Improve Your Mental Well
Coffee and anxiety can cause serious negative consequences if left unchecked. While you can still consume some amounts of caffeine if you have an anxiety disorder, its still crucial that you do so sparingly to keep your mental health in line!
What have you learned? Do you have issues with a caffeine dependency that youre trying to kick?;
Its important to keep your mental health balanced. For more information on mental wellbeing, continue reading our blog, and contact us with any questions you might have about mental health.
James Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a masters degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.
Disclaimer: Psychreg is mainly for information purposes only. Materials on this website are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on this website. Read our full disclaimer here.;
What About Sugar In Coffee
So you dont take your coffee black and need a little sweetness in your life? Sugar and other artificial sweeteners are similar to caffeine in that it cant cause anxiety, but can worsen anxiety symptoms. It is best to stay away since they can cause effects such as fatigue , blurry vision, and upset stomach. These side effects can lower your mood which just contributes to anxiety.
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
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Days Going Caffeine Free
Ill keep the day-to-day experience brief as you can watch the video above to go on that journey with me. Instead, Ill give a quick outline of the main things that I noticed during the week.
Day One: I was grumpier and more tired than usual, and didnt see any immediate benefit.
Day Two: I slept a lot longer than usual but I didnt feel better rested for it.
Day Three: This is when I first started to notice that my nervous energy was a bit less dramatic than normal. With a couple of better nights of sleep under my belt, I was also in a better mood than normal.
Day Four: I was still feeling tired most of the time despite sleeping more and started to wonder if anything else might be impacting the experience. I was also taking more time with my work and better at catching some of the errors that might have previously slipped past me.
Day Five: I found I was more at ease and talkative on a team call and felt less anxious about the things I said.
Day Six: After a terrible nights sleep I was unsure if caffeine was improving my sleep or helping my insomnia at all. However, I did feel like some of my most frustrating symptoms of anxiety were less severe than normal.
Day Seven: Aware that my intermittent fasting, as well as some other variables, might be impacting the results I committed to continuing the test for longer. Mostly because I felt it was having a positive impact but wanted to learn more.
Dont Compare Yourself To Others
There is a saying I like: Comparison is the thief of happiness. I have no idea who originally said it, but they are brilliant, and most of all, correct. Wasting time and energy comparing ourselves never leads us to a good place. Instead, ask yourself if you are doing the best you can given your own set of circumstances.
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Can Coffee Help Anxiety
” … Coffee sets the blood in motion and stimulates the muscles; it accelerates the digestive processes, chases away sleep, and gives us the capacity to engage a little longer in the exercise of our intellects.” – Honoré de Balzac
As the most well-used psychoactive drug of all time, coffee is an interesting compound, with generally positive reviews regarding health and mood. Regarding overall health, studies show some wonderful health effects for coffee.
Coffee can decrease a pre-diabetics risk for diabetes, lower incidence of bile tract and liver cancer, and even help prevent heart attacks after a meal. In fact, a 2013 review of the larger epidemiologic studies show regular coffee consumption to reduce mortality, both for all-cause and cardiovascular deaths. Brand new research by Guercio suggests it can help prevent the recurrence of colon cancer. In addition, coffee intake is associated with lower rates of heart failure, stroke, and diabetes.
Coffee to Help Anxiety?
Conventional wisdom suggests that caffeine-containing drinks are considered a no-no when it comes to anxiety. Theres good reason for this and many people with anxiety should avoid coffee. But, some of you reading this may benefit from coffee. Lets review the information about coffee in terms of anxiety and mood to see what makes the most sense.
Is Coffee Good For Anxiety And Depression
Also, anxiety and depression often occur together, and caffeine can worsen anxiety. Stopping abruptly can worsen depression. If you regularly drink caffeinated beverages, quitting can cause a depressed mood until your body adjusts. It can also cause other signs and symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue and irritability.
How Does Coffee Affect Your Mood
When it comes to your overall mood, the thing you should think about is how your body responds to caffeine as this is the primary issue for most peopledepression or anxiety asideand our bodies have different sensitivities to caffeine.
Some people can drink espresso right before bed and have no trouble sleeping but for others, it could guarantee a night of restlessness with lots of tossing and turning! And poor sleep contributes to irritability, less resistance to dealing with life stressors as well as other poor health indicators, and hence, lowered mood.
Getting a good nights sleep is essential especially when dealing with chronic anxiety. So, if you fall into this camp, then it might be good for you to moderate your coffee consumption or even just evaluate and assess for yourself to see what the impact might be on a period of time with no caffeine.
Its important that you get to know your body and how it reacts to different substances and environments. Running a little experiment on yourself can be a fun way to get to know and understand your body and how you metabolize caffeine.
Does Ibuprofen Help Anxiety
Tylenol Ingredient Reduces Psychological Stress. What differentiates Tylenol from other options, like Advil or ibuprofen, is the ingredient acetaminophen. And while acetaminophen provides a good fix for a stubbed toe, it may also offer psychological relief for feelings of anxiety and social rejection.
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But What About Mental Health
Physical and mental health, as we all know, are closely related. It wouldnt make much sense to think about the effects of coffee on mental health without considering the things above, which can certainly alter our mental state. Mental health is a direct result of our physical condition, and vice versa.
If youve had too much coffee or you can remember your first time drinking it, theres a good chance you know the jittery, anxious feeling it can bring. But what does coffee do to your brain, and do these effects add up to changes in our mental health? Is it;bad to drink coffee when you have a mood or anxiety disorder, OCD, schizophrenia, and so on?
Well need to start with an understanding of how caffeine affects us. According to the American Psychological Association:
Caffeine is chemically similar to the neuromodulator adenosine, which accumulates through the day and induces drowsiness for sleeping at night. When we consume caffeine, it binds to adenosine receptors in the brain, blocking the effects of adenosine, with the side benefit of allowing dopamine to flow more freely. That can bring on feelings of well-being, energy and alertness.
Yet another study from the Journal of Alzheimers Disease links moderate caffeine intake to a lower risk of suicide. But the authors also have this to say:
Matt Collins, a direct support professional working in a group home for individuals with developmental disabilities who also has OCD, says it well in one of his blog posts:
How To Cut Back On Caffeine
Do it gradually.
Experts recommend reducing your intake slowly over the course of two to three weeks. If you go cold turkey, youre more likely to deal with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue and mood disturbances.
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable but usually go away within the first week of stopping, Juliano noted.
It may also be useful to track your anxiety levels in a journal throughout the weaning process, Sweeney said.
Change up your coffee order.
Some may be surprised to learn that one shot of espresso actually contains less caffeine than one cup of drip coffee.
A 1.5-ounce shot of espresso only contains about 75 to 90 mg of caffeine compared to a 12-ounce drip coffee that may contain 200 to 300 mg of caffeine, Juliano said.
If you like tea, youll be glad to know that even caffeinated varieties such as green tea or black tea tend to have less caffeine per serving than brewed coffee. In an 8-ounce cup, green tea has about 25 mg of caffeine and black tea has about 50 mg, according to the Mayo Clinic. But again, caffeine content can vary based on the brewing time, temperature and other factors.
Supposing, however, you consumed the same amount of caffeine from coffee as you did from black tea, would the beverages have different effects on your anxiety levels? According to Juliano, there isnt sufficient data to say.
Switch to decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea.
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How To Tell If Caffeine Is Increasing Your Anxiety
Not sure if your coffee habit is affecting your anxiety levels? Keep a diary to track your caffeine consumption and your anxiety symptoms, Sweeney suggested. Then see if any patterns emerge.
For example, on a day when they felt particularly anxious or had more trouble sleeping, was that the same day they had an extra cup of coffee? she said. could also tell whether the pattern of caffeine consumption relates to anxiety symptoms, such as whether having two cups one right after the other results in greater anxiety than two cups spread across the morning, or whether consuming caffeine later in the day coincides with greater trouble sleeping.
The Worst And Best Caffeinated Drinks If You Have Anxiety
Not all sources of caffeine are equally beneficial or detrimental.
Soft drinks contain synthetic caffeine, loads of sugar, and have no nutritive value.
Energy drinks are no better even though they may;contain some added;herbs or vitamins.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition has concluded;that any performance enhancement from;energy drinks comes from caffeine and sugar, NOT from these added nutrients.;
Traditional;caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and yerba mate contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytonutrients;that offer major health benefits and actually build a better, healthier brain.
If youd like to continue to drink some;caffeine;to stay alert and productive,;theres no better drink than green tea.
Green tea will help you stay simultaneously calm and focused due to two unique compounds, EGCG and l-theanine.
One study found EGCG to be as effective at relieving anxiety as the anti-anxiety medication benzodiazepine.;
L-theanine is a relaxing amino acid that;causes an increase in alpha brainwave activity, putting you in a state similar to that experienced during meditation.;
The caffeine, EGCG, and theanine in green tea work together to induce a desirable state of calm alertness.;
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Quick Tips To Help With Caffeine Withdrawal
If you feel you are using caffeine to cope with an emotional problem, such as depression or anxiety, also;talk to your physician about options for treating these conditions. The right treatment could make a huge difference for you.
Caffeine addiction often overlaps with other behavioral addictions, such as sugar addiction. So, you might find that evaluating your caffeine intake identifies other behaviors that need to be addressed as well.
If you don’t feel that you are addicted to caffeine but may be consuming more than is healthy, you can choose to either reduce your caffeine intake;or cut it out completely.
Instead of cutting your caffeine intake abruptly, try reducing your regular intake by about 10% every two weeks. One way to do this is to reduce the strength of your caffeinated drinks by diluting them with a decaffeinated version.
How Caffeine Alleviates Depression Symptoms
Youll notice that all of the studies above involved lowering the risk of depression and did not address alleviating symptoms of depression.
So, you may be eager to know whether caffeine can help your mood right now.
Caffeine is a fascinating molecule that exerts a surprising number of influences on brain health and function.
No one, including the experts, knows for sure what causes depression.
The prevailing theories are that depression is caused by:
- neurotransmitter imbalance
- emotional trauma
- stressful life circumstances
While caffeine doesnt address all these potential causes, there are two main ways that caffeine can help reduce depressive symptoms.
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Added Caffeine Is An Unregulated Synthetic Chemical
Coffee;and various;teas, including green tea, matcha, and yerba mate, contain caffeine naturally.
But the caffeine found in sodas, energy drinks, energy gel packs,;and caffeine pills and powders is rarely;extracted from tea leaves or coffee grounds that would be prohibitively;expensive.
The demand for added caffeine has far outstripped natural caffeine production since World War II.
Added caffeine is synthetically manufactured in pharmaceutical plants;from chemical precursors like urea and chloroacetic acid.
It is usually made in China or sometimes in India or Germany.
Journalist and self-proclaimed caffeine addict Murray Carpenter, author of;Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us, traveled to China to check out;the worlds largest caffeine plant while doing research for his book.
It was not the high-tech facility he imagined.
Heres how he described the caffeine factory in his book:
half the windows were smashed, and rags streamed out. Bags of stockpiled chemicals sat inside the broken first-floor windows. The place reeked a chemical stench to make you gag and a tall rusty tank leaked a tarry sludge.
He reveals;that if;you drink soda or energy drinks, youve almost certainly consumed caffeine produced there.
Lastly, dont be impressed if you see the words naturally caffeinated on a product label.
Its not unusual for manufacturers to ignore labeling requirements and use the synthetic version anyway.;
Dont Use Caffeine If You Have Anxiety Or Psychiatric Disorder
Caffeine use has been linked to mental disorders of all kinds, including:
Dr. Pat | Be Brain Fit
Its fairly common for people with psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia to self-medicate with caffeine, often consuming large amounts.;
Its suspected that they do this to reduce their medications side effects, specifically to improve their cognitive function and boost their ability to feel pleasure.
Its been recognized since the late 1980s that caffeine may be counterproductive in these cases.
Taking;schizophrenia patients off caffeine has been found to improve many of their symptoms.
Depression and anxiety commonly occur together and theres no doubt that caffeine exacerbates anxiety.
Caffeine consumption delivers a double whammy when you are under stress.
It causes stress hormones to skyrocket, while simultaneously inhibiting GABA, the neurotransmitter of relaxation.
If you have both depression and anxiety, as many people do, the benefits of caffeine for depression almost certainly do not outweigh the cost of increased anxiety.
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Its Easier Than Ever To Overdo Caffeine Consumption
There are more sources of;caffeine than ever before.
You expect to find it in coffee, tea, chocolate,;and cola soda, but its also hidden in prescription drugs, over-the-counter painkillers, non-cola drinks, vitamin waters, brain tonics, and even in vitamins and herbal supplements.;
Caffeine is commonly added to so-called brain supplements, often as part of a proprietary blend which means that the label doesnt tell you how much caffeine the supplement contains.
The amount of caffeine in energy drinks can be deceiving since some of the serving sizes of these drinks are so small.
5-Hour Energy Shot contains a;jaw-dropping 100 mg of caffeine per ounce.
Another problem is that labels arent always accurate.
Sunkist orange soda lists 41 mg of caffeine on its label, but in fact, was found to have almost six times as much caffeine at 240 mg per bottle.;
Caffeines effects are consistently underestimated.
According to the book Caffeinated, heres what escalating amounts of caffeine can do to you:
- 1/64 teaspoon will give you a subtle boost
- 1/16 teaspoon can lead to addiction
- 1/4 teaspoon causes acute anxiety
- 1 tablespoon;is enough to kill an adult
Its thought to be virtually impossible to drink yourself to death with naturally occurring caffeine.
But now, pure caffeine pills and powder can easily and inexpensively be purchased online, making caffeine overdose a reality.
Sadly, there have been numerous deaths caused by caffeine powder overdose.;