Do you drink coffee?
You might love a good cup of Java but even if it makes you feel good initially, it could stress your gut and ultimately make you you feel anxious.
Coffee contains caffeine and caffeine hits your adrenal glands. Your body releases the same hormones as it would if you were under attack!!! So rather than giving you energy – coffee gives you STRESS.
One of my clients (let's call her Hayley) put an end to panic attacks – simply by cutting out coffee completely.
This lovely 22 year old girl had been feeling anxious for some time. Hayley had been referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, before being sent to a Psychiatrist who wanted to put her on antidepressants and beta-blockers. But she was still anxious and panic attacks were interfering with her life. At their worst they came daily.
So what happened?
Well it’s a surprising story. One which I was delighted to hear.
It was actually Hayley's mum Sandra (not her real name either) who came to see me first. Sandra had a problem with her digestive system and so, because the gut can be greatly affected by stress, I explained the impact of caffeine (found not just in coffee, but also in tea, fizzy drinks and chocolate) on the nervous system.
When Sandra was on her way home after the consultation she got a text from Hayley. "Hi Mum, can you pick me up a Starbucks on your way back?"
Sandra arrived home, Starbucks in hand, but as she gave it to Hayley she told her what I had said about caffeine and how it can cause stress.
Hayley usually had a cup of coffee every day. But she listened to her mum and decided it was time to do something different.
When Hayley came to see me a few weeks later she told me she hadn't touched coffee since that day. She said she had felt so much better. In fact, Hayley had not had a panic attack since.
Hayley was able to suddenly stop drinking coffee with only a positive outcome – but a lot of people go into a state of withdrawal if the come off coffee abruptly, which can cause headaches, irritability and joint pain.
So what's the best way to come off coffee?
The best thing to do to reduce the chances of withdrawal symptoms is to reduce the volume of coffee before the you reduce the frequency.
In other words – to begin with – drink the same number of cups of coffee as you would normally over the course of the day – but each time you make a cup pour half down the sink!
When you do this, you half the total amount of coffee you drink each day – but keep the rate of consumption the same. And when you keep the rate of consumption the same, even though you're drinking less coffee, you are less likely to trigger withdrawal symptoms.
Then just keep reducing the volume until you have cut coffee out all together. Simple!
Well okay not that simple. Changing a habit rarely is. But if you asked Hayley, she would tell you giving up coffee was one of the best things she's ever done. And well worth the effort.