Can decaf coffee cause anxiety?

While there is still some debate over the effects of decaf coffee on anxiety, many people have reported experiencing increased levels of stress and tension after drinking too much of this stimulant. This can be especially problematic for those sensitive to caffeine or who have a history of anxiety disorders.

In today’s blog post, we will be discussing whether or not decaf coffee can trigger anxiety like regular coffee. The answer to this question is a bit complex, as the effects of caffeine can vary from person to person. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of experiencing adverse side effects when consuming decaf coffee.

Table of Contents

What is decaf coffee and how is it different from regular coffee

Decaf coffee is coffee that has been processed to remove most of the caffeine. This can be done in various ways, including chemical extraction, carbon dioxide processing, and water processing, but the most common is through a process called Swiss Water Decaffeination.

This decaffeination process uses water and carbon filters to remove the caffeine from the coffee beans. It is considered a more environmentally friendly option than other methods, such as the use of chemical solvents.

Despite removing much of its caffeine content, decaf coffee can still trigger feelings of anxiety and nervousness in some people. This is because coffee contains many other compounds that can affect mood and behavior. These include compounds called chlorogenic acids, which can have a stimulating effect on the nervous system.

Deep dive: Benefits and side effects of Decaf Coffee: Should YOU Switch to Decaf

Why do you feel anxious after drinking coffee?

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can increase feelings of anxiety and tension in some people. While the effects are not universal, many coffee drinkers experience increased levels of stress and nervousness when they consume too much caffeine.

For example, coffee contains a chemical compound named xanthines. Xanthines are natural stimulants found in chocolate, guarana, nicotine, and caffeine, commonly found in tea. These chemicals cause stimulation primarily due to their affinity for blocking adenosine receptors. This is not desirable for some people and thus leads to negative emotions such as anxiety.

Coffee itself usually has no negative effects other than stimulating your nervous system. The stimulating effects of coffee are generally considered normal and beneficial in small amounts. However, certain individuals become sensitive to coffee due to their sensitivity to these chemicals in coffee – too much coffee can cause anxiety.

Other caffeine sensitivity symptoms

Caffeine can trigger a range of symptoms in people who are caffeine sensitive. These can include increased anxiety, tension, stress, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, as well as irritability, nausea, and headaches. These symptoms can vary in severity and affect people differently, depending on their sensitivity to caffeine.

can decaf coffee cause anxiety? (or panic attack)

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the effects of caffeine can vary from person to person. However, many people find that caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety and tension, especially if they consume too much.

One important thing to consider is the source of your decaffeinated coffee. Many products marketed as “decaf” can actually contain small amounts of caffeine, triggering feelings of anxiety in some individuals. To avoid this, it’s essential to carefully read the labels on your coffee and make sure that it is truly decaffeinated.

Another consideration is how much coffee you’re drinking. If you typically drink several cups of coffee per day, switching to decaf or herbal tea can be an excellent way to reduce your caffeine intake and lower your anxiety levels. However, it’s important to remember that even decaffeinated coffee can contain some caffeine, so you may still experience symptoms if you’re not careful about how much you’re drinking.

If you’re concerned about being exposed to excessive amounts of caffeine and triggering anxiety, consider switching to decaf coffee. Decaffeinated coffee can provide the same rich flavour and aroma as regular coffee without the associated risks. Talk to your doctor if you’re still concerned about the possible effects of caffeine on your anxiety.

Ways to reduce the negative side effects when consuming decaf coffee.

There are a few things you can do to reduce the negative side effects of decaf coffee and regular coffee.

1. Limit your intake.

If you’re not used to drinking decaf, it’s best to start slow and drink just one or two cups per day. This will help your body adjust to the lower levels of caffeine and avoid any uncomfortable side effects.

2. Choose lower caffeine options.

If you’re looking for a decaf coffee with less caffeine, try an organic coffee bean or light roast variety.

3. Drink in moderation

It’s best to limit your caffeine intake, including decaf coffee, to no more than 400 milligrams per day.

4. Avoid other sources of caffeine.

In addition to coffee, caffeine can be found in tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate. So if you’re trying to reduce your caffeine intake, it’s essential to avoid all these caffeinated beverages.

5. Choose a high-quality decaf coffee.

Not all decaffeinated products are created equal, so it’s essential to do your research and look for brands that have been processed using low-chemical or environmentally friendly methods. This can help ensure that you’re not being exposed to excessive amounts of caffeine, increasing feelings of anxiety symptoms.

6. Talk to your doctor.

If you have an existing anxiety disorder or other health conditions. In that case, it can be helpful to consult with a medical professional before making any changes to your diet or caffeine intake. They can offer advice and recommendations on reducing the potential risks associated with decaf coffee and help you figure out the best way to manage your anxiety.

In the end, the best approach is to experiment with different types of decaffeinated coffee and find what works best for you. Whether you choose to stick with regular or switch to decaf, it’s important to be mindful of your caffeine intake and make adjustments as needed. By following these tips, you can enjoy the rich flavour and aroma of caffeinated coffee without worrying about triggering anxiety symptoms.


While the effects of caffeine can vary from person to person, many coffee drinkers find that excessive caffeine consumption can lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety. If you have caffeine sensitivity or are prone to severe caffeine withdrawal symptoms, it is best to avoid decaf coffee altogether. However, if you drink it, be sure to monitor your reactions and limit your intake accordingly. Additionally, choose a high-quality decaf coffee brand that uses organic coffee beans to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals. Finally, consult with a medical professional if you have any concerns about the potential effects of decaf coffee on your anxiety.