Since the 15th century, coffee has been a popular energizing beverage worldwide, with 64% of U.S. citizens drinking coffee daily. There is no doubt that coffee can be good for your health, yet some effects might occur if you drink it without moderation. 

The possibility of getting "jitters" from consuming too much caffeine is a common concern, leading us to question whether drinking too much coffee can cause anxiety. And for that, let's dig deeper to discover more about this subject.

What is anxiety to be exact? 

Before diving into the impact of coffee on anxiety, we should get an idea of what anxiety entails and how to recognize its symptoms. Anxiety is a natural and common human response, playing a role in keeping us vigilant against potential dangers in life.

Anxiety can cause symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, tense muscles, and trouble sleeping. It can occasionally also result in physical symptoms like a rapid heartbeat or perspiration.

What is anxiety to be exact?

What is anxiety to be exact?

While it’s normal to feel anxious from time to time, some people might require assistance in managing their anxiety. There are numerous types of anxiety disorders, and they can be treated with therapy and medication.

Some types of anxiety disorders can be mentioned, such as: 

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Common symptoms of anxiety include:
  • Nervousness or restlessness
  • Fast heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Insomnia
  • Gastrointestinal (digestive) issues

Some effects of coffee and caffeine on the human body

Caffeine, a natural stimulant found in coffee, increases energy and alertness by blocking adenosine receptors. It improves our mood, physical performance, and cognitive function. Caffeine also slightly speeds up our metabolism. 

However, binge drinking might make you more anxious and have trouble falling asleep. Regular caffeine use can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Some people might have heartburn or have faster heartbeats. 

Of course, each people react differently to caffeine. Moderation is crucial to enjoy the benefits while minimizing potential negative effects. If you have health concerns, consult a healthcare professional.

Here are a few common side effects of coffee:

  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Digestive Issues 
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Headaches 
  • Mood Enhancement 
  • Improved Physical Performance
  • Increased Urination 

Does this sound familiar? If so, it's because a lot of these are anxiety-related symptoms. As a result, it could be quite challenging for someone with anxiety to distinguish between the side effects of caffeine and their conditions. 

Does Drinking Coffee Make You Anxious?

How to lower the side effects of caffeine? 

If you're dealing with unpleasant caffeine side effects, there are some steps you can take to make them less bothersome. One crucial measure is avoiding caffeine consumption in the evening, as it has the potential to disrupt your sleep patterns, leading to restlessness and difficulties falling asleep.

Furthermore, it's essential to exercise caution when drinking coffee while using other stimulants like Sudafed or medications containing ephedrine. Combining these substances can worsen the side effects you experience and even elevate your blood pressure, posing potential health risks.

Moreover, certain antibiotics like Cipro and stomach medicines like Tagamet can significantly slow down the rate at which your body processes caffeine. As a result, caffeine lingers in your bloodstream for an extended period, increasing the likelihood of experiencing side effects for a prolonged duration.

Be aware of your daily coffee intake to enjoy its benefits to the fullest! If you still have issues with caffeine, talk to a healthcare professional for advice.

How can you tell if you are taking too much coffee? 

For most healthy adults, consuming up to 400 mg of caffeine per day, roughly equivalent to four 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee, is considered safe. Staying within this limit allows you to enjoy the benefits of caffeine, such as increased alertness and improved cognitive function. However, exceeding this daily threshold can lead to various side effects, such as feelings of anxiety, restlessness, sleep disturbances, rapid heart rate, and digestive issues.

too much coffee
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It's essential to be mindful of your caffeine intake and recognize that individual tolerance levels can vary. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine's effects than others, and factors like age, weight, and overall health can influence how your body responds to it. As a result, some individuals may experience adverse reactions to lower amounts of caffeine.

Moment of truth: Can coffee cause anxiety? 

While coffee and caffeine don't directly cause anxiety, they can exacerbate anxiety symptoms in some individuals. For those with panic disorder or underlying anxiety issues, caffeine consumption can increase the risk of experiencing panic attacks and heighten anxiety levels.

However, for those without an anxiety disorder, caffeine may not directly cause anxiety. Nonetheless, personal tolerance to caffeine can vary, and some people may still experience heightened anxiety or discomfort with excessive consumption.

Moment of truth: Can coffee cause anxiety?

Can coffee cause anxiety?

Considering individual reactions and experiences is crucial, and people with anxiety concerns should consider limiting or avoiding coffee and other caffeinated beverages to manage their symptoms effectively. If someone is unsure about the effects of caffeine on their anxiety, seeking advice from a healthcare professional can be beneficial.

What about Sugar? Can it cause anxiety? 

A small amount of sugar in coffee is unlikely to cause immediate anxiety. However, over time, excessive sugar and artificial sweeteners may worsen stress and anxiety symptoms. Limiting added sugars is better for overall health.

What if I'm still worried about coffee and anxiety?

These are some actions you can take if you are concerned about caffeine and anxiety:

  • Try decaf coffee or tea: Instead of making coffee a daily habit, consider gradually limiting your intake or storing it when you need a functional boost.
  • Try milder coffee or espresso: These lighter brews may have a less noticeable effect on anxiety compared to stronger varieties. 
  • Being mindful of your daily caffeine intake: This can help you manage its potential anxiety-inducing effects.

Alongside adjusting your caffeine consumption, implementing stress-reducing techniques, regular exercise, and maintaining a balanced diet can also help manage anxiety levels better. If you're uncertain about the best approach, consulting with a healthcare provider or a qualified professional can offer personalized guidance and support in managing anxiety related to caffeine intake. 

Taking proactive steps and being mindful of your choices can help you strike a balance between enjoying your favorite beverages and minimizing any effects on your well-being.

Tips for anxiety

When should I seek healthcare treatment?

While cutting down on caffeine could be a good measure, you should also consider talking to a healthcare provider about anxiety if you experience persistent or severe symptoms that interfere with your daily life. 

If your anxiety begins to interfere with your relationships, career, or overall well-being, obtaining help from a healthcare provider, therapist, or mental health professional can be critical in understanding and effectively managing your anxiety. They can offer advice, support, and suitable treatments to help you cope with anxiety and enhance your quality of life. Remember that asking for help is a show of strength and that obtaining professional aid can make a huge difference in anxiety management.

Thank you for reading!

July 03, 2023 — Four Leaf

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