Did you know that caffeine may worsen anxiety and depression symptoms? That innocent cup of coffee you drink every morning may not be helping your mental health. In this discussion, we will explore how caffeine affects anxiety and depression, along with tips to reduce your caffeine intake.
Caffeine Interrupts Your Natural Sleep Patterns
Your body has all of the chemicals necessary to help you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning. The more caffeine you drink, the less your body wants to work. The natural energy levels you would normally get are now being replaced with caffeine. Thus when you go to bed at night, your body doesn’t know what to do.
This is especially true for people who drink caffeine all throughout the day. If you are going to drink it, try to use it as a morning pick-me-up. Avoid caffeine during the evening hours, as it may keep you up later than you want to be.
What does this have to do with anxiety and depression? Well, your body needs sleep to process emotions. This is the time when your brain files all of your memories into various compartments so you can be prepared for the next day. If you aren’t sleeping well, your mind can’t be refreshed. This worsens your anxiety and depression, and it prevents you from feeling productive.
Caffeine Is Addictive
Caffeine is highly addictive, and as with any addiction, it comes with side effects. Your body gets used to a certain level of caffeine, and then it needs more to feel the same effects. Caffeine may become a coping mechanism of sorts. “I need this to get through the day.” By finding a healthier, more effective coping mechanism, you can improve your anxiety or depression from the core.
Caffeine Triggers Panic
That burst of energy you get from caffeine may trigger your panic responses. When you get startled, your heart races. When you drink caffeine, your heart races again. This persistent panic feeling may keep you on-edge, which could heighten your anxiety symptoms.
How to Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Since caffeine is an addictive substance, it is best to taper your intake down gradually. If you are a coffee drinker, you may switch to half-caf, then decaf. You could also drink tea instead of coffee, moving from black tea to green tea or non-caffeinated herbal teas. If you drink energy drinks, reduce the number of drinks you consume per day until you have phased them out of your diet completely.
You may experience some withdrawal symptoms at each stage of the process. This may include headaches, grogginess, shakiness, or fatigue. These symptoms will pass as your body gets used to having less caffeine, and your natural energy levels will start to rise again. Drink plenty of water along the way to keep your body hydrated and flush toxins from your system.
Other Ways to Reduce Anxiety and Depression Symptoms
Reducing your caffeine levels may help your anxiety or depression, but that’s not the only solution available. Ideally, you should find the root cause of your depression so you can overcome it. This may mean bringing closure to a past trauma or rebuilding self-esteem after an abusive relationship. Whatever the circumstances may be, our multidisciplinary team is here to help.
Heron Ridge Associates offers personalized anxiety counseling and depression counseling in Michigan. We have several therapist offices to serve you, and we match each client with the best therapist for them. In therapy, you can discover specific solutions that work for your life, your experiences, and your symptoms. Best of all, you get dependable support from a therapist you can trust.
Contact us at (734) 454-3560 to schedule an appointment with a licensed therapist.