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Depression? Coffee? Is there a link?

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Depression? Coffee? Is there a link?

I feel like I have been talking a ton about depression and about coffee lately, so I apologize to those who don't drink coffee and who don't care about depression...I promise this will be my last for a while on these two subjects. BUT with every change of season, especially into the colder, shorter, days people who are susceptible to getting Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the rates of depression do increase, and I think that it is important that people know the symptoms of depression, and ways to combat it.

What are the symptoms of SAD?
Well, when the weather changes to winter, longer days that are darker, and you have these symptoms, you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder:
-Loss of energy
-Hopelessness
-Anxiety
-Loss of energy
-Social withdrawal
-Difficulty concentrating
-Loss of interest in activities you usually like
-Appetite changes
-Weight gain

Can Coffee Help Fight Depression?
A 10 year observational study looking at over 50,000 older women found that women who drank 2 to 3 cups of coffee per day had a 15% lower rate of depression than those who only drank coffee sparingly ( a few cups a week).  And, women who drank 4 cups or more per day had a 20% lower rate of depression.  Other studies have shown that if people drink more than 7-8 cups of coffee per day they have an increased risk of suicide (that is, people suffering from depression).  So I think that the take away point is that if you are depressed or suffer from SAD, increasing your coffee consumption a bit to offset some of the symptoms of depression (low energy, exhaustion, etc)is helpful, but limit the coffee intake to 4 cups or less per day.  Honestly, that seems like a lot of caffeine to me, but I am a minimalist with caffeine, and it is safe to use to ease your symptoms.  With that much caffeine, I would be hopped up all day!

There is nothing that will prevent SAD, or depression in general, but anything that you can do to keep yourself on a regular schedule and keep you motivated to do things that interest you, get you socializing with with your friends, and get your energy up can help.  So, you can try to offset the symptoms with coffee and pure self will, but if that doesn't keep you inspired, or you still feel that you are falling into depression, see your HCP and they can help you with a medication regimen OR get you set with some alternative therapies (Omega 3's, SAMe, and or Melatonin supplements) along with yoga, mediation, and UV therapy.  The further you are from the equator, your higher risk of SAD, so be prepared, drink caffeine to help you feel peppier, and be cognizant of the symptoms of depression, and get help when you need it!

Yours in Good Health
B

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