Caffeine and Anxiety

Caffeine is a psychoactive drug.

Psychoactive drugs affect the way a person thinks and feels—which may also affect the way they behave. The most commonly used legal psychoactive drugs, apart from drugs taken on prescription, are alcohol and tobacco. The most commonly used illegal psychoactive drug is cannabis (marijuana).

Some drugs fall into more than one category. For example, cannabis is both a depressant and hallucinogen, while ecstasy is a stimulant and hallucinogen.

Source: https://druginfo.sl.nsw.gov.au/drugs-what-are-drugs/psychoactive-drugs

Mid March I stopped consuming coffee. I felt it was increasing my anxiety. I still drink tea sometimes but it does not seem to affect on me as coffee did. I actually was not a coffee drinker until I moved to Montreal. So I have only been drinking in for about 6 years. Overall, I am not a super anxious person but caffeine made me into one. While preparing for exams or doing assignments for school I would drink A LOT of it to stay awake and focused and the consequence would be anxiety, stress, and irritability.  I do still crave it from time to time, but I am quite happy to go without!

For those who rely on caffeine for the boost here are ways to increase energy in other ways:

  1. Vitamin B12 and Ginseng are natural energy boosters (check with your doctor first to make sure these are right for you before using though).
  2. Ensure you are getting enough sleep. If your sleeping habits are decent and you are generally healthy, you likely don’t need caffeine for energy (here’s an article on Good Sleep Habits).
  3. Exercise can feel super tiring and exhausting if you’re just starting out, but once you get into a routine, exercise will actually give you MORE energy!
  4. Eat healthy. Cut out the junk and sugar that might be making you sluggish in the first place and replace these with healthy foods like lots of fruits and veggies (check out Dietitians of Canada for info on healthy eating).
  5. Water. Believe it or not, drinking water first thing in the morning (and throughout the day too) is a great energy booster. Your body wants it and needs it. And it’s really the healthiest drink for you (WebMD gives you 6 reasons to drink water).
  6. If you must have caffeine, maybe try limiting your intake. Instead of 3 coffees a day, have 1. Or instead of coffee, have tea.

Source: https://mindyourmind.ca/blog/caffeine-and-anxiety-are-not-friends

Overall, I sleep very well. I have been exercising more, taking multivitamins and drinking much more water. There is still a lot of room for improvement here, I consume too much sugar and don’t exercise as often as I should. but I am on the right track. I want to try Ginseng too!

Here is a list put out by a coffee company on why coffee can make you anxious.

  1. Caffeine increases stress hormones.

Most people with anxiety would agree that they have a lot of weight on their shoulders. Caffeine adds to the burden. Similar to stress, caffeine increases heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones. Caffeine -consumption can more than double your blood levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.

  1. Caffeine affects neurotransmitter balance.

Caffeine often gives us a desirable feeling- increased motivation, productivity, and brain power. This is a result of increasing brain chemicals dopamine and acetylcholine. However, caffeine hinders the calming neurotransmitter GABA, which puts the brain activity on hold when needed. GABA is married to happiness and relaxation, so it’s no surprise that having a low GABA level can lead to anxiety and panic attacks.

  1. Caffeine causes insomnia.

If your mind is stuck in a never-ending marathon at night time, caffeine can contribute to this problem. Caffeine-induced sleep disorder is actually a recognized psychiatric disorder. Getting good sleep is essential to our brains since this is when metabolic debris and toxins are washed away and repaired into new brain cells. It’s important to keep in mind that any caffeine you consume, even 6 hours prior to bedtime can significantly disrupt your sleep.

  1. Caffeine is linked to psychiatric disorders.

Enough caffeine can create symptoms of anxiety in a healthy person that are indistinguishable from those experienced by anxiety disorder sufferers. Caffeine has also been linked to mental disorders including anxiety, panic and depression, as well as sleep and eating disorders. Fact: In 1987, it was recommended that decaffeinated beverages should be provided in psychiatric wards. Taking schizophrenic patients off caffeine has actually been proven to help their anxiety, irritability, and hostility.

  1. Caffeine can increase anxiety when taken with many medications.

Caffeine is often consumed out of habit, making it an immense part of our daily life. That being said, it sometimes slips our mind that it’s a psychoactive drug and therefore, doesn’t mix well with other drugs. Check out drugs.com for a list of over 80 medications that should not be taken alongside caffeine. It is often added to over-the-counter drugs such as painkillers to make them more effective, however, consequently increases the number of side effects in asthma medications, antidepressants, and some antibiotics. 

Source: https://www.deathwishcoffee.com/blogs/news/caffeine-and-anxiety

I am not trying to scare anyone here. However, being the most consumed psychoactive drug, it is important to know about it and it’s affect on your health!

xxxx

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One of the great aspects of life I am experiencing these days is how negative experiences can lead to positive outcomes. I have always been intrigued with the idea of the balance of light and dark in life, but now I am experiencing and appreciating it.

It started with the change in my self esteem. The spark that ignited this change was being bullied, threatened, and harassed last year. While it hurt at first I am extremely thankful now for this experience and I am not bothered by it any longer. I had never been bullied before so it was a good eye-opener for me, a reality check, a much needed one. It was a small experience but it was enough to teach me a lesson. I realized that the person said these things to me because they saw in me what I didn’t. It was only after this realization that I began to feel more comfortable in my body and gained confidence overall. I started to show off my “skinny dumb bitch” “clown” “failure as a human being” “insecure and pathetic” self. The irony of picking on others for their insecurities is that it reveals your own.

More stressful events followed up until recently. One of the positive outcomes that has come from them is that I am a lot stronger mentally and continue to improve on handling negative situations in a more productive manner. I still relapse and temporarily allow a negative situation to get to me sometimes but I am able to recover much more quickly. I try to look at the situation from a learning perspective.

I’ve cut down significantly on consuming things that are not good for my health. Some things I have stopped consuming completely.

All of what has happened to me, good and bad, has lead me to finally come up with goals and ideas of what I’d like to do with my life. For so long, and what has troubled me deeply is not having any direction and goals and not finding my place. Thanks to recent events I have goals and opportunities to pursue these goals have presented themselves. I won’t share too many details now but just know, if you feel you are in a rut, that life has a way of balancing itself out. Don’t give up.

Like my ma says: It will all work out in the wash.

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Body Positivity

According to Wikipedia:

Body positivity is acceptance and appreciation of all human body types. It is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, and be accepting of their own bodies as well as the bodies of others.The movement sets forth the notion that beauty is a construct of society, and poses that this construct should not infringe upon one’s ability to feel confidence or self-worth.

I absolutely agree and understand the importance of accepting your body for what it is. All our bodies are unique and shaped differently. However, when your body is extremely underweight and overweight it should not be appreciated. To appreciate is to value or regard highly. Having an unhealthy body is not something that should be valued in our society. I embrace the body positivity movement to appreciate the differences in curves, shapes, colors, bumps, spots, scars, and any other physical features of our bodies,but I reject it when it includes unhealthy weights.

As some of you may have already guessed the reason for writing on the subject was sparked by seeing the latest cover of Cosmopolitan UK.

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She is more than just a little chubby or plus sized, she is obese. Apparently she is 5’5″ and weighs 300 pounds. If that is the case she has a BMI of 50 which is considered Class 3 obesity; severe or extreme obsesity. There is a big difference between being a bit bigger than average and obese.

A lot of the positive reactions from this cover are coming from people who feel that having an obese woman on the cover of a magazine will have a positive impact on how they view themselves as bigger women. I can’t support this because she is more than just big. I understand the message that they are trying to get across (It is important to be comfortable in your body) but this is not how to do it productively.

If you break it down to the bare bones, it acknowledges that we exist. A fact that pretty much every single fashion designer, Hollywood film, advertising agency and mainstream media outlet, would like you to forget. [Source]

I find this statement in Cosmopolitan very silly. Why would fashion designers, films, advertising, and media outlets want to promote obesity? Trust me, we know obese people exist. Just go to your local Walmart or McDonald’s!

A quote from Tess:

“People who think I’m glorifying obesity are glorifying stupidity.”

Just because you say you’re not glorifying obesity does not mean that you are not glorifying obesity. Actions speak louder than words. It’s glorifying obesity by placing an obese, dressed up body on to the cover of an international magazine.

Just as it’s you’re right to express yourself, it is my right to express mine. Just because my belief of your actions and the consequences of them are different from yours doesn’t make me stupid.

I understand that her intentions are good, I understand the importance of loving ones body and how whether or not you are comfortable in your skin can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health. But the body positivity movement has gone too far in that it has become a crutch for people to use in order to just accept their unhealthy bodies as they are and not actually help themselves.

I am wondering, since this is about the importance of mental health, are you aware that there is a more productive way to improving your mental health that should be appreciated? Exercise.