Is Caffeine Fueling Your Anxieties?

Many people consume caffeine on a daily basis. But its adverse effects are often neglected. The association between anxiety and caffeine isn't new but is it actually true?shutterstock_1338624083_Converted2_2.png

Image Source: Shutterstock, Mary Long

Caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world. Did you know one hundred thousand 60kg bags were consumed in 2020 - and that's just coffee alone! It's also packed tea, your favourite sodas and most energy drinks. Despite its prevalent use, its adverse effects are taken rather lightly and given relatively little attention.

Since caffeine is so widely available, the effects it can have on your body fall on a broad spectrum depending on your daily dosage. On the higher end of the spectrum, caffeine is associated with a whole slew of negative side effects. Among these lies claim that caffeine can increase or trigger anxiety.

Anyone who has experienced anxiety knows the great difficulty of dealing with such a condition. If drinking caffeine can bear such a serious consequence, its daily dosage must be taken with greater consideration. Hence, we’ve come to explore the claim - Is caffeine really fuelling your anxieties?

Caffeine and mental health
While caffeine has many proven mental benefits like improved mood, better focus and lower risk of suicide, it's also associated with mental health disorders. High caffeine doses can induce symptoms of anxiety. People with social anxiety disorder and panic disorder are more sensitive to these doses and are more prone to experiencing these symptoms
Furthermore, a study found that caffeine increased feelings of anxiety, hostility and psychosis(detachment from reality) in psychiatric patients.

Caffeine can mimic symptoms of anxiety 
Excessively ingesting caffeine and anxiety are both associated with overactivity in the sympathetic nervous system. This is why caffeine is said to mimic anxiety symptoms such as nervousness, fast heart rate, insomnia and gastrointestinal problems.

Should you still consume caffeine?
The safe limit caffeine consumption for most healthy adults is about 400 mg which is about 4 cups of coffee. It's safe to say that as long as you don't exceed the 400 mg limit, you can safely enjoy your cup of coffee!

Cutting back on your caffeine intake can be hard. But if you have anxiety, you might want to keep a close eye on your caffeine consumption. It is important to note the anxiety disorders are much more prevalent in women, as much as that cup of coffee can be the antidote to your fatigue, overconsumption may turn it into your poison!

Sources:
https://www.healthline.com/health/caffeine-and-anxiety

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20164571/

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