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Does Coffee and Caffeine Cause Anxiety?

Last updated on : 22 May, 2024

Read time : 6 min

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and too much of it can cause anxiety symptoms. Caffeine is a stimulant substance that many people ingest in high amounts. It is the second most popular beverage after water. While many individuals consume coffee to “wake up” and stay alert, too much caffeine can have a detrimental effect on people, causing a variety of side effects, including certain anxiety-related symptoms.

It’s necessary to identify anxiety before finding what impacts caffeine anxiety. Anxiety is a mental disease in which a person’s feelings of fear and unease become overwhelming and interfere with daily functioning. It is divided into two types for this purpose: General anxiety and Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
Anxiety symptoms include:

  • Nervousness or agitation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Breathing quickly
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Weakness or exhaustion
  • Concentration problems
  • Insomnia

What are the consequences of drinking coffee?

Caffeine in coffee is a psychostimulant medication that affects the central nervous system of the brain. It causes the alertness associated with caffeine by blocking a chemical called adenosine.
This chemical reaction can also have unfavourable side effects, such as:

  • Nervousness or agitation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Excitement
  • Shakiness\sIrritability
  • Problems with digestion
  • Urination on a regular basis

How much caffeine is too much?

The normal amount, according to the FDA, is 400 milligrammes per day, or about 4 cups. If you’re pregnant, stick to dosages of fewer than 200 mg each day. If you consume too much, you may have symptoms of caffeine anxiety such as fast, irregular heartbeats, muscle tremors, and apprehension. Stop drinking coffee and replace it with plenty of water to stay hydrated. A good ratio is one cup of water to one cup of coffee. Then go for a stroll to burn off the caffeine and calm yourself down.

How does too much coffee make you feel more stressed?

Caffeine in Coffee enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain, where it blocks the chemical adenosines, which causes drowsiness. This activates your body’s stress response by increasing brain activity that stimulates your central nervous system.

The consequence is a chain reaction of chemical events that prepare your body for “fight or flight,” including the production of adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormone). Not only will you feel more alert, but your heart will also beat quicker, your blood flow will increase, and your muscles will tense—all of which can be beneficial in tiny amounts.

Does Coffee cause Anxiety?

To find out that can caffeine cause anxiety first, let us know about caffeine. Caffeine has a variety of effects on the body. Blocking adenosine receptors is one of its key modes of action, causing dopamine, noradrenaline, and glutamate levels to rise. This raises a person’s blood pressure and heart rate in the cardiovascular system. Lower doses of caffeine can boost motor activity and alertness in the central nervous system, but higher doses might cause caffeine anxiety symptoms.


Adenosine receptor genes play a function in the development of coffee anxiety. This shows that some people are at a higher risk of caffeine anxiety problems and that caffeine in coffee may make them more anxious.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) defines caffeine anxiety disorder as a condition in which caffeine interferes with daily functioning. A person must have coffee anxiety symptoms that are directly triggered by caffeine consumption to meet the criteria for this diagnosis.
In addition, the DSM-5 has recommended caffeine consumption disorder criteria, which must meet all three of the following criteria:

  • Caffeine control is a persistent desire or an unsuccessful attempt.
  • Despite the risks, caffeine is consumed.
  • Caffeine withdrawal symptoms

Is it true that caffeine makes anxiety worse?

Caffeine, according to Wolkin’s research, can intensify and maintain a caffeine anxiety problem. The effects of caffeine in coffee may be so ubiquitous and play an evident role in worsening someone’s coffee anxiety.
According to Jenicka Engler, Psy.D., a psychologist and clinical scientist in Massachusetts, caffeine usage can become a vicious cycle for those with underlying anxiety. For example, someone with caffeine anxiety may have exhaustion as a result of difficulty sleeping, therefore they will turn to coffee to keep them up throughout the day. However, consuming too much caffeine in coffee makes individuals feel even more anxious and makes it difficult for them to fall (and remain) asleep at night. The cycle then repeats itself.

What can I do if I’m concerned about the effects of caffeine on my anxiety?

If coffee isn’t your favourite, there are other options. You have the option of drinking decaf (caffeine-free coffee) or tea. If you have excessive coffee anxiety, start with smaller doses and save it for when you need a functional boost rather than every day. You could even eliminate it entirely from your diet. Anxiety can be alleviated by making healthy dietary modifications. Caffeine is an active element in a variety of items, including energy drinks, chocolate, and soft drinks.
Coffee should be avoided by those with coffee anxiety, not because caffeine causes anxiety, but because it can exacerbate symptoms. If you must indulge, keep it to a bare minimum on a daily basis. Because everyone’s physiology is different, don’t be afraid to seek guidance from your doctor or pharmacist in case of caffeine anxiety.

Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal

If you’re used to drinking caffeine on a daily basis and suddenly stop, you may experience withdrawal symptoms of caffeine anxiety such as:

  • headaches
  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • A depressed state of mind
  • concentration problems
  • tremor
  • irritability

Although caffeine withdrawal is not as hazardous as narcotic withdrawal, it can be challenging and painful to cure caffeine anxiety. Consult your doctor for advice on how to progressively reduce your intake, such as obtaining adequate sleep and exercise, as well as remaining hydrated.

Caffeine alternatives

  • Many people depend on caffeine’s boost of energy to get them going in the morning. This can have unfavourable repercussions, such as the emergence or intensification of caffeine anxiety symptoms.
  • For many people, decaffeinated coffee or tea may be a good option. These beverages have a similar flavour to caffeine, but they may not deliver the same energy boost. However, after a person has successfully weaned themselves off caffeine, these can be a soothing option.
  • Exercising might be a good way to start the day for some people. A brisk walk or run outside, or a jog on the treadmill indoors, might help circulate blood and clear the mind. Water can also assist folks in waking up.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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