Caffeine makes depression worse – for me. It took years and years for me to establish this link. True, my study was only of me, a very small sample, but if caffeine affects me this way, likely it does others as well.

If you have chronic depression, try cutting out the caffeine. It affects me even though I am on an anti-depressant that works very well, unless I sabotage it with caffeine. It’s a subtle effect, and delayed, too, which makes it even harder to figure out what’s going on. Because I’m over-sensitive to caffeine, I drink milk, water, and decaf tea and that’s pretty much it. And I generally have only one cup of the decaf green tea in a day.

But caffeine is sooo good, right? Real tea tastes better. Real Coke tastes better. And if you’re eating out and want a cup of decaf tea, all they have on hand is the stuff made out of flowers.

But let’s say I have several cups of decaf tea in a day, or as I do once every blue moon, one cup of real tea. That day is fine, and I do love tea, so it’s maybe better than fine. The next morning, or maybe not till the second morning, I wake up and think, Why am I so morose? Then I remember I overindulged. I stay “down” most of that day, and then the effects wear off and I’m fine again. (Taking a walk seems to help.)

I hardly ever do this anymore. It isn’t really worth it.  But since I flubbed up again this week, I thought about other people being over-sensitive to caffeine and my motherly instincts kicked in:  If you’re troubled by depression like this, try cutting out the caffeine. (Keeping in mind that if you’re an imbiber, you’ll have to taper off gradually.)

Worth a try?


If you’re severely depressed, dropping the caffeine will probably not help. Please get some medical help if you’re persistently down – there are lots of anti-depressants out there, and if one doesn’t work another one probably will. I am very aware how reluctant you may be to take a drug affecting the mind – that’s who you are, in some senses – but think of it this way. If your pancreas was acting up and you had symptoms of diabetes, you would gladly take medication for that. The brain is an organ, too. ALSO it’s not so much true that taking an anti-depressant makes you into someone who is not-you. I find that it frees me from the not-myself so that I feel more like my real self when I am on medication.

Be well.


About glcraig

Gretchen Craig’s lush, sweeping tales deliver edgy, compelling characters who test the boundaries of integrity, strength, and love. Told with sensitivity, the novels realistically portray the raw suffering of people in times of great upheaval. Gretchen was born and raised in Florida. She’s lived in climates and terrain as diverse as the white beaches of the Gulf Coast, the rocky shores of Maine, and the dusty plains of Texas. Her awareness of place imbues every page with the smell of the bayous of Louisiana, the taste of gumbo in New Orleans, or the grit of a desert storm. Rich in compelling characters and historical detail, Always and Forever is a sweeping saga of Josie and Cleo, mistress and slave. Amid Cajuns and Creoles, the bonds between these two remarkable women are tested by prejudice, tragedy, and passion for one extraordinary man. Gretchen’s first novel won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence for Mainstream with Romantic Elements and was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in the Historical Novel Society reviews. Ever My Love, winner of the Booksellers Best Award from the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, continues the story of Cleo and Josie’s families, of their struggle for principle, justice, and love in a world where the underpinnings of the plantation culture are crumbling. Crimson Sky, inspired by the pueblos, mountains, and deserts of New Mexico, evokes the lives of people facing neighboring marauders and drought. Now the march of Spanish Conquistadors up the Rio Grande threatens their homeland, their culture, and their entire belief system.
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