Ask any expert, and they will tell you that food can contribute to anxiety, especially coffee. Although coffee may offer some positive side effects like sharpness of mind, mental alertness, and mood enhancement regular caffeine intake may cost you your health.
You see, caffeine increases cortisol secretion. Cortisol helps regulate blood pressure, mental health, how your cardiovascular system works, weight control, and the physical healing process. If cortisol levels are abnormally high, you may experience weight gain, fatigue, higher blood pressure, faster heart rate, headaches, slower healing, cognitive difficulties, depression, anxiety, bone loss, muscle loss, and insulin irregularities.
If you're experiencing several of these symptoms, you may consider consulting a doctor to get a proper diagnosis, and if you're drinking coffee regularly, you may want to think about kicking the habit.
Another side effect of coffee is panic attacks. The rush of caffeine is enough to trigger faster heart rates and excess energy, similar symptoms to panic attacks. Therefore it's possible for caffeine to trigger anxiety and panic in someone who is susceptible.
More about Caffeine and Energy Drinks
Any energy drink you consume is designed to stimulate your body. The most popular drinks out there have between 70 to 120 mg of caffeine, some go as high as 500 mg. To maximize the stimulant effect, these beverages generally contain other plant-based, such as guarana and ginseng. This makes a cup of coffee look mild with an average of 90 mg.
Like soda, energy drinks have lots of sugar, approximately 28 grams.
So, this is what happens over 24 hours of drinking an energy drink. Within 10 minutes caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream which sends a signal to your to increase heart rate. Your body reacts by producing higher levels of cortisol which increases blood pressure and heart rate.
Within 15 to 45 minutes caffeine levels in the blood peak. As a result, a person may feel more alive and alert. But caffeine is a sly character. It temporarily blocks adenosine, a neurotransmitter that communicates tiredness, giving you a false sense of energy while boosting another neurotransmitter - dopamine which makes you feel good.
Within 50 minutes all the caffeine is soaked up by your body, and your liver will absorb all the sugar from your bloodstream, causing a "sugar crash," or a form of hypoglycemia related to low sugar level.
Within 1 hour the effects of the caffeine will begin to fade away. At this point, you'll start to feel tired, and energy levels will die off. Adenosine transmitters are no longer blocked and dopamine is reduced.
Within 5 to 6 hours your body will reduce the caffeine content by 50%, and within 12 hours your body will fully remove it.
Depending on individual tolerance a person may experience withdrawal effects like headaches, exhaustion, insomnia, depressed mood, cognitive impairment, memory loss, nausea, difficulty thinking (or brain fog), dizziness, and abnormal heart rhythm.
The symptoms lead people to another cup of coffee or energy drink. The behavior sets up a dependency and dependency related to altered physiology is called an addiction.
Once you get off the constant caffeine fix, you'll feel better and more clear minded. Your nervous system will calm down, and your mind will stop racing with thought. This will give you the necessary head space to think about your approach to anxiety.
If you've been drinking coffee, or other caffeinated drinks, getting off caffeine, might prove difficult.
Because the caffeine molecule fits so perfectly into your brain’s adenosine receptors, over time, the brain generates more adenosine receptors to compensate for the caffeine floating around in the brain.
Once you quit caffeine, your brain will produce enormous amounts of adenosine while dopamine levels drop drastically causing your brain to be entirely out of balance and that's when you may physically experience "withdrawal" symptoms.
There are many programs out there that can help you quit caffeine. It's definitely, not in the scope of this writing to provide you with in-depth information about overcoming the addiction, but the most accepted practice to quit is gradually over a period of 30 to 60 days.
Things you can do to get you through are:
Drink lots of water - staying hydrated will make you feel better.
Get lots of rest - it's not unusual for a person to feel sleepy for the first 2 or 3 days, so sleep.
Exercise - you probably won't feel like exercising but go ahead. Assuming you consulted a doctor and are healthy enough to exercise, go for it. Exercise naturally produces dopamine in the brain which makes you feel good.
Eat healthy - staying away from flour, refined sugars, and unnatural preservatives, and eating lots of fruits and veggies, along with some organic meats will make you feel energized.
God bless you stay string and healthy. Meditate everyday with God and your soul will inherit peace from above.