Why you should avoid caffeine if you have anxiety



For me, drinking coffee has become not just a habit but a small pleasure in my daily life. I know that I am sensitive to caffeine and have regular detoxes from my addiction to it. If I'm feeling a bit anxious or anticipating anxiety then reducing caffeine


Caffeine consumption can be quite problematic in those suffering anxiety. Studies show that caffeine

increases alertness by blocking a brain chemical (adenosine) that makes you feel tired, whilst concurrently triggering the release of adrenalin, which helps increase energy. However adrenalin also turns on our flight and fight response which can be especially problematic for people that experience anxiety, particularly social anxiety or panic disorder.


Caffeine consumption can increase heart rate, cause restlessness or nervousness, impair sleep and cause gastrointestinal dysfunction.


If you're in the habit of consuming caffeine on a regular basis and cease use too suddenly the withdrawal symptoms can occur including including increased anxiety! Other symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • headaches

  • fatigue

  • depression

  • difficulty concentrating

  • tremors

  • irritability


If you're thinking of tapering back your caffeine intake then it's therefore important not to do so too quickly, or your efforts may make leave you feeling even worse.


My best advice for reducing caffeine intake is to delay that first cup. Our body is designed to boost energy in the morning via the production of cortisol. It's therefore advisable not to drink any caffeine until you've been up for at least an hour. The next step is to continue delaying that first cup of coffee until you really need it. You will be surprised at how the body learns to manage its energy levels on its own.


This article is part of my series on 12 ways to calm anxiety. If you would like to read about some of the other tools that I recommend to my clients to help them reduce anxiety then please have a read through the other blogs in the series.


If you would like to some additional help managing your anxiety then please book in for a free discovery call

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