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Cutting coffee to help anxiety and introduction

Joined
Mar 15, 2019
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#1
I have decided to join an anxiety forum to help me through my recovery and to also help others. I am hoping that I can find a good group of people here to talk to and with!

Just a little background on me. I suffered my first breakdown due to anxiety 7 years ago in my mid twenties and have had one other major breakdown since.

I knew I worried a lot as a kid. I used to worry about getting cancer and also about being drafted into the military during war time. Those were my two biggest fears but I grew up with little problems other than an occasional period of overblown worry. I am an introvert but I like people and really like to be with close friends and family.

My first breakdown was my worst. I ended up with clinical depression for the first time in my life and it really changed me forever. I had never felt hopelessness at that level before And had never understood what that was like till then.
I went to seek help and was diagnoised with GAD and depression. I was able to use medication and self help to get through it.
I went through a similar spell a few years ago when I was in a super stressful job and had just moved away from home for the first time. I ended up having to leave the position but it all work out.

Needless to say since these experiences rarely does a day go by that I don't think about them. But I honestly think in some ways they are blessing in disguise. I have made a lot of positive changes in my life since going through them. I started exercising daily and eating better and I am now at 185 lbs and falling, starting at an unhealthy 240 lbs (I am 5'7). And I have made big strides in my career. I moved to a big city and despite having a bad experience at first, I have adapted and found a much better job than I have ever had. Personally I got married since and have a great wife.

Had I never went through a breakdown I would probably be a middle aged man living at home with my mom, working crappy jobs, and playing video games constantly.

I still struggle with the ups and downs of anxiety and minor depression. I haven't truly accepted it yet. I find myself being overly optimistic every time I go through a good stretch, which just makes set backs a little harder to stomach.

I am doing well though, currently off all medications, and still making progress!

My next step that I want to do is cut out coffee from my diet. I have started to keep track of my cycles and what habits lead me back into bad anxiety spells and I have noticed that coffee seems to be a contributor. When I go through a bad spell I'll cut back to one cup a day (to avoid headaches) but as soon as I start feeling great again I'll go back to having two to three a day. On weekends I'll drink a whole pot throughout the day. While I know this isn't the cause of my anxiety I really think cutting it out will help me in accepting as my mind seems to race more with worry on days that I have too much. Racing negative thoughts are what pulls me back into my bad spells so I think eliminating coffee completely will prolong my good spells and help me cut off the bad ones once they start. I will do so well at acceptance until I have a day that my brain is going faster than I can keep up with (if you know what I mean) this typically happens to me at work after I have had my morning coffee or on weekend night when I can't sleep due to drinking too much.

I have already cut my consumption in half and I started feeling slightly depressed and moody as expected. So cold turkey is not going to be an option. I am slowing going to ween down and then substitue with other less caffienated drinks over the next month or two. Then stop caffeine completely in 3 or 4 months.

Anyone else out there find a huge benefit in cutting out caffeine? I think this might be a huge step in my recovery. I feel like I am so close to accepting but just need to find a way to slow my thinking down in moments that I get overwhelmed with worry.
 

Kimchi

New Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
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#2
Hey Brad welcome to the forums. I’m also new here and trying to make my way to recovery and get help. As for the caffeine thing i personally almost never drink caffeine so i don’t have much to say on that. But i can see why coffee/caffeine can make these thoughts worse so i can see why changing that habit is a postitve.
 

triceps

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
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#3
Hi Brad. Sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on things right now. I went through one of your biggest fears, getting drafted during wartime. Luckily I got through that ok. I know coffee contributes to my GAD and depression but I'm just too hooked on it. Welcome and best of luck getting off that coffee.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
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#4
I have cut back to about half of a cup of coffee a day and have stopped drinking my daily afternoon Bai drink (which has as much as a cup of green tea)

My anxiety and depression are both definitely up. I feel on edge most of the day and really can't relax, have no interest in what other people are saying and don't care much about my hobbies. Worried a lot yesterday about a bunch of nothing. Also had about a 5 minute cry when I was laying in bed with my dog yesterday for no reason other than to help release a little stress. This is expected though so I am trying to just let it be till it gets better. I was probably consuming close to 400mg most days and have cut back to less than 200mg.

I know this much. This is the final time I go through this. No more caffienated drinks after I get through this for the third time. I can't even have a the occasional cup of coffee I have to be done completely.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
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#6
Thanks it will definitely be worth it once I get through. It's not easy though even just cutting down from my normal amount.

It's going to take longer this way but at least I can still function.
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
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#7
Update: I am down to having a single Bai drink every morning now, which is equivalent to a cup of green tea. I have been doing this since Saturday so just three days but so far so good. Tiredness is really all I can attribute to caffeine at this point. I feel a little bit down in the morning when I wake up and realize that I am not going to have my coffee but I'll get used to that eventually.

I do feel a lot calmer as far as my anxiety goes. Still having lots of fearful thoughts when I am at work, walking around town, or when trying to watch TV. They are annoying but just symptoms that will eventually leave and/or be meaningless when I can relax more into my anxiety.
 

Gemma214

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Joined
Mar 27, 2019
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#8
Hey Brad! I cut out caffeine about four months ago now. I didn't drink coffee every single day so it started to become obvious to me that on the days when I had it my heart would race uncomfortably and my thoughts would cycle and obsess a lot more. I definitely think that I've had a lot of improvement since stopping caffeine but I feel your pain on the sleepiness front. It did get me to start drinking a ton more water though, which made me feel a lot less sluggish and cloudy (I'm pretty sure I've spent half my life dehydrated since I substituted coffee for water so often). I did miss the morning tradition of coffee drinking so I've started drinking a lot of decaf because I still love the flavor of coffee. Maybe that might be a good next step for you for slowly easing off of it- even decaf drinks have a tiny bit of caffeine so it can be a nice middle ground. Good luck!!
 
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Mar 15, 2019
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#9
Hey Brad! I cut out caffeine about four months ago now. I didn't drink coffee every single day so it started to become obvious to me that on the days when I had it my heart would race uncomfortably and my thoughts would cycle and obsess a lot more. I definitely think that I've had a lot of improvement since stopping caffeine but I feel your pain on the sleepiness front. It did get me to start drinking a ton more water though, which made me feel a lot less sluggish and cloudy (I'm pretty sure I've spent half my life dehydrated since I substituted coffee for water so often). I did miss the morning tradition of coffee drinking so I've started drinking a lot of decaf because I still love the flavor of coffee. Maybe that might be a good next step for you for slowly easing off of it- even decaf drinks have a tiny bit of caffeine so it can be a nice middle ground. Good luck!!
Thanks for the reply! Yea I think I'll eventually get to the point of an occasional decaf.

I have tried teas but all the kinds without caffeine just tend to make sleepy... Which doesn't work at work haha! Plus I don't really like the flavor of teas the way I do coffee.
 

LarryH3

New Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2019
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#10
I was never much of a coffee drinker, but used to enjoy Starbucks iced coffees that come in the bottles. Frapacinos: All that caffeine, plus fat and sugar! Then I went to the plain coffee with sugar (still iced coffee in bottles) and would drink 1/2 bottle in the morning to get me going. But, I found myself driving to work very anxious and uncomfortable. Starting early this year, however, I found I was waking up with anxiety, and I quickly realized I didn't need coffee on those mornings. This week I see a psych who will probably diagnose me with GAD (I've heard that one before), and I wouldn't be surprised if depression wasn't also a part of it.

Anyway, good luck giving up caffeine. It's in so many things: Sodas, teas, and though many brands of root beer don't have it, some do. And Extra Strength Excedrin, which is the only thing that seems to work on my headaches has it too!
 
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Mar 15, 2019
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#11
Luckily I rarely get headaches now that I am drinking a 100+ oz of water a day. I used to get them frequently but I am pretty sure it was from not hydrating properly
 

ASAPETE

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Joined
Apr 3, 2019
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0
#12
I have decided to join an anxiety forum to help me through my recovery and to also help others. I am hoping that I can find a good group of people here to talk to and with!

Just a little background on me. I suffered my first breakdown due to anxiety 7 years ago in my mid twenties and have had one other major breakdown since.

I knew I worried a lot as a kid. I used to worry about getting cancer and also about being drafted into the military during war time. Those were my two biggest fears but I grew up with little problems other than an occasional period of overblown worry. I am an introvert but I like people and really like to be with close friends and family.

My first breakdown was my worst. I ended up with clinical depression for the first time in my life and it really changed me forever. I had never felt hopelessness at that level before And had never understood what that was like till then.
I went to seek help and was diagnoised with GAD and depression. I was able to use medication and self help to get through it.
I went through a similar spell a few years ago when I was in a super stressful job and had just moved away from home for the first time. I ended up having to leave the position but it all work out.

Needless to say since these experiences rarely does a day go by that I don't think about them. But I honestly think in some ways they are blessing in disguise. I have made a lot of positive changes in my life since going through them. I started exercising daily and eating better and I am now at 185 lbs and falling, starting at an unhealthy 240 lbs (I am 5'7). And I have made big strides in my career. I moved to a big city and despite having a bad experience at first, I have adapted and found a much better job than I have ever had. Personally I got married since and have a great wife.

Had I never went through a breakdown I would probably be a middle aged man living at home with my mom, working crappy jobs, and playing video games constantly.

I still struggle with the ups and downs of anxiety and minor depression. I haven't truly accepted it yet. I find myself being overly optimistic every time I go through a good stretch, which just makes set backs a little harder to stomach.

I am doing well though, currently off all medications, and still making progress!

My next step that I want to do is cut out coffee from my diet. I have started to keep track of my cycles and what habits lead me back into bad anxiety spells and I have noticed that coffee seems to be a contributor. When I go through a bad spell I'll cut back to one cup a day (to avoid headaches) but as soon as I start feeling great again I'll go back to having two to three a day. On weekends I'll drink a whole pot throughout the day. While I know this isn't the cause of my anxiety I really think cutting it out will help me in accepting as my mind seems to race more with worry on days that I have too much. Racing negative thoughts are what pulls me back into my bad spells so I think eliminating coffee completely will prolong my good spells and help me cut off the bad ones once they start. I will do so well at acceptance until I have a day that my brain is going faster than I can keep up with (if you know what I mean) this typically happens to me at work after I have had my morning coffee or on weekend night when I can't sleep due to drinking too much.

I have already cut my consumption in half and I started feeling slightly depressed and moody as expected. So cold turkey is not going to be an option. I am slowing going to ween down and then substitue with other less caffienated drinks over the next month or two. Then stop caffeine completely in 3 or 4 months.

Anyone else out there find a huge benefit in cutting out caffeine? I think this might be a huge step in my recovery. I feel like I am so close to accepting but just need to find a way to slow my thinking down in moments that I get overwhelmed with worry.
Good morning Brad I feel you! CUT out ANY stimulant...Even some food can cause my anxiety to sky rocket!

A little bit about me... Abused as a child sexually, mentally, physically REALLY BAD>..from age 3-5 so anxiety is ALL I know I'm just now realizing I'm not alone and feel encouraged to get more help. I get REAL high anxiety when I'm alone. My back feels like its crawling if that makes sense, can't breath, heart is flying. any tips for you would be great!
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
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#13
Update: it's been about 3 weeks since I stopped coffee. My resting heart rate is down to 57 bpm from 64 bmp. I feel way better in the mornings, I was waking up anxious and depressed mood everyday for over a year. Now I am waking in much more flat mood at the worst and occassionally in good moods (weekends).

I also changed up my exercise from mainly stationary bike, weights, and stairs to a 30 minute 2-3 mile run daily.

Overall my thinking has been much clearer and positive. My strange thoughts and feelings are not sticking because I am able to accept and dismiss them better.


I have had two decaf coffees this week from Dunkin but I can't see himself doing that often, decaf doesn't have much taste. I'll probably finish up the money I have on my card and be done with that as well.
 
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