Caffeine = Panic Attack

I have a sinus arrhythmia/tachycardia (speedy heart rate) and since teenhood, my doctors have said “no caffeine!”  I have found that my anxiety goes up when I do have it.  It makes sense though, I mean the last thing someone with OCD needs is a stimulant, right?  I have decaf when I order coffee and I still drink tea.  I have found that for me personally, the caffeine content in tea is not high enough to warrant a problem. I also rarely need a “jolt” of energy as I am anxious much of the time and usually feel pretty “awake”.  When I need energy, I go for fruit juice or tea.

My heart rate is typically too fast at rest. When my adrenaline spikes due to anxiety, with any added stimulants like caffeine, I most likely go into a panic attack. I get dizzy and fall over, convulse, my jaw and hands lock, and I wait till it’s over. The first time I experienced a panic attack was quite intense. I thought I was dying. I was driving with my then-boyfriend when suddenly, my vision faded into black with random color spots. It almost looked like a rainy dark night with ambulance lights off in the distance. I fell to the driver’s window, still without my vision and an overwhelming sense of guilt. I thought I had killed someone, seeing flashes of what I thought could be an ambulance near a car accident.   My then-boyfriend had grabbed the wheel and we coasted to the sidewalk.  When I came back around, I had no idea what had happened to me, and I cried for hours wondering if I really had killed someone. I went to the doctor who diagnosed me.

I experienced panic attacks every few days and was no longer allowed to drive at night.

At that time, I worked at a movie theatre and drank a lot of soda, but when I gave up soda and caffeine, my panic attacks started to fade away.

They vanished when I met my fiance. I think this is because I feel calm with him, and having a comfortable, stress free environment helps a lot.

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2 thoughts on “Caffeine = Panic Attack

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