Aims Of The Current Research
The general lack of research relating to the effects of caffeine on stress, anxiety, and depression in children is an area that the current paper will try to address. In order to do this, the Diet and Behaviour Scale , a measure of intake of food and drinks that may affect psychological outcomes, was administered to a large cohort of secondary school children from the South West of England. The current paper used the DABS for two purposes: to provide estimates of weekly caffeine intake from energy drinks, cola, tea, and coffee, and so that additional aspects of diet could be controlled for in multivariate analyses.
Along with the DABS, single-item measures of self-assessed stress, anxiety, and depression were administered. Single items were chosen as they have been shown to be valid and reliable, allowing for the identification of overall risk whilst reducing the time costs associated with administering multi-item measures . The items themselves came from the Wellbeing Process Questionnaire , have been validated against full measures, demonstrated to correlate well, and appear to be as sensitive as the full-length measures with which they were compared .
Does Coffee Worsen The Symptoms Of Depression
While moderate doses of caffeine may help you as a mild antidepressant, large doses may alternately worsen the symptoms of depression.
This effect is more profound in the case of people already dealing with anxiety and mood disorders.
Some of the widely experienced symptoms of depression include:
- Withdrawal from peers and family
- Changes in eating pattern
Therere other symptoms as well. However, these are the most experienced ones and you could see that many of these symptoms are signs of caffeine withdrawal as well.
So if youre a healthy individual, with no issues with your mental health, the accompanying symptoms might just be a sign of caffeine overdose or withdrawal. However, in the case of people with depression, coffee might not be the sole reason for triggering the symptoms but can be a reason behind the changes.
The boost offered by the coffee is relatively temporary as the half-life of caffeine is about 5 hours. After that period, depressed people may experience a severe drop in their mood and suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
This is why moderate consumption of coffee is always appreciated no matter the state of your body and mind.
Is Coffee Good For Mental Health
Coffee can be good for your mental health and as per reviews, the greatest benefit comes when you drink at least 2 cups per day.This quantity of coffee works fine for people with normal sensitivity to caffeine. Generally, a single cup of brewed coffee contains 95 mg caffeine.
According to a Korean National Health and Nutrition Survey, coffee tends to lower the incidents of self-reported depression by consumers by about 32%. Other studies also showed that people drinking coffee on regular basis is less likely to diagnose clinically significant depression.
The potential effects that the beverage has on your health are mainly:
- Reduces Oxidation
- Blocks mood-depressing chemicals in the brain
- Fights inflammation
- Improves gut health
Caffeine works in blocking the receptors in the brain to bind with adenosine. Adenosine is the chemical that causes the sensation of fatigue and pressed mood.
The concentration of adenosine increases in the blood of the people drinking more coffee since it has been blocked by caffeine.
Coffee also helps in dealing with high blood levels of inflammation which is prevalent among depressed individuals. Studies have also shown that coffees anti-inflammatory properties help people with depression.
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Representativeness Of The Sample
A relatively high response rate of 88.4% was observed for completion of the DABS. To investigate how representative the sample was in reference to the academies from which it came, Chi-square tests were conducted to determine if SIMS data for those who completed the DABS differed from SIMS data of those that did not. It should be noted that a similar analysis presented in Richards et al. relates to T1 from the Cornish Academies Project, whereas that presented here relates to T2.
It was found that the academy a pupil came from was significantly related to their likelihood of responding to the questionnaires, with Academy 1 and Academy 3 providing fewer respondents, and Academy 2 providing more respondents, than expected, 2 = 241.172, p< .001. The school year that a participant came from was also related to their likelihood of completing the questionnaires, 2 = 34.681, p< .001. A significant linear-by-linear association was observed, with the likelihood of responding being negatively associated with school year, 2 = 30.245, p< .001. Children with a SEN status were also less likely to answer the questionnaire, 2 = 23.142, p< .001, as were children who were eligible to receive FSM, 2 = 25.116, p< .001.
How To Reduce Caffeine Consumption
Eliminating caffeine from your diet abruptly poses no serious health risks, however you could experience unpleasant side effects like headaches and nervousness. Therefore, unless caffeine is affecting your sleep or health, or unless instructed otherwise by your healthcare providers, you may want to consider gradually reducing your caffeine intake over a period of two to three weeks.
Consider substituting your coffee with a caffeine-free herbal tea. Similarly, consider switching from drinking sodas to carbonated waters with natural, unsweetened flavorings. Increasing your daily intake of water to 4 to 6 cups per day may have positive health benefits as well.
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Does Coffee Affect Behaviour
Coffee itself doesnt affect your behavior. Its the caffeine that can take control of your behaviors as its a psychoactive stimulant.
Caffeine can take your body into a hyper-aroused state, triggering emotions. This state of mind overruns your behavior and puts the mind into a state of further anxiety and irritability. Simultaneously, your emotions take control over your mind and behavior.
The negative effects are not only behavioral but also physical. The change in mood comes with high blood pressure, racing heartbeat, chest pain, and even heavy breathing.
The psychoactive compound in the coffee can cause both cognitive perks and down. Caffeines addictive factor can intensify health problems. There has been intensive research going on regarding caffeine use disorder and more evidence is needed to get a reliable answer.
There Can Be Withdrawals
The most common concern about coffee is that it has a withdrawal syndrome, said Dr. Kilgore. When this occurs, people feel like they need to keep using it, even if they don’t need it that particular day for its intended benefit of increasing alertness and that withdrawal effect can happen as soon as 12 hours after the last coffee in people who use it regularly.
It can last up to one to two days if intentionally stopped after prolonged use, she added, noting that some effects can last even up to nine or 10 days with headache, nervousness and fatigue.
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Caffeine Dosage For Depression
Lets look at what research has found about the ideal caffeine dosage for depression.
To Lower Your Risk
If your goal is to lower your risk of depression, the Nurses Health Study, which followed over 50,000 women for 10 years, can provide some guidelines.
Drinking 2 to 3 cups per day reduced the risk of depression by 15% over the course of the study.
Drinking 4 cups of more lowered the risk by 20%.
To Improve Your Mood
But if your goal is to use caffeine to improve your mood now, the answer is not at all clear-cut.
There are many variables that impact how efficiently your body metabolizes caffeine:
- your general health
So, you will have to determine your ideal caffeine dosage by trial and error.
Start low, around 100 mg per day, and gradually work your way up to larger amounts.
Notice how you respond.
The US Food and Drug Administration has set the upper safe limit of caffeine intake at 400 mg per day.
At higher doses, caffeine becomes counterproductive by increasing anxiety and insomnia.
This is not a good trade-off, especially for people who have both depression and anxiety, which is very common.
This chart provides a general idea of the amount of caffeine in popular caffeinated beverages.
Caffeine Interrupts Your Natural Sleep Patterns
Your body has all of the chemicals necessary to help you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning. The more caffeine you drink, the less your body wants to work. The natural energy levels you would normally get are now being replaced with caffeine. Thus when you go to bed at night, your body doesnt know what to do.
This is especially true for people who drink caffeine all throughout the day. If you are going to drink it, try to use it as a morning pick-me-up. Avoid caffeine during the evening hours, as it may keep you up later than you want to be.
What does this have to do with anxiety and depression? Well, your body needs sleep to process emotions. This is the time when your brain files all of your memories into various compartments so you can be prepared for the next day. If you arent sleeping well, your mind cant be refreshed. This worsens your anxiety and depression, and it prevents you from feeling productive.
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Take Care Of Your Sleep
Caring for your sleep is extremely important to prevent caffeine crashes. And although you may have trouble sleeping sometimes, you should try to have at least 7 to 9 hours of good sleep each night.
When that doesnt happen, you may turn to caffeine to feel energetic during the day. And this can turn into something called the caffeine cycle. You drink coffee to get more energy, it will prevent you from getting a good night of rest, so the next day you need it again, and sometimes, you may even need more caffeine, making you constantly experience caffeine crashes.
Another matter, related to your sleep, that can make you more susceptible to caffeine crash, is that being tired, and not sleeping properly will make the symptoms of caffeine crash worse.
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Coffee Caffeine Mood And Emotion
The terms Ã¢moodÃ¢ and Ã¢emotionÃ¢ are often used interchangeably in colloquial conversation.
However, in scientific terms, mood and emotion have different definitions. A mood is a relatively long-lasting affective state51 while an emotion is of shorter duration. It has been suggested that emotions can be defined by episodes of synchronised change, with components such as bodily reactions , and motor expressions52.
In Europe, mental health and mental disorders pose a significant public health challenge53. Every year, 1 out of 15 people suffer from major depression in Europe, and if anxiety and all forms of depression are included, nearly 4 out of 15 people are affected54.
Research suggests that diet and exercise can affect neuronal development and physiology and protect the brain from neurological illnesses or injuries55. Of note, coffee, cocoa and tea are being actively investigated because they contain polyphenolic compounds that may have beneficial effects on mental health, including behaviour, mood, depression and cognition56.
Can Caffeine Induce Psychosis
Drinking caffeinated drinks makes some people feel angry, anxious, or irritable, but did you know that caffeine can sometimes induce psychosis in otherwise healthy people?
Psychosis is a state of mind in which a person loses touch with reality through hallucinations, paranoia, or delusions. In a world where people joke about being addicted to caffeine, and many drink large cups of strong coffee at home, at work, and in cafés, you should be aware that caffeine can induce some types of mental illness.
Psychosis in healthy people
Clinical case studies suggest that caffeine can induce psychosis in otherwise healthy people. One study described a patient who started suffering from paranoia and delusions after consuming a large amount of caffeine . The patients psychotic symptoms subsided naturally after reducing caffeine consumption for 7 weeks without taking any anti-psychotic medicine. Another clinical case study reported a patient who had been drinking several cups of coffee and energy drinks each day . The patient sought help because of hallucinations that involved seeing things that were not there and having paranoia about being followed . The patient was also experiencing delusions of reference by being preoccupied with the number 33 . Further longitudinal research is needed to explore whether people who consume a high amount of caffeine are at greater risk of psychosis.
Worsening symptoms for people with psychotic disorders
Caffeine and brain receptors
Coffee Is A Powerful Antioxidant
Research has shown that people suffering from low mood and depression have higher levels of oxidation in their bodies than people with good mental health. Specifically, depressed people were shown to have fewer antioxidant foods in their diet. This includes coffee. Coffee is extremely high in antioxidants and is in fact the most consumed source of antioxidants in the western world today. Experts attribute the high concentration of antioxidants in coffee to its ability to act as an effective mood-enhancer.
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Drinking Coffee May Decrease Depression Risk In Women
A new study led by Harvard School of Public Health researchers found that, among women, drinking coffee may reduce the risk of depression. The researchers, led by Michel Lucas, research fellow in nutrition, found the risk of depression to be 20% lower among women who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee than those who drank little or none. Those who drank decaf, tea, soft drinks, chocolate and other beverages containing less caffeine did not appear to be protected against depression. The study, Coffee, Caffeine, and Risk of Depression Among Women, was published in the September 26, 2011, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
At least one previous prospective study in men suggested a link between depression risk and coffee, the worlds most popular central nervous system stimulant, according to the authors.
The researchers studied 50,739 women who participated in the Nurses Health Study. The women, whose average age was 63, were free of depression when the study began in 1996. The scientists prospectively followed the womens use of caffeinated and noncaffeinated beverages, and chocolate for the previous year through June 2006.
Senior author Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, told the New York Times that more research is needed before the authors can recommend women drink more coffee.
Cold And Allergy Season
Other substances you may have lying around your house or tucked in the cabinet also need to be used carefully. The ingredients inmany common decongestants, cough suppressants and antihistamines interact with antidepressants and other medications used for treating mental health in a way that can either make those drugsless effective or create new, troublesome side effects.
For example, cough medicine containing the common ingredient dextromethorphan shouldnt be taken in combination with antidepressants Prozac, Zoloft or Lexapro. Doing socan cause your body to produce too much serotonin, leading to a condition called serotonin syndrome that can bring about increased anxiety, headaches, fevers and a host of other symptoms. In severe cases, it can be deadly.
If you take medication for depression, bipolar disorder or another mental health condition, you should talk to your doctor before selecting an over the counter drug to alleviate a cough or runny nose. Dont stop taking your medication, however.
If you want to start drinking less coffee or adult beverages, Blount recommends using breathing and mindfulness exercises to help reduce anxiety and connecting with friends and family over the phone or video chat to alleviate feelings of isolation. Changing your routine so that you replace that fifth cup of coffee or first beer with something else you enjoy, like going for a short walk, can help disrupt the pattern.
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Why Is Coffee Better At Reducing Depression Risk Than Tea
Some components in coffee might counteract the negative effects of depression, according to one 2014 Japanese study.
Coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid. These acids can reduce the inflammation of nerve cells that takes place in the brains of people with depression.
This may relieve some of the discomfort and distress that depression can bring, some of which occurs due to inflammation.
Not all tea is less effective than coffee at reducing the risk of depression. The study also identified that green tea has a high antioxidant content and can be as effective as coffee in protecting against depression.
Green tea contains folate, which may also help with depression. The study linked green tea and coffee consumption to a reduced risk of depression.
Not all studies agree that caffeine only has positive effects for people with depression.
How Caffeine Can Help Depression
While there are no studies yet on how exactly coffee actually prevents depression, the researchers from Qingdao University Medical College put forward a couple of possible explanations.
Firstly, they speculated coffee may help prevent depression because it has chemical compounds that counteract depression. Coffee combats depression through compounds that reduce inflammation in the nerve cells in depressed peoples brains. The compounds are caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and ferulic acid.
They suggested in the study:
Along with caffeines natural antioxidant properties, coffee can act as an anti-inflammatory in affected parts of the brain. This may relieve some of the discomfort and distress caused by depression, which is related to inflammation.
The other hypothesis is based on the psychostimulant nature of caffeine it boosts motivation and helps you feel more awake.
Caffeine helps the brain create more dopamine, which activates the part that taps reward perception. This then allows you to make better decisions, feel more motivated, and generally be in a happy mood.
Based on a review conducted by A. Nehlig, having 75mg of caffeine every 4 hours can lead to a pattern of sustained improvement of mood over the day. It can increase alertness and well-being, help concentration, improve mood and limit depression.
For more information on this, read How does caffeine affect your mood?
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