Caffeine is a commonly used stimulant. It’s found in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate. Many people rely on a morning cup of coffee to wake them up and get them going in the morning. If your aging relative drinks caffeinated beverages, you may be surprised to hear that caffeine may trigger or increase symptoms of anxiety.
Caffeine and Anxiety
While most people don’t have problems with caffeine, for people with anxiety, experts say it can worsen symptoms. The key is to know how much caffeine is appropriate. Consuming between 50 mg and 200 mg usually causes no issues for most people. More than 400 mg of caffeine in a short period of time can cause feelings of overstimulation and anxiousness. It can also make the heart race and cause stomach upset or pain.
In people with anxiety, the side effects of caffeine can sometimes be worse. Experts say that caffeine can also interact with medications older adults may take for other conditions, such as those taken for a seizure disorder, liver disease, kidney disease, some heart problems, and thyroid disease.
To determine if caffeine is negatively affecting your aging relative’s anxiety symptoms, it may be helpful to have them abstain from eating or drinking things that contain caffeine for a few days. Pay attention to their anxiety symptoms and whether they are lessened when caffeine is avoided. If so, the older adult may need to avoid or reduce the amount of caffeine they are consuming.
Other Anxiety Triggers
In addition to caffeine, there are many other things that can trigger anxiety. Some common anxiety triggers for older adults include:
Health Problems: Having a serious health problem, like cancer or heart disease, can cause seniors to feel anxious about worsening health and their future.
Social Situations: Some people have problems with social interactions, such as meeting new people or being in large crowds. They may also feel anxious when in a situation where they are expected to make small talk.
Missing Meals: Older adults may forget to eat or skip a meal because cooking is too much trouble for them. This can lead to a jittery feeling and trigger anxiety.
Financial Issues: Seniors sometimes struggle with financial issues because of decreased income after retirement. They may also have medical bills that drain their finances.
Homecare can assist older adults who suffer from anxiety. Homecare providers can be a source of emotional support on days when anxiety is at its worst. They can listen when the older adult needs to talk. Homecare providers can also offer a pleasant distraction by playing a game, involving them in an activity, or doing a craft, which can allow them to focus on something other than what is worrying them for a while. If the older adult takes medication for anxiety, homecare providers can remind them to use it.