Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Caffeine and Depression

Couple of years ago when I was trying to find a way out of my depression, I came across a lot of websites like these mindbodygreeen.com, k-state.edu.com that recommended not drinking caffeine or at least decreasing the amount to drink.

I’ve didn’t really take it to heart since I only drank a cup of coffee in those days. But in the last few years my caffeine consumption has increased, especially when I’m home on the weekends. I will end up drinking 1-2 cups of coffee (no sugar) and 2 cans of diet soda a day. I’ve tried switching sodas to tea (caffeinated) thinking that at least it’s a healthier option. But it’s just so easier and time efficient to get a can of soda vs. taking time boiling water, steeping, and then taking out the tea bags. 

So just last week I decided to find what was wrong with drinking moderate amounts of caffeine. I don’t chug these drinks. I will drink it at least over an hour time span. And I definitely am not a Red Bull drinker.

By C. Michael Neely via Wikimedia Commons

An old study done in 1978 on psychiatric patients reported that there is a relationship between high caffeine consumption and worse depressive symptoms.

Another study published in 1981 looking at caffeine consumption of college students reported that compared to people who don’t drink caffeine, students who drank had higher rates of anxiety and depression.

But this could be that people with depression drink more caffeine to get a boost of their energy or mood. I certainly am more prone to grab a diet soda on days that I’m not doing well but I have things I need to be doing. And a study in 2009 studying the effect of caffeinated chewing gum seemed to support this idea. People who were given caffeinated gum seemed to be more alert and energetic.

And another study in 2008 seem to back up this idea. Teens with depression were found to drink more caffeine but as treatment for for depression progressed, they drank less compared to those who did not get any treatment for depression.

More recently there has been articles claiming possible benefits of caffeine. The two articles by the same lead author in 2011 and 2012 concluded that people were less depressive and less suicidal the more they drank caffeine.

This interesting study although done on mice, found that caffeine had decreased the effects of stressful situations.

This article (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26339067)in 2015 that looked at 11 different studies concluded that risk of depression decreased with increase in caffeine consumption.

But there is one caveat, there does seem to be withdrawal symptoms from caffeine intake. So you might want to keep your caffeine consumption at a certain level daily. But this study in 1992 was done on ‘normal’ adults. It might be different for people who have depression.

This article wrote in 2014 on the Mayo Clinic webpage seems to summarize the current idea between caffeine and depression. 


When you think of China, Japan, England where people drink tea, another source of caffeine, I think it will be difficult to claim that caffeine increases or even decreases depression. In China and Japan, people drink caffeinated tea all day and there isn’t a epidemic of depression in either countries. Nor are they totally free from depression and suicide.

What does caffeine do to you? Why do you drink coffees and sodas?

I cook most of the meals but I don’t create recipes. I rely on recipes on the web and books. So to pay tribute to all the food bloggers and people who contribute recipes out there, I’m  posting recipes that I’ve recently tried and liked.
In the past few days I’ve made:

Strawberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars: Made it for Valentines Day. Pretty rich.

Satay Chicken Noodle Salad: Very good and pretty to look at with all the colors. Made a warm version for a winter night dinner.

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