You can enjoy caffeine’s mood and energy boost without those uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety like jitters, heart racing, and nervousness. Here’s how.

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Most people can safely consume a moderate amount of caffeine, but too much caffeine may lead to mental and physical jitters called caffeine anxiety.

Research from 2017 shows a direct link between caffeine overuse and anxiety symptoms. Although caffeine anxiety and an anxiety disorder may share similar symptoms, they are not the same.

An anxiety disorder persists over time, whereas caffeine anxiety rises and falls with caffeine consumption.

Research from 2015 shows that caffeine may increase symptoms of anxiety in someone with an anxiety disorder, but science is still out on the question of whether caffeine overuse can contribute to the onset of a clinical anxiety disorder.

However, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, text revision (DSM-5-TR) has introduced a subclass of anxiety disorders called “caffeine-induced anxiety disorder.”

You might be wondering, “how can I stop caffeine anxiety?” In addition to working with a mental health pro to manage your symptoms, you might want to try these tips at home to calm your caffeine jitters:

  • Limit your caffeine intake.
  • Try different sources of caffeine.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Practice meditation or stress-reducing exercises like yoga.
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle, including:
    • diet
    • exercise
    • sufficient sleep

Caffeine is the world’s most-consumed psychoactive substance, meaning it affects your mental functioning. Its popularity stems from its temporary bump, or boost, in:

  • mood
  • concentration
  • energy

Can you keep that caffeine bump without experiencing anxiety? Absolutely. But it may take some detective work and dedication.

Limiting your caffeine intake

Here’s where the detective work comes in. First, try figuring out how much caffeine you’re consuming in a day. It might not be as easy as it sounds.

Caffeine comes in many products, and measuring the exact amount can be tricky. You’ll find widely varying amounts of caffeine in:

Once you’ve determined how much caffeine you consume in a day, try decreasing it slowly over a week or so to avoid caffeine withdrawal symptoms like headache and fatigue. Over time, you’ll find you can still get that caffeine bump with lower amounts.

Trying different sources of caffeine

Try experimenting with different caffeine sources. Coffee may make you jittery, while green tea makes you mellow. Even factors like when a product is harvested or how it is processed can vary its caffeine effect on you. Tea carries less amount of caffeine per cup than coffee.

Staying hydrated

Research from 2014 is inconclusive about whether drinking water can reduce the effects of moderate caffeine consumption. Many anecdotal reports say it can, but more research is needed.

Practicing meditation and stress-reducing exercises

Stress management practices including mindfulness and meditation can help reduce anxiety symptoms, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). You also might try some of these yoga poses especially for anxiety.

Keeping a healthy lifestyle

According to a 2012 literature review, a healthy lifestyle goes a long way in keeping anxiety symptoms at bay. The studies showed the following factors are especially important:

  • a healthy diet rich in:
  • regular daily activity and exercise
  • avoiding misuse of alcohol and drugs
  • not smoking

Moderate amounts of caffeine can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Research has shown caffeine in lower amounts may have potential benefits, including reducing the risk for:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • liver disease
  • several cancers
  • strokes in older women

Caffeine anxiety is the collection of uncomfortable symptoms resembling anxiety that you may experience after overconsumption of caffeine. The FDA mentions these in particular:

To avoid negative side effects, the FDA recommends you stay under 400 mg of caffeine a day, or about two 12-ounce cups of coffee. Keep in mind that caffeine amounts vary greatly depending on source and preparation. Also, everybody metabolizes caffeine differently.

Research from 2015 shows that in lower quantities, caffeine can increase alertness and performance. Larger quantities, however, can lead to anxiety symptoms.

Genetics may be involved too. A 2019 study abstract shows early evidence that adenosine receptor genes may make some people more at risk of developing anxiety, and caffeine may increase this risk.

Perhaps you don’t think home remedies are enough and wonder: “Is there treatment for my caffeine anxiety?”

If you have gradually cut back on caffeine, and you’re still experiencing intensified anxiety, you might consider consulting a doctor or mental health professional.

Any anxiety disorder — including caffeine-induced anxiety disorder — is common and treatable with:

  • therapy
  • medication
  • lifestyle changes