Caffeine is by far the most extensively used and common substance on the planet. About 85 percent of the population of the United States drinks coffee every day.
However, not everyone has the same responses to caffeine- some can tolerate high concentrations, while others don’t.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 31% of American adults experience severe anxiety disorders at any stage in their life. Caffeine is used by billions of people every day to help them stay up, get through a graveyard shift, or get through an afternoon decline. However coffee is well-known for its detrimental effects on sleep and anxiety.
While there may be health benefits that come with drinking coffee, reality tells us that for certain people, there are severe effects of caffeine which basically tells that we cannot have too many good things in life!
What is Anxiety?
It’s important to describe anxiety before diving into how coffee influences it. Anxiety is divided into two types for this reason: general anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). General anxiety is a normal state of mind that comes and goes when the body responds to daily stress.
A person with GAD, on the other hand, will have persistent anxiety for no apparent cause and will be stressed and anxious all of the time. Licensed clinical psychology is the one competent to determine and diagnose this particular mental disorder.
People with anxiety experience symptoms such as:
- Nervousness or agitation
- an irregular heartbeat
- Breathing rapidly
- perspiration and trembling.
- Weakness or exhaustion
- Concentration problems
- struggling to sleep.
- Problems in the digestive tract
Effects of Caffeine
Caffeine, the primary active component of caffeine, is a stimulant compound that affects the central nervous system of the brain. It causes the attentiveness associated with caffeine by blocking a molecule called adenosine.
This chemical reaction may also have unfavorable side effects, such as:
- a rapid breathing
- Problems in metabolism
These symptoms will appear in 45 to 60 minutes and last for 4 to 6 hours, but they are rarely dangerous. The severity of side effects varies from person to person, depending on tolerance, resistance, and the amount of caffeine consumed. This is often influenced by body mass and genetics.
How is Anxiety Correlated with Caffeine
Caffeine has been linked to anxiety on so many levels.
Both anxiety and caffeine induce resembling symptoms that may be misunderstood by anyone who’s had coffee prior to experiencing the symptoms.
In reality, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), which is used for healthcare practitioners to diagnose mental disorders, actually lists four caffeine disorders:
- unspecified caffeine-related condition
- other caffeine-induced disorders like anxiety disorder and sleep disorder
- caffeine withdrawal
Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder is one of four caffeine-related syndromes identified in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM5).
Most people experience nervousness, shakiness, and other symptoms when they consume 1,000 mg or more per day, but caffeine-sensitive individuals can experience similar effects even with a moderate intake.
In one study, 25 healthy adults who consumed approximately 300 mg of caffeine had more than twice the stress levels as those who took a placebo. Anxiety levels were comparable in daily and infrequent caffeine drinkers, meaning that the compound may have the same impact on stress levels if you drink it regularly or not.
The caffeine content in coffee varies greatly. For instance, a grande size Starbucks coffee contains approximately 330 mg of caffeine.
If you find yourself feeling anxious or jittery sometimes, you should consider reducing your caffeine consumption.
Coffee and other caffeinated foods and beverages should be avoided by people who suffer from anxiety. Caffeine seems to be tolerated best by people who do not suffer from anxiety, but everyone’s reaction is different.
Effects of Caffeine Withdrawal
Although caffeine withdrawal is not as dangerous as opioids withdrawal, it can be unpleasant and challenging for people who have had large amounts of coffee prior. For some, caffeine withdrawal takes a toll on their mental health.
If you suddenly quit drinking caffeine after becoming accustomed to it, you can experience withdrawal symptoms such as:
- anxiety and exhaustion
- despondent irritability
- mood swings
- trouble focusing
Consult your doctor for advice on how to progressively reduce your intake, such as having enough sleep and workout, as well as remaining hydrated.
How much is too much Coffee?
The exact levels of caffeine that cause toxicity and overdose differ from person to person and are influenced by the individual’s body mass.
The lower the body weight, the less of the medication is required to inflict damage, as is the case for all medications. As a result, caffeine overdose is more likely in infants, people with eating disorders, and people with other conditions that cause lower body mass index.
More than 150-200 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight, or 5 to 10 grams of total caffeine consumed, is considered toxic in humans. The “adverse effect dose” is defined as 3mg per kg of bodyweight above the normal dietary exposure.
To bring this into context, the average child or young adult will reach the adverse-effect threshold after only one energy drink or energy shot above their average dietary caffeine intake.
What would I do if I’m concerned about the impact of Coffee on my Anxiety?
If coffee isn’t your cup of tea, there are other choices. You have the choice of drinking decaf (caffeine-free coffee) or tea.
If you have an excessive caffeine addiction, start with lower concentrations and save it for when you need a practical booster rather than taking it all in higher concentrations every day. You may even exclude it entirely from your diet.
Anxiety can be lessened by making healthy lifestyle modifications. Caffeine is an active component in a variety of items, including energy drinks, cocoa, and carbonated beverages.
Coffee can be avoided by those with anxiety because it can exacerbate symptoms. If you do indulge, keep things to a minimum level on a regular basis. Since everyone’s physiology is different, don’t be afraid to get help from the doctor or pharmacist.
Caffeine use has been linked to anxiety, including caffeine-induced anxiety disorder. However, for the vast majority of people, mild caffeine use is both healthy and beneficial.
Caffeine withdrawal effects, which can be anxiety-inducing, can occur if you reduce or exclude caffeine from your diet too soon.
If you notice that caffeine is making you feel nervous or that it is increasing your anxiety, talk to your doctor about the appropriate dose for you.