How Coffee Affects Depression

For so many Americans, our daily cup of Joe is an essential – maybe the essential – component of our morning routine and transition into our workday. And, once vilified, coffee has become known lately as a veritable elixir of health. But although your morning caffeine comes as a welcome pick-me-up and you may be viewed as grumpy before your first indulging, mental health experts remain divided on how good coffee is for your brain.

One school of thought is that caffeine, particularly when consumed in coffee in tea, can reduce the incidence of depression. Some studies even even go so far as to suggest caffeine might reduce the incidence of suicide. Studies from China between 1980 and last year indicate that incidents of depression fell when people increased their daily consumption of caffeine.

Even sunnier was the forecast from another analysis of 12 studies that looked at the relationship between caffeine and depression, in 346,913 individuals and 8,146 cases of depression. The analysis concluded that caffeine – especially when consumed in coffee –  made a contribution to preventing depression.

Tea, with a smaller caffeine footprint, was also effective versus depression, just not as much as coffee. Coffee also contains caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and, ferulic acid which tea does not. These acidic compounds reduce the inflammation of nerve cells that takes place in the brain with depression.

But before you start thinking it's always sunny in Coffee Town, understand that not all the research runs in caffeine's favor. Several studies show a link between coffee intake and an increase in depression. One team of researchers concluded that caffeine consumption could even worsen depression in people with mood disorders. Data indicate that people who are already prone to panic attacks are even more likely to are even more likely to rend towards towards heightened anxiety if they are regular coffee consumers.

And let's not forget what we all kind of already know, that drinking too much coffee leads to anxiety, restlessness, headaches, increased blood pressure, palpitations and nausea. These conditions are a result of caffeine triggering our “fight or flight” mechanism. Hitting that button too often leads to inflammation and disease.

Since caffeine only provides a temporary jolt to the nervous system, folks with depression can expect a more severe drop in their mood once the caffeine boost wears off. For this reason, most psychological counselors advise against heavy consumption of caffeinefor people who have depression.