It is obvious that Caffeine Crazies are indeed crazy about caffeine. Sadly though, many of these Caffeine Crazies most likely don’t realize or have not been properly informed of the fact that caffeine can actually cause craziness (“caffeine psychosis” being the proper name), as well as other disturbing symptoms; that being said, the term “Caffeine Crazies” is not too far from reality in certain cases. In my opinion, that is a speech topic that Caffeine Crazies might like to hear about'”not to persuade, but rather to inform.
As of recently, the hype of caffeine has reached its highest, with children quickly becoming a large subgroup of caffeine consumers. I remember a time not too long ago when children were considered “too young to drink coffee,” but more and more, coffee shops are reporting customers as young as ten years old; who ever heard of a child spending their allowance on caffeine? (Penn & Zalesne 189-92) Besides coffee and other coffee-type drinks, energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster, etc. were the fastest-growing beverages in 2006. As of October 2006, more and more caffeine dangers have been brought to light with help from a three-year study of calls to a Chicago Poison Center; the average age of caffeine overdosers was 21′”many of these young people required hospitalization and, in certain cases, intensive care.
Although the health effects of the Caffeine Crazy trend are worrisome and can be harmful to people of all ages, they are even worse for children. Among the health effects that Caffeine Crazies might encounter are light headedness, dizziness, breathlessness, chest discomfort, nervousness, irritability, tremulousness, muscle twitching, tension headache, insomnia, anxiety, lack of appetite, loss of weight, restlessness, silliness, elation, euphoria, confusion, disorientation, excitation, and even violent behavior with wild screaming, kicking and biting, progressing to semi-stupor. (Kaye) Of course, any one of these health effects may or may not affect any given person; the symptoms vary with acquired or inborn tolerance. In fact, “caffeine psychosis” is so severe that supposedly, if a person were injected with 500 milligrams of caffeine (less than the dosage of some 16-ounce brews), within about an hour they would start to exhibit quite a few of the symptoms listed above. (Cherniske) At the same time, the same amount of caffeine administered over the course of a day only produces the milder forms of insanity for which we take tranquilizers and antidepressants.
In 2009, a hit-and-run crash, which was due to erratic driving, was committed by Mark Noble who was dressed in only pajamas and flip flops in 5-degree weather; this brought to light the first most publicized questionable proof of “caffeine-induced psychosis.” (Cox) A logical cause for the accident normally would be alcohol; instead, Noble’s attorney suggested that “caffeine psychosis” may have been to blame for his client’s alleged reckless and bizarre behavior. Barry Smith, author of Caffeine and Activation Theory, agrees that caffeine can indeed “produce a very, very high level of psychological effect.” Smith also called caffeine “the most widely consumed drug in the world.”
Video Game Grown-Ups
Video games, on the other hand, can be just as dangerous and have just as many health risks as caffeine. When people think of video game addiction, many people immediately picture a 13-year-old boy absorbed in his Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, etc.; for a time, this image would have been correct, but quite recently, video game addiction is quickly affecting adults as well. (Video Game Addiction) Video games have truly become the biggest pastime of adults, not children. (Penn & Zalesne 189-92) For instance, as of 2006, the average age of a video game player was thirty-three; just four years before, the average age had been twenty-four. Video game addiction is a speech topic that Video Game Grown-Ups might like to hear about. More than half (53%) of American adults play videos games, but about one out of every five adults (21%) play every day or almost every day. (Video Game Addiction) Although it sounds a bit strange, it appears to be true: anyone can get addicted to video games'”children, teenagers, and adults as well.
The Video Game Grown-Ups trend is a big deal, especially to the entertainment software industry. (Penn & Zalesne 189-92) More Video Game Grown-Ups mean more “mature” rated games, which are already the fastest-growing segment, as well as many new games geared toward women. In fact, one of the fastest-growing groups of video gamers is moms over 45, especially those whose kids are off to school and who have a fair amount of time, but not much money. This group ranks second in gaming time and they spend more time watching television than any other group of video gamers.
As mentioned above, some adults will find themselves addicted to gaming. Warning signs of video game addiction in adults can vary, but they generally include the following: obsession or preoccupation with video games; neglecting personal relationships to spend more time playing video games; difficulty keeping up with personal or professional responsibilities due to increased play time; lying to cover up video game use; feeling angry, irritable or depressed when not playing video games; loss of interest in activities once enjoyed; choosing to spend free time playing video games; becoming so enthralled in the game that you forget to eat, sleep, or bathe; and physical ailments such as backaches, dry eyes, headaches or carpal tunnel'”all this just from video games. (Video Game Addiction) Due to the frequency of video game addiction, effective interventions are now available all over the country. 12-Step addiction treatment programs have been designed to treat a wide variety of compulsive behaviors, including video game addiction. When video games begin to consume an adult’s life, getting help will ensure that they not only come back to reality, but that they create a reality that they are happy to be in.
Besides the ones listed above, even more severe cases of video game addiction has been reported. For instance, there have been three reported cases of men dying because they played video games for three days or more without sleeping, eating, or drinking. (Husbands & Dads) Video game addiction has not yet become an official diagnosis like alcohol or pornography addiction, but it has not been ruled out either. For most people, video gaming is simply a serious hobby like stamp collecting, sports, etc., but for the people whose gaming is causing a problem in their life, they must face up to it and do something about it.
The trends of the Caffeine Crazies and Video Game Grown-Ups both have some disturbing health effects in common, one of these being depression. As for caffeine, your body constantly being on a “caffeine high” can be compared to fighting a war on multiple fronts at the same time. (Veracity) This constant state of alertness is called “caffeinism” which is characterized by depression, as well as fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, sleep disturbance, and irritability. Furthermore, another view is that caffeine and depression may be linked to sleep habits. Caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep and to stay asleep; lack of sleep can worsen depression. If you regularly consume caffeine, stopping abruptly can worsen depression as well. (Hall-Flavin)
On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, when people who are addicted to video games need to be separated from them for only a short while, they become depressed. In general, Video Game Grown-Ups tend to encounter more depression rather than people who do not play video games. Steve Pope, a “leading psychologist” has commented on the situation of his several patients who are addicted to video games. He claims that video games “set the brain up for a pattern of gross fluctuation, too many highs and lows.” Pope goes on to say that video games can make people feel that they are worth something and boost their confidence, but only for a short time. When the people realize that these feelings do not last, some people can be filled with such distress and even have feelings of depression. (Ingham)
Obviously enough, both trends (Caffeine Crazies and Video Game Grown-Ups) can result in depression. How bad the depression can become depends on the person personally'”some people might not be affected by it at all, while at the same time, others might get consumed by it until they decide to get help for their problem. By themselves, caffeine and video games are not dangerous; it’s the people who choose to let a hobby or something they really enjoy get out of hand'”they choose to abuse the pleasure these items bring them. It’s also the people who choose to get help when they, or other people around them, start to recognize that they have a serious problem. It’s your choice'”caffeine and video games can bring you great pleasure, but they can also be the cause of your demise.
Cherniske, Stephen. “Caffeine-Induced Psychosis.” Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Resource Center. N.p., 15 Jul 2005. Web. 23 Nov 2010. .
Cox, Lauren. “‘Driving While Caffeinated’ Defense?: Lawyer Says Caffeine-Induced Psychosis May Have Cause Hit-and-Run Crash.” ABC News (2009): n. pag. Web. 23 Nov 2010. .
Hall-Flavin, Daniel K. “Depression (Major Depression).” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov 2010. .
Ingham, Tim. “Games Cause Depression ‘” The Sun.” Computer and Video Games. N.p., 22 Mar 2010. Web. 27 Nov 2010. .
“Is Video Game Addiction for Real?.” Husbands & Dads. N.p., 26 Aug 2008. Web. 23 Nov 2010. .
Kaye, Sidney. “Caffeine-Induced Psychosis.” Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Resource Center. N.p., 15 Jul 2005. Web. 23 Nov 2010. .
“Never Too Old for Video Games?.” Video Game Addiction. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov 2010. .
Penn, Mark J. and E. Kinney Zalesne. Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes. NY: Twelve, 2007. 189-92. Print.
“Signs of Gaming Addiction in Adults.” Video Game Addiction. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov 2010. .
Smith, Barry D. Caffeine and Activation Theory: Effects on Health and Behavior. CRC Press, 2006. Print.
Veracity, Dani. “The Hidden Dangers of Caffeine: How Coffee Causes Exhaustion, Fatigue, and Addiction.” Natural News. N.p, 11 Oct 2005. Web. 23 Nov 2010. .