There has been an extensive debate on whether caffeine has an overall positive or negative effect on people. The same is applicable to the effects that this chemical compound has on one of the most common psychological conditions, depression. Several studies have suggested that caffeine may reduce serotonin production and make the condition worse while others claim the opposite.
The results of various studies on the effect of caffeine on serotonin and, in turn, on depression have been inconclusive. There have also been studies that show no direct correlation between the intake of this chemical compound and the production of this neurotransmitter in the brain. However, it has been found that caffeine may affect serotonin production and depression in general indirectly in a number of ways.
This chemical compound, naturally found in coffee and other plants, has been shown to have a mild to moderate effect on the overall functioning of the brain. It makes you more alert and allows you to have better concentration for longer. As you consume coffee, or other beverages containing this chemical compound, your body adjusts to the effect they have on the brain and accepts it as natural.
If you suddenly stop taking this chemical compound, the effect on the brain can be adverse. The levels of the different chemical compounds in the brain, including serotonin, may drop and make your depression considerably worse. Withdrawal symptoms include greater irritability, fatigue and headaches which may be new to you and make your general physical and psychological condition far worse. In this respect, the general consumption of caffeine can provide for the aggravation of depression, especially if you consume large amounts of coffee and/or caffeinated drinks.
Caffeine maybe linked to night's sleep, which in turn, is linked to depression. Many people consuming caffeine have sleeping problems, such as inability to fall asleep quickly and waking up frequently during the night as well as poor sleep, in general. It has also been found that in many depression patients anxiety and depression symptoms pick up during the night and cause sleep problems. This comes to suggest that the consumption of coffee and similar beverages may aggravate some of the most serious depression symptoms. It can lead into more serious sleep problems, fatigue and drowsiness during the day.
Even though some studies suggest this chemical compound may reduce the risk of cancer and nervous system diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, it is considered to have an adverse general effect on the health, especially when consumed in large amounts. Caffeine consumption can increase the blood pressure and, in turn, lead to permanent heart, blood vessel, liver and kidney damage. Heart problems as well as other health problems can make depression worse, causing greater anxiety and increasing the feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness.
In conclusion, there is no solid scientific evidence that caffeine lowers serotonin levels in the brain while it is actually being consumed. However, this chemical consumption may affect the serotonin and other chemical compound balances in the brain indirectly especially if you stop your caffeine intake for any reason.