Monday, November 07, 2011

Coffee Probably Causing Your Anxiety

By Tina Hudgins

Have you felt the grinding, miserable pangs of anxiety? A majority of us have. I recall the time I initially realized I had some kind of anxiety problem clearly. I was at work and a deadline was coming up quite rapidly for an important project I had been assigned, and my supervisor walked into my cubicle and asked what the project status was. Fear washed over me and hit me in the face like a pitcher of ice cold water.

I was cold to the touch, and yet had a film of moist sweat make a sudden appearance all over my body starting with my brow, top of my head, and hands. How could I respond? I had indeed been procrastinating. The truth is that my anxiety was induced by a type of behavior problem, yes, but also a chemical imbalance. I had been drinking an average of five to six mugs of coffee every single day to keep the momentum moving, and this was obviously excessive indeed.

What I didn't realize is that all of the coffee imbibing was entirely unnecessary. As a matter of fact, every single mug that I drank increased my dependency more, and by the following couple of weeks was merely covering up the symptoms of withdrawal that the coffee itself had manufactured. This frequent coffee sipping was causing my moods and stress system to alternate violently from one end of the spectrum to the other all entirely dependent on my blood level of caffeine.

One of the principal routes that coffee can throw us out of balance is by disturbing sleep. Coffee possesses a particularly long half-life of approximately 4 or 6 hours and this means that only one half of the caffeine is metabolized six hours later. This consequently means that depending on the amount you consumed, and the time of day you drank it, coffee can mess with your ability to receive those deeper levels of restorative sleep.

It means that when you rise the next morning you are going to feel quite tired, and maybe even somewhat grouchy. The next step in the cycle is that you'll once again reach for that vat of coffee, and most likely because you feel so sleepy you will imbibe just a bit more than you really need and inevitably place yourself on the precipice of a panic attack... and all you need is the trigger to set you off.

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