Can Coffee Give Me Anxiety?

“Coffee is great for when you want to be stressed – faster”. No doubt you have experienced the heart racing effect too much coffee can give you. It is a beverage we rely often on to get us into our work mode. Have you ever wondered? Can coffee give me anxiety?

Coffee contains Caffeine and the side effects of caffeine can be very similar to symptoms of anxiety. Although caffeine does not directly cause anxiety, it can make symptoms worse. Caffeine is responsible for the wake-up effect coffee gives you.

People vary in how sensitive they are to caffeine than others. If you find that you are susceptible to the effects of caffeine, even if you perhaps consume little amounts, you may experience unwanted side effects.

Can Coffee Give Me Anxiety?

The recommended dosage of caffeine is 400mg per day. This works out to roughly 4 cups of coffee per day depending on how you make it. If you are sensitive to caffeine, perhaps monitor your caffeine intake and be sure to consult your local doctor should you continue experiencing severe anxiety.

What Exactly is Anxiety?


Before we can establish how coffee and caffeine affect anxiety, it is important to define the condition. For that purpose, anxiety can be broken into two main categories: General anxiety and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). General anxiety is a natural awareness that comes and goes as your body reacts to everyday stress.

What exactly is anxiety?

An individual who has GAD, on the other hand, will have chronic anxiety for possibly no reason at all and cannot help feeling worried and stressed. This is diagnosed by a doctor. This is addressed with prescribed medication. People with GAD need to be aware of the effects of caffeine.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Nervousness or restlessness.
  • Fast resting heart rate.
  • Insomnia.
  • Gastrointestinal issues.
  • Difficulty in concentration.
  • Uncontrollable sweating.
  • Rapid breathing.

How Many Cups of Coffee is too much?

Up to 400 milligrams (Mg of Caffeine) is safe for most healthy adults. To put that into estimated amounts of coffee, it roughly works out to about 4 cups of brewed coffee. This is about 10 cups of Coca-Cola and 2 monster energy drinks. Keep in mind that the caffeine content in soft drinks and beverages vary, especially among energy drinks.

It is interesting to note that caffeine in powder or liquid form can provide toxic levels of caffeine. Just one spoon of powdered caffeine has about the same caffeine content as 28 cups of coffee. Such levels of caffeine content in the bloodstream can cause serious health problems and possibly death.

Now that you have found two wholesome beverages you can consume every morning, be sure not to overdo it! Limit your intake of caffeine. The recommended caffeine dosage ranged from 3 to 7 milligrams of caffeine for every kilogram of body weight. Most sources site 5mg/kg as the recommended dosage.

Up to 400 milligrams (Mg of Caffeine) is safe for most healthy adults.

What are the effects of Coffee & its Side effects?

Caffeine, the main active ingredient in coffee, is a psychostimulant drug that works on an area of the brain called the central nervous system. It blocks a molecule called adenosine, causing the alertness associated with caffeine.

Caffeine is a diuretic, giving us the urge to use the bathroom, and increasing both the frequency and urgency to urinate. This will not affect you instantly but is noteworthy in making sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Overconsumption of caffeine can lead to the following side effects

  • It can disrupt sleep.
  • Caffeine can cause dehydration.
  • Caffeine can upset your digestion. (increased metabolism).
  • Excessive caffeine can affect your mood.
  • Caffeine can reduce your absorption of nutrients.
  • Increased Urination (diuretic).

It is important to note that caffeine intake of more than 7mg/kg is NOT recommended. This is more than 4 cups of coffee a day for the average male and more than 3 cups of coffee for the average female.

These effects can kick in as soon as 45 to 60 minutes and last up to 4 to 6 hours but are rarely dangerous. Side effects can vary from person to person as it depends on their tolerance, sensitivity, and how much caffeine they are used to. Body mass and genetics also contribute to this. Should you begin to experience the negative effects of coffee, limit or discontinue your caffeine intake.

Be sure to avoid having any caffeine in the evening since this can cause sleep disruption. Other stimulant drugs, like Sudafed or drugs containing ephedrine, should not be taken at the same time as caffeine as this can make side effects worse and cause high blood pressure.

How does Caffeine affect Anxiety?

As mentioned earlier, the side effects of caffeine can be very similar to symptoms of anxiety. And although caffeine does not directly cause anxiety, it can make symptoms worse.

One study showed this by giving 72 patients with anxiety disorders and 26 patients without anxiety a 480 mg dose of caffeine to see if it would cause a panic attack. A panic attack is a symptom of GAD. They found that close to 61% of the patients with anxiety disorders reported a panic attack where none of the patients without anxiety had a panic attack. This is important to note if you are sensitive to caffeine.

Caffeine side effects include many of the same symptoms of anxiety.

Another small study supported this by giving 38 patients a 10 mg dose of caffeine and found that up to 71% of patients reported that effects of caffeine were like ones experienced with panic attacks (nervousness, restlessness, shakiness, irritability etc). Again, patients without anxiety did not report any panic attacks but did experience the effects of caffeine.

Caffeine’s side effects include many of the same symptoms of anxiety. What is noteworthy too is that caffeine does not cause anxiety, the compounded symptoms can leave you feeling uncomfortable. If you are prone to severe anxiety, be sure to limit your caffeine intake. As hard as it seems – you may have to stop drinking coffee altogether.

People with anxiety should consider avoiding coffee and other caffeinated food and drinks. Perhaps consider decaf coffee an option if you do not want to substitute tea for coffee. People who do not have anxiety seem to tolerate caffeine better, but everyone is different.

What about Sugar in Coffee and Anxiety?

So, you do not take your coffee black and need a little sweetness in your life? Sugar and other artificial sweeteners are like caffeine in that it cannot cause anxiety but can worsen anxiety symptoms. It is best to stay away since they can cause effects such as fatigue (“sugar crash”), blurry vision, and upset stomach. These side effects can lower your mood which just contributes to anxiety.

What about sugar in coffee?

Tea is a perfect caffeine solution; this is due to its caffeine content. To overdose on caffeine from drinking tea, you need to consume more than 18 cups of tea in a day. Tea is the perfect alternative if you are sensitive to caffeine. If you aim to lose weight, limit your sugar intake. Perhaps consider decaf coffee an option if you do not want to substitute tea for coffee.

In Conclusion – Can Coffee Give Me Anxiety?

The caffeine found in coffee is responsible for its ‘wake up’ effect. Can coffee give me anxiety?

Coffee contains Caffeine and the side effects of caffeine can be very similar to symptoms of anxiety. Although caffeine does not directly cause anxiety, it can make symptoms worse. Caffeine is responsible for the ‘wake-up’ effect coffee gives you.

Caffeine’s side effects include many of the same symptoms of anxiety. What is noteworthy too is that caffeine does not cause anxiety, the compounded symptoms can leave you feeling uncomfortable. If you are prone to severe anxiety, be sure to limit your caffeine intake. As hard as it seems – you may have to stop drinking coffee altogether.

The caffeine found in coffee is responsible for its ‘wake up’ effect.

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