The statistics are clear: most of us are consuming far too much caffeine on a daily basis. It’s hard to fight the allure of that morning coffee, or the soft drinks that are available around every corner, as excessive caffeine consumption has become a way of life for most Americans. The question is: is caffeine especially detrimental for anxiety sufferers? This article will explain the relationship between anxiety and caffeine, and tips for how to treat your anxiety in a natural, drug-free way.
Most health experts agree that there is a link between that morning coffee and increased anxiety symptoms. After all, most people forget that caffeine is a drug like any other, and it’s purpose is to stimulate the body. Too much caffeine can lead to negative symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat and overall shakiness, as well as sleep disruption. However, a moderate amount of caffeine may not worsen anxiety and is even associated with some health benefits.
Many studies have shown that a mild to moderate level of caffeine in the body has no noticeable effects on anxiety, and can even increase levels of cognition. That morning cup of coffee can indeed make your brain feel much more energized and ready to take on the world, and it can even lessen symptoms of depression. Moderate amounts of caffeine have been shown to have a positive effect on one’s sense of well-being and increased stamina, as well as a greater ability to concentrate and remember important routine tasks. Caffeine can alleviate some depressive symptoms by blocking a chemical called adenosine, which can lead to a better sense of focus and more energy.
However, this is where the good news ends. As previously mentioned, some of the side effects of caffeine include an increased heart rate and shakiness. Unfortunately, these side effects can lead to panic attacks, especially in those people who are already prone to the. Therefore, people who suffer from panic attacks should refrain from drinking caffeine as much as possible, and it’s generally recommend only in moderate doses for anyone who struggles with anxiety. Finally, it’s important to remember that while that morning cup of coffee or can of soda may be fine, the large amounts of sugar in them may not. As a final reminder, remember that the more caffeine you consume, the more you’ll develop a tolerance for it.
Now it’s time to explore less controversial methods of decreasing your anxiety. You can begin by making sure you get at least eight hours of sleep tonight. It may be the current fashion to brag about how sleep-deprived you are, but this lack of sleep is incredibly detrimental to anxiety sufferers. Your body needs that time to relax and rejuvenate and not be under the constant stress of anxiety. To better enable you to sleep, you should eliminate clutter from your sleeping area, and try to create a calm, peaceful environment. Refrain from drinking caffeine for a few hours before bedtime, and shut off any distracting electronic devices.
Next, you can move on to improving your diet and exercise regiment. Cut back on the sugar and fat in your diet, and replace them with fruits and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains, and as mentioned before, only consume caffeine moderately. Try to get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity a day, and this can include activities such as walking and dancing. It’s well-known that cardiovascular exercise increases the level of endorphins in the brain, which promote an overall level of well-being. Yoga is also very beneficial for anxiety sufferers as it promotes a chemical called GABA in the brain, which is typically targeted by anti-anxiety medications. A few minor changes should be all it takes to begin to see some improvement in your anxiety symptoms.
Clay, Rebecca. “Brewing Trouble.” WebMD. <http://www.webmd.com> 23 Jan 2012.