There are various agents that can induce panic attacks, and ingesting too much caffeine is one of them (Bourin et al., 1998). Caffeine is everywhere, and is consumed by most people in the form of caffeinated beverages, such as soda pop and coffee. Caffeine is a CNS (Central Nervous System) stimulant, and has numerous effects on the body. The reason why it is so popular is that caffeine can increase alertness and combat fatigue. It can help to increase endurance, concentration, and can help you to be more productive.
The problem with caffeine is that it has undesirable side effects. This includes anxiety symptoms, restlessness, tremors, palpitations, and insomnia. And taking too much caffeine can induce a panic attack. It is not clear if caffeine triggers panic disorder, but it may worsen the anxiety symptoms of panic disorder. In addition, people with panic disorder are more sensitive to the anxiety-producing effects of caffeine when compared to people who do not have panic disorder (Charney et al., 1985). As such, people with anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, may benefit from avoiding food and beverages containing caffeine.
Another problem with caffeine is that it can cause tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms. If you are using caffeine-containing products to increase your alertness and concentration, then you may find that you need ever increasing amounts to get the same effect- this is called tolerance. And you may find that you get migraine headaches if you start missing your daily overpriced coffee or your soda fix. Then you are forced to get your caffeine fix to prevent the headaches- this is called dependence (to prevent withdrawal symptoms).
The bottom line is this…if you are suffering from anxiety, then stopping caffeine will help to:
- Reduce your overall anxiety levels
- Allow the techniques you learned in AnxietyBoss.com to help you better
- Save you some $$$ when you convert from overpriced coffee to water (free!).