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Student Excited to See If Coffee Will Cause Euphoria or Anxiety Attack


Photo by Aaron Stidwell / CC BY 2.0

Abigail Decantis was feeling a little tired — she was just getting out of a three-hour class, and had a few minutes to perk up before her astrophysical chemistry seminar. However, Abigail always gets nervous to order coffee, because she doesn’t know if it will cause a wave of euphoria for five minutes or give her a panic attack that lasts for several hours.  

Sometimes the euphoria leads her to do productive things, such as apply for jobs or design a skyscraper (she is a chemistry major). Other times, she just sits there and texts her friends about going on a backpacking trip.

Sometimes, when she pulls the short straw and winds up with an anxiety attack, she starts sweating and drops a class. The anxiety attacks also make her embarrass herself in front of people she doesn’t know: one time, she was late to a lecture after getting a cold brew from William’s Cafe, and she flung her iced coffee at her pregnant professor while tripping over someone’s backpack.

In spite of this tossup, Abigail always ends up buying the iced coffee, and, almost every time, it results in a panic attack.