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Caffeine is making me feel better. Why? Both physical and mental benefits
I've suffered with severe depression off-and-on for 20 years (I'm 35/male).  I've been put on SSRIs (also effexor xr for a while, which technicall isn't just an ssri) with little effect, besides bad side effects.  I've given up on drug treatment and I don't even discuss my problems with the doctor any more because I don't want to try any more miserable expensive drugs, and I can't afford talk-therapy (my insurance is catastrophic only, and I only have the money I put in my HSA for doctor care).

I've not been a big caffeine consumer until recently.  I've only had occasional small doses of caffine from a single cup of coffee or a diet coke or cup of tea (50-100mg of caffine).  A friend of mine opened a coffee shop and I have spent some time there.  Strong coffee drinks seem to be eliminating my depression symptoms.  At first I only noticed that souped-up coffee drinks made me think more clearly.  When I say souped up, I'm talking about double, triple, or quad espresso shots, 200-400mg caffeine in a serving.  A single cup of drip coffee, tea, or soda doesn't do much.  When buzzing on the strong coffee drinks, I'm more focused and don't become frustrated as easily.  I'm far more adept at tasks and social interaction.  I'm less emotionally charged (sometimes I can be emotionally charged in a bad way: sadness frustration).  It isn't everyday that I drink these beverages, and as a consequence I have noticed the drastic difference in my state of mind with and without them.  

If I have a triple or quad shot espresso drink in the morning, I sleep better at night too.  Without the caffeine, I sleep almost on command, yet still wake up very tired even with 8 hours sleep.  If I had strong coffee the previous day, I wake more easily and feel more rested the following day.  

I tried drinking three red bulls last week and it worked just as well as coffee.

Another positive symptom:
for the last two years I've been having joint pain that has progressively gotten worse.  It started in my hip but has progressed to my knees, shoulders, and elbows.  I can't really do heavy lifting exercises any longer because of elbow and shoulder pain.  I talked to my doctor about it when it began and we both attributed it to my running (I used to run about 10 miles per week, but stopped once the pain began).  My doc referred me to a physical therapist but that costs over $200 per session and I just can't afford it.  I researched the PT online and it looks like it's just strength training and stretching, which I was doing regularly anyhow before the joint problems.  I have no joint swelling or symptoms that resemble arthritis based on my online reading.  The joint pain comes when i am stationary for 10-15 minutes and can be "worked out" fairly quickly as long as I don't bear a lot of weight (heavy lifting or high impact).  

Anyhow, the coffee drinks seem to help with the joint pain too.  

This isn't all in my head.  Without coffee my body is very stiff and painful when I wake up in the morning.  A long car ride or long sit in a chair watching a film means my knees will be very sore for a minute or so.  Even a long phone call where I hold the receiver to my head for 15 mins can make my shoulder and elbow hurt, but when I'm buzzing on coffee, I notice no pain.  

My depression started getting much worse when the joint pain started.  I attributed it to being extra-sad because I don't spend nearly as much time outdoors.  I gained over 50 pounds in 18 months when I stopped running and the anti-depression drugs the doc prescribed made me feel worse rather than better.  I also felt very hopeless when I couldn't afford the PT that the doc recommended.

Could my state of mind and my joint pain be related somehow?  This last almost-two-year depression battle isn't my first.  I've had bouts of debilitating depression many other times in my life, and depression runs in my family (both my mother and grandmother).

How could coffee make depression better?  I've always read that it makes it worse.

I'm really pleased with my renewed state of mind and don't mind spending $5 every morning to get my life back.  I'm not going to argue with the first thing to really help me in what feels like ages

I'm curious if I'm treating a symptom.  Is there some condition or disease that can have the mental and physical effects that I've been experiencing that can be helped or masked my a stimulant like caffeine?

Are my positive effects going to go away once my body is used to the large doses of caffeine?

Is it dangerous to take this much caffeine?

Any help or advice is greatly appreciated

Regards,
Jeff
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424549 tn?1308519102
Hi Jeff,

I think you and I are at almost the same wave-length. While I cure nocturnal headaches with two sips of black coffee, you do easier fall asleep. Maybe this is because of the habit, the addiction or the effect that caffeine has on the cardiovascular system? Maybe everything?

I had one assignment that I had a deadline on one day. I had completely forgotten the date so I woke up and as I picked up my books, I realized the deadline was 11AM.
I made cup after cup after cup (end of story: 5 cups later). In 3 hours I had effectively been thinking only on the assignment and gotten it all ready for to be sent in - BUT the problems didn't end there. When I got up to stretch my feet I was as if I had been hypoglycemic - I was trembling and my heart was racing and well - focus fell off in no time. I won't do that again (at least not anywhen in the immediate future).

Maybe you would like to read the following paper?

http://www.garynull.com/Documents/CaffeineEffects.htm


Florena
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The thing is, I'm not having negative effects.  It is actually removing my depressive symptoms.  I don't have the hopeless empty feeling when using caffeine.  My hand is a bit unsteady but I don't feel my heart racing or discomfort from the caffeine high.  I just feel focused and my head is less cloudy.  I'm not crashing either.  As long as I tank up early in the morning I don't need more for another 24 hours.  

I've been analyzing this in my mind for a few weeks.  I seem to be the opposite of everything I have read about depressed people and caffeine.

It isn't that I'm having withdrawal when not drinking it.  I've never been a big caffeine user.  It also doesn't help as much (or as long) when I have a small dose.  

I know it's unusual.  I ordered a tall quad late at starbucks this afternoon and the girl working the counter though I was a nut.  

I'm happy that my body seems to respond to high doses of caffeine positively.  My worry is that I'm going to build a tolerance to the coffee, or that such large doses of caffeine are going to harm my health in some other way.
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Reading what you had wrote I had my jaw drop to the floor because that is me. I have gotten depressed at-times but have no reason really to be depressed because I have a fantastic family a good job excetera. When I start to feel depressed and aggravated and frustrated with things around me I take a caffeine pill which = 2 to 3 cups of coffee I feel almost a feeling of euphoria and all of the negative feelings and depression go away plus I have the energy to do what I need to do-and I don't want to sound like a drug-addict because I only take these pills every so often Because I hate coffee let me know if you have found out any-thing else because I am in trying to figure out why caffeine has that effect and for most people it makes them feel nervous And hypertensive.
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