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Coffee, tea, soda, protein shakes, energy drinks – the list of beverages containing caffeine goes on and on. Caffeine helps keep us energized and alert, but there are also negatives to this popular stimulant. In particular, too much caffeine can lead to an increase in anxiety symptoms.
Anxiety is our body’s reaction to situations we find threatening, and it provokes our “fight or flight” response. Caffeine mimics this response, making it possible to become anxious about situations that would not normally influence you. Furthermore, if an individual already suffers from anxiety or panic attacks, caffeine can make those symptoms worse. Here are some ways to note how caffeine affects you:
Keep track of caffeine intake. If you’re unsure how much caffeine you’re consuming throughout your day, start tracking it. Note when and how much you consume.
Record how caffeine makes you feel. Does a certain amount of caffeine make you feel more restless? Does the form of caffeine – whether it’s a soda, coffee or chocolate, for example – make a difference in how you feel? Symptoms of caffeine consumption include:
Watch for caffeine withdrawal. If you regularly consume caffeine and stop suddenly, you can experience withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, anxiety, fatigue, depressed mood, irritability and difficulty concentrating. Adjusting or monitoring your caffeine intake can provide useful information about what causes anxiety symptoms.
If you feel caffeine may be amplifying your anxiety, talk to your doctor about adjusting your overall consumption. Don’t have a primary care provider? Call our Find a Doc line at (319) 369-4444 or fill out the form here.