People all around the world have been sipping on caffeinated beverages since the 15th century. Today, a whopping 64% of adults in the U.S. say they consume caffeine in the form of coffee or an energy drink regularly.
We love the taste, and we love what caffeine does for us. It wakes us up in the AM, gives us that oh-so-wonderful boost of energy we need, and does wonders for our memory and focus.
However, although there is an abundance of benefits that comes from caffeine, we can’t ignore the side effects. Too much of the stuff can result in the notorious “jitters.”
So what impact does that have exactly on anxiety? Can caffeine cause anxiety? The short answer is: no, caffeine does not cause anxiety, but it may worsen symptoms in individuals who may already be prone to anxiety.
What Exactly is Anxiety?
Okay, first things first: what exactly is anxiety anyway?
Well, anxiety can be broken down into two categories: general anxiety as well as a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
General anxiety is a natural awareness that comes and goes as your body navigates through the everyday stresses of life. An individual who has GAD, on the other hand, will experience chronic anxiety for what feels like no reason at all, and they often can’t help but feel worried and stressed. GAD is diagnosed by a physician.
Some of the tell-tale symptoms of anxiety include:
Fast heart rate
Nervousness or restlessness
Weakness or fatigue
What Are the Effects of Caffeine?
Caffeine, the main ingredient of coffee, tea, and many popular energy drinks, is a psychostimulant drug that works on the central nervous system (CNS). It blocks a tiny molecule known as adenosine, causing the alertness associated with this popular stimulant.
This chemical process can also lead to negative side effects, such as:
Nervousness or restlessness
These not-so-great side effects tend to kick in as soon as 20 to 45 minutes after caffeine consumption and can last as long as 4 to 6 hours, but are rarely dangerous. Side effects do vary from person to person depending on things like caffeine sensitivity, tolerance, and how much caffeine they are used to. Body mass and genetics also play a role.
Okay, So How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
According to the experts, a typical dose of 400 milligrams per day (or roughly four cups of java) is more than enough. Note that if you are pregnant, keep doses to less than 200 milligrams daily (some women even avoid caffeine during pregnancy altogether). Having too much of this powerful stimulant can put you at risk for having symptoms like fast, irregular heartbeats, and muscle tremors.
If you do happen to go a wee bit overboard on the caffeine, don’t panic. Just stop drinking your caffeinated beverage and replace it with lots of H2O to rehydrate. One cup of water to one cup of coffee or one 8 oz. energy drink is a good ratio. Then, take a walk to shake off the caffeine and help ease some of that restlessness.
How Does Caffeine Affect Anxiety?
As we mentioned a little earlier, the side effects associated with caffeine can be very similar to the symptoms associated with anxiety. And although caffeine doesn’t directly cause anxiety, it can make symptoms worse.
In fact, one 2009 study showed this by providing 72 patients with anxiety disorders and 26 patients without anxiety a mega-dose of caffeine (480 mg) to see if it would cause a panic attack, which can occur in those with GAD or other anxiety disorders. They found that close to 61% of the patients with an anxiety disorder reported a panic attack, where none of the patients without anxiety had a panic attack.
In another small, controlled study, 38 patients were given a 10 mg/kg body weight dose of caffeine and found that up to 71% of patients reported that effects of caffeine were similar to ones experienced with panic attacks (i.e., restlessness, shakiness, nervousness). And once again, patients without anxiety did not report any panic attacks.
With all of this in mind, individuals with anxiety should consider minimizing their caffeine intake.
People who do not have anxiety, on the other hand, seem to tolerate caffeine much better, but at the end of the day, everyone is different.
What About Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners?
Sugar as well as other additives and artificial sweeteners are similar to caffeine in that they can’t cause anxiety itself, but can, in fact, worsen anxiety symptoms.
It’s best to stay away from drinks that are full to the brim with sugar, additives, and other artificial ingredients since they can cause effects such as fatigue (sugar crash, anyone?), blurry vision, and upset stomach. These side effects can greatly lower your mood which can contribute to feelings of anxiety.
What Should I Do If I Am Worried About Caffeine’s Effects on Anxiety?
Luckily, if you’re worried about caffeine and anxiety, you have options.
For starters, if you are a die-hard coffee fan, you can try drinking it in smaller amounts, choosing caffeine-light beverages like lattes, or just choose to drink decaf or half-caff.
Or, another great alternative is to simply swap to a healthier drink option, like the clean, all-day energy shots from Proper Wild.
These powerful 100% plant-based energy shots are made with organic green tea for a smooth flow of energy throughout the day rather than the immediate jolt that is often experienced with synthetic caffeine. In addition, these super-shots are made with 15x more L-theanine than a cup of green tea for sustained focus and productivity, without the notorious jitters or crash.
If you’re worried about feeling anxious after getting your daily fix of caffeine, consider switching to these energy shots from Proper Wild. They are made with zero grams of added sugar and absolutely no additives or artificial ingredients for a smooth taste without the junk. By sticking with organic caffeine and staying away from added sugar, you can experience clean energy with a lower chance of the side effects that can make you feel anxious.
A Final Word
If you are someone who suffers from anxiety, it’s probably a good idea to reduce your caffeine intake. Synthetic caffeine and sugar can notoriously make your symptoms worse -- so skip the artificial stuff and stick with our 100% plant-based energy shots instead.
Here at Proper Wild, we believe in clean, sustainable energy that comes from plant based ingredients. We truly care about health -- that’s why we created our powerful clean, all-day energy shots!
With three delicious flavors, our energy shots are made with clean ingredients, no preservatives, and nothing artificial. Boost your focus and productivity without the jittery restlessness, and try our Proper Wild Energy Shots today!