Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Caffeine and depression: Is there a link?

Does caffeine make depression worse?

Updated: 10-13-2011

Answer

There's no clear link between caffeine intake and depression. However, caffeine intake and depression may be linked indirectly for people who are particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine or who have too much caffeine.

  • Caffeine can cause sleep problems that affect mood. Caffeine can make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Lack of sleep can worsen depression. If you have trouble sleeping, don't drink caffeinated beverages late in the day. Some people need to limit caffeine they have to only the morning, or quit drinking caffeinated beverages altogether to avoid sleep problems.
  • Stopping abruptly can worsen depression. If you regularly drink caffeinated beverages, quitting can cause depression until your body adjusts. It can also cause other signs and symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue and irritability.

If you have depression, consider limiting or avoiding caffeine to see if it helps improve your mood. To lessen these withdrawal effects, gradually reduce the amount of caffeinated beverages you drink.

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