During my initial assessment for CBT, which was a 45 minute telephone interview. I identified that I consumed a lot of caffeine. My therapist pointed out that caffeine was considered to exacerbate my anxiety problems. Whilst I knew I was drinking quite a lot of tea with the occasional coffee, I did not appreciate how many cups of caffeinated tea and coffee I was drinking and had not taken into account the amount of caffeine there was in the Pepsi Max I was drinking each evening.
I have therefore made a concerted effort to reduce my caffeine intake. I was aware that there can be issues with caffeine withdrawal, particularly I found in terms of headaches. I therefore reduced my daily caffeine intake over a period of 4 to 6 weeks. I did experience some periods of headaches, however they have now passed.
Having gone from probably eight caffeinated mugs of tea, three mugs of caffeinated coffee and up to 2 L of caffeinated Pepsi Max; i have now reduced my intake to 2 caffeinated tea is first thing in the morning and then the occasional caffeinated tea in the afternoon. I have replaced my coffee is with decaffeinated coffee and found that Kenco decaf is my favourite but I also am happy with co-op decaf. I also drink decaffeinated Yorkshire tea , Red bush tea and I drink orange squash in the afternoon and evenings instead of Pepsi Max.
I also recognise that stopping drinking the Pepsi Max means that I’m no longer drinking as many carbonated drinks which inevitably aggravated my stomach and I’m no longer consuming the chemicals that are used in such fizzy drinks.
I have now been limiting my caffeine intake for at least six months and to be honest don’t really notice that I’m not having it and neither do I miss it. Very occasionally I have a caffeinated coffee when we’re out and I can tell I have drunk caffeine. The only downside is I have found the cafés I visit do not offer decaffeinated coffee or if they do it’s a poor quality instant type.
In terms of the impact on my anxiety of reducing my caffeine significantly, it is difficult to directly measure the benefits, that said I feel confident that reducing my caffeine intake is good for my health generally and can obviously do no harm in terms of my anxiety.
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