I’m addicted to caffeine

The true life episode: I’m addicted to caffeine is about 3 young people that have become addicted to caffeine and can not go a day without a massive amount of caffeine. All thee individuals have suffered from a major health issue from the toxic levels of caffeine they consume in a day and have been warned by doctors they need to drastically reduce or quit caffeine all together. 2 of the people because addicted to caffeine at a young age to help with staying awake during long night shifts while working. Once their hours were lengthened the people started consuming caffeine in dangerous levels to stay awake and make money. The third person was taking caffeine to keep up with a busy day of work, taking care of young children and his nighttime hobby of ghost hunting. I think True Life purposely uses all three types of narrative stances at some point in time during the video to help capture the largest audience possible. However, most of the video is centered on the quest narrative. This shows a difficult journey for the individuals but they all feel they can overcome the problem and see a self-transformation. They do not necessarily have a bad stigma in the world because caffeine is a legal drug and people don’t get a bad high off the drug or make them appear crazy in any way. Caffeine is also such a common thing with the amount of people who consume coffee, soda, and energy drinks. The only people that tend to notice are those whom are with you all the time. Each of the three have different experiences with medical professionals. For example one girl had seizures from an overdose and was hospitalized and is not under the care of her mother. Another person in the video went to her doctor because she became pregnant and did not want her baby to be hurt nor did she want to feel pain in her kidney, as had previously been the case. None of these people play a stereotypical sick role in the video. All of them are trying to prove they can live a normal life and those around them are not causing symptoms to increase, decrease, or change to what someone consuming would act like. Illness narratives help individuals and their families cope with what is going on in their life. Talking about situations such as A.A. meetings mentioned in class lectures help those afflicted. It also allows others to not feel so alone. Illness narrative is again mentioned in the class reading about women who suffer from chronic pain who recall their story and personal take on their “illness”.


Lecture 4.1 Experiencing Illness. Week 4: Experimental Approach.” ANP 204 course website. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/week-4-lecture-1

Lecture 4.2 Illness Narratives. Week 4: Experimental Approach. ANP 204 course website.http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/week-4-lecture-2/

Werner, Anne, Lise W. Isaksen, and Kirsti Malterud. “I am not the kind of women who complains of everything: illness stories on self and shame in women with chronic pain.” Social science and medicine 59 (2004): 1035-45.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. carte277 says:

    Reading your post and not having watched this episode, I would’ve never thought that caffeine use could be taken to such an extreme like this. Caffeine use, especially on college campuses, is looked at as a regular thing and over-consumption of caffeine is not necessarily looked down upon. I believe that society leads us to believe that drinking coffee and other caffeinated drinks allows us to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time and almost make us feel “super human.” That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many more people (young and old) out there that over-use caffeine, especially if they’re juggling many different things at once in their lives.

    In my everyday life, I usually drink a cup of coffee in the morning if I’m going somewhere or heading into work. My dad drinks coffee everyday and multiple times throughout the day, so I’ve always grown up with that stigma around it – if you’re busy, drink coffee. Because coffee and caffeinated drinks aren’t illegal to have and don’t have a negative stigma surrounding them, it’s more acceptable for consumption in public places and everyday tasks. However, with this being said, a illness narrative for caffeine addiction would be harder to “sell” because of it’s accepted use by society. The illness narrative becomes more believable when there is a medical condition involved or your family doctor tells you that you’re drinking dangerous levels of caffeine and that you should stop.

  2. Vanessa Salmo says:

    While reading through the post and also watching this video I noticed a lot of similarities between the situations. It seems like the caffeine addicts gradually built up their tolerance and their need for more and more caffeine. It also seems like their need stemmed from environmental influences such as work, school, and life all overloaded. I think society expects a lot from us and the only way we sometimes find we are able to complete the tasks we need to do is to compensate by using caffeine. I do think that this is a better way to compensate than what a lot of students do which is take Adderall.
    In the video I watched the man was exposed to Coca-cola since he had been a child which led him to later on drink tons of coffee. I truly believe that parents teach their children terrible eating habits then later on are like stop doing this to yourself when in fact it was partially the parents fault in the first place. I also believe that this has something to do with SES because if families don’t have access to healthy food or the money they will not be able eat it which causes and teaches bad habits.

    YouTube. “My Caffeine Addiction.” YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QS5StIDr4o (accessed July 25, 2014).

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