Ever noticed the rising heart rate and the adrenaline rush after having a cup of that smooth Americano or Espresso? Most of the time, this is the desirable effect of caffeine – Heightened alertness, faster brain processing and energy boost among many others. But sooner or later, these effects can become quite overwhelming especially for those who suffer from frequent anxiety attacks and especially with the amount of more than what the body can take.

Caffeine is a stimulant psychoactive drug that targets the central nervous system. It        acts by preventing the sleep inducing adenosine from reaching and activating its receptors thereby suppressing the sensation of sleepiness. This in turn causes the opposite, which is having the state of alertness.

Nowadays, we are surrounded by products that contain caffeine. The major source of an average person’s everyday caffeine is no other than the crowd favorite coffee. Other known products containing caffeine are colas or sodas, chocolates, ice cream and some medicines just to name a common few. This goes to show that you do not have to go to a pharmacy just to get a dose of caffeine. Add in tons of amounts of sugar and acidity and you get the killer dose that can trigger anxiety.

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives due to stressful situations but not everyone has a problem with frequent anxiety attacks nor is diagnosed with anxiety disorder. It is but natural to be anxious, to feel tensed and worried when circumstances arise that seems to be out of your hands. This is the body’s automatic response to deal with the stress. As a matter of fact, this is how the body automatically induces adrenaline rush that causes a person to take an immediate action. Once this natural response crosses the line and becomes overwhelming to a person and becomes a cause of incapacitation, then there is a high possibility of an anxiety disorder.

People experiencing severe anxiety attacks find caffeine as a primary trigger for their attacks. Symptoms range from hyperventilation, restlessness, shaking or trembling, sleeplessness, loosing focus and mood swings. Even average people who have not been diagnosed with anxiety disorder could suffer from such symptoms after having excessive amounts of caffeine than their usual intake.

How can these negative effects be prevented?

  1. People vary in the amount of intake that their body can tolerate. It is important to remember this and to always pay attention to one’s consumption. Drinking responsibly will apply.
  2. For people with pre-existing condition of caffeine intolerance or anxiety disorder, it is best to stay away from consuming caffeinated drinks or foods as much as possible and to regulate the amount of intake.
  3. Be conscious when buying products and always check the label for the ingredients it contains.

These are just some of the ways to deal with caffeine related or caffeine induced anxiety. It also has to be noted that caffeine, like any other substance, is not in its very essence a bad thing. It takes proper health awareness and responsibility to fully use its potential as a stimulating drug when the situation calls for it.

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