Love Coffee but Have Anxiety? Here's How to Drink Up, Sans Panic Attacks

POPSUGAR Photography | Diggy Lloyd
POPSUGAR Photography | Diggy Lloyd

Have anxiety but coffee is your everything? We get it. But if you've ever had a caffeine-induced panic attack, you know the uncomfortable, emotionally distressful, sometimes even painful and frightening sensations that can happen — so how do you find a happy medium? We chatted with some doctors to find out if there were tips and tricks for mitigating the effects of caffeine so you can drink your daily joe without inducing a panic attack (or even just anxious, jittery feelings). As it turns out, there are! Here are five tactics (they're so simple) to keep your body and brain happy while getting a nice lift from your morning brew.

  1. Keep it to one cup a day: All of the doctors we spoke with OK'ed one cup of coffee each day. Moderation can prevent a caffeine-induced panic attack and also will keep your dependence on caffeine low, as it can be incredibly addictive, according to Dr. Mirwat Sami. "With more than two cups of coffee, a person could feel palpitations, heart racing, and irritability," he said.
  2. Drink it hot: Warm drinks can have a soothing effect, thus mitigating anxious effects. "Drinking hot liquid helps with calming your nervous system," psychotherapist and anxiety expert Jodi Aman told POPSUGAR.
  3. Drink it early: Dr. Sami said that drinking coffee early in the day can limit its side effects, so keep it early and don't reach for the pot to get through a 3 p.m. slump.
  4. Water-back it: Water can help dilute the caffeine, so drink a glass of water before and after your coffee to curb the feelings of anxiety. Dehydration can also cause anxiety, and coffee is a diuretic, so make sure you stay hydrated (we got this tip from naturopathic Dr. Gabrielle Francis, author of The Rockstar Remedy).
  5. Supplement it: Caffeine depletes the body's magnesium, according to Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND. "Serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical, depends on magnesium for its production and function; magnesium is known as the antistress, antianxiety mineral for this reason," she said. Take a magnesium supplement (or eat a banana or some dark chocolate!) or grab a stress- and depression-fighting supplement like L-Theanine or a vitamin B complex.