As midterms begin to slowly lurk around the corner, your cravings for caffeine may soon be at all time high. It may seem like your typical cup of coffee is barely helping you get through the day, let alone the late nights of studying. Caffeine may seem harmless enough but it does bring its own risks. Caffeine intoxication is not only possible, it is a diagnosable psychiatric disorder as defined by the DSM-IV.
Symptoms of caffeine intoxication can begin after consumption of just 250mg of caffeine (roughly 2 large coffees or 4.5 sodas) with severe symptoms occurring around 800-1,000mg daily. If you're the type that relies on non-stop caffeine, you may be putting yourself at risk of muscle twitching, heart arrhythmia, or in rare cases, hallucinations. In fact, one man is using excessive caffeine as a defense against murder charges! The defendant claims too much soda, caffeine pills, energy drinks, and lack of sleep led him into a “temporary psychotic disorder" to result in his behavior. (Cue the CSI-Miami crime pun). To learn more, click here.
Instead of turning to coffee and energy drinks during the midterm season, focus on natural ways to boost your energy and focus. While it may appear that exercise would make you tired, it can actually provide a surge of endorphins to make you more energized and focus. Snack on fruits and vegetables to avoid the crash of sugary foods and choose protein-rich meals to keep you full and focused. Studies have shown that well-rested students perform better on exams than their sleep-deprived counterparts, so know when to call it a night to ensure at least 7 hours of rest. Grades are important, but so is your health. Keep it in balance!