I’m Quitting Caffeine… Again

About a year ago, I chose to give up caffeine. The decision was made based on the strong correlation between my consumption of caffeine and the intensity of symptoms from my anxiety disorder.

That lasted about two months…

Let’s be clear, I’m not saying that caffeine causes anxiety; however, there is a wealth of research that suggests that those living with mental health issues such as anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc. tend to be impacted by caffeine in some way.

This makes sense, as caffeine is a stimulant, an “upper”. If you’re anxious, manic, or psychotic, you’re already “up.” Adding caffeine to the equation is likely to magnify the symptoms being experienced.

I have decided once again to eliminate caffeine from my diet

Part of this decision comes from a strong need to practice what I preach. Between my role as a therapist and in working as a clinician for psychiatric hospitals, I am educating others daily on the impact of caffeine on anxiety, mania, psychosis, etc.

I educate others, yet I consume two HUGE cups of full-strength coffee daily.

And you know what? I’ve seen a worsening in my anxiety over the past month. Lately, coffee #2 can almost guarantee that I’ll have a panic attack at some point during the day.

So I’m taking action!

It’s Tuesday as I’m writing this and the only coffee I’ve had has been decaf. Though it contains trace amounts of caffeine, I am glad to still have the creature comfort of a delicious cup of coffee.

How is it going so far? Well, because I did this last year, I knew that I would feel groggy and a bit irritable.

From my own experiences and observations, I’ve come to believe that caffeine is the most abused drug in the United States. It’s interwoven into our culture and it’s socially acceptable to drink coffee, soda, energy drinks, and tea.

Just look at the drive thru line at any Starbucks on your next morning commute.

The DSM 5 (AKA, the therapist’s Bible) has several caffeine-related conditions listed in the addiction section (right after alcohol use disorder.) These diagnoses include:

  • Caffeine intoxication
  • Caffeine withdrawal
  • Caffeine-induced disorders

Symptoms of caffeine addiction can include restlessness, nervousness (anxiety), insomnia, GI issues, racing heart, and agitation. Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can include headaches (me today), drowsiness (also me), difficulty concentrating (ditto), irritability, and depressed mood.

I imagine that the aforementioned information is a lot to digest.

Personally, I am choosing to eliminate caffeine because I know it worsens my anxiety symptoms and is habit-forming for me.

Does the information in this article resonate with you? Be sure to share with me in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

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