Caffeine And Anxiety: Do You Need To Stop Drinking Caffeine?

Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC

Published 12/10/2020

If you’re like millions of other people in the world, then you likely enjoy starting your morning with a nice cup of coffee. Even if you don’t like coffee all that much, there is a good chance that you like to drink caffeinated beverages in the morning to get your brain working. It’s not uncommon for people to drink quite a few caffeinated beverages throughout the day, but this might not necessarily be good for you. Did you know that caffeine and anxiety are related? Some people who drink too much caffeine have noted that it makes them feel anxious, and it could even make things worse for those with anxiety disorders.

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This is somewhat problematic for many people because they enjoy drinking caffeinated drinks quite a bit. If you love coffee, then suddenly hearing that it’s not good for you could make your heart sink just a little bit. Do you need to stop drinking caffeine since it could have an impact on your anxiety? Or is it safe to keep drinking it in moderation? Read on to explore this topic further so that you can make your own decision about whether or not to cut your caffeine intake.

How Caffeine Can Impact Your Anxiety

The first thing that you need to understand about caffeine is that it is a stimulant. This is a drug that can make you feel more alert than usual. It specifically blocks adenosine in the brain so that you won’t be as sleepy, and you’re likely going to feel a bit of an energy boost when you drink a caffeinated beverage. This can be great for people who don’t have anxiety, but for those that do, drinking caffeine can lead to several problems. For example, you might wind up experience anxiety at night that will keep you from sleeping. Many people with anxiety have issues with insomnia due to caffeine intake.

Does caffeine cause anxiety? Well, it most certainly can contribute to it when you’re drinking too much of it. Some people wind up drinking a lot of caffeine each day because that is what they’re used to doing. There’s a difference between someone who has one or maybe two cups of coffee in the morning and someone who drinks coffee throughout the day. Also, people enjoy caffeinated beverages such as sodas or energy drinks. These can wind up being quite problematic for those who have anxiety conditions, and you might be better off staying away from them.

Caffeine intake can have an impact on your anxiety condition if you drink too much of it. Studies have shown that caffeine can have a significant effect on depression and anxiety symptoms. Researchers have already proven that caffeine intake will exacerbate anxiety issues in people who suffer from them. Those who have social anxiety issues or panic disorders might be especially susceptible. Knowing this, some people are likely going to want to stay away from caffeine entirely. Whether or not you will want to keep drinking caffeinated beverages in moderation might depend on the type of anxiety you have and how much the caffeine impacts you personally.

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It might be a good idea to take the time to speak to your doctor about how you’re feeling. Discuss your caffeine intake with your doctor to determine if you need to make some changes. Your doctor might recommend abstaining from caffeine, but it’s more likely that the doctor will caution moderation. This could also depend on what medications you’re taking and whether caffeine intake could interact with medicines you might be on. As always, following your doctor’s advice is going to be of the utmost importance.

Caffeine Withdrawal Anxiety

It might sound strange to some, but caffeine withdrawal can cause you to experience anxiety as well. If you said to yourself, “coffee gives me anxiety,” and stopped drinking it suddenly, then you might wind up going through caffeine withdrawal. This occurs when your body is used to receiving a certain amount of caffeine, and you just stop drinking it suddenly. The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include irritability, nervousness, anxiety, depression, fatigue, headaches, tremors, and trouble concentrating on things. As you can tell, this can wind up being a big problem for those who want to cut caffeine intake.

If you’re considering getting yourself away from drinking caffeinated beverages, then you’ll want to do it responsibly. You can avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms by cutting your caffeine intake over time. If you normally drink six cups of coffee each day, then you cut it down to four. A few weeks later, you cut it down to two, and you keep doing this until you just aren’t drinking any caffeinated beverages any longer. It’s a safer way to do it that will keep you from getting headaches and feeling anxious.

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

The FDA recommends that you keep your caffeine intake under 400 milligrams per day. This should allow you to drink several soft drinks. If you’re a coffee drinker, this should equal out to around three or four cups of coffee, depending on how strong your coffee is. To keep the caffeine amounts in check, you’ll need to check the nutritional content of the caffeinated beverages you’re drinking. Otherwise, you’d just be playing a guessing game. It’s easy to find the caffeine amounts on soda/pop cans, and you should be able to find that information on your coffee can or bags, too.

Remember that going above the recommended daily limit of caffeine is when you’re going to start experiencing issues. Problems such as restlessness, nervousness, shaking, and increased heart rate can occur. Overall, it’s going to be in your best interest to pay attention to how much caffeine you’re drinking. You might not need to completely cut caffeine from your diet, but you should try to drink it in moderation. Consider replacing caffeinated beverages with a healthy drink that you enjoy. Or you could just drink water throughout most of the day since it’s much healthier for you.

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Don’t Some People Drink Tea For Anxiety?

You might have heard about people using anti-anxiety tea to help them calm their nerves. If caffeine is supposed to cause anxiety, then why would tea be good for it? Firstly, caffeine is safe to drink in certain doses, as established above. Secondly, tea contains less caffeine than a brewed cup of coffee on average. If you drink tea in moderation, then it might be good for calming your nerves a bit. Many people consider chamomile tea to be the best tea for anxiety.

Of course, tea is not a true treatment for anxiety, and you shouldn’t use it as a replacement to treat anxiety symptoms. It’s just something that some people use as a small coping mechanism. You might enjoy having a cup of chamomile tea after a tough day at work. This can be perfectly fine so long as you aren’t drinking fifteen cups of tea and making your caffeine intake numbers go through the roof. It’s just about being mindful of caffeine limitations.

Remember To Get Help With Your Anxiety Symptoms

If you are feeling anxious, then it makes sense to get help for your anxiety. Some people hesitate to reach out to a doctor because they aren’t sure whether they’re experiencing anxiety or not. This is where taking an anxiety test can come in handy. An anxiety test will help you to learn just how much anxiety you’re experiencing so that you can know when it’s time to seek help. This isn’t meant to be a diagnostic tool, but it will encourage you to see your doctor if you get results that warrant it. Taking the anxiety test is very simple, and it’s going to help you make an informed decision.

You can get diagnosed with an anxiety disorder by your doctor if, indeed, you have one. If your anxiety is simply related to excessive caffeine intake, you can work with your doctor to make important lifestyle changes. Either way, your doctor is going to be there to help. Issues like this can be complicated, and more people deal with these problems than you likely realize. Thankfully, you’ll always have the support that you need.

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Therapists can also help you out when your anxiety is getting worse. Sometimes caffeine intake isn’t the only thing making your anxiety get worse, and you might need someone to talk to about it. A therapist can help you work through anxiety issues over time to feel better about life in general. No one has to face anxiety issues alone when professional therapists are available. It has even become easy for you to reach out to professionals without having to leave the house. There are convenient online therapy options to consider, and getting your anxiety under control will be much easier when you rely on respected experts.