Friday, February 28, 2014

Most Addicting Drugs: Caffeine vs. Nicotine

When most people think of an addicting drug they think heroine, cocaine and even tobacco cigarettes. Yet, the two most addicting drugs in the world happen to be commonly consumed. Caffeine, found in drinks worldwide and nicotine, found in cigarettes and new electronic cigarettes can be purchased and consumed on a daily basis. Yet, the effects between caffeine and nicotine vary from person to person and depending on consumption can vary in addictiveness.

Where They Derive and Their Effects

Both substances are considered to be stimulants. They are known to cause an increase in heart rate and other bodily functions become more rapid. They are also both addictive in nature and tend to be easily habit-forming. Nicotine is found in tobacco products such as cigarettes, snuff, pipe tobacco and cigars. It is also now known to be in the increasingly popular electronic cigarette, although that is based on the buyer’s choice of adding it to the product. Nicotine is derived from the tobacco plant, but in pure form is not as toxic as the chemicals linked to cigarettes. Like nicotine, caffeine is derived from a plant. It is derived from the cocoa plant which in turn is used to make coffee, tea, chocolate and yerba mate. It is also an additive in pain relievers, allergy medicines, energy drinks, soda and weight loss pills or products.

As previously stated, both substances are stimulants. They intensify feelings of energy and vitality when consumed. Caffeine is known to battle fatigue and enhances concentration and focus. It is also known to constrict blood vessels that help alleviate allergy symptoms. Caffeine, when taken in high dosages, can cause insomnia, nausea and an increased heart rate. Nicotine, on the other hand, can cause different effects on each person. It is most known to give a sense of stress relief, but it too constricts blood vessels and increases the heart rate. It can also lead to the suppression of one’s appetite, cause dry mouth and nausea. Nicotine is known to be the most addictive drug in the world and when a smoker or consumer of the substance tries to withdraw from usage can suffer severe withdrawal symptoms.

Health Risks and Combination

Alone, nicotine constitutes multiple health risks, especially when smoked in tobacco form. The most common risks from pure nicotine, however, include dizziness, nausea and agitation. There are also studies that show a link between nicotine usage and high blood pressure. Like nicotine, caffeine health risks are minimal. When taken in moderation, it can cause urinary tract irritation due to bladder spasms in highly sensitive individuals. It can also cause high blood pressure and is linked to insomnia in many.

When the two are mixed is when doctors see more health problems arise. The combined stimulant effect causes a rapid increase in blood pressure and strains the cardiovascular region. Individuals that have a history of heart disease or other cardiovascular issues should refrain from taking the two together. In some cases, individuals have to abstain from both substances separately.

While nicotine is exceedingly more addictive than caffeine, caffeine addicts do know that withdrawal from the substance can cause severe headaches and mood swings. However, both substances have low risks on one’s health and cause sensations of energy and stress relief. If taken in moderation, minus tobacco, they are not as harmful as one would think.