"Caffeine and Depression: Does one make the other worse?"

caffeine and depression

Caffeine and depression can have a nasty relationship causing your recovery from depression to be prevented.

“But I love my coffee!”

So do I and so this was a hard one. Still is. I have gotten my health to the point that I can handle 1 maybe 2 cups of coffee per day. But, there was a time that I had to eliminate it completely from my daily routine until I got the rest of my daily habits adjusted.

All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial. We humans tend to go past moderation! We want more of everything!

"Why does caffeine and depression have a nasty affect?"

It happens when you go overboard with your cuppa Joe.

The Mental Health Evaluation & Community Consultation Unit at the University of British Columbia, Canada discovered a few things about caffeine and depression...

Caffeine stimulates your sympathetic nervous system, which controls your stress responses. If your depression comes with a lot of anxiety, the last thing you need is a chemical that makes the stress response system more active. Too much caffeine can also bring on or aggravate tension headache, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, and other physical problems.

"Is your consumption of caffeine and depression related?"

Caffeine is an addictive drug. If you are a heavy user, you can become psychologically dependent on it, develop tolerance (meaning that more caffeine is needed to get the same effects), and experience withdrawal if you don’t get it. Your withdrawal symptoms can be headache, drowsiness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

If you go for a day without coffee and get a splitting headache, then you are dependent on caffeine. This is when there may be a clue that your consumption of caffeine and depression has a connection.

"How much caffeine does it take to become dependent on it?"

Usually 450 milligrams per day is what it takes. But, some people are more sensitive than others.

"How much caffeine do you consume each day?"

Use the table below to calculate your average daily consumption. Notice the small serving sizes. Your coffee cup may hold three or four of these!

Substance (Amt in mg) x (# per day) = Total


Drip (5 oz.) 130 × _____ = _____

Instant freeze-dried (5 oz.) 70 × _____ = _____

Decaffeinated (5 oz.) 3 × _____ = _____

Espresso drinks (1 shot) 90 × =


5-minute steep (5 oz.) 60 × _____ = _____

3-minute steep (5 oz.) 35 × _____ = _____


Hot cocoa (5 oz.) 10 × _____ = _____

Regular or diet cola (12 oz.) 45 × _____ = _____

Most other soft drinks (12 0 × _____ = _____

Small chocolate bar 25 × _____ = _____

Total = _____

"How to test if your consumption of caffeine and depression is related."

Try reducing your caffeine intake and do so slowly to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. Drop your intake by about half for 4-6 days, then half of the remainder, then half again until you are drinking only ½ cup per day. Then stop.

You may be surprised to find a new you!

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Source: Mental Health Evaluation & Community Consultation Unit / University of British Columbia, Canada / http://www.mheccu.ubc.ca (accessed 2002)

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