Yup. It’s August, and news is slow.

Which is probably why this story is making the rounds of the newspapers:

or 17-year-old Jasmine Willis those seven cups of strong coffee were enough to make her overdose. She says she was drenched, burning up, hyperventilating and laughing and crying at the same time in front of the customers.

Yup. She drank so much caffeine that she went into a full blown Panic attack.

Hyperventillating women (and sometimes men) are not a unusual sight in your average Emergency room. Usually they think they are dying, and often their friends with them are almost as upset, especially when the nurses see them and laugh and hand them a brown paper bag to breathe in.

Most people are aware that too much coffee can cause jitteryness, anxiety, increase panic attacks, temper outbursts, heart palpitations, a mild tremor in your hands, and insomnia. Indeed, caffeine is the most widely used “psychoactive” drug in the world, a fact that no body except Mormons seem to care about.

The reason is because despite talk of “addiction”, the effects of caffeine are mild, and the claims of caffiene “withdrawal” (a mild headache) is exaggerated.
A lot of health scares about caffiene are also exaggerated, such as the tiny risk to unborn infants or the risk of increasing heart attacks and blood pressure.

On the other hand, it wakes you up, treats mild depression, calms people with mild ADD, can decrease bronchospasm (a “home remedy” for mild asthma), makes you less achy after a workout, and is used in medicine to stop migraine and muscle tension headaches.

And probably the number of lives saved by coffee keeping drivers alert is much more than the rare case of death by caffiene, usually by ingestion of caffeine pills, A search of PubMed showed six recent cases LINK LINK2.  The fatal dose is 5000 mg and the average amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee is 100 mg, the same amount as in a tiny cup of espresso coffee.

If you want a list of how much caffeine is present in various beverages, go HERE.

So if you drink coffee, do it in moderation.

But of course people with common sense usually aren’t the ones who get into the headlines.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket, and she writes medical essays at HeyDoc Xanga Blog

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