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Find Out About Caffeine's Negative Effects and Discover Natural Alternatives

Worried about caffeine's side effects? It turns out you have options for something hot and satisfying when you want to avoid the usual cup of coffee.

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Photo: Leesa Morales

When Caffeine Feels Like a Necessity

Just the thought of coffee may be motivating you to get out of bed in the morning, but are the side effects keeping you awake or contributing other disruptive symptoms to your day? Find out here, and take a few ideas with you for what to sip on instead.

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Photo: Leesa Morales

Symptoms of Drinking Too Much Caffeine

Coffee is one of the richest sources of caffeine, yet the amount of caffeine is highly variable, with just one cup ranging between 30mg and 175mg. Ever wonder why a cup, or three, might affect you differently from time to time? Paul Nestadt, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, states that the most common side effects of drinking too much caffeine include: jitteriness, headaches, digestive problems, insomnia and urinary frequency or urgency.

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Photo: Shutterstock/Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley

Caffeine and Anxiety

Caffeine may also worsen anxiety and increase the frequency of panic attacks in vulnerable individuals. “Studies have shown that people who already have an anxiety disorder are much more sensitive to these effects of caffeine, so I usually recommend my patients who are having trouble with anxiety or panic to try and cut down on or eliminate caffeine,” says Nestadt.

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The Other Side of Energized: Fatigue

“Coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages are known to boost energy levels in the short term, however they can also have the opposite effect by leading to rebound fatigue after the caffeine leaves your system,” says professor Elad Tako of Cornell University School of Food Science. One review of 41 studies in the Journal of Caffeine Research found that although caffeinated energy drinks increased alertness and improved mood for several hours, participants were often more tired than usual the following day.

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