How are coffee and mental health related?

How are coffee and mental health related?

 A cup of coffee. Cover credit:  YouTube

A cup of coffee. Cover credit: YouTube

Caffeine is the most widely used mood-altering drug in the world. While some might think of it as something they cannot live without, they often find themselves addicted to it, incapable of quitting.

Coffee is a psychoactive drug. Usually, people drink coffee to feel more focused, attentive and productive. But soon enough, people who work a lot start increasing their caffeine intake.

What the excessive use of caffeine can cause is more serious than anyone would think.

Coffee increases stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine, causing more anxiety. People who have anxiety and panic attacks are usually coffee drinkers, and realize that sometimes, their attacks follow a caffeine intake. This does not mean that reducing coffee will eliminate anxiety, but it might as well be beneficial in increasing the gaps between panic attacks.

Caffeine is often related to insomnia. It decreases stages of deep sleep, causing the brain to keep creating new cells. Caffeine-induced sleep disorders are now recognized, as well as caffeine-induced anxiety.

The response to caffeine is relative to each one of us. One might drink a large cup of coffee at 9 p.m. and still sleep like a baby, while another avoids drinking coffee after 2 p.m. because it keeps them awake at night. Generally, the people who are anxious are the ones who are kept awake.

Caffeine can have different interactions with other medications. Sometimes, it might boost their effect, but more often, it can inhibit their effectiveness, especially that of psychiatric medications like anti-anxiety pills.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as DSM-5, lists four caffeine related disorders: caffeine addiction, caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, caffeine-induced sleep disorder, and caffeine intoxication.

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