Does caffeine induce anxiety?

I used to drink at least five coffees per day, maybe even more.  Before I would go out at night, I would drink a huge iced coffee AND a red bull.  That is already not healthy, but with my anxiety, it is even worse.  I realized recently that I was always dizzy and jittery.  I could not figure out why.  All of a sudden one day I could not have my morning coffee (tragic) and realized later that I was not jittery at all!  So I decided to research the connection between caffeine and anxiety.

Coffee is one of the most popular caffeinated drinks.  Coffee increases heart rate and can make a person feel jittery.  Caffeine is also a stimulant, which means it increases alertness and energy.  The effect of caffeine on the body can be related to the feeling one gets when they are experiencing a scary event.  The caffeine starts to make your body have a “fight or flight” way of handling it, meaning to “run away” or to “forcibly resist”, ending up creating a ton of anxiety.

Caffeine acts on the central nervous system.  Adenosine, the brain chemical that lowers neutral activity, is put down once caffeine is taken into the body.  This causes people to be more awake.  But if you have anxiety, the caffeine is too much for your body to handle, and basically “adds fuel to the fire” if you are already stressed.  It has been studied that moving to decaffeinated drinks too fast can lead to headaches, which I personally had happen to me.  They say if you move over slowly, by lowering your caffeine intake every day, it can be a smoother transition.

It is not just coffee, but tea, sodas, and any drinks with caffeine.  Do not think of it as a bad thing though, it means you will probably drink more water! 🙂 I miss the taste of coffee dearly, so now I just drink one or two decaffeinated coffees per day to get the same happy feeling I used to get when I would drink coffee.  So, I have confirmed in my studies, that it WAS in fact the caffeine that made me jittery every day.

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Here are some things you can replace your needed caffeine with!

Works Cited:

  1. http://www.stressbusting.co.uk/caffeine-and-anxiety/
  2. http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/causes/coffee
  3. http://www.everydayhealth.com/anxiety-pictures/7-surprising-causes-of-anxiety.aspx#05
  4. http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/prescription/stimulants.html

4 thoughts on “Does caffeine induce anxiety?

  1. Gregory Giliberti

    I too used to have issues with jitters after drinking coffee. One thing that initially helped me was drinking my coffee black. After that, I still had some jitters, so what I learned was to drink my coffee with water and a meal. After doing this, I never had any “jitter effects”. Here is an article that has tips to further reduce “jitters”. Some of the strategies I have used can also be found on the list of tips.

  2. yvy5242

    Interesting! I used to be a coffee-lover, but since my mom warned me not to drink too much, I start to control my desire for its taster. But now I am considering to regain my interest in drinking it!

  3. Kristen Lauren Mckenzie

    wow, I knew coffee could be an effect of anxiety being worse but I didn’t know that all caffeine effected your anxiety. I have a friend that I recently found out she suffers from anxiety and for years she always thought coffee helped her but about a year ago I noticed that she kept shaking and was also jittery like you. I told her maybe it was best for her to stop drinking coffee because it seemed to not be helping. She fought me for weeks but finally we made a bet and she decided to give up. She was not longer shaking and she was able to focus in class. It’s crazy to think that something as good as coffee can be bad for you when you have anxiety.

  4. Caroline Gail Stacks

    This topic caught my attention because, while I absolutely love coffee and its extra little kick of energy, I find that every time I drink it I get extremely anxious, and sometimes even find it hard to concentrate. I only allow myself to drink one cup every day, and most days I don’t have any at all. But still when I drink it, my hands shake, and my mind goes crazy! So I think your findings are really interesting, as much as I hate to admit that coffee isn’t always the best choice. I also think it’s really beneficial how you added all the additional links for alternatives to coffee! I’ve been told that a medium apple has about the same sugar content of a 12oz Coca Cola. It may not have caffeine, but maybe the healthy sugar rush will wake me up a bit and keep me from feeling shaky and nervous!

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