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Serenity

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I suffer from panic disorder with agoraphobia and generalized anxiety...with GA being the most difficult for me to get under control these past few months.

I do all the right things, exercise, go to therapy, eat right etc. But..recently I met someone who has extreme reactions to caffeine and wondered how I could possibly have ANY caffeine given my anxiety issues.

Anyhow, I would love to know how caffeine affects other folks who live with panic/anxiety disorders. I am normally a LARGE two cup a day average coffee drinker, first thing in the morning. I know for a fact that if I go beyond those 2 cups, I cannot function for hours without extreme anxiety and panic so I normally keep it to that.

BUT...I recently decided to try weening off of it all together to try see if it would indeed reduce my generalized anxiety and am at a currently at 1 small cup. I plan on drinking that small one for another 4 or 5 days and then get off completely to see what kind of effect it has on my peace and serenity.

Does anyone out there have any experience with caffeine good, bad or indifferent to share?

Danielle
 

Retired

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Danielle,

Your question is interesting because an initial Google search for "caffeine anxiety" produced contradictory reports, at least from sources I consider credible.

None more surprising was this counter intuitive article on Medicine Net, one of my favorite resources.

My intuition would have said caffeine would exacerbate anxiety and panic attacks because caffeine is considered a stimulant.

I know that caffeine is a trigger for a migraine form me and certainly causes me to feel jittery so I avoid it.

It will be interesting to hear more on this subject from others.
 
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sister-ray

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I suffer with anxiety/panic attacks and agoraphobia too, I avoid coffee and cola drinks I do drink quite a bit of tea, usually milkly, but I find coffee makes me jittery and unable to sleep its like my body is buzzing after a couple of cups of coffee, i use to drink alot of coffee and use to get palpations alot more than I do now.
 

foghlaim

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Hi Serenity

as an active coffee addict.. i can say that for me too much coffee does make me more "wired".. and I now know it does interfere with trying to get to sleep when i drink some late at night. I'm currently trying to cut down.. some days i can manage it other days I don't too so well. I find these days when i have cut it.. tis the withdrawal effects that make me more anxious.

From anything i have read on the subject of coffee & anxiety, coffee & depression, coffee & panic attacks... coffee is both a stimulant and a depressant ... making these conditions worse if ppl with these conditions drink too much of it. (like i do!!)

but remember like all stimulants etc,, they affect diff ppl in diff ways.
i'm trying to cut back some, but i know i'm not going to cut it out completely.

don't know if any of this was any help to you.

take care and good luck in coming off it.
 

Kanadiana

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At one time about 20(?) years ago, I had to quit coffee cold turkey due to pretty severe anxiety attacks on top of generalized anxiety. It made a world of difference for me for the generalized anxiety and panic attacks had a lot less oomph to my system. The coffee really overstimulated an already stimulated anxiety. I believe in coffees ability to overstimulate for sure, based on my own experience. Off coffee I also was able to experience my anxiety levels without the excess of it, showing me how much was coffee, and how much was just me at the time ;)
 

bledge

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I seem to have to opposite reaction ..... caffine seems to help my anxiety ... too much would probally make it worse but ... a little caffine seems to get me more under control ... maybe it depends on the type of anxiety?


Bill
 

Kanadiana

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I dunno. Its definately stimulant effects for me and I haven't noticed it helping with anxiety, other than exacerbating it for me. I wish it wouldn't because I love my coffee :D
 

Serenity

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Well...I've gotta say that for the past few days I HAVE noticed a difference in my general anxiety level. Bear in mind, I'm still on a mini shot in the morning right now but ... overall...maybe it is coincidence, but...I am noticing a lot less anxiety than normal and believe me...that's incredible. I'm looking forward to being completely off to see what the difference will be like at that time. Well..not REALLY looking forward to it ... I LOVE coffee...just looking forward to reducing my anxiety level to something MUCH more manageable than what I was having.

:)
 

ThatLady

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That's good news, Serenity. I think different people react differently to coffee. Some aren't bothered by it, while others experience increased anxiety, shaking, headaches and various other symptoms; especially, with excessive consumption.

If getting off coffee helps you, go you! :yahoo:
 

David Baxter

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Also, you don't necessarily need to quit coffee entirely.

I've recently discovered that decaf has improved a LOT since I last (accidentally) drank it about 1975... :panic: It doesn't have the after-taste I remember from the old days and i've learned you can even buy decaffeinated Espresso/Cappucino!! :yahoo:

I'm down to (most days) a half-teaspoon or teaspoon of instant in my first decaf of the day and just decaf after that. My new wife can't tolerate regular coffee and it's a whole lot easier than making two pots in the morning. :)
 

Serenity

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I am definitely doing the decaf thing but...oh how I LOVE Tim Horton's...not their decaf either, the full monty - large double doubles! But...I KNOW they aren't good for me. I've had a few days in the past where I'd already had my two cups and thought, 'gesh...I think I've only had one today" and proceeded to drink a third one only to QUICKLY be reminded I had went overboard on caffeine. When it happened, and it doesn't often cause I feel SO badly afterwards, I actually had to leave work anxious, shaking and in full blown panic trying to gulp back tons of water to get it out of my system. The decaf is ok...just..it's kind a like smoking those fake cigarettes....just doesn't do the trick!

Anyhow...I'm almost off the caffeine and I am noticing a decrease in my anxiety level so I'll keep doing it for now. Maybe stay off for a month or so and see how things feel.

It's just like a sad, lost love affair for me! lol

Cheerio for now...:D
 

David Baxter

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Actually, you might want to decrease it a tad more slowly than a month. Just start adding a bit of "real coffee" to your decaf and taper down from there... like Starbucks half caf-decaf.

Turns out decaf cappuccino is superb! :)
 

Kanadiana

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When I started back on coffee I started with Swiss water rinsed decaf. A little pricey but less chemicals used to get the caffiene out EEK I think, if i remember correctly, I eventually wanted more oomph "just a little expresso to give it a boost" :D I eventually ended up off the decaf and back on REAL (LOL) caffiene, but never again did I take up the old habit of sugar (demerera 2 heaping teaspoonsful) in my coffee.

I love the taste and the hot drink, though I also like cold coffee. Cream added. Am definately an addict on it again but avoid having it really strong and cut back when I start feeling that caffiene hype from other anxiety building or from just too much coffee.

Serenity ... I hear ya when ya say the imposters "just don't do the trick" I want my COFFEE and I want it now :D
 

Kanadiana

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A PS on the coffee and a bit off topic here ...

I just calculated what it costs (hydro) to have a coffee maker on for 5 hours ... the breakdown worked out to $8.oo per month (using BC Hydro's rates). I usually have my maker ON ALL DAY ... EEK ... will now be turning it off immediately after brewing and nuke a cup for 30 seconds which is hugely cheaper than leaving the maker on!!! I didn't realize just how much electricity they use. I'm wiser now and will have more money to play with :D
 

foghlaim

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Kanadiana, "cold coffee".. eeeww!! as much of an addict i am, i couldn't drink it cold.. on occasion i have drank a sip cold and aaggh!! and i've also tried the nuke things with it as well, couldn't drink it,,,rotten!!.. but as they say to each his\her own.. :) has to be freshly made for me.. :)
I'm at six (mugs) still, can't seem to get past it.. when i do... i get those headaches...which just won't go away till i've had that coffee..
I suppose 6 is better than 10 or 12.

Serenity: well done...:) do let us know how you get on during your time off the coffee and what diff you notice if\when you go back on again.
 

David Baxter

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Foghlaim, it takes time to withdraw from a caffeine addiction. Just whittle it down gradually over several weeks.

You don't really need a LOT of coffee to avoid those headaches normally - I suspect one cup is enough.
 

Serenity

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I agree. When I started decreasing, I did it a bit too quickly. I went from 2 large cups (20 oz or each = 40oz) to 1 medium (15oz). On a few occassions, I woke up in the morning with a terrible headache which quickly went away when I had my 1 cup again. :D So I know for me for sure, that that quick shot of caffeine, even though it was small, did almost instantly relieve the headache. Now I am down to such a small dose, I'm not getting headaches any longer but I may, once I get off completely.

:yuk:
 

Kanadiana

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Kanadiana, "cold coffee".. eeeww!! as much of an addict i am, i couldn't drink it cold.. on occasion i have drank a sip cold and aaggh!!

:D :D :D My nephews wife turned me on to Iced cappuccino's for "Tim Hortons???" and I love those sometimes. As to drinking my regular coffee cold, I guess I just kinda fell into that gradually. I'm always "sipping" now and then, all day long, and that means I got used to the cold coffee taste through that and through wanting my coffee but not the overheating during heatwaves. A true addict, I'm after the kick mostly, I guess! :eek:
 

just mary

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Hi Serenity,

I like discussions like this, they're interesting. I currently drink 2 to 3 large mugs of coffee per day, anything more than that and I have a difficult time sleeping at night. I drink coffee strictly for the jump start, it tastes okay to me but it's not something I salivate over - it's simply a habit.

The only coffee treat I really like are those latte's: cafe, mocha, bocha-cocha, whatever. I also think they're healthier than regular coffee because you can make them with low-fat milk or soy (and David, our resident spam fan, no comments please :D ).

Actually, I've been sick with the stomach flu the last several days and haven't been able to tolerate caffeine. And now that I haven't had any for a few days, I'm tempted not to have any more. But I doubt I'll stick to that, especially when I'm at my office at 7:30 AM on Monday morning and it's -30 degrees outside.

The following "suggestion" is an excerpt from an article on "Ways to Restore Your Sanity at Work", author unknown:

Without telling anyone, substitute decaf for real coffee in the office coffee machine for three to four weeks, then switch back to real coffee.

:)

Anyway, good luck Serenity and let us know how you're doing.

JM
 

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