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Caffeine Raises Stress Hormones
Publish date: May 26, 2009
Summary: Stress and sleepiness are increased, not diminished, by the presence of coffee in the diet.
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I continue to marvel that many patients who struggle with stress and anxiety have not yet made a break with caffeine. Due to society’s acceptance of this drug, the issue is worth belabouring. The message needs to be heard—caffeine directly raises stress hormones. The American Psychiatric Association says caffeine-induced disorders [of coffee drinkers] may be characterized by panic attack symptoms that resemble primary mental disorders.i Perhaps the greatest irony is that individuals may actually use caffeine to treat the result of stress-related problems.
A wake-up cup of coffee may seem vital to a person struggling with stress-induced insomnia, yet the caffeine may be part of what is keeping the person up that night. I challenge every one of you who drinks caffeine to enjoy two weeks of caffeine-free living. Many who have tried it are amazed at the increased quality of their lives and become convinced that caffeine was doing much more accentuate their stress problems than to help.
The American Psychiatric Association also warns coffee drinkers of a malady called “Caffeine Intoxication.” This occurs shortly after drinking 2 to 3 cups of coffee within a few minutes of each other.
A caffeine addict should expect to experience withdrawal symptoms such as headache, sleepiness, laziness, and decreased alertness. They are usually more severe for only a day or two. In the following five days, they generally taper off and disappear.ii
i. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 1996): 212-214.
ii. Neil Nedley, Proof Positive: How to Reliably Combat Disease and Achieve Optimal Health through Nutrition and Lifestyle (Ardmore, OK: Nedley Publishing, 1999): 411.
This article is adapted from the book Depression: The Way Out by Dr. Neil Nedley. Visit Dr. Nedley's website
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