Can Coffee Make You Anxious Or Depressed?

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  • 24 Nov 2023
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You stumble into the kitchen, eyes adjusting to the light, everything is a little fuzzy, and get your first cup of joe brewing. The aroma hits you first—perhaps a nice dark roast—and then your first sip, ahhhhh... You go about the remainder of your morning ritual, and that wonderful, aroma-filled beverage in your cup gets your day started.

But have you ever considered whether your morning coffee practice may be contributing to your anxiety or depression? If that's the case, I've got some answers for you in this post.

We've become a coffee-crazed culture, consuming it for pleasure, relaxation, as a treat, socializing, and, most importantly, energy. To summarize, the coffee obsession might lead to an unhealthy addiction. How else can we maintain our energy levels while also pampering ourselves in order to complete all of the tasks we need and want to complete in life?

So, here's everything you need to know about coffee, anxiety, and depression.

Coffee and Depression

There is some pretty fascinating study on coffee and depression out there. Coffee appears to be a protective factor against depression and is even associated with a lower risk of suicide. That's an incredible discovery for coffee lovers and people suffering from depression or suicidality!

Indeed, research have discussed this very fascinating outcome. But, before we get too excited, let's take a breather and explain a few points. I say "might" because research is research, and while this provides some evidence, it's important to remember that each of our bodies reacts differently to different environments, circumstances, or substances, and there are many variables at play, so nothing is 100%—but it's a good indicator for sure!

Some of the variables to consider in these studies include the subjects' and control groups' overall lifestyles, as well as a crucial one—whether the coffee they were drinking was caffeinated or decaffeinated, as much of the data is unclear. So there is still some work to be done there, but it is hopeful!

That is not all. Coffee, which is frequently associated with harmful behaviors, was removed from the WHO's list of carcinogenic foods in 2016, a relatively unusual decision. According to the WHO, coffee may even protect against uterine and liver cancer. They are not alone; several other well-known and respected organizations, including The World Cancer Research Fund and the US Department of Health and Human Services, have declared that moderate coffee consumption (three to five cups per day) can benefit your health and protect you from various types of cancer.

When it comes to depression, it was discovered that it may not be just the caffeine at work, but coffee has additional beneficial components. The most notable are chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid, all of which have been discovered to lessen nerve inflammation, which has been linked to depression in people's brains. More great content!

Coffee and Anxiety

However, the research on coffee and anxiety is not as promising for individuals suffering from anxiety as it is for those suffering from depression. It's also not all that shocking, although there was something I found interesting in all of my research on the matter.

In general, it was discovered that if you do not suffer from anxiety, coffee will not have a negative affect on you if eaten in moderation. When caffeine levels exceed 400mg per day, signs of anxiety, such as restlessness, jitteriness, and difficulty sleeping, may occur. It is not surprising that those who suffer from anxiety will require significantly less to aggravate their already current sensations of anxiety.

However, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of people quitting coffee for a period of time and writing about how it affected their anxiety, which was found to be fairly negligent. Overall, if you suffer from anxiety, there's a strong likelihood that moderate coffee drinking will have little effect on your anxiety, while it won't improve it.

How Does Coffee Affect Your Mood?

When it comes to your overall mood, consider how your body responds to caffeine, as this is the fundamental issue for most people—depression or anxiety aside—and our bodies have varying caffeine sensitivities.

Some people can drink espresso right before bed and sleep soundly, but for others, it could be a sleepless night of tossing and turning! And lack of sleep adds to impatience, decreased resistance to dealing with life's stresses, as well as other negative health markers, and hence a low mood.

Getting enough sleep is critical, especially when suffering with chronic anxiety. So, if you fall into this category, it could be a good idea to restrict your coffee use or even just examine and assess for yourself to see what the influence might be on a caffeine-free period.

It is critical that you become acquainted with your body and how it reacts to various substances and surroundings. Running a small experiment on oneself can be a fun way to learn about your body and how it metabolizes caffeine.

The Bottom Line on Coffee, Anxiety, and Depression

Overall, the research indicates that there may be a few health benefits associated with sadness and coffee consumption, as opposed to coffee with anxiety, where it is proven to have a negative or neutral influence. Furthermore, drinking coffee has a variety of other possibly beneficial health effects.

Given all of this data, some of it hopeful (around depression) and some of it not surprising (anxiety), coffee is not going to cure any mental health issues, though it does not appear to cause them either. The most crucial thing to remember when considering the impact of coffee drinking on your anxiety or depression is that it might aggravate sleep troubles, which is a critical component of your self-care while coping with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue.

Want to Cut Back on Your Coffee Drinking?

If you want to cut back on how much coffee you drink or even run the small experiment on yourself that I mentioned, you can start with a few basic recommendations.


Caffeine is a stimulant, so you'll probably experience some physiological effects including a headache, brain fog, and general weariness. This will last a day or two, probably longer depending on how much caffeine you have had. Before you start cutting back, you should be aware of how much caffeine you consume each day. That manner, you can progressively reduce your consumption by a beverage every day or so.


Coffee, and caffeine in general, is a diuretic, which means it can dry you naturally, thus decreasing back will most likely assist with dehydration. However, it is still crucial to ensure that you are consuming enough fluids as this will assist to lessen the impacts of the withdrawal.


When cutting back on caffeine/coffee, you will naturally feel weary; make sure you get enough rest to allow your body to adjust and recover from the withdrawal.


Increase your physical activities slightly. Physical activity has been shown to improve mood, which will help to offset any irritability you may experience as a result of reducing your coffee consumption.


Keep a little log or journal to record how you feel on different days and how much, if any, caffeine you consume at various points during your "trial." Consider your mood, how you feel, how you sleep, and how you believe it affects your relationships and daily activities. When you go back and look at your statistics, you will be able to more properly assess the influence of caffeine and coffee use.

Keep in Mind

The amount of coffee we consume and its effects varies greatly based on a variety of circumstances. Knowing yourself, paying attention to how coffee affects you, talking to your doctors, and considering your specific life circumstances are your best bets. All of these processes will assist you in making an informed decision for yourself, which will very certainly evolve over time.

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