Why Does Coffee Give Me Anxiety?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 26th, 2023

Do you find yourself feeling jittery and anxious after drinking coffee? Have you noticed that coffee can be refreshing and energizing but can also hurt your mood?


If so, this blog post is for you! We’ll explore why coffee can make some people anxious and offer tips on reducing the effects.

Erasing anxiety. Anxiety written on white paper with a pencil, partially erased with an eraser. Symbolic for overcoming anxiety or treating anxiety.

What causes anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences at different times. It’s the body’s natural reaction to stressful situations, such as a job interview or an important exam. Certain medical conditions, such as depression, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, can also cause it. Genetics may also play a role in causing anxiety, as some people are more prone to feeling anxious than others. 

Does coffee cause anxiety?

Many studies have investigated the link between coffee and anxiety, and the findings suggest that overconsumption of caffeine may cause anxiety in some people. Caffeine in coffee is a central nervous system stimulant, and consuming too much can lead to anxiety symptoms.

In 2005, a study noted that excessive caffeine consumption could lead to symptoms similar to psychiatric conditions, including sleep and anxiety. Other research suggests that while caffeine can increase alertness, attention, and cognitive function, overdoing it can increase anxiety. 

Why coffee gives you anxiety

Genetics also influence how caffeine affects us, so it’s important to be aware of your response to caffeine when it comes to anxiety. Here are some effects of caffeine on your body.

It increases stress hormones

Caffeine has been shown to increase cortisol secretion and other stress hormones, making it a major contributor to anxiety. Additionally, caffeine increases heart rate, blood pressure, and other stress-related physiological responses.

For this reason, it is important to be aware of the effects of caffeine on your body and its potential contribution to anxiety. With knowledge of the effects of caffeine on your body, you can make more informed decisions about how much coffee you consume.

It increases anxiety levels

Research has found that people with higher caffeine intake are more likely to experience anxiety symptoms than those who do not consume as much.

Caffeine binds to receptors of the neurotransmitter adenosine, which leads to increased levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters associated with alertness and arousal. In other words, caffeine can increase alertness but also act as a stimulant, increasing anxiety levels.

Additionally, people with existing anxiety disorders may be more sensitive to caffeine’s effects on the brain, leading to the worsening of symptoms. Therefore, individuals with anxiety disorders or those prone to anxiety must be mindful of their caffeine intake and ensure it does not exceed recommended daily limits.

It stimulates the body’s fight-or-flight response

Caffeine’s jittery effects on the body are similar to those of a frightening event, as it stimulates the ‘fight or flight’ response.

depressed Asian woman in deep many thoughts, having problem with over thinking

Common symptoms of caffeine-induced anxiety

Caffeine can cause physical and psychological symptoms in those who consume too much of it. Common symptoms of caffeine-induced anxiety include rapid heart rate, gastrointestinal distress, restlessness and nervousness, difficulty sleeping, and increased risk of panic or anxiety attacks. People with a generalized anxiety disorder may also find caffeine worsens their symptoms. 

How much caffeine is too much?

Consumption of more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day (around four to five cups of coffee) may increase the likelihood of anxiety and panic attacks in some individuals. Therefore, it is important to understand how your body responds to caffeine before increasing your daily intake.

It is worth noting that people who metabolize caffeine at slower rates end up compiling more caffeine in their system and are thus impacted by fewer cups of coffee. 

The role of genetics in caffeine-induced anxiety

While some studies indicate that genetics may contribute to caffeine-induced anxiety, others have found little correlation. Evidence suggests that people with certain genetic variations may be more susceptible to the anxiogenic effects of caffeine.

Additionally, a study by the National Institutes of Health found that those with certain gene variants are more likely to experience higher anxiety levels after drinking coffee than those without the same gene variants. However, more research is needed to understand genetics’ role in caffeine-induced anxiety.

Conclusion

Coffee and caffeine consumption can increase anxiety in some people. While the effects can vary from person to person, it is important to note that high caffeine doses can harm anxiety levels. Considering these, people can make informed decisions about their coffee and caffeine consumption and avoid exacerbating underlying issues.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.