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#246685 - 08/27/08 02:54 AM Can coffee aggravate PTSD?
fhorns Offline

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 706
I've been thinking about the coffee post here, and there's something I am concerned about. Somebody tell me if I missed it in that post.

I have never been a daily coffee drinker. I couldn't drink it daily in college because, in short, I didn't function well. Coffee jumps me up. By nature, I'm laid back. And my on/off use now is more because its a natural high, a total escape when the stress gets too bad. That's my fear, considering addiction runs throughout my whole family tree.

I'm bothered because when I first came into awareness of my SA in 2003, I was under stress. Coffee seemed to give me strength and courage to fly through the mess I had to do (new marriage, full-time school, therapy, lots of reading about SA, etc.). However, that was when PTSD symptoms (fears, dissociation) started becoming very prevalent. Over a period of 4-6 months, I bottomed out into depression, withdrawal, and feeling really helpless. I pretty much quit coffee because I was just using it to cope with growing stress. My focus totally moved away from my recovery, as I was just trying to see through each day. I didn't have many tools or friends to lean on, even here. Like I said, I just put my head in the sand, and stayed there a very long time.

Was it the coffee? Stress? No tools? No support? It was probably all of this.

Well, in the last 4-6 months, I've recommitted to coming back here and admitting to myself what has and is happening each day. I've started drinking coffee about every day now. I get that rush, and I don't feel as much stress, initially. But yesterday I was in a men's meeting, and I actually felt bodily fears. I haven't felt that in years. Mind you, we are starting to dig crap out of the closet, and my SA is right there. But my wondering is if anyone has ever felt their PTSD kick up when (overly) caffeinated. I'm feeling afraid to tailor my use; however, I need to know what some have dealt with. I am asking for help here. Coffee has spelled trouble for me when I've gone overboard. And right now, with the heat on and coffee kicking back the pain enough for me tackle the day, I'm scared of physical/emotional memories being kicked backed up unnecessarily. I'd trade it for something that works; aka getting through the pain.

I'm attaching a link I agree with. I've had the book by Cherniske (Caffeine Blues) for years. I am curious to see if it may be affecting other people as well. Thanks guys.

#246881 - 08/28/08 01:49 AM Re: Can coffee aggravate PTSD? [Re: fhorns]
James Landrith Offline

Registered: 07/08/08
Posts: 40
Loc: Alexandria, VA, USA

I've been told by both my therapist and nurse practitioner that it can aggravate PTSD. I don't know much as I was only recently diagnosed with it.

My therapist has been especially adamant on that point. I don't know if it is necessarily true for everyone.

I know that when I've quit caffeine before when dieting, I had terrible headaches for a week. I've cut my caffeine back to 3 cups of coffee a day though.

Anyone else got experience with coffee and PTSD? I'm just beginning to deal and don't know much myself.

Edited by James Landrith (08/28/08 02:03 AM)
Member of RAINN Speakers Bureau and syndicated blogger
Good Men Project author
Vice President, Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma

#247008 - 08/28/08 02:36 PM Re: Can coffee aggravate PTSD? [Re: James Landrith]
LandOfShadow Offline

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
My therapist clear said if anxiety is a problem (and it is for me) then I certainly shouldn't be drinking coffee.

I still drink a mug in the morning, and I do notice it can make me more anxious as well as kind of more focused. And it certainly helps me stay away during long work days and long car drives. So I'm watching it, and taking the good and the bad I guess.

Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you

Paul Eluard

#247029 - 08/28/08 03:36 PM Re: Can coffee aggravate PTSD? [Re: LandOfShadow]
fhorns Offline

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 706
I dumped out the little bag we had in the freezer last night. If its around, I abuse it. Not it, but myself. Because I don't like to feel pain. Caffeine creates all the PTSD symptoms, but drinking it takes away that fear, the feeling I don't have the courage to face life. At least for awhile. See the cycle? And it still goes, and goes, and goes.

I'm glad I have a men's meeting tonight. I am feeling very lonely today, and I'm here trying to cope.


Edited by fhorns (08/28/08 03:38 PM)

#253915 - 10/09/08 06:07 PM . [Re: fhorns]
bardo213 Offline

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 812

Edited by bardo213 (06/21/13 10:27 PM)

#443118 - 08/03/13 09:04 AM Re: . [Re: fhorns]
GoldStone Offline

Registered: 05/28/13
Posts: 220
Loc: Far East
I get it. Big time.

The coffee takes away all my symptoms, heightens the invincibility and then they all come back in spades.


#446887 - 09/11/13 10:05 AM Re: . [Re: fhorns]
atari_kid86 Offline

Registered: 02/24/10
Posts: 142
Loc: Michigan
My therapist has told me to give up on pretty much all caffeinated beverages. I however am quite hooked on the stuff. I work a lot of strange (and long) hours. My job demands that I juggle a large number of tasks and responsibilities at once. I'd love to get off the stuff, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

The effects of the caffeine on my anxiety can be tremendous at times. Much of the time though, I am so focused on the tasks at hand that there's little space in my mind to allow anxiety in.

#452595 - 11/06/13 12:37 AM Re: . [Re: fhorns]
Cthulhu Offline

Registered: 06/13/13
Posts: 160
I have been going through my little journal of freakouts just today and have found a very clear pattern of coffee then anxiety or panic attacks. My T has also warned me that the causal relationship does form in some people and to watch out.
“what matters most is how well you walk through the fire”
-Charles Bukowski

#468044 - 07/27/14 02:57 PM Re: . [Re: fhorns]
fhorns Offline

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 706
I started this thread in 2008, and people have added on.

My update: I still use it daily.....sadly.

I'm with an A-hole of a boss, an insecure complete control freak, and I've admitted in group recently I so hate going to work since my boss rejects me (himself really), and I used caffeine to avoid the anxiety and anger.

The good: I have 3 weeks left with A-hole. My stuff is still inside me. I can post here, and not abandon myself.

Never thought of that.

#468147 - 07/28/14 11:52 PM Re: Can coffee aggravate PTSD? [Re: fhorns]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1340

Edited by Suwanee (02/21/16 06:37 PM)
I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before

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