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Does Caffeine Worsen Depression?

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There are some individuals who drink coffee (caffeine) and are worried that it may worsen or even cause depression. Today, there is very little evidence to link caffeine and depression. Despite the fact that caffeine is a brain stimulant, it does worsen depression in a fair number of individuals.

Why this brain stimulant induces depression is a mystery. There are suggestions that caffeine may alter blood sugar levels and this may be one cause for the mood alterations.

Other experts claim that perhaps caffeine induces a severe state of alertness and anxiety and thus the individual is no longer able to sleep or function properly and hence gets depressed

The number of individuals whose depression is worsened by caffeine is not known. In any case, if your depression gets worse after consuming caffeine, one should limit the intake of caffeine-containing beverages. The caffeine beverages should be gradually deceased because abrupt discontinuation of caffeine can also lead to mild withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, lethargy, irritability, and anxiety. There are a few anecdotal reports indicating that lessening caffeine intake can lessen the severity of depression.

Caffeine is not as bad as what is made out in the lay media. It does have a few proven health benefits including the ability to improve alertness, increasing concentration and allowing one to be more sociable.

A number of French studies have shown, a daily cup of coffee can lead to a lesser degree of cognitive impairment with age. However, despite its potential benefits, too much caffeine also has adverse effects. For the depressed individual, the trick is to consume the right balance of caffeine.

Add a Comment6 Comments

I am not sure if I could say that caffein helps when I am depressed, but it is definitely something that I enjoy having, just like chocolate. And usually I take my time drinking it, this is what is relaxing about it.

August 27, 2010 - 2:31am

The effects of caffeine are complex. I recall reading some studies that found that caffeine consumption associated with tea or coffee drinking was associated with lower rates of depression. But it is also true that heavy caffeine use can be tied to anxiety and insomnia, which could be connected to depression.

I think, like any substance, moderation is the key. Tea offers a good alternative for coffee drinkers who wish to reduce their caffeine intake, as the caffeine content of tea is significantly lower than coffee--and some teas are particularly low in caffeine. But people should steer away from espresso drinks with large serving sizes--these can have deceptively high amounts of caffeine.

Personally, drinking a lot of caffeine from these coffee drinks makes me feel pretty awful, whereas I drink tea every day and feel fine.

August 25, 2010 - 1:57pm
EmpowHER Guest

What is the difference between taking a caffine pill or drinking coffee for depression?

June 15, 2010 - 3:40pm
(reply to Anonymous)

There is a difference in the amount of caffeine in a pill versus the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee (or espresso). It depends on the quantity, or dose, of each source.

Do you have a specific type of "caffeine pill" that you are referring to?
Are you trying to treat depression, or have any symptoms that you would like to talk about?

June 15, 2010 - 8:44pm

yes, caffeine is a CNS stimulant and does relieve depression. however, its affect is not long standing and many people develop tolerance

August 13, 2009 - 8:41am
EmpowHER Guest

caffeine very definitely relieves my depression.

August 11, 2009 - 6:40pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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