In this article we are going to be discussing the effect that coffee has on your anxiety levels and when I mention coffee I am actually talking about the caffeine contained in coffee, don’t get me wrong coffee has many health benefits one of them being high in antioxidants.
As a major coffee lover, I am not going to tell you to stop drinking coffee, because I still enjoy my decaf cup of coffee in the mornings, but I am just going to educate you on the effect that caffeine could be having on your anxiety. So just a little bit of background I actually quit drinking caffeinated coffee 5 months ago because I wanted to see if it would have an impact on my anxiety levels. I actually filmed a video that talks about why I quit coffee and the withdrawal symptoms that I had.
Since then I have surprisingly never looked back. I don’t rely on a coffee fix for an energy boost or to wake me up in the mornings. It kind of gives you a sense of freedom, I now only drink coffee because I really enjoy it and despite what they tell you or what you think, decaf coffee tastes just the same as regular coffee.
Let’s get into the nitty gritty. Does coffee cause anxiety? The short answer is no. Does coffee increase anxiety? The short answer is yes. Moderate consumption of caffeine is usually not an issue for many people. Sometimes the problem comes in when you are drinking coffee all day, living a sedentary life with a bad diet and have a stressful lifestyle.
Let’s start by having a look at the effects of coffee on your body. Some of them include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Trouble sleeping and
The effects of caffeine are especially worse in those who have an anxiety disorder and those who suffer with adrenal fatigue or insufficiency. So for those of you who don’t know, adrenal fatigue is when your adrenal glands are exhausted and unable to produce enough hormones such as stress hormone called cortisol.
Some of the symptoms are: fatigue, trouble falling asleep, difficulty waking up, excessive sweating, low blood pressure and brain fog. There is so much conflicting information out there as to whether adrenal fatigue is actually a proper diagnosis, so let’s just focus on what we know about caffeine and the adrenal glands.
When you drink caffeine your brain sends messages to your adrenal glands to produce cortisol and adrenaline, this is also known as a fight or flight response. This is a natural response that lets us know that we are in danger, but is this a beneficial response to have everyday? No definitely not. Also, long term use of coffee has less of an effect on people meaning that you will have to drink more to feel the effects of the caffeine.
If you have any of these issues it might be beneficial to reduce your caffeine intake:
- You use caffeine as a crutch to wake up in the morning or to give you energy throughout the day
- You have an anxiety is disorder or high anxiety levels
- You have insomnia
- You feel wired but tired
- You have an adrenal disorder such as cushingtons and addison’s disease
- You have stomach problems such as IBS or crohn’s disease
I want to stress that I am not saying you have to quit coffee totally, but reducing your intake can help go a long way in helping you to reduce your anxiety, if this is something you struggle with. And I would definitely not suggest quitting coffee cold turkey, because those withdrawal symptoms are real. Caffeine actually helps your brain produce more Seretonin which is known as the happy hormone, once you quit coffee these happy hormones are then reduced leaving you feeling irritable and crabby. Instead slowly reduce the amount you have until you can quit the caffeine all together.
So you want to reduce coffee intake, but you need to know what can help you to have more energy?
- Supplements such as vitamin B, C and magnesium
- A healthy diet
- Getting enough sleep
- Stop smoking
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Reducing other stressors in your life
So to wrap up all this information, you need to look at your current anxiety levels to determine whether you think reducing caffeine is something that will help you to cope better in the long run. The journey towards healing your anxiety can be long and hard, but taking certain lifestyle measures can definitely help you to feel better.