Anxiety and Caffeine Consumption -- A Link

By Tina Hudgins

Have you ever experienced the wearing, gnawing pangs of anxiety? A majority of us have at some point. I recall the time I initially realized I had some kind of anxiety troubles clearly. I was at my place of employment and one of my deadlines was coming up quickly for an essential project I'd been delegated to, and my boss stepped into my cubicle and asked what the status was. Fear washed over me and drenched me like a bucket of ice cold water.

I was cold to the touch, but nevertheless somehow had a film of moist sweat make a sudden appearance all over my body beginning with my brow, top of my head, and palms. How could I respond? I'd been procrastinating. The obvious truth is that my anxiousness was induced by a behavior problem, yes, but also a chemical problem (which I was causing!). I'd been drinking an average of six to seven mugs of coffee per day to keep moving, and this was obviously excessive indeed.

What I did not at the time realize is that all of the coffee imbibing was entirely unnecessary. As a matter of fact, each mug that I consumed only increased my dependence to a greater degree, and by the next couple of weeks was merely glossing over the fundamental symptoms of caffeine withdrawal that the coffee had itself created. This constant coffee consumption was causing my moods and stress system to alternate violently from one end of the spectrum to the other all entirely dependent on my blood level of caffeine.

One of the most common ways that coffee can throw us out of balance is by interfering with night time rest. Coffee has a particularly long half-life somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-6 hours and this implies that a mere one half of the caffeine is metabolized a whole six hours after ingestion. This means that depending on the amount you consumed, and the approximate time of day that you drank it, coffee can most assuredly mess with your capacity to dive into those deep, more restorative layers of sleep.

What does this mean? This means that when you get out of bed in the morning after you are going to be quite sleepy, and probably somewhat grouchy. The next step in the cycle is that you will once again get yourself hyped for that vat of gourmet coffee, and most likely because you feel so lethargic you will imbibe just a little bit more than you really need and therefore put yourself on the verge of a full blown anxiety attack... and all you need at this point is just the right trigger to set the ball in motion.

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