Coffee Challenge - How to Deal with Caffeine and OCPD

When I  first told my doctor about feeling anxious, he asked a ton of questions. But one of the first was – Do you drink coffee?

Well yes, of course I do! Doesn’t everyone? He asked me how much. Then proceeded to tell me that even with mild anxiety I should lay off the caffeine. For a long time I thought the coffee jitters were just physical, keeping me wired. Turns out the effects of caffeine are a bit deeper than that.  He said to avoid coffee if possible – but I live in the real world. I couldn’t just give it up! So I turned to the internet, where lots of scientific studies are made public. Here is one quote:

Dr James Lee, a psychiatrist at Duke University, North Carolina in the USA, said of caffeine and anxiety, "Moderate caffeine consumption makes a person react like he/she is having a very stressful day. If you combine the effects of real stress with the artificial boost in stress hormones that comes from caffeine then you have compounded the effects considerably." During his study the volunteers produced 32% more adrenaline, their blood pressure was raised and their heart rates were faster. 

Well ok, so no double espresso. But what if I want to try to have my coffee, and just use moderation? I found some great tips – and through my own personal experience – here are some things to keep in mind:

Don’t drink coffee without eating any protein. The caffeine goes straight into your bloodstream, and spikes quickly. Combined with low blood sugar, this can really affect your mood.

Dilute it if you can. I started drinking ice coffee with lots of ice rather than a double espresso. It took some getting used to the less sharp flavor, but I’m consuming my caffeine a lot more slowly.

Think about timing. I never drink coffee or tea after 5:30 pm – because I know I won’t sleep! Find you own cut off.

Monitor the stress. Finally, if you know you are going into a stressful situation, take it easy on the coffee. You big meeting is not the time to down 2 cups of joe!

As always, be mindful and find the moderate balance that works for you! 


  1. Good tips! I'm not a coffee drinker, but I do like my Mountain Dew (which has tons more caffeine.) I limit my intake and do usually consume with protein. Thanks for a helpful post. :-)

  2. Hi there, this is great site, I stumbled today on one more that I'd like to share with you. It is similar and well explained all about obsessive compulsive personality disorder

  3. I've never thought about that before! I drink coffee a lot!! regardless of time and number of cups :S I found your blog while googling OCPD... I guess I suffer from everything I read under OCPD but not yet diagnosed! I'm from Egypt and I really don't trust psychiatrists here :S I think your blog helps a lot identifying our feelings while reading it.. it's a problem for people with OCPD that they are more in touch with their intellect than their feelings... So thank you! :)

  4. Thank you so much for your blog which I recently discovered. You have so many deep insights into OCPD and life which are so helpful. But where are you? I am interested in more and more articles (as a true OCPDer nothing is ever enough) but it seems you stopped in 2011. PLEASE! Can you write more? I would be happy to contact you but I don't know how. Thanks again.