Coffee and anxiety – how do they relate? Believe it or not, drinking coffee on a regular basis can have a negative impact on anxiety treatment. Behind the pick-me-up power of caffeine lies a damaging blow to your mental health. Read on to learn how caffeine affects anxiety.
Caffeine Triggers Your Fight or Flight Responses
When you drink caffeine, you feel more energized. However, that jolt of energy can also make your body go into a panicked state. An elevated heart rate tells your mind that something is wrong, triggering your fight or flight response. You feel on-edge, even if there is nothing alarming around you. This is not good for your anxiety.
Caffeine Affects Sleep Patterns, Which Are Vital to Anxiety Treatment
Since caffeine changes your body’s energy levels, it can change your sleep patterns. You may find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, especially if you drink coffee throughout the day. Having a consistent sleep routine is important for anxiety treatment and depression treatment, and it’s easier to achieve without caffeine in your system.
Caffeine Is Addictive
Any addictive substance is a hindrance to anxiety treatment. While it may make you feel good temporarily, the substance prevents your brain from naturally producing happy chemicals. This applies to cigarettes, recreational drugs, alcohol, gambling, and yes – caffeine. The addictive substance also acts a s a coping mechanism, preventing you from finding healthy coping mechanisms that address the root of your anxiety.
As with other habits, caffeine only grows worse over time. Your body craves more caffeine to fulfill its needs, and you become further dependent on it to get you through the day. By cutting your coffee habits, you can stop the spread of the dependence.
Should I Stop Drinking Coffee?
Now that you know the effects of coffee and anxiety, you may be wondering if you should stop drinking coffee altogether. Each person has a different tolerance to caffeine. You may be able to handle one cup of coffee a day without any impact on your anxiety treatment. However, it cannot hurt to reduce your caffeine intake.
To safely wean yourself off coffee, start by switching from full-caf to half-caf (half the caffeine amount). Then transition to decaf coffee. You could also transition to black tea, then green tea. Slowly tapering off caffeine will reduce your risk of withdrawals.
If you would like more tips on how to improve your anxiety treatment, contact Sherman Counseling at 920-733-2065. We can set you up with a licensed therapist in Wisconsin who specializes in anxiety treatment.