Achilles Healing Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy in Glasgow

Caffeine and Anxiety

Caffeine makes you more alert and energetic by increasing levels of norepinephrine, a chemical in the brain.  That’s why it’s become a habit of ours to have a cup when we wake up in the morning.  However, every time you drink a cup, your own natural ability to produce those chemicals is reduced.  Eventually, like every drug, you need more and more to get the same effect.  In fact, just to feel ‘normal’.

Caffeine also increases your blood pressure and the level of your stress hormone, adrenaline, triggering feelings of anxiety.  Anxiety is a very stressful feeling, and may cause you lots of other problems stemming from the tension that you experience.  Headaches might be one of the many uncomfortable things you experience.  Other people have reported an increase in arthritic pain or skin conditions, such as psoriasis, when they are more tense, than when they are more relaxed.  The anxiety felt when you have drunk too much caffeine can resemble an anxiety/panic attack or generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).  When diagnosing Caffeine-Induced Anxiety Disorder, it is important to note whether or not a pre-existing anxiety disorder was present before the habitual over-use of caffeine began.

In people prone to anxiety, caffeine can cause an episode of panic attack.  This is something that has been replicated in laboratory experiments.  Other studies have shown that withdrawing caffeine has led to rehabilitation of some people with social anxiety disorders.  In fact,  caffeine allergies and toxicity can even cause toxic psychosis and mimic the symptoms of schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder ADD and ADHD.

Caffeine blocks the hormones serotonin and melatonin, which can also cause anxiety and irritability.  In extreme cases, this can be experienced as mild depression, or a ‘crash’ in mood.  This article tells us that: “In the central nervous system, serotonin plays an important role as a neurotransmitter in the modulation of anger, aggression…(and) sleep”.  Sleep, therefore, becomes more difficult (see my article “Caffeine, Insomnia and Depression”) with the over-use of caffeine.  When sleep is disturbed, mood is disturbed.  One of the effects of sleep disturbance is anxiety.

Caffeine also robs your body of vitamins and minerals, which cause an imbalance and make you more prone to anxiety.   Caffeine causes frequent urination, therefore depleting essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphate and potassium, and vitamins such as Vitamin B.  Deficiencies in Vitamin B gives you issues with the nervous system and can cause emotional problems.  Magnesium deficiency is something that has been linked to both anxiety and depression.  I will be researching the issue of vitamin and mineral deficiency in relation to mood disorders separately, at a later date.

For further reading and references:

http://www.anxietyzap.com/9-caffeine-anxiety.htm

http://mentalhealth.about.com/library/yourturn/uc091602.htm

http://www.ceusource.com/texts/effects_of_caffeine.html

http://stresshelp.tripod.com/id7.html

http://www.mcvitamins.com/Health%20Opponents/coffee.htm

http://www.dynamichealthresources.com/id2.html

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