There are many mental health effects of coffee (caffeine). It’s important to be aware of how it could effect you personally if you think you could be living with a mental health issue of any kind.
As a general rule, caffeine affects mental health by encouraging an elevated mood and excitement. It’s known to decrease anxiety due to increased productivity as well. In some cases, depending on the specific emotional and mental state of an individual, caffeine may have negative affects as well.
So many people drink coffee or some sort of caffeinated beverage each and every day. Some people will experience distressing side effects, while others may not. Some people will become addicted to it, while others might not.
In this article, we’re going to go over some frequently asked questions relating to how caffeine can effect mental health.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Does Caffeine Affect You Mentally?
The effects of caffeine on mental health include being less likely to commit suicide, preventing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. It helps increases focus, it can induce anxiety or heighten existing anxiety, it decreases likelihood of depression and it decreases the chance of cognitive failure. Other more extreme effects include the onset of psychosis which includes symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.
Does Caffeine Make Mental Health Worse?
It depends on the individual. If you suffer from anxiety, caffeine has been known to increase feelings of anxiety. Even if you’re not currently experiencing anxiousness, the physical effects of caffeine could trigger an anxious response will will cause you to feel anxious. This is especially true if you are doing something that typically triggers you.
On the other hand, caffeine has also been known to ease symptoms of depression and low moods. The mental health effects can vary per person and specific scenario. It’s important to be aware of your current mental health and observe how caffeine affects you. When in doubt, talk to your doctor.
Does Caffeine Cause Depression and Anxiety?
Yes, it can if pre-existing trauma is present. If an individual experiences frequent low moods, anxiety or panic attacks, depression can be onset by too much caffeine. The same is true for anxiety. As previously mentioned, exaggerated anxious feelings may be experienced
Can Caffeine Affect Your Mood?
Absolutely. Isn’t that why most of us use it? Personally, I love the jolt of energy I get from a morning cup of coffee, I feel awake, productive, more motivated and happier.
I’ve also experienced becoming more irritated due to the use of caffeine. This was because I was already feeling overwhelmed with my workload. Thinking it would help, I grabbed a cup of coffee to make myself feel more organized and motivated to work through the mess of tasks I had to do. Not only did it make my feelings of overwhelm worse, I because extremely anxious, irritated and “in my head” about all the work I had to do.
Lesson learned. When I know I’m starting a work day feeling overwhelmed and disorganized, I avoid my cup of coffee until I’m organized and have a good amount of work done and feel more productive and “put together”.
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Can Caffeine Cause Intrusive Thoughts?
Yes. If you’re in a situation that can cause you stress, intrusive thoughts are likely to occur with caffeine intake. The same is true if you tend to suffer with anxiety. Personally, the mood I’m in typically determines what my experience will be. Sometimes it only enhances my productivity and sometimes it triggers anxiety and a lot of intrusive, unproductive thought patterns. The experience will differ per individual but intrusive thoughts are known to occur at times.
Is Caffeine Addiction a Mental Disorder?
Any type of addiction can lead to mental health issues or a disorder. However, the average person experiencing a caffeine addiction will not usually develop a disorder because of it. If you become addicted, usually you can reverse the addiction by cutting back on your caffeine intake for a little while.
Unless other complications are at play, a caffeine addiction will not result in other mental health issues forming.
Does Caffeine Make Anxiety and OCD Worse?
It can, but it can also help these conditions as well. Not only does it depend on the individual, but also their current circumstances. It depends on what triggers people with anxiety and/or OCD. In some cases, caffeine can help people focus and may reduce anxious tendencies by encouraging productivity.
Those who are experiencing burnout, frustration or some other emotional dilemma might experience an increase in anxiety after caffeine is consumed. This is usually caused by the way the body reacts to it. The increased heart rate and alert feeling might be triggering for some people.
Does Coffee Help Mental Health?
It can. Coffee (even decaf) can cause someone’s mood to be improved. Having a cup of decaf when you’re used to regular coffee can help as it may act as a placebo. Personally, there is something about having a cup of warm, delicious coffee that instantly boosts my mood even before I drink it. Others have found this to be true as well.
Is Caffeine Good for Depression?
Research would say that yes, caffeine has been linked to helping ease depressive symptoms. However, this might not be everyone’s experience. Caffeine from coffee specifically has a property that has been known to regulate brain activity in which the tendencies for a low mood to occur is blocked. This happens when certain receptors that cause depression associated with fatigue are blocked.
Does Coffee Affect Serotonin Levels?
Yes. When someone is consuming caffeine, both dopamine and serotonin levels are temporarily boosted. This is why so many people struggle with caffeine addiction. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms is common with those who regularly use an excessive amount of caffeine to energize each day.
Does Caffeine Interfere with Antidepressants?
An excessive amount of caffeine has the potential to interfere with the effects of antidepressants. The amount needed to do this is equivalent to a couple cups of regular coffee. If you prefer to get your caffeine by drinking soda, about 3-4 12oz. cans can disrupt your medication. As always, this may vary by situation so be sure to talk to your doctor about what’s best for your particular needs.
Can Caffeine Cause Suicidal Thoughts?
Caffeine only has the ability to increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts in people who are already suffering with anxiety or those who’s anxiety or depression are induced by caffeine.
Why Does Coffee Make Me Feel Crazy?
Many report feeling “crazy” when consuming caffeine. This experience can vary depending on what’s going on in the brain. As we know, caffeine boosts certain chemical levels which disrupts the natural function of the brain. This is why some people feel a positive, elevated mood while others feel more anxious, paranoid and/or depressed.
Can Caffeine Cause Anger Issues?
It can, but it depends on the individual. Caffeine has many physical (chemical) affects on the brain and body. One of which is the increase in adrenaline. While many people are successfully able to harness this energy to help them focus and complete daily tasks, some people experience distress and irritability due to the sudden release of it. People who usually experience the later, are typically those why suffer from severe anxiety and/or panic attacks.
Can Too Much Caffeine Cause Psychosis?
According to this interesting article from the folks at PubMed.gov, psychosis can be causes from consuming too much caffeine. Even in individuals who have no pre-existing conditions related to the onset of psychosis such as schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. In some extreme cases, people have even been known to experience psychosis symptoms such as hallucinations because of too much caffeine!
It’s important to consider caffeine a potentially harmful substance when overused. You might not be aware of an underlying health issue that could have a very serious effect on you simply from enjoying one too many cups of coffee or energy drink.
Does Caffeine Help ADHD?
It can, but it’s not nearly effective as prescribed medication. The energy and focus increasing effects from caffeine can seem similar to those of prescribed medications, but the last effects will not be the same and the intensity might not compare. Other may experience a more substantial use than others. Again, it depends on the severity of the ADHD that is typically experienced and other factors unique to the individual’s condition.