Caffeine-Induced Anxiety Disorder(A guide)


This article is a detailed overview of Caffeine-Induced Anxiety Disorder and discusses some pertinent aspects related to this disorder.

Also, this article reveals possible symptoms, diagnostic aspects and possible treatments that offer insight into this problem.

What is caffeine-induced anxiety disorder?

Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder is a real condition, which has been officially included in the substance-abuse and addictive disorders by the American Psychiatric Association.

Caffeine is also included in the causative agents of substance or medication induced anxiety disorders.

Have you ever just randomly started shaking or trembling?

And your heartbeat suddenly increased?

You start sweating suddenly and you become nervous, as if something unexpected and bad is going to happen.

Why do you experience these symptoms?

They are alarming enough to cause concern among individuals.

You can collectively call these symptoms as panic attacks or anxiety attacks, or you can call them caffeine-jitters anxiety.

The cause of these symptoms may be the physical effects of excessive caffeine consumption.

An example of caffeine dependency can be discussed here.

As a student, an individual has to go through studying, and taking care of his health at the same time can be a little tricky sometimes.

Why? Well, the individual will try to find efficient and quick solutions to get his work done.

If he is a procrastinator, he will put his work off till late at night.

And then when it is time to go to bed, he will have to make a choice between completing schoolwork or sleep.

Between his health and his schoolwork, he can only make one choice.

Are you an all nighter?

Pulling an all-nighter and gulping down caffeine based coffee or tea, he was able to finish his schoolwork.

But what about the negative effects of caffeine consumption on health?

After regularly consuming caffeine, the student became dependent on it as it is an addictive drug.

This would cause him to suffer from irritation, restlessness and headaches if he missed his caffeine based drink.

But according to the student, the boost of energy which helped with schoolwork was always given priority over the negative influence of caffeine on physical and mental health.

Caffeine is consumed by about 80% of the total population of U.S. It is the most widely used drug in the whole world.

Students of university make up a big portion of caffeine consumption individuals around the world.

Dunkin’ Donuts and Career Builder held a survey in 2012 which reported that scientists drink more coffee than any other professional group of workers except food workers.

Prevalence

Not much research has been done yet to determine exact prevalence rates of caffeine-induced anxiety disorder.

Young adults that consume relatively more caffeine are more likely to suffer from caffeine-induced anxiety disorder.

In addition to this, individuals that consume energy drinks on a regular basis are also likely to develop this disorder.

According to DSM-5 estimates, within a 12 months period, about 0.002% of the general population is diagnosed with caffeine-induced anxiety disorder.

This low number can be deceiving.

This is because there is a significantly higher number of individuals that suffer from anxiety caused by caffeine consumption.

But only a few of these individuals have been to a doctor and hence less diagnosed individuals are present.

If anxiety is something you already suffer from, then caffeine consumption may serve as a trigger or worsen your anxiety.

At-Risk Populations

Different individuals experience different and varying effects of excessive caffeine.

Individuals that are likely to suffer from caffeine-induced anxiety disorder are mostly individuals that are already diagnosed with anxiety or similar mental illnesses.

Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder usually occurs in adolescent individuals.

Adolescent individuals are usually more likely to develop such mental health disorders.

Causes or Contributing Factors

Caffeine in large amounts can induce severe or chronic anxiety in some individuals, in which case medical attention is often required. 200 mg or more of caffeine in regular diet can lead to anxiety disorders in general population.

Additionally, individuals with anxiety disorders are usually sensitive to caffeine effects.

Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder can be of different types in different individuals.

For example, it can cause generalized anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive symptoms or even phobia.

For different individuals, different conditions and symptoms are experienced.

It is very important to get a professional medical practitioner’s advice to avoid misdiagnosis as caffeine-induced anxiety disorder resembles many other panic, anxiety and bipolar disorders, even schizophrenia symptoms are also similar to this anxiety disorder.

Sometimes all an individual with caffeine-induced anxiety disorder needs is an end to his caffeine consumption as treatment.

Symptoms

According to Harvard Medical School, caffeine excessive consumption can cause symptoms similar to anxiety disorder.

Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder causes symptoms listed below.

• Restlessness – The person with caffeine induced anxiety disorder would feel discomfort throughout the day and would not be able to put focus unless his addiction is fulfilled. 

• Increased Heart Beat – Persons with this anxiety disorder are likely to have increased heart rate and issues with breathing. 

Insomnia – These people are unable to have a proper sleep. Caffeine affects the sleep routine and an addicted person faces a lot of trouble falling asleep at night. 

• Nervousness – This is common for people having caffeine addiction. They are more nervous when they are unable to fulfil their desire for caffeine. 

• Gastrointestinal Complications – This is another common thing which is experienced by people with caffeine induced anxiety disorder.

Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms

If an individual consumes caffeine on a daily basis and stops drinking it suddenly, then he might experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

• Anxiety

• Headaches

• Weakness or fatigue

• Difficulty trying to focus

• Depression

• Shaking or tremors

• Irritating

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms are not as severe.

And the individual can visit a doctor to get better advice at how to gradually cut down on caffeine consumption efficiently and easily.

The doctors may advice to stay hydrated, get enough sleep and adopt better dietary habits to promote good health and easy riddance of caffeine-induced anxiety.

Treatment options 

Mostly the symptoms of caffeine-induced anxiety disorder do not last long. This is why treatment is usually not required in many individuals.

Some individuals are prescribed anti-anxiety medications to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

An individual may have to put a stop to his caffeine consumption as a way to overcome the symptoms.

Caffeine has been included in the 10 classes of drugs in the DSM-5 list.

Substance-induced disorders usually share common characteristics.

The symptoms of this anxiety disorder can sometimes be severe enough that medications might be required to dull them down.

But these symptoms do not last long.

The symptoms should stop once caffeine consumption has been stopped and the central nervous system has had enough time to recover from caffeine consumption.

Many individuals have reported that their symptoms were completely gone when they did not take caffeine for up to one month.

Some Useful Resources

  • Confessions of a Caffeine Addict: 40 True Anonymous Short Stories
  • The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution
  • Caffeine for Sports Performance
  • Caffeine-Induced Anxiety Disorder: How caffeine can induce serious anxiety and finding alternatives
  • THE QUIT CAFFEINE NOTEBOOK
  • The World of Caffeine
  • Effect of kola nut and caffeine diets on locomotion and anxiety: Kolanut, caffeine diets and locomotion/anxiety

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusion

Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder is a real condition but it is not a severe one.

Too much caffeine can lead to this disorder in many individuals. But usually the treatment is not a difficult one.

One should always develop healthy dietary habits to avoid health issues of all sorts.

For example, staying hydrated and eating balanced food can do wonders to keep you healthy and happy.

What we recommend for curbing Anxiety

Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety

Anxiety Weighted Blankets

  • Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.

Online Therapy

  • Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.

Anxiety Course

  • With over 50,000 participants, this anxiety course may be just what you need to regain control of your life.

Light Therapy

  • Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night.  An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why does caffeine give me anxiety?

Caffeine can cause anxiety because it works as a stimulant.

And this can be bad for someone with anxiety.

Caffeine causes similar effects to those of a frightening or flight or fight event.

This is because caffeine stimulates an individual’s fight or flight response.

Hence, an individual with anxiety will have a higher chance of suffering from panic or anxiety attacks.

The fight or flight response stimulates the increase in heartbeat, makes you more alert, inhibits your digestion, etc.

These physical effects resemble those that occur during a fight or flight situation.

Q2. Can coffee cause anxiety hours later?

It is to be noted that any caffeine you consume even six hours before your sleep time, will still disturb your sleep significantly.

Excessive caffeine can also cause anxiety symptoms in a healthy person that may be different from those in individuals with anxiety.

Six hours is a long time but it should be noted that caffeine’s physical effects or symptoms are temporary.

Q3. How can I calm my anxiety from caffeine?

There are a few natural remedies which you can use to suppress your anxiety caused by caffeine.

These remedies will help you get rid of your caffeine jitters quickly.

• Drink water.
• Use your boost of energy from caffeine to exercise.
• Drink herbal tea.
• Have some vitamin C.

Q4. Does caffeine affect mental health?

Caffeine in excessive doses can lead to caffeine-induced anxiety disorder.

Anxiety affects both physical and mental health.

The physical effects of this disorder also affect one’s brain function.

This is because caffeine stimulates different hormones in the body.

In an individual with anxiety, caffeine can trigger an anxiety or panic attack with an increased risk.

The chances of developing caffeine-induced anxiety disorder increases for individuals with anxiety or some other similar mental illness.

Q5. Does drinking water help anxiety?

Water will not completely get rid of anxiety but it will help suppress it.

Drinking water makes you fresh and soothes your body.

During an anxiety attack, an individual may drink water which will help him calm down.

Staying hydrated makes it easier for an individual to keep his nerves calm.

Q6. How do you calm down anxiety?

To calm down caffeine-induced anxiety, you can try the following few methods:

• Take deep and slow breaths.
• Recognize that you are nervous or frustrated and accept.
• Challenge your thoughts and think positive.
• Take out your frustration.
• Listen to music or perform a hobby.
• Change your topic of focus.

Q7. Does quitting coffee help anxiety?

Quitting caffeine will deprive your body from adrenaline and dopamine, these hormones keep you awake as they act as stimulants.

Instead of this, another hormone adenosine will start its action and cause a headache. Its action includes control of rest and tiredness.

What we recommend for curbing Anxiety

Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety

Anxiety Weighted Blankets

  • Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.

Online Therapy

  • Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.

Anxiety Course

  • With over 50,000 participants, this anxiety course may be just what you need to regain control of your life.

Light Therapy

  • Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night.  An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.

References

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