If you are among the people who drink coffee daily, you probably drink it for its unique taste, boosting your mood, and helping you wake up. Caffeine is the main active ingredient in coffee. It works as a stimulant. The FDA advises that it is generally safe to consume up to 400 mg of caffeine daily for a healthy adult, which is equivalent to about 4 cups of coffee.
Unfortunately, coffee has its downsides. Consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine (more than 4 cups of coffee) per day can cause anxiety and stress. Individuals who are sensitive to caffeine can experience anxiety even when they consume a small amount of caffeine. But why does coffee make me anxious? Read on to find out.
How Does Coffee Cause Anxiety?
Many people experience anxiety and stress due to issues such as financial concerns, interpersonal conflicts, exams, work deadlines, relationship issues, and world events among other issues. The things you consume, such as coffee, can also cause anxiety. Caffeine in coffee is known to trigger anxious events such as panic attacks among some people.
Caffeine works by blocking adenosine, which is a chemical that makes you feel sleepy. Once blocked, the nervous system releases flight or fight hormones such as dopamine or adrenaline. Also, caffeine works as a stimulant. Whenever you drink coffee, its caffeine content increases dopamine levels which helps you feel awake, focused, and alert.
However, the caffeine level in the body may reach a point where it becomes over-stimulating. In this case, it may cause jitters and anxiety. Also, it increases heart contraction and blood flow which causes panic attacks and palpitations.
In small amounts, caffeine boosts mood. However, exceeding caffeine can result in anxiety and prolong existing stress. Research shows that caffeine maintains and aggravates anxiety disorder. If you find that caffeine is helping maintain or intensify anxiety, you should wean off coffee intake gradually until the anxiety symptoms improve.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling of persistent or intense fear or worry resulting from everyday situations and circumstances. Anxiety may impact your mental state. It presents symptoms such as nausea, muscle tension, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath.
The symptoms of excessive caffeine and anxiety can overlap among individuals who experience anxiety. In this case, you may experience restlessness, gastrointestinal distress, and rapid heartbeat. If you consume coffee and these symptoms worsen, then you should consider reducing your caffeine intake.
Caffeine use can result in a vicious cycle among individuals with underlying anxiety. For instance, an individual with anxiety and dealing with fatigue resulting from trouble sleeping may drink more coffee to perk up for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, you may experience more anxiety and fail to stay asleep at night. The cycle can repeat itself.
How to Eliminate Anxiety after Drinking Coffee
By now, we have answered your question about why does coffee make me anxious. Now that you know the reasons, it will help to find out how to reduce and eliminate anxiety after drinking coffee. You can reduce anxiety resulting from coffee by:
- Staying hydrated- Drink small amounts of water throughout the day. Water will help flush out caffeine from your body system.
- Working out- Exercise can help metabolize the caffeine you have consumed. It will also help to use up the extra energy provided by coffee. Consequently, it will reduce and eliminate anxiety. Try simple exercises such as taking a walk, jogging, or stretching.
- Drink herbal tea- Herbal tea is caffeine-free and can help neutralize caffeine in the body system, thereby reducing anxiety.
- Waiting it out- Rather than going through a vicious cycle of drinking coffee, allow the caffeine content in your body to go away on its own. Ride the caffeine wave you get back to your normal self.