5 Ways In which Caffeine Affects Anxiety

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Coffee is the universal wake up beverage. People everywhere love coffee. Although filter coffee has always been the favourite drink down south, especially in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, for the rest of us the predominant beverage of choice is the humble chai. Coffee steadily has been gaining popularity with the rise of capitalism and the spread of coffee houses in India.

Drinking coffee does have its benefits – it is not always bad for you. Addiction to coffee isn’t the worst addiction to have in the world, but it can cause a lot of side effects, especially if you’re an anxious person. If you have an anxiety disorder, coffee makes things worse. In fact, it is best to avoid caffeine altogether if you’re diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

However, there are solutions to this, such as drinking decaffeinated beverages, but that trend is yet to take off in India.

If you love coffee, and can’t give up, then decaffeinated coffee is the best solution for you // Pic credits: Chattahoochee Coffee

Here are a number of reasons to avoid caffeine as it aggravates anxiety.

Coffee is a stimulant
It can make your heart beat faster – something you want to avoid if you have anxiety. This can lead to palpitations in anxiety patients, and eventually a panic attack.

It can increase stress hormones
Cortisol is a stress hormone in the body, and caffeine in the bloodstream triggers more of it. When you have an anxiety disorder, you need the production of cortisol to be regulated because that is what causes anxiety and panic attacks.

Caffeine causes insomnia
Since it is a stimulant, it can make you hyperactive and make your heart beat faster, which in turn makes your brain confused about sleep. If you’ve noticed, having coffee in the evening makes it hard for you to fall asleep. Getting less sleep is also a contributing factor for frequent anxiety and panic attacks.

Caffeine crash isn’t pretty
When you’ve had too much caffeine and the effects are wearing off – also known as ‘caffeine crash’, it can make you feel jittery, fidgety, nauseous, nervous, irritable and more. These are bodily sensations that can contribute to anxiety attacks. Since panic attacks have similar bodily reactions – it can trigger them.

Caffeine is linked to mental disorders
Too much of anything is a bad thing, and that is why too much of coffee is linked to psychiatric disorders. In fact, addiction to coffee has a direct link to diseases such as depression, anxiety, sleep and eating disorders.

Pic credits: Shape Magazine

Also read: Why Cutting Down On Sugar Is A Secret To Healthy Life