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Old 10-13-2006, 05:33 AM   #1
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Caffeine and Anxiety

I understand that caffeine can make us more anxious and even cause some to have a panic attack because of it's stimulating effect. With this in mind my doctor told me to switch to decaf and no more diet cokes, chocolate, etc. Well, I just saw something on the Today show that said most coffees that claim to be decaf have much more caffeine in them than just the normal less than 1%.......huh??? I normally drink 1 mug(12 oz) of decaf just because I love the taste of coffee. It was hard to kick the 4-5 cups a day habit of regular coffee but I did it. Now I find out about this! They said the only coffee that actually doesn't contain any caffeine is folgers instant - yucko. I love my Starbucks decaf as it tastes less weird than most decafs. Has anyone heard of this? I'm shocked. But, I don't notice any increased anxiety by drinking my 1 mug of decaf so I may not quit drinking it. I'm very sad....we can't trust anyone anymore! GEEZ

Also, I've become aware that the flavor enhancer MSG(monosodium glutamate) does bad things to me - rapid heartrate, skipping, sometimes anxiety so I now read labels and try to avoid it whenever possible. Makes it hard to go out to eat because sometimes they add it but tell you they don't. I always know by how I feel afterwards whether it was in there. These side effects are actually listed for this stuff and it's used in a lot of foods, not just Asian foods but bottled salad dressings, rices, noodle dishes, bbq sauce, all kinds of things - read your labels you'll be surprised. Just a side note.

Tori

Last edited by nuttygirl; 10-13-2006 at 06:18 AM.

 
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Old 10-13-2006, 06:45 AM   #2
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

I have anxiety disorder. I used to love coffee, but I quit coffee completely, first by switching to decaf, then by stopping completely. My wife and I were on vacation back in the spring and I drank half a cup of decaf with breakfast one morning, and within an hour I was having a panic attack and taking a .25 mg Xanax. I don't think that because we ask for decaf or because the label says decaf that it necessarily means anything. If caffeine is a problem, and let's face it, for us can be a problem, it's better to avoid it completely. It's been several months, and I really don't miss it anymore. I think it just takes a while.

 
Old 10-13-2006, 07:18 AM   #3
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

I am a 30 year old male who was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder coupled with Panic Attacks in May of 2006. I believe that I had low level anxiety and possibly depression for several years, but I never required medical help for the problem.

In May of 2006 I had my first ever panic attack. I firmly believe that my caffeine consumption heightened my anxiety to the point of panic. I had developed a really strong caffeine dependency by this point in time and on the day of the attack I consumed 3 high caffeine 24oz Energy Drinks while having very little to eat.

Since the attack I have been prescribed Lexapro and a low dose of Klonopin. I have been unable to wean myself completely off of the Kolonpin despite now being completely caffeine free.

Last edited by Augerty; 10-13-2006 at 07:30 AM.

 
Old 10-13-2006, 10:58 AM   #4
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

I know it stinks, but it may be worth it to just give up the coffee entirely. I'm always paranoid that they will mix up the caffeinated and the caffeine free, so I haven't had coffee in ages. I do drink caffeine free diet sodas that I purchase in individual containers. I avoid ALL stimulants that are caffeine or caffeine like. Basically, most cold medications and diet drugs will contain some form of stimulant. Stay away! I do very occassionally indulge in good quality chocolate (like on my birthday or a holiday). I know it contains some caffeine, but I haven't found it to affect me adversely. Be careful with teas, too. Make sure you purchase a reputable brand and check to see what their definition of "caffeine free" is, it should definitely be less than 1%. As far as Chinese food, most Chinese restaurants gave up MSG long ago, though there may be some holdouts. It could be that the high carb content is giving you a quickening pulse and a yucky feeling, I find that happens to me after Chinese food or basically any large OR carb heavy meal. I have seen other people mention this, too.

 
Old 10-13-2006, 01:49 PM   #5
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

I have major GAD, but I also have inattentive ADHD (and dysthymia, sometimes major depression, and seasonal depression, and insomnia). I'm hooked on caffeine. It helps me to be alert, awake, and concentrate. It's incredibly hard to balance paradoxical comorbidities, but very common for someone with ADHD to have all of these disorders and more.

Sometimes I actually find caffeine, especially coffee, soothing. This is most likely because people with ADHD usually have a dopamine deficiency.

Right now I'm taking Xanax for anxiety, Provigil for daytime sleepiness (most likely caused by depression and insomnia, although possibly anxiety as well, since it is physical and emotionally draining to be on edge at all times), and Lunesta for insomnia.

I've gotta find a better long-term plan. My anxiety isn't completely controlled by the medication right now because I'm going through and hugely stressful time. The anxiety is increased by the fact that I'm not properly medicated for my ADHD right now and struggling with school work(although there are claims that Provigil helps, it doesn't help with acute concentration, such as intense studying, memorization, and reading)

The depression is creeping in from the stress, pressure, anxiety, and fatigue (I'm a grad student with 8-12 hours of classes a day, plus enormous amounts of studying to do and huge expectations from my professors and preceptors for internships!). I do the best I can to get some sleep, never pull all-nighters, but still, we're all always verrry tired.

Unfortunately, winter is very much on it's way! It's turned colder here. Should start snowing soon. On my long days of classes, I wake before dawn and leave late at night, so I don't see the sun! Many of our professors use powerpoint presentations, so we sit in darkness for much of the day! My current remedy for this is tanning! (I know many people suggest special light therapy, but I enjoy tanning. It's warm, comforting, makes me look healthier, and gives me a little light therapy, although it's not technically the proper wavelength for therapy).

Luckily, I see my family practitioner in a few days. I need to get things straightened out! I've had poor reactions and many side effects to SSRI's, SNRI's, and Wellbutrin, so those aren't going to be considered by me!

I may ask for more Xanax, possible the XR version since the regular is just not lasting long enough for me! I may ask for a low dose stimulant. I hated Adderall, but there are others. Another option I've thought about is the new antidepressant patch, EMSAM. It's an MAOI, which some stimulating properties and possibly beneficial for ADHD. MAOI's (most docs are afraid of them!) are also used for anxiety, but this particular version may be too stimulating for this effect. Any advice?

Last edited by jealibeanz; 10-13-2006 at 01:54 PM.

 
Old 10-13-2006, 06:07 PM   #6
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

I am extremelly sensitive to all stimulants. I drank tons of caffein in college until I got into the NO-DOZ to study for a test and it made me really sick and shaky. Luckily no panic, but now it does cause panic. I can't eaven eat chocolate. Anyway, just wanted to respond to Jelibeanz. I think the Xanax increase would help and man does a tan booth do wonders. I am one of those strange guys who tans all winter long for two reaosns. It keeps my skin healthy and looking good as well as helps your sense of well-being. It is a great place to just relax and meditate or just listen to music. I think I am going to up my dose of Xanax to 2 mg per day and possibly opt fo the XR as well although I hear it is quite expensive.

People with panic dissorder should lay off the stimulants completely if possible. Your life will definitely be better because of it.

Later.

 
Old 10-13-2006, 06:32 PM   #7
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

I have no panic, so I'm not worried about inducing an attack. I'm at 1 mg Xanax t.i.d. right now. I feel ashamed that I take so much and want to increase. How long does Xanax last for you? I get 3 hours or less. Not enough for 18 hours stressful days! But I have no other meds I've tolerated for anxiety, and it takes the ease off of depression.

 
Old 10-13-2006, 06:50 PM   #8
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

I would say if you aren't having panic then you are doing well. I still have bouts of anxiety, but they are far less than before. Is that how you are feeling with it?

t.i.d.? What does that mean? Are you taking 3 mg per day or 1 mg? Even if it is 3 mg/day that is not a big deal. People with Anxiety dissorder can go up to 4 mg/day and people with real panic dissorder (myself included) can go up to 10 mg/day. I understand your concerns about addiction, but all of these drugs we talk about are addictive. Just understand ahead of time that you may be on this for the rest of your days and if not, you will have to slowly wean yourself off the drugs over a long period of time.

People with panic/anxiety dissorder don't usually recover fully and will have times of comfort then times of problems, so it is only natural to think that this may be a life long struggle. I know that sounds pessimistic, but I have been battling for 20 years with this and have found nothing that even compares to Xanax. I just hope it stays legal. LOL.

I get about 3 hours as well, so I usually am ready for the next dose early. I decided since the panic was subsiding that I would break my total amount into more doses. Now I take .5 mg when I wake up to get over that morning hump we all have come to love, then .25 mg at lunch, .25 mg before dinner, and the .5 mg before bed so that I get a good nights sleep. It seemed to help get through the longer days, but you are right, when I get to work at 6 and plan on working until 5 and then being up unitl 10 even four doses is stretching it, so I am considering the Xanax XR. I go see my doc next week so I will talk to him about it and maybe get you some info.

Again, don't worry about the amount of a drug you are taking, just worry about how you feel. If it is helping then stick with it.

Oh yea, I can't take any other drugs either. I have a horror story for each one I have tried, but I am already pushing it on my workd limit, but I know your feeling.

Take care,
Mat

 
Old 10-13-2006, 06:59 PM   #9
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

Yes, three times a day. I don't experience any panic. I have chronic, high levels of generalized anxiety.

 
Old 10-13-2006, 07:05 PM   #10
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

Is the Xanax helping, do yo think?

 
Old 10-14-2006, 12:33 AM   #11
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

Yes, but only if I take more than my prescribed amount. 4-5 mg helps.

 
Old 10-14-2006, 06:38 AM   #12
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

I took xanax, and only for a few days, .25 three times a day. But I started to have anxiety between doses. I wasn't lasting, and the anxiety was 10 times worse than before I began, so I got off the xanax, and had about 2-3 days of horrible withdrawals, and that's only taking it for about 5 days. Now, I was on librax, which has 5 mg librium in it, and I did stop taking that, before the xanax, but i don't think it was the librax, which is so mild, nothing compared to xanax, which is the best out there for most anxiety.

 
Old 10-14-2006, 08:26 AM   #13
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Re: Caffeine and Anxiety

jelibeanz,

I would consider talking to your doctor again and get your dosing correct. Maybe XR would help. It releases the Xanax in small amount over a longer period of time. The previous post is exactly what I experience, but the dose cvoor was too low for anxiety or panic. I am up to 1.5 mg and will probably end up taking a little more maybe 2 mg. What happens is Xanax blocks the gaba recepters in your brain which has a sedative effect on the central nervous system. When you first take it your body reacts quickly to it because it is a new drug in the body, but over time the enzymes in you liver that break down the drug increase in number and metabolize it quicker. Also your brain starts to slow down its production of GABA due to the drug. So for the first couple months you may need to increase in dose. The trial doses the drug companies ran were all in the range of 4-10 mg per day, so its effecacy is different for everyone since we all metabolize things differently. Also all of the trial doses given to paitents had to weaned off and they were about 85% succesful at the higher doses near 10 mg and 95% succesful at the lower doses near 4 mg which was a little lower than the placebo, but not much. This means people had a hard time weaning off sugar pills nearly as bad. It is an addictive drug, but all of the drugs for anxiety dissorder are addictive, so sometimes the choice has to be made to take a drug long term.

I tried to quite after the first week at roughly .25 mg 3x per day because I felt better and within 24 hours the withdrawl and panic was ridiculous. I got back on and I am fine again, so if I do decide to at some point stop taking this drug the weaning process may take a year or so and there is no guarantee that the original panic would not come back.

I've also fond that exercise metabolizes the drug quicker so you may want to wait until after your workout to take the Xanax as opposed to before the workout, because by the time you are done working out there will be no more Xanax in your blood.

Good luck all.

 
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