How to Keep Your Hands Steady. In her article Wollan talks about how to keep yourself calm when overdoses of caffeine cause your body to tremble. She gives four main behavioral rules: Get sufficient sleep, limit alcohol consumption, eat regular meals, and to keep a calm psychological state. Now lets apply this to college students. Some of us, like me, had never shown much interest in coffee pre-college (even though our parents are coffee fanatics that need a fix of coffee to start the day).

Central, visual, auditory, muscular, respiratory, urinary, systemic, gastric, heart, and epidermal symptoms of a caffeine overdose.

However, college brings a pile of responsibilities that all have deadlines and for us that don’t have much of a tolerance for caffeine have probably experienced a coffee overdose. Yes, there is such a thing. In the image titled: Main Symptoms of Caffeine Overdose the common symptoms brought from way too much caffeine can be seen. Common symptoms include: physical trembling, nausea, dehydration, anxiety/restlessness, and ringing of the ears. I remember when I experienced my first coffee overdose it went much like this meme:

A meme describing the stages of overdosing on caffeine. Credit here.

I remember experiencing nausea, trembling, and extreme restlessness which overall caused me more stress because I could not get any work done. You may be thinking, simple don’t drink coffee there are other alternatives to increase alertness, little does everyone know that many of those drinks are caffeine based.

Popular energy drinks that contain caffeine. Source:

Energy drinks like JOLT Energy, NOS Energy, Monster, Red bull, Mountain Dew, and even Coca-cola contain different percentages of caffeine.

Now lets look again at the behavioral rules one should follow when intoxicated on caffeine: Get sufficient sleep, limit alcohol consumption, eat regular meals, and to keep a calm psychological state. These rules don’t seem hard to follow right? Most college students, including myself, find them very hard to follow. For college students sleep has become a series of power naps, three meals a day are reduced to maybe two and unhealthy (cheap) snacks, alcohol consumption is amplified instead of limited, and our psychological state is one of constant stress. What does this mean in terms of caffeine? Nothing good.

The average college student.

These subpar or even unhealthy living conditions mixed with way more than the recommended amount of caffeine (that we consume to try to compensate for them) yields to sleep disorders, addiction, extreme anxiety, cardiac problems, stomach ulcers, etc.

In summary, I believe Wollan’s four behavioral rules to not be applicable to college students. I know that for me overdosing on caffeine only increases stress levels because all you can do is sit and wait for the caffeine to leave your system.



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