Adrenaline usually is a "panicking response" and should, as far as I understand it, supresses any feelings of tiredness. However, someone I know has agoraphobia, which when triggered releases a lot of adrenaline, yet that person still feels tired and needs to consume caffeine.

I imagine 2 possible explanations; either caffeine:

  • simply adds a placebo effect or
  • works somewhat different to adrenaline

My research so far has shown no studies or articles regarding the relationship between caffeine and adrenaline.

  • Better make it more "neutral" by editing out the fact she is your girlfriend, or even leaving gender out. I would write something like "I know someone who has agoraphobia and yet drinks very large amounts of coffee when sleepy", followed by the rest of the question which is fine. (I would normally edit myself, but since it's pretty radical change, prefer to just put it on the table) – Shadow Wizard Sep 12 at 12:02
  • @ShadowWizard hmm… I didn't think of it because it's hard to connect this question to someone real (e.g. who knows whom I was talking about at this point of time?) but… maybe it's a good idea anyway, will do in a moment. – Hi-Angel Sep 12 at 12:07
  • Stack Exchange in general try to focus on content and facts, not on people, so the change I suggested will make this appear more "professional". It's not a must, but in my opinion will make the question look better and have greater value in the long range. – Shadow Wizard Sep 12 at 12:09
  • 1
    Yes, it is a bit: a mental effect to adrenaline...?? Anyway, I was thinking, if you can formulate an exact question and put it as a summary of what you are asking at the bottom of your post. – Jan Sep 12 at 12:25
  • 2
    Hi Hi-Angel, Welcome to the site and an interesting question indeed. In line with what ShadowWizard and Jan suggested, I've allowed myself to "slightly" edit your question - the content is still the same, but I believe the wording is a bit more concise this way. Also, I have changed every instance from coffee to caffeine, because you are most likely referring to just this ingredient in coffee, not the whole other (unrelated) stuff. If you disagree, feel free to notify me, edit the question or revert my edit altogether. – Narusan Sep 12 at 13:55
up vote 3 down vote accepted

According to a case report about a 24-year old woman (PubMed Central), in agoraphobia, during a panic attack, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, which results in adrenaline release, which causes symptoms, such as:

...pounding heart, shortness of breath nervousness, dizziness, losing control on himself for few minutes.

So, from symptoms lasting few minutes, you can conclude that adrenaline is acting for few minutes and not all the time.

According to one 2005 study, caffeine stimulates adrenaline release, but

adrenaline alone does not account for the effects of caffeine and additional mechanisms must be involved.

From the above, one might think that caffeine could help you stay alert despite already being stimulated by adrenaline from anxiety.

But, according to one 2015 review article:

moderate-to-high consumers develop tolerance to caffeine and only low or nonconsumers can eventually benefit from an acute administration.

In conclusion, one who drinks a lot of coffee on a daily basis, will probably develop tolerance to caffeine, in which case the wakening effect would be a placebo effect.

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