The connection between Caffeine Withdrawal and Anxiety: How to overcome Anxiety
Caffeine is a stimulant that can be found in the form of coffee, tea, or energy drinks. The most common way to ingest caffeine is through coffee and it has been shown to have many benefits such as helping with memory retention and increasing alertness. However, when you consume too much caffeine your body will eventually build up a tolerance which leads to withdrawals if you suddenly stop drinking caffeinated beverages. One of the symptoms of withdrawal from caffeine is anxiety and this article will discuss how it causes anxiety and how you can overcome it.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry and fear. It can be caused by external stimuli such as taking an exam or being in the middle of a stressful situation, but it also has many internal sources such as worrying about what other people think about you when you're not around or having obsessive thoughts that are difficult to control. There are three main types of anxiety disorders:
This is an anxiety disorder in which the person has recurring panic attacks that are sudden and intense. It mainly stems from prolonged periods of stress or worry, but does not produce any physical symptoms such as increased heart rate or sweating.
This involves extreme fear of social situations. This person may worry excessively about being judged or embarrassed in front of others, and will avoid any chance they have to be around people so as to not feel uncomfortable.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
This is where the person worries excessively about different aspects of their life. They may have trouble controlling these thoughts, and will also experience physical symptoms such as increased heart rate or sweating due to their high level of worry.
What are the typical symptoms of anxiety?
Anxiety can be different for everyone, but there are some symptoms that many people experience. The most common symptoms of anxiety are:
- Racing heart
- Shakiness or trembling hands and fingers
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Difficulty breathing due to the chest tightening up
- Dizziness or lightheadedness on standing.
- Nervousness or restlessness
- Rapid breathing
- Weakness or fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
What causes anxiety?
A person with an anxiety disorder may experience this for many different reasons. One of the most common causes include a traumatic event from someone's past. Events such as death or poor work performance can also cause stress, which may lead to anxiety attacks. Depression and mood disorders are often related to anxiety disorder if that person has a family history of mental illness.
Does caffeine cause anxiety?
Caffeine may not cause anxiety, but it can worsen the symptoms for those who already have anxiety. For example, people who are already feeling anxious often drink caffeine to help them calm down. This actually makes them feel even worse! This is because caffeine has a stimulating effect that can make some people feel even more stressed.
It can cause the adrenal glands to release adrenaline, which in turn will increase your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rates. It also releases epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) into the brain that triggers an "emergency response" situation.
The body's natural reaction is to panic when you are feeling threatened or scared of some kind. When you combine caffeine with these "emergency response" feelings, it can cause even more anxiety.
In other cases, people who consume caffeine are more sensitive to the effects of the substance and may have anxiety even at lower doses. This is called caffeine sensitivity or hypersensitivity disorder (CSD).
Caffeine sensitivities can be due to a variety of reasons including genetics, environmental factors like pollution, or changes in one's diet. For example, consuming too much artificial sweetener could trigger CSD because it alters your body's natural response to sugar intake.
If you have a history of feeling anxious and tend to drink coffee or tea before your nerves start acting up, then this might be the reason why. You may need to try reducing your intake in order to reduce your symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, trembling hands).
Now here's the caveat, caffeine may worsen existing anxiety however when you try to quit caffeine cold turkey, the caffeine withdrawal effects may also include, you've guessed it... anxiety. We will be talking about this in depth below.
What is the connection between caffeine withdrawal and anxiety?
The cause for this link is not well understood but there are some theories about why people feel more anxious when they quit cold turkey.
One theory states that because an individual's blood pressure drops without coffee intake their heart rate begins to increase in order to compensate for the drop in oxygenation as the blood vessels tighten and constrict less with each beat of the heart. This increased level can produce feelings of panic or fear which then leads back into lack of concentration - another symptom associated with caffeine withdrawals.
Another theory is that caffeine increases the levels of dopamine in your body. Dopamine plays a part in controlling the movements a person makes, as well as their emotional responses. So it may cause you to feel more energized, more alert and less anxious.
When you stop drinking coffee, there will be less caffeine in your system which means that your dopamine levels are lower than normal. This can have an effect on anxiety because when we feel anxious our bodies release adrenaline into our bloodstreams to help us deal with those feelings. Adrenaline causes increased heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, perspiration and breathing rates as well as making muscles more tense. All these symptoms make it harder for people who suffer from anxiety disorders to cope with life's challenges or even daily tasks like going out and socializing at work events or parties
People struggling with caffeine withdrawal related anxiety are often left to self-treat their symptoms. It can be difficult for them to determine which supplements or remedies will help relieve the unpleasant symptoms that come from quitting caffeine cold turkey, or if they should try a different strategy altogether.
The best way to reduce or prevent these symptoms is to taper off your intake of the stimulant.
How to overcome the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal and anxiety
If you are experiencing the symptoms of anxiety from caffeine withdrawal there is hope. Here are some ways you can minimise the withdrawal symptoms.
Practice mindfulness meditation
The best way to alleviate this emotional state is by taking deep breathes or meditating.
The reason these methods work so well in managing feelings of anxiousness and irritability from coffee withdrawals is because they focus on slowing down your mind which can’t help but feel less tense when it slows down - similar to how a person feels after drinking some coffee!
Mindfulness is a form of Buddhist meditation that helps you focus on the present moment and observe your thoughts without judgement. I recommend this practice for people who are experiencing caffeine withdrawals because it will help them to be in tune with their feelings which can often make things worse when they get out of control. The goal here is to find some relief from these symptoms so you can go back to living life fully!
Many other forms of meditations exist as well, but keep in mind that most require at least 15 minutes or more per day commitment since studies show we need time for our brain waves to slow down before noticing any benefits.
Gradual tapering off from caffeine
The easiest way to overcome the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal and anxiety is by gradually reducing your intake instead of stopping all at once. This will help you avoid feeling sluggish, anxious or irritable while it also helps with preventing headaches that some people experience when they quit drinking coffee cold turkey.
Replace coffee with a healthy alternative
As mentioned above, by gradually decreasing the amount of caffeine, you can increasingly replace it with healthy coffee alternatives such as chicory or dandelion tea to help lessen any discomfort caused by stopping all at once.
Unlike coffee, herbal coffee replacements are caffeine free and don't cause the unwanted side effects like jitters or anxiety.
These alternatives have been used for decades as they are the closest herbal substitutes to the real thing. So it makes it alot easier to transition as the taste feels abit familiar.
For example, if you drink more than six cups per day; start reducing it slowly 1 cup at a time and replace this with Purify Coffee Alternative. After 1 week, try reducing your coffee by 1 more cup per day and increase your Purify coffee alternative by another cup before finally quitting altogether.
You can get your herbal coffee alternative here.
The importance of sleep in overcoming anxiety
If you are experiencing an increase in anxiety, try going back to sleep. If it’s hard for you to fall asleep again because of the increased stress and worry from caffeine withdrawal, consider using relaxation exercises or guided meditation before bedtime as these can help regulate your breathing pattern and let go of any worries that may be bothering you.
Sleep is important for regulating moods. Research has shown that people who do not get enough sleep are more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety than those who have had an adequate amount of rest. Anxiety disorders affect 18% of adults, which is higher than what it was just 40 years ago when only 3.4% reported it as a problem. So folks, you know the 8 hour sleep rule is important!
It’s important to know how caffeine affects your body and what the side effects are so you can make an educated decision on whether or not it is a good idea for you. Caffeine has been shown to help with memory retention, increase alertness, and boost moods in some people but if consumed too much it can lead to withdrawal symptoms like increased anxiety. For those who suffer from high levels of anxiety then drinking caffeinated beverages may be triggering higher than normal levels of stress hormones which could exacerbate their condition. If you experience heightened levels of anxiety after consuming coffee then try the methods above to help minimise the side effects.