Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Injury, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Caffeine

Caffeine may come from tea, colas (and Mountain Dew), chocolate and others sources of caffeine.

Patients complain of problems with sleep (see below) and pain, and while many _pain centers_ immediately halt their caffeine intake, more often than not, these treatment facilities fail to do so.

In an article (Psychosom Med 2002;64:593-603) People who consume caffeine may experience an increase in blood pressure, feel more stressed and produce more stress hormones than on days when they opt for decaf, US researchers report.

The effects of caffeine appear to persist until people go to bed, even if they do not consume any caffeine after 1 pm.

Given the long-lasting effects of caffeine, the authors suggest that regular consumption of the substance could contribute to the risk of heart disease and any condition influenced by stress could also be aggravated by caffeine.

For example, in people with type 2 diabetes stress can worsen the condition by influencing glucose metabolism. People with stress-related conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or social anxiety, could also experience adverse effects from caffeine consumption.

Any stress-related disease could be aggravated by caffeine.

In the current study, 47 regular coffee drinkers consumed 500 milligrams of caffeine in the form of two pills, the rough equivalent of the amount of caffeine contained in four 8-ounce cups of coffee. The second pill was taken no later than 1 pm. Each participant took caffeine pills or placebo on alternate workdays, and frequently recorded their levels of stress. The participants did not know if the pills contained caffeine or placebo.

The researchers monitored the participants’ blood pressure and heart rate, and performed urinalyses.

The subjects had slightly higher blood pressure levels, produced 32% more of the stress hormone epinephrine, and felt more stressed on the days they took the caffeine pill compared with the days they took placebo.

The effects of caffeine likely persist because it has an average half-life of 4 hours.

When these people are home, alone, bored and nonproductive, they not only eat too much, but they consume caffeine throughout the day and evening. They misinterpret the caffeine agitation as _energy_ when, in reality, they are likely further agitating themselves and both their injury condition and unrelated underlying medical problems including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

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