Caffeine is known to induce anxiety in people.
This side effect is pronounced in people that have a capacity for anxiety, but really it can have this effect on anyone. Anxiety is simply a common side effect of caffeine.
When I was a kid I was told a lot of things about caffeine, that it would stunt my growth most commonly, but no one ever talked to me about anxiety. Of course, this is really the only true side effect of it.
Never in my life did I see much result from caffeine in any way. I didn’t get a burst of energy, or lasting ability to stay awake, or jitteriness either. And it is still true that I don’t need coffee to wake up. But I do enjoy coffee, I like the taste, I like the smell, I like the process.
As I crossed into being 30 years old, I did notice that at times I needed a boost and coffee would provide it. And after having kids, I began to use it more and more, maybe like three or four days a week, drinking just a cup or two.
Now that makes it sound like I’m some kind of caffeine noob, and especially what I am going to say in the remainder of this essay will likely confirm that in your mind. However, I should note here that I drink highly caffeinated soda all the time; not just Coke and Mountain Dew, but energy drinks and everything almost daily. I have also been drinking tea pretty regularly for fifteen years or so. I never really had any kind of reaction to any of this.
But about six months ago, I noticed that after drinking coffee I would be on edge for hours. My hands would tremble a bit, and my anxiety would be way up.
This is still true today. I have pretty much had to stop drinking coffee. And I have had to switch to energy drinks on days where I barely slept to get my boost. For some reason, energy drinks do not give me this reaction.
For comparison, a can of Monster Energy (my go to) has 172mg of caffeine. The same amount of coffee has 190mg (10% more).
This has been a bummer because I would prefer coffee, but I cannot deal with the added anxiety of it.
Here is the kicker. My wife and I drink a lot of iced tea. And we have a really cool device that makes great iced tea that we got as a house warming gift. Every summer we bust that thing out and make gallons of the stuff a week. We both always preferred it on the strongest setting and we have enjoyed it this way for years.
But when she got that maker out last month, and made the first gallon, and I drank it up because it was amazing, I experienced a tremendous amount of anxiety and hand shaking.
So, now we have to lower the strength and hope that my body can handle it.
This has all been a bizarre and confusing and unexpected series of events.