413: Anxiety and the Caffeine Connection


In this week's episode, we're talking about caffeine as a primary culprit in provoking anxiety.

Download this episode (right click and save)


Notes from the show:

Caffeine is a primary culprit in provoking anxiety.

We recently received a letter from a listener who said that reducing caffeine alone had stopped his anxiety attacks.

Symptoms caused by caffeine include:

  • sleep disturbance
  • adrenal fatigue
  • interference with natural dopamine and adrenaline production

Coffee doesn't give energy, it sets off a reaction in the body that provokes stress hormones to provide a burst of alertness.

In other words, caffeine jolts the body into flight or fight mode.

Having a well-rested body and mind is essential for anxiety recovery.

It’s all too easy to get caught in a dependent cycle with caffeine where it disrupts our sleep, so we aren’t sufficiently rested, we wake up feeling sluggish and slow to get going in the morning, so we drink coffee to give us a boost. And because we’re tired, we might drink coffee or energy drinks throughout the day, and then that accumulated caffeine will disrupt our sleep that night.

Energy at a High Cost

We know caffeine is a stimulant and often that sounds like a good thing, but what does it mean to anxiety sufferers?

While caffeine might give energy, it provides edgy energy that can make us feel unsettled. Ayurveda (India’s ancient science of life) teaches that the over-stimulation of the nervous system is the leading underlying cause of anxiety.

Ayurveda and the Unpopular Truth about Coffee.

Ananga: Coffee is an addictive stimulant. It is astringent (drying) in nature which makes it counter hydrating and particularly disruptive for vata types - the type most prone to anxiety.

Coffee provokes all three Ayurvedic body types and is considered at cause in the development of insomnia, adrenal exhaustion, chronic fatigue syndrome and anxiety.

Coffee strongly provokes vata. Some Ayurvedic experts describe getting energy from coffee as being similar to borrowing money on a credit card. Coffee gives instant energy but at a high cost to the kidneys and adrenals.

Once we get used to using coffee for boosts in energy the stronger the desire to drink coffee will be any time we feel tired. This cycle soon puts us in energy debt with a disturbed nervous system. The remedy is gradually chasing coffee out combined with drinking extra water and taking extra rest.

Caffeine Provokes and Anxiety and also Mimics Anxiety

Most relevant for Anxiety Slayer listeners to note is that caffeine can spark anxiety episodes because it can make us feel like we’re having an episode.

The physical responses to caffeine can feel the same as the symptoms of anxiety. For example:

  • increased heart rate
  • feeling unsettled and restless
  • sweating or trembling

Listen to the full podcast for tips on phasing caffeine out of your life.