Anxiety and decaffeinated coffee

Elly_NJOctober 29, 2006

The last three years have been a battle against the night rushes of anxiety and insomnia. During the day it's not too bad but as soon as I lay down, no matter how tired I am, anxiety rushes through me and I can't sleep.

I take a cocktail of various OTC drugs with atavan, which often does not work, but I am hesitant to increase the dose for fear of a never-ending dose increase.

I have been drinking decaf for years, and only drink 1 - 2 cups of decaf a day.

I just read that decaf may have just enough caffeine to disturb some people sensitive to caffeine. Well, that report sure disturbed me! I eat a very limited diet, I have few food pleasures except the Wholefoods blend for which I shell out $12.99 a pound. (I don't spring for lunch or dinner but I will for good coffee!)

For a few days this week I did not have any decaf, and I could net really tell a difference. (Big sigh of relief!) Has anyone else expeienced a problem with decaf and anxiety?


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Hi elly,

Where are you in your trip through menopause?
I can't imagine that the decaf coffee is causing your problems. But......I really think the amount of caffeine in decaf is really variable. In fact, one time, I got some that seemed totally caffeinated.
I do know that the decaf bothers my stomach just as much as the caffeinated stuff. I also know that if our GI tracts are stimulated, our brains are also stimulated, and can keep us awake and cause night problems. In fact, the nights that my GI tract was going crazy, I was too!!

When do you drink your 2 cups? If before noon, I'd say don't worry about it being that.
I also would quit eating anything after about 6:30p.m. if possible.
Our GI tracts are called our "second brains" because they secrete tons of neurochemicals, just as our brains do. So try to keep your GI tract calm at night.
When I was in the middle of perimenopause, I could pretty much count on a panic attack every night. Not fun! They are sooooo real. No one could tell me I wasn't dying!
Sometimes those sleep medications can do the opposite of what you think they're doing for you.
I'm afraid I couldn't find much to keep my nighttime panic attacks from happening......except to treat my GI tract better. Also......after having so many of them, I started realizing that they weren't going to kill me, and that helped a little.
Have you ever tried breathing into a paper bag, as soon as your panic starts? I found that that helped too.
Sometimes our biochemicals go a little haywire during perimenopause, and can actually cause an alkalosis in us that brings on a panic attack. Breathing into a paper bag can help reverse that.
Have you tried taking something like Estroven?
I hope this helps a little. You have my sympathy!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 10:53AM
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Thanks, Catherine.

I have been told I am in menopause. (That was 18 months ago.) I do only drink the decaf in the morning.

Thanks for the information about not eating after 6:30PM. Makes sense about the GI tract and keeping it still.

I do take something like estroven, and I think I have received some relief from it. No more hot flashes. But the insomnia and anxiety really are horrible.

I do deep breathing when I feel the anxiety coming on. But I want it to stop. I hate it.

Thanks for your advice.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 4:29PM
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Hi again elly,
I wish I had more to offer you. It seems like, for some of us, menopause is just a horrible time of life that we just have get through. Just take some comfort in knowing that it will end sometime!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 7:26PM
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I noticed this post when googling decaffeinated coffee anxiety. I realize it's an old posting, but I wanted to let you know that several years ago I was experiencing what seemed to be anxiety attacks. I think I was just drinking decaf at the time, for a long time. All I got from the doctor were prescriptions for an antidepressant and anti-anxiety.

I happened to be at breakfast with friends and a guy at the table mentioned he went off coffee due to anxiety and was drinking only green tea (caffeinated), and that helped. So, I went off coffee. It didn't take long for my symptoms (anxiety, numbness in parts of my body) to subside.
For a few years I rarely drank coffee, but when I did (only decaf), my head felt weird, hard to explain, not quite dizzy, but different, and somewhat anxious. Coffee didn't even taste good anymore. At some point, I decided to have an occasional cup of caffeinated coffee, as that was the only kind that tasted good to me, and had no symptoms! Hmm. I now drink one cup of caffeinated coffee in the morning with no symptoms.

So, I have a theory that maybe it's not the caffeine at all, but something they use to process coffee to decaffeinate it. I haven't found out what it might be yet though, or why I developed the symptoms after years of drinking decaf coffee. Maybe because I was in menopause? I don't know.

I still stay away from decaf coffee because when I do, my head feels off-kilter, I start feeling anxious and I now dislike how it tastes. It's not worth it.

Just wanted to put that out there, in case anyone else has experienced this.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2011 at 8:06AM
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