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Can Caffeine Make You Depressed

Why Is Coffee Better At Reducing Depression Risk Than Tea

Should You Drink Coffee If Youre Depressed? It Depends.

Some components in coffee might counteract the negative effects of depression, according to one 2014 Japanese study.

Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid. These acids can reduce the inflammation of nerve cells that takes place in the brains of people with depression.

This may relieve some of the discomfort and distress that depression can bring, some of which occurs due to inflammation.

Not all tea is less effective than coffee at reducing the risk of depression. The study also identified that green tea has a high antioxidant content and can be as effective as coffee in protecting against depression.

Green tea contains folate, which may also help with depression. The study linked green tea and coffee consumption to a reduced risk of depression.

Not all studies agree that caffeine only has positive effects for people with depression.

Why Does Coffee Make Me Feel Sad

It does not provide permanent health benefits by boosting the nervous system in the short run. People with depression may experience greater depression-related symptoms once the stimulants effects wear off compared to those without depression. The consumption of caffeine should be maintained at a moderate level for people with depression.

Can Caffeine Induce Psychosis

Drinking caffeinated drinks makes some people feel angry, anxious, or irritable, but did you know that caffeine can sometimes induce psychosis in otherwise healthy people?

Psychosis is a state of mind in which a person loses touch with reality through hallucinations, paranoia, or delusions. In a world where people joke about being addicted to caffeine, and many drink large cups of strong coffee at home, at work, and in cafés, you should be aware that caffeine can induce some types of mental illness.

Psychosis in healthy people

Clinical case studies suggest that caffeine can induce psychosis in otherwise healthy people. One study described a patient who started suffering from paranoia and delusions after consuming a large amount of caffeine . The patients psychotic symptoms subsided naturally after reducing caffeine consumption for 7 weeks without taking any anti-psychotic medicine. Another clinical case study reported a patient who had been drinking several cups of coffee and energy drinks each day . The patient sought help because of hallucinations that involved seeing things that were not there and having paranoia about being followed . The patient was also experiencing delusions of reference by being preoccupied with the number 33 . Further longitudinal research is needed to explore whether people who consume a high amount of caffeine are at greater risk of psychosis.

Worsening symptoms for people with psychotic disorders

Caffeine and brain receptors

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Do Caffeine Crashes Make You Depressed

Caffeine is the most commonly used stimulant in the world. It has been used for centuries to help invigorate the senses and energize the body. Many people use coffee, tea, energy drinks or caffeinated soft drinks as a way to boost energy and alertness at the start of a new day. However, few people realize that caffeine can have serious and negative side effects, including depression. Caffeine highs can last for a few hours, but after the initial high, caffeine levels drop dramatically, which can lead to depression and anxiety. If depression has become a problem, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

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People may joke about needing their coffee to function in the morning, but in all seriousness, caffeine is a drug. It’s most often consumed in coffee, tea, soft drinks and, in smaller doses, chocolate. While we seem to have a love affair with these foods, theres been quite a bit of confusion and even controversy surrounding caffeine. Research seems to say conflicting things about the effects of caffeine. It helps to look at the pros and cons.

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Everything Might Bug You

“Your brain has receptors that caffeine directly affects,” Dr. Thanu Jey, clinic director at Yorkville Sports Medicine Clinic, tells Bustle. “These receptors are for neurotransmitters that can induce feelings such as irritability, nervousness, anxiety, etc.”

Your brain can get used to operating on a daily intake of caffeine. But “when you remove caffeine from your system, these effects increase temporarily,” Dr. Jey says, “causing these withdrawal symptoms.” So don’t be surprised if everyone and everything grates on your last nerve, until you adjust.

Whats Happening In The Brain

Caffeine can have complex effects on your brain and nervous system. The stimulating effects of caffeine result from its interaction with adenosine, a molecule in your body that causes drowsiness and signals your body to start slowing down so you can sleep.

Typically, adenosine binds to adenosine receptors, and you begin to get sleepy and feel less alert. But caffeine can counteract adenosine and prevent it from binding with its receptors. This means that you wont feel as tired, and your brain activity and alertness can pick up.

In addition,

These effects may also help explain why caffeine acts as a mild antidepressant for many people.

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Want To Cut Back On Your Coffee Drinking

If you are looking to cut back a little on how much coffee you drink or even just run that little experiment on yourself that I was referring to, then you can start with a few simple tips.

1. Cut Back Gradually

Caffeine is a stimulant, and you will likely feel some physiological symptoms, such as a headache, brain fog, and general fatigue. This will last for a day or two, possibly more depending on how much caffeine you have been consuming. Before you start cutting back, it is good to know about how much caffeine you are drinking in a day. That way you can gradually cut back by a beverage each day or so.

2. Make Sure You Stay Hydrated

Coffeeor caffeine for that matteris a diuretic, which means that it will naturally dehydrate you, so cutting down will most likely help with dehydration. However, with that said, it is still important to make sure you are drinking enough fluids as that will help minimize the effects of the withdrawal.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

You will naturally feel a little tired when cutting back on caffeine/coffee, make sure you get enough rest, giving your body a chance to adjust and recuperate from the withdrawal.

4. Increase Your Physical Activity

Try to increase your physical activity a little. Physical activity is known to increase mood, which will counter the irritability you may feel when cutting back on your coffee intake.

5. Take Notes

Minimize Caffeine Intake If You Have Insomnia

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Caffeine achieves many of its effects by blocking the activity of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that makes you tired and sleepy.

If you already have trouble sleeping, caffeine can make your insomnia worse which, in turn, can fuel your depression.

Caffeine-induced sleep disorder is so problematic that its a recognized psychiatric disorder.

If you have problems sleeping and you still want to drink caffeinated drinks, drink them early in the day, at least six hours before bedtime.

It can take as little as two, or as many as ten, hours after caffeine ingestion to metabolize half of it.

You may find it worthwhile to figure out your ideal cut-off time, then stick with it.

Personally, I cant drink caffeine after 2 pm and still expect to get a good nights sleep.

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You Might Struggle To Make Decisions

Believe it or not, cutting back on caffeine can temporarily impact your ability to make decisions. And that’s thanks to the fact caffeine increases your levels of dopamine. As Bart Wolbers, researcher at Nature Builds Health, tells Bustle, “You don’t only need dopamine to be motivated, happy, and assertive, but also for abstract and outside-the-box thinking.”

You might notice that, in lowering your caffeine intake, you’ll have a tough time seeing the big picture, Wolbers says, or coming up with creative solutions. Don’t worry, though, as it isn’t a problem that’ll stick around.

Can Caffeine Worsen Depression And Anxiety

Caffeinated drinkssuch as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinkspep you up temporarily, but they may have a more insidious effect. They may worsen depression, insomnia, and anxiety.

Several studies have looked at caffeine intake and depression. For example, one study found that, among healthy college students, moderate and high coffee drinkers scored higher on a depression scale than did low users. Interestingly, the moderate and high coffee drinkers also tended to have significantly lower academic performance. There is a reason for this effect and it relates to the chronic effects of caffeine on the brain.

Several other studies have shown that depressed patients tend to consume fairly high amounts of caffeine . In addition, caffeine intake has been positively correlated with the degree of mental illness in psychiatric patients, especially related to panic disorders and depression. The link is strong, but largely ignored by conventional mental health practitioners and facilities.

After baseline psychological testing, the subjects were placed on a caffeine- and sugar-free diet for one week. The subjects who reported substantial improvement were then given either a capsule containing caffeine and a Kool-Aid drink sweetened with sugar, or a placebo capsule containing cellulose and a Kool-Aid drink sweetened with an artificial sweetener, for up to six days.


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The Effects Of Caffeine On Depression

Last updated November 15, 2021.Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC. Written by Deane Alban.

Scientific evidence supports that caffeine can benefit depression, but its not right for everyone and all situations. Learn if caffeine can help you.

Caffeine is the most widely consumed mood-altering substance.

Its found in the worlds most popular beverages including tea, coffee, energy drinks, and many sodas.

Caffeine is not only universally available, society actively encourages its consumption.

In most American cities and towns, it would be hard to find an intersection that does not have at least one coffee shop.

Caffeine is so ubiquitous that its easy to forget that its a psychoactive drug.

What does this mean for people who drink caffeine and live with depression?

You Can Feel Down In The Dumps

Caffeine Allergies &  Other Little

“Caffeine withdrawal can lead to a lack of concentration, lack of motivation, and lethargy,” Scott-Hudson says, all of which can mimic symptoms of depression and make you feel sluggish or sad. And if that’s out of character for you, the lack of caffeine may be to blame.

The thing is, you can choose to push symptoms, or simply undo them by having caffeine. As Dr. Gatz says, “The single most effective treatment for caffeine withdrawal is to consume some replacement caffeine. This will help symptoms within 30 to 60 minutes.”

Remember, caffeine isn’t dangerous. For folks who want to cut back, it may be for personal or health-related reasons, and not because caffeine is “bad.” It’s usually safe to consume caffeine in moderate doses, and there can even be quite a few benefits to doing so.

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Can Caffeine Help In The Long Run

Caffeine may help depressive symptoms in the long term, too. Decades-long research suggests that coffee intake is linked to reduced risk of depression.

A long-term 2010 study of 2,232 middle-aged men in Eastern Finland looked at the association between coffee, tea, caffeine, and depression. The findings show that heavy coffee drinkers had a reduced risk for depression than non-drinkers. No association was found between depression and tea consumption.

Another long-term study of 50,739 U.S. women found that depression risk decreased with greater coffee consumption.

Once again, the link was found only with caffeinated coffee. There was no association between depression and decaffeinated coffee, caffeinated tea, sugared soft drinks, or chocolate consumption.

General Characteristics Of The Population

A total of 234 adolescents in the second and third year of a middle school included 114 male and 120 female students and their average age was 15.86±0.34 years old. The average height was 165.43±7.89 cm and the mean change of the height over the last 1 year was 4.68±10.67 cm. The average weight was 55.50±12.30 kg and the mean change of the weight was 2.85±3.56 kg. Of them, 16 students were clinically diagnosed with depression by medical doctors, and 13 and 35 students were smokers and alcohol drinkers , respectively. According to the self-reported academic achievement, 80 students , 92 students , and 60 students reported to be in the top 30%, 31%60%, and the top 61%, respectively. Two students who missed to fill out their academic achievement were classified into ‘no response.’ The average caffeine intake per month and per day were 777.51±1,237.36 mg and 25.92±41.25 mg, and 24 students reported that they drink more than a can of highly caffeinated energy drink per month .

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How To Reduce Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal should only last between two and nine days, with peak intensity of symptoms occurring 2451 hours after caffeine is cut out (

While these symptoms are usually short-lived, they can be uncomfortable and make life difficult.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the chances of experiencing these unpleasant side effects.

Try the following tips to reduce or completely avoid symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.

  • Cut back slowly: Quitting cold turkey can shock the body and make withdrawal symptoms worse. Gradually weaning off caffeine can reduce the chances of experiencing unpleasant side effects.
  • Reduce caffeinated beverages: If youre used to drinking full-strength coffee, start drinking half-decaf, half-regular coffee to slowly reduce your dependence. Even better, swap one of your coffees for a decaf herbal tea. Shop for herbal tea online.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is crucial when cutting out caffeine. Dehydration can worsen symptoms of withdrawal, such as headache and fatigue (

Cold And Allergy Season

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Other substances you may have lying around your house or tucked in the cabinet also need to be used carefully. The ingredients inmany common decongestants, cough suppressants and antihistamines interact with antidepressants and other medications used for treating mental health in a way that can either make those drugsless effective or create new, troublesome side effects.

For example, cough medicine containing the common ingredient dextromethorphan shouldnt be taken in combination with antidepressants Prozac, Zoloft or Lexapro. Doing socan cause your body to produce too much serotonin, leading to a condition called serotonin syndrome that can bring about increased anxiety, headaches, fevers and a host of other symptoms. In severe cases, it can be deadly.

If you take medication for depression, bipolar disorder or another mental health condition, you should talk to your doctor before selecting an over the counter drug to alleviate a cough or runny nose. Dont stop taking your medication, however.

If you want to start drinking less coffee or adult beverages, Blount recommends using breathing and mindfulness exercises to help reduce anxiety and connecting with friends and family over the phone or video chat to alleviate feelings of isolation. Changing your routine so that you replace that fifth cup of coffee or first beer with something else you enjoy, like going for a short walk, can help disrupt the pattern.

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How Caffeine Can Help Depression

While there are no studies yet on how exactly coffee actually prevents depression, the researchers from Qingdao University Medical College put forward a couple of possible explanations.

Firstly, they speculated coffee may help prevent depression because it has chemical compounds that counteract depression. Coffee combats depression through compounds that reduce inflammation in the nerve cells in depressed peoples brains. The compounds are caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and ferulic acid.

They suggested in the study:

Along with caffeines natural antioxidant properties, coffee can act as an anti-inflammatory in affected parts of the brain. This may relieve some of the discomfort and distress caused by depression, which is related to inflammation.

The other hypothesis is based on the psychostimulant nature of caffeine it boosts motivation and helps you feel more awake.

Caffeine helps the brain create more dopamine, which activates the part that taps reward perception. This then allows you to make better decisions, feel more motivated, and generally be in a happy mood.

Based on a review conducted by A. Nehlig, having 75mg of caffeine every 4 hours can lead to a pattern of sustained improvement of mood over the day. It can increase alertness and well-being, help concentration, improve mood and limit depression.

For more information on this, read How does caffeine affect your mood?

How To Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Since caffeine is an addictive substance, it is best to taper your intake down gradually. If you are a coffee drinker, you may switch to half-caf, then decaf. You could also drink tea instead of coffee, moving from black tea to green tea or non-caffeinated herbal teas. If you drink energy drinks, reduce the number of drinks you consume per day until you have phased them out of your diet completely.

You may experience some withdrawal symptoms at each stage of the process. This may include headaches, grogginess, shakiness, or fatigue. These symptoms will pass as your body gets used to having less caffeine, and your natural energy levels will start to rise again. Drink plenty of water along the way to keep your body hydrated and flush toxins from your system.

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Is Too Much Caffeine Intake A Risk Of Depression

Many people ask if there is no correlation between too much caffeine consumption and if it increases the risk of depression. The truth is, there are no proven studies to back that too much caffeine can produce depressive symptoms. In fact, its the opposite.

Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that those who drink one or more coffee per day have a reduced risk of depression and decreased risk of suicide. Studies suggest that caffeine may increase the dopamine levels in the brain, which makes a person feel happy.


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