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Dr. Kawachi discovered that 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 arenít ready yet to use coffee as an antidepressant for clinical depression. At minimum, Dr. Kawachi says that his study shows that drinking lots of coffee canít be bad for your health.
Psychiatrists point out that people must understand that depression isnít simply a state of mind; it is a very serious medical issue that cannot be resolved simply by drinking coffee.
And cardiologists, while they recommend to their patients with heart and other health problems to steer clear of caffeine, know that itís not good for a patientís mental health to do so immediately in a cold turkey manner. Instead, they recommend bringing down coffee consumption gradually in order to avoid a severe state of depression due to drop in caffeine and other antidepressants in coffee.
Whether it is 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.
Reference: Kawachi, I., et al., "A prospective study of coffee drinking and suicide in women," Arch Intern Med (1996), 156(5):521-25
You can find more articles on coffee such as Coffee and Depression and Coffee Colonics.