Coffee as an Antidepressant?
When you grab that morning cup of java, you’re
probably not thinking of it as an antidepressant.
You’re just trying to get that morning pick me up
to antidepressant, raising the spirits of people who
regularly drink the stuff. It acts on the central nervous
system and has mild antidepressant effects.
Coffee and depression studies have found that
drinking coffee reduced the rate of suicide in the
large demographic populations observed.
The first coffee and depression study that raised
the topic of java as an antidepressant was done in
1993. In this study, a Kaiser Permanente Medical
Care Program study of 128,934 nurses found that
java drinkers were significantly less likely to commit
suicide than nondrinkers.
This Nurse’s Health Study on coffee and depression
did not go so far as to establish a causal relationship
between java drinking and the drop in the suicide rate.
The study stated that it could be that the coffee itself
had little to do with it, but that people who drink coffee
share other characteristics that make them less likely to
commit suicide. A second study on coffee and depression,
however, confirmed these controversial findings and went
farther as to state that it was the coffee that dropped the
suicide rate. This study was especially noteworthy, as it
was large-scale and adjusted for a wide range of other
Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1996,
the study followed more than 86,000 registered nurses in
the United States between 34 and 59 years of age for ten
years. Dr. Ichiro Kawachi, an epidemiologist at Harvard
Medical School who led this study, looked at the data from
the Kaiser Permanente study hoping to discount their findings.
Instead of what he expected to find, he confirmed the
original study’s results with his own: using coffee as an
antidepressant reduced the suicide rate in these nurses.
Dr. Kawachi discovered that the nurses he studied who
drank two to three cups of coffee a day were one-third
less likely to commit suicide as those who didn't drink any.
The nurses who drank more than four cups a day were
58% less likely to commit suicide than their colleagues
who drank less. The coffee and depression study of female
nurses found eleven suicides among those who drank two
to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day, compared with
twenty-one cases of suicide among those who said they
almost never drank coffee.
However, Dr. Kawachi and others aren't ready yet to use
coffee as an antidepressant for clinical depression. At the
minimum, Dr. Kawachi says that his study shows that drinking
lots of coffee can’t be bad for your health.
Psychiatrists point out that people must understand that
depression isn’t simply a state of mind; it is a very serious
medical issue that cannot be resolved simply by drinking
And cardiologists, while they recommend to their patients
with heart and other health problems to steer clear of caffeine,
know that it’s not good for a patient’s mental health to do so
immediately in a cold turkey manner. Instead, they recommend
bringing down the
coffee consumption gradually in order to avoid a severe state
of depression due to the drop in caffeine and other antidepressants
Whether it is the caffeine or something else, coffee does seem to
have at least a mild antidepressant effect. The caffeine in coffee
may have mood-elevating actions through effects on neurotransmitters
such as dopamine and acetylcholine.
It is also possible that coffee drinking has social effects, such as
increasing personal contacts and time spent socializing, that might
reduce thoughts of suicide.
Article Source: Randy Wilson
"Anytime Is Coffee Time!"