The Dark Side of Coffee: Coffee and Schizophrenia

By: Dylan Rodgers

Coffee is a delicious and inspiring beverage. No drink is more beloved or more necessary to Earth's 21st Century. The only thing better than a cup of coffee is two cups; that's just science. It's also science that caffeine may cause us all to have 'a beautiful mind'... i.e. schizophrenia.

A recent study at La Trobe University in Australia found that high caffeine levels combined with high stress levels can cause auditory hallucinations. Now granted, the study may have been flawed due to the power of suggestion (click here for the details of the study), but the evidence does suggest that either stressed-out coffee drinkers have a tendency to show signs of schizophrenia or they are more easily convinced something exists when it doesn't. One way or another, this experiment may have profound implications.

If caffeine and stress do cause hallucinations, then as people become more and more stressed out with the economy, joblessness, etc. large amounts of the population may start to develop, if not already exhibit, aspects of schizophrenia. When people that consider themselves 'normal' start to experience phenomenon they're not willing to accept as real, the stress levels sky-rocket and perpetuate the spiraling decent towards madness.

The other possibility is that high amounts of caffeine and stress make people more impressionable or more likely to experience their beliefs rather than real events. If this is true, credibility goes out the window and relativism becomes the only answer to any experience related question.

The point here is that caffeine is a psychoactive drug. In other words it transcends the barrier between blood and brain. Consumed under the right conditions, those of which nearly the entire world currently suffers from, it can cause hallucinations and possibly boost the chances of developing schizophrenia.

As I am writing this, I have been sitting in silence and sipping my 6th cup of coffee for the day. When the wracking of the keys stops, all I hear is dead sound of nothing (apart from traffic, car alarms, dogs barking, and the upstairs neighbor's footsteps, of course). If I lived in a house out in the country instead of NYC, I may have cause for concern.

Otherwise... not schizophrenic yet.

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons."  -T. S. Eliot

How many cups of coffee do you have a day?

Photo: simmessa

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