What effect does caffeine have on depression?

Posted at 2:23 PM, Nov 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-09 19:45:10-05

When it comes to the effect of caffeine on depression, the medical world is divided. Some believe caffeine can help while others say it’ll make it worse. 

On the pro side, there’s a group of studies looking specifically at caffeine in coffee and tea.  Researchers analyzed 12 studies with over 8,000 cases of depression. They concluded these drinks can reduce the incidence of depression, with coffee having a more protective effect.

Why might coffee be better at reducing the risk of depression than tea?
Caffeine in a cup of tea is lower than a cup of coffee. Coffee also has acids that can reduce inflammation of nerves cells in a person’s brain who has depression. Some of the distress may be relieved by the anti-inflammatory effects of coffee’s caffeine in the brain.

What are the possible negative effects of caffeine on depression?
Studies have also shown coffee may increase depression in people with mood disorders, especially those prone to panic attacks. It may increase their anxiety. Too much of coffee or tea for anyone could give you symptoms like headaches, increased blood pressure, palpitations, nausea and restlessness.  It may also trigger the body’s flight of fight response, which could lead to inflammation and disease. 

What are your prescriptions?
Drinking coffee or tea may or may not be helpful, but if you have depression, you need to strategies to manage it so here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX:
1. Take steps to control stress levels
It’ll increase your resilience and boost your self-esteem.

2. Pay attention to warning signs
Learn what might trigger symptoms and create an action plan of next steps.

3. Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem
Contact your doctor or therapist - this may help prevent depression from worsening.

4. Avoid alcohol and drugs
They can worsen symptoms and make depression harder to treat.

What about green tea?

Green tea does have high antioxidant properties and may be as effective as coffee in protecting against depression.

My advice is, if you have depression, drink coffee or tea in moderation and watch closely how it makes you feel.