Excessive intake of caffeine is said to increase the level of stress and anxiety amongst us. But is there really a truth behind this? On this article, we will find out if caffeine indeed can help to increase the anxiety levels.
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Basically, caffeine is a naturally occurring xanthine alkaloid that helps to stimulate the body’s central nervous system. As a matter of fact, it is a type of psychoactive substance that can help to alter mood and alertness because of its effects on our central nervous system. Most people drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages in order to help increase their mental alertness and combat drowsiness and fatigue. But recent studies have shown that excessive and prolonged use of caffeine can have adverse effects on a person’s body and this includes anxiety attacks. So let us find out more information about caffeine and anxiety.
Can Caffeine Trigger Anxiety Attacks?
Basically, anxiety is a type of mental condition where a person experiences sudden nervousness. These attacks are often characterized by intense and prolonged periods of fear, nervousness, as well as apprehensions. Too much consumption of caffeine could certainly increase the level of anxiety in most people including those who were not diagnosed with anxiety disorders. This can also induce anxiety or panic attacks in an individual who is already suffering from anxiety disorders.
It is also important to remember that caffeine is a type of stimulant, and this is not good for people who have anxiety disorder. In fact, the jittery effects that you will feel on your body when you drink caffeinated drinks are similar to that frightening feeling. This is because caffeine helps to stimulate your fight or flight response and studies have suggested that this can help to make anxiety worse and could even lead to panic attacks. And just like the symptoms of anxiety, consuming several cups of coffee will leave you feeling even more moody and nervous and you will most likely stay awake all night which could make matters worse.
Generally, caffeine can help to stimulate the central nervous system by affecting the level of the brain chemicals. It basically helps to suppress the chemical known as adenosine which acts like a tranquilizer. Adenosine has been reported to help in slowing down the activities of the nerve cells and thus, it triggers drowsiness. Caffeine, on the other hand, has the tendency to block the action of adenosine by simply binding the adenosine receptors. However, unlike adenosine, caffeine increases the activities on the nerve cells and this is the reason why it could help in increasing one’s mental alertness. But then, the same action can also help to increase the level of anxiety in a person and could lead to other side effects.
Right after consuming coffee and other caffeinated beverages, one may experience a sudden increase of heart rate to the point that they can hear their heart pounding fast. In the same way that caffeine can induce nervousness which can also increase the anxiety levels. It also helps to stimulate the adrenaline glands in order to release the stress hormones in the body. Too much secretion of the stress hormones in a long period of time can lead to several problems and this may include anxiety. The compound can also cause the “fight for flight” response of the body. Excessive consumption of caffeine can indeed raise the level of anxiety among individuals. Thus, if you want to get rid of anxiety, you must limit your consumption of coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
Dangers of Caffeine
Too much consumption of caffeinated drinks could exacerbate anxiety and stress among those individuals who are already suffering from panic attacks and anxiety disorder. Caffeine can certainly increase the likelihood of experiencing panic attacks among individuals. This may also trigger insomnia and could further aggravate the problem of stress and anxiety.
Although caffeine can really trigger anxiety, it is important to remember that caffeine is not the only factor that could cause anxiety attacks amongst us. As a matter of fact, there are several other factors that could cause anxiety and among these are poor diet, lack of sleep and stress. These three can certainly induce panic attacks. Therefore, the effects of caffeine on anxiety will depend on certain factors as well. People who are predisposed to anxiety disorders may experience symptoms of anxiety such as increased heart rate, sweaty palms, nervousness and tremulous right after consuming a good amount of coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
It is absolutely important to keep in mind that the effects of caffeine from one person to another are totally different. Each and every individual will respond differently to this substance. In addition, the amount of caffeine that the body can tolerate without having to suffer from any adverse effects will depend from one person to another. Generally, caffeinated beverages must be taken only in moderation. Those that have been diagnosed to have anxiety disorder should better avoid beverages and some of those foods that are known to have caffeine in them. Again, there is nothing wrong with consuming coffee and other caffeinated beverages, but they should only be taken in moderation.
Palpitations and Anxiety
Right after consuming caffeinated drinks, you may suffer from bouts of palpitations or anxiety breathing. But the palpitation could be due to something else. It might be a bit difficult for doctors to determine the cause of palpitations because they do not have any known origin. It is well known that anxiety could trigger heart palpitations and it has been said that the main cause might be over awareness of one’s heart and surge of adrenaline rush especially for those who were diagnosed with anxiety disorder. These kinds of palpitations would sometimes lead to panic attacks.
The panic attack itself can also trigger palpitation. During this time, two things might occur that would trigger rapid heartbeat. First is that the sympathetic nervous system is set on high alert that might lead to a rapid movement of heart rate. Second, people often hyperventilate during panic attacks and hyperventilation is also another reason for the increase of heart rate. If you have been having palpitations lately and you are not sure if this is due to caffeine consumption, it is best to see your doctor.