AS@W Antidepressant Skills Workbook: Heling You Deal With Depression
Useful Information

Caffeine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which governs the stress response. 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. Caffeine can also aggravate tension headache, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, and other physical problems.

Caffeine is an addictive drug. Heavy users can become psychologically dependent on it, develop tolerance (meaning that more caffeine is needed to get the same effects), and undergo withdrawal if they don’t get it. Withdrawal symptoms include headache, drowsiness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Many people discover that they are dependent on caffeine when they go for a day or two without coffee and develop splitting headaches.

How much caffeine does it take to become dependent on it? Estimates vary, but 450 milligrams per day is about average. Some people are more sensitive, others less. 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!

If you decide to try reducing your caffeine intake, 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 no more than 2 cups per day.