You mean I can't drink regular coffee?

Caffeine makes your mood worse!

Yes, I’m sorry. I know I’m meddling with your personal life.

One very important fact which is often overlooked in the treatment of depression is the disruptive role of caffeine and other “over the counter” substances. It has been my observation over the years that caffeine directly opposes the action of antidepressants and mood stabilizers.

All stimulants

This is true of all “stimulants” like ginseng, royal jelly, bee pollen, ephedra, energy drinks, decongestants and many other “natural” products designed to “pick you up” or help you lose weight. In each case the stimulant increases the repetitive disturbing thoughts that the medications are trying to subdue.

Caffeine and other stimulants work directly against the medications. I have been astonished at how much my patients improve when they eliminate caffeine and stimulants from their diets. In some cases I have been able to reduce their medication doses once the aggravating substance has been removed. I have also noticed that a frustrating tendency for antidepressants to lose their effectiveness over time is reduced if caffeine is eliminated.

Caffeine comes in many products including pain killers, coffee, tea, many soft drinks, energy drinks and chocolate. Whenever there is an unexpected decline in the mood of one of my patients, I always look for something they may be consuming that is causing a drug interaction with their medications.

Decaf beverages are no problem.

What do I do next?

We have lots of resources to help you assess yourself for depression, anxiety or mood swings. These resources will also help you understand the conditions so you can help a loved one.

First do the self assessment checklists which you can even take to your doctor. Just click here.

Throughout my medical career I noticed that Christians suffered from depression differently than non Christians. You can download my article that describes this difference and why it happens in  How depression affects Christians.

Personal coaching appointments are available where we can meet online or by phone. I will answer your questions about mood disorders and explain the recovery process.

Emotionally freeEmotionally Free – The first third of the book explains the nature and treatment of mood disorders from a Christian perspective and includes the symptom checklists for self assessment. The rest of the book explains problems with our personality and spirit.



Have a look at these DVDs/CDs/direct downloads – watch 5 minute previews online

Depression, the path to recoveryDepression, The Path to Recovery As 2 disc of 10 TV interviews with Dr. Mullen where he explains a Christian understanding of depression, anxiety and mood swings. Our most popular DVD.


Moods, what Christians should know... Moods, what Christians should know about depression, anxiety and mood swings Christians are often very confused and misinformed about the nature and treatment of mental illnesses. They are also very suspicious of psychiatric treatments, so many are suffering needlessly from correctable conditions. This presentation will remove the mystery and confusion about the diagnosis and treatment of depression, anxiety and mood swings.

Fear, when trust is lost Fear, When Trust is Lost You will get the tools to overcome and take control of the worries and fears that disrupt your life.



Free Q&A videos

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How do I know if I need medications for my mood?
How do I know if my depression has been healed?
How long do I need to stay on antidepressants?
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15 comments on “You mean I can't drink regular coffee?

  1. Rick T. on

    I have been drinking coffee for a couple months 3-4 cups a day. I have been told that it isn’t good to come off it cold turkey?? what would you suggest? It scares me to think that caffeine will stop my meds from working so I want to get off it asap I have been cutting down. I have 2 cups a day as of 2 days a go. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank Rick

  2. Dr. Grant Mullen on

    Caffeine will make your mood worse by speeding up your thoughts. It makes meds less effective. Take at least a week to taper off. If you make it yourself, gradually increase the number of scoops of decaf in the filter and reduce the regular scoops. You should be able to avoid the headaches this way.

  3. melissa on

    Dr. Mullen, I’m about a week in to quitting my coffee habit, and I feel awful! I’m so groggy, sleepy and muddle-headed. How long does it take for the withdrawal to end? It feels similar to the return of symptoms I’ve had (depression/anxiety/muddled thinking) when I’ve tried to go off my anti-depressant. I had no idea caffeine withdrawal could be so brutal! Thanks for any help or suggestions.

  4. Dr. Grant Mullen on

    Melissa, I first want to congratulate you for taking the step to get off caffeine. You will feel better when it’s over. The intensity of the withdrawal symptoms tells you what a toxic drug it is.
    I hope you didn’t stop suddenly. I recommend tapering over 2 weeks. You can do that using a coffee filter system. Gradually increase the number of decaf scoops and reduce the regular.
    Most people are over withdrawal after 10 days.
    Take your time!

  5. Sarah on

    I drink a half a pot of coffe in the morning, a soda, and later drink a latte. After that is WATER. HOW do I taper off, I feel dependant on it. Help, I have anxiety,and depression and I know that it would help to lower the in take. ANY Suggestions.

  6. Lyn S on

    I am so greatful to have this tip. I usually only drink one cup of coffee in the morning but I take my medication with it. My meds haven’t been working well and I wonder…..could one cup actually affect me? Would it matter if I took the meds at night and still have the coffee in the morning or do you recommend NO coffee at all?

  7. Louise on

    I had depression for 13 years. I was on meds for one and a half years and then the doctor said I was fine and didn’t need them any more. I haven’t had them for 2 years now. Is is ok for me to drink coffee then? or will drinking coffee encourage depression to return?


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