Coffee as an Antidepressant: Its Pros and Cons

In America, we consume over 400 million cups of coffee every day. Ever wonder why so many of us make such a lustful beeline for our caffeine?  Could it be the oodles of antioxidants it contains? Or that science has revealed its health benefits, including lowered risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, gallstones, and colon cancer? I don’t think that even these unquestionable virtues are what make coffee the highlight of your day. Then what does? The mood and energy-enhancing effects of caffeine.

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and acts as an antidepressant by elevating serotonin and dopamine–it’s even been shown in the Archives of Internal Medicine to lower suicide rates. Some experience the mood boost more than others. Unknowingly, many people self-medicate depression with caffeine. How to know if you’re doing this versus just getting a beneficial pick-me-up? Some tip-offs:

You consume more than four caffeinated beverages daily, including teas and diet sodas. Or you keep increasing your caffeine intake to feel less depressed, but it’s losing its effectiveness. I’m all for making the most of coffee’s therapeutic perks to allay low-level depression, but sometimes you may need other approaches when this emotion still persists.

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