Could Caffeine Be Making Your Anxiety Worse?

If you struggle with anxiety, you will probably be looking for any ways in which you can improve things and make it easier to cope with the anxiety you experience.

New research in the US has suggested that many people overlook caffeine as a contributing factor in their anxiety, and noted that cutting their consumption of it could help alleviate some of the symptoms.

Dr Julie Radico, clinical psychologist with Penn State Health, carried out the research but was keen to stress that “caffeine is not the enemy”. However, her findings suggest that some people with anxiety may find that drinking too much caffeine can make them feel more anxious.

“I encourage people to know healthy limits and consume it strategically because it is activating and can mimic or exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety,” Dr Radico said.

She explained that low doses of caffeine are typically fine. A low dose is defined as being in the range from 50 to 200 milligrams (mg). However, consuming more than 400 mg in one hit may lead to someone feeling overstimulated or anxious.

As a guide, the average amount of caffeine in a home-brewed cup of coffee is typically around 100 mg. By contrast, the caffeine in a tall Starbucks coffee comes in at 250 mg.

It’s energy drinks that are more problematic, with some brands containing as much as 400 mg of caffeine per can. It’s also important to be aware that nutritional and sports supplements can often contain caffeine too.

These products can often be overlooked by people who are keeping an eye on their caffeine consumption because they’re not an obvious source.

Of course, if you suffer from severe anxiety, reducing your caffeine consumption won’t be enough to make you feel less anxious and stressed. You’ll need to work with a counsellor in Manchester, or wherever you live, to find ways of dealing with your anxiety.

There are various therapies you can explore with your counsellor to help you manage your anxiety.

It’s encouraging that more and more people are feeling able to open up about their anxiety. Former Girls Aloud singer Cheryl recently talked very openly about her struggles with anxiety and how cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been incredibly helpful to her.

She also told BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks show she that believes social media can encourage people to compare themselves unfavourably with others, even though the platforms can also create supportive communities for those who have various mental health conditions.

Another big-name singer who has recently talked about their anxiety is Ed Sheeran. He revealed that he struggles with social anxiety and hates being in large crowds of people as it makes him feel claustrophobic.

He also said that he doesn’t like people taking photos of him when he’s out in public because it makes him feel like “a zoo animal”.

Ed also said that his anxiety makes him question why his wife married him, even though they knew each other before he shot to worldwide fame. He added that he’s very careful who he hangs out with, because he worries that people are only friends with him because of his fame.

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