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Sometimes you come after your cold brow may have noticed that you're ji Then your mind jumps from one thought to the next, or your heart beats as in the HIIT class. In other words, coffee can produce the same symptoms as people with anxiety. Coincidence? Of course not.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America and can increase. In an annual poll by the American Psychiatry Association, 39 percent of respondents said they are more concerned than last year. And our love affair with coffee – averaging 3.3 cups a day for people who drink it regularly – can make things worse.
"Caffeine is an adenosine receptor antagonist." Mary Margaret Sweeney, Lecturer at the Johns Hopkins Medicine Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit. Let's break that down: Adenosine is a chemical that helps regulate arousal. When it binds to adenosine receptors, it makes us drowsy. But when something – like caffeine – antagonizes adenosine, we feel drooling instead.
"That's why caffeine stimulates," says Sweeney. "It can be hard for someone to tell if the effects are due to caffeine or if the caffeine contributes to the effects of anxiety."
Although you can develop some tolerance for caffeine (depending on dose, frequency and excretion rate), you are never completely tolerant. For example, caffeine may cause anxiety symptoms on some days, even if you start warming your Keurig every morning, says Sweeney. However, caffeine has a greater effect on people who do not consume it regularly.
According to research, doses of more than 250 milligrams (the amount in 21 ounces of coffee or about 2.5 cups) and certainly those over 500 milligrams are more likely to trigger anxiety (and other side effects such as insomnia, GI stress and arrhythmias). Everyone has their own tolerance, but people with anxiety seem to be more sensitive to the anxiogenic effects of caffeine.
So, could you maintain your coffee habit, but only eat something like a giant pancake breakfast to cool off?
Not so fast. "Caffeine is highly bioavailable and is absorbed almost 100 percent by the body," says Sweeney. The food does not change what you feel. Only could reduce the amount.
You may not have to give up coffee altogether: Different coffee brands have different caffeine levels, so you may find a concoction that contains less. Whatever you do, you will be cut back gradually – giving up cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and even depression.