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Science Says: Caffeine May Actually Be Making Your Anxiety Worse

If you suffer from anxiety, doctors say it may be time to quit drinking coffee. That’s right. You’re morning pick me up may actually be accelerating your anxiety. According to a wide range of specialists, they made it pretty clear that caffeine can actually be making things worse.

Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, explained that “caffeine overload mimics anxiety.”

We decided to dig a little deeper on caffeine’s affect on anxiety and found some more info from a few more specialists.

You’re probably wondering how exactly does caffeine affect someone with anxiety?

Psychotherapist Jodi Aman explained that it ups your stress hormones. Caffeine stimulates cortisol and adrenaline, which are two stress hormones that you’re trying to calm down when you’re faced with anxiety.

When you have caffeine your body responds by increasing your heart rate, and increasing your breathing. Too much caffeine not only can trigger anxiety, but if you’re in the middle of an anxiety attack it can prolong it.

Caffeine also depletes magnesium, which is an anti-anxiety mineral produced within your own body. By depleting it you’re left with less ways to cope naturally.

So, now you’re probably thinking “oh my gosh, can I still have coffee?”

The answer is, maybe. According to Dr. Goldberg coffee is okay “in moderation.” What exactly, does moderation mean? Well, one cup of coffee each day seemed to get the okay from most doctors.

However, if you feel like you can’t cut yourself down to just one cup. Doctors suggest drinking more water, only having coffee in the early morning, and having warm drinks since they are more calming.

Some of these tricks don’t work for everyone so, it may be time to actually say goodbye to coffee all together. If you’re someone who deals with severe clinical anxiety, then caffeine can be a huge problem.

There are ways to tell though if your caffeine levels are too high. Dr. Goldberg suggests monitoring them. If you feel: “rapid, skipped or fluttering heartbeats, trembling, an upset stomach, and sleep disruption” it’s time to cut the caffeine.

Luckily, there are lots of energy-boosting alternatives that can hold you over instead of coffee. Ginseng, yerba mate, and green tea are all great substitutes for coffee – they have lower caffeine but they’ll still help you out!