What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?

Regular caffeine consumption reduces sensitivity to caffeine. When caffeine intake is reduced, the body becomes oversensitive to adenosine. In response to this oversensitiveness, blood pressure drops dramatically, causing an excess of blood in the head (though not necessarily on the brain), leading to a headache.

This headache, well known among coffee drinkers, usually lasts from one to five days, and can be alleviated with analgesics such as aspirin. It is also alleviated with caffeine intake (in fact several analgesics contain caffeine dosages).

Often, people who are reducing caffeine intake report being irritable, unable to work, nervous, restless, and feeling sleepy, as well as having a headache. In extreme cases, nausea and vomiting has also been reported.


Caffeine and Health. J. E. James, Academic Press, 1991. Progress in Clinical and Biological Research Volume 158. G. A. Spiller, Ed. Alan R. Liss Inc, 1984.


I swear this is the last time....

I don't know why I do it, but for some time now I've used caffeine, felt awful, given up and then bizarrely after a few months decided one won't hurt and started again. The experience is the same every time - first cup feels great, moderate my use for a couple of days, then I'm back at it the same as before. Needing coffee to function and feeling awful either with it or without it. Then I Google incessantly on how to give up, have dozens of "right that's it" moments, but never actually stop.

Well, this is the end of day 2 having finally bitten the bullet and quit again, cold turkey. It's the only way that works for me, tapering off always sounds like a good idea, but I never get to the end of the taper. I am reminded as I write this how nasty a drug caffeine is - I'm foggy, can't think, my muscles are twitching and most of all my head hurts.

I swear I am off it for good this time. Never, ever again.

me TOO!!

Rob, I KNOW! Me TOO! In fact today I feel so awful and so nervous that I wanted to just go to bed. I cannot believe I keep doing this to myself! It's so SICK!! And I feel so sick physically - like I have the flu. Every time I start again it makes me feel worse. It drops my blood sugar and I'm dizzy and the anxiety starts. I keep going on and off like you. My mother is in Hospice dying & I am also moving at the same time so I feel 'justified'. I started again a few weeks ago to stay awake so I could handle everything. But all this caffeine just makes me more nervous and after the high I am tired, wired and more exhausted. My hands are twitching on & off involuntarily. I keep thinking "today is the day I QUIT again for GOOD!" I hope I can do it soon. I hate the withdrawal...the brutal headache, the despair, the exhaustion...the whole f*cking LIST! I cry for the first week and my life feels all turned upside down like I'm going crazy and having a nervous breakdown - like I really need the extra help right now...UGH!! You are so brave and thanks for being honest. I hope to quit AGAIN soon too for the LAST time. I will post when I stop this time. Mostly in the past I just come here to read so I don't feel so alone. Maybe sharing will keep me OFF the sh*t for GOOD!!

me too

Honestly Rob, I could have written your post myself as I go thru the same exact process. In fact, after many false starts, I finally gave it up successfully at the end of last May (2014) and then something stressful happened in the winter (Dec 2014) and after moderating my use for a few days, I got sucked right back in to having not only one but two cups of coffee per day and have tried a few times already this past month or so to quit again, to no avail. I'm on day 7 of no coffee and my head and eyes still hurt.

I can never taper either. However, it takes a few tries of cold turkey to fully commit. It takes a lot of perseverance though, because there are those moments when you feel good and think 'well it would be nice to have a sweet cup of Joe right now.'

Every day for the past 7 days, I've had my moments of thinking that it would nice to just have a cup of coffee - preferably, Starbucks - but I've resisted, because I feel the achiness in my head and the lethargy of my body and I just know I'm functioning at a very poor level, given my caffeine intake over the past few months.

I can say it negatively impacts so many facets of my life - from my appetite, to my weight, to my skin, to my sleep, to my anxiety levels, etc. It messes with everything, and I can say that those 6-7 months I went without it, I made such great progress in my life and was feeling more at ease with everything than I have for the last 7 months I've been caffeinated.

The withdrawal process is never fun, and this is probably my worst ever, since I have had up to 2-3 cups per day, but I can't wait until my body is restored to optimum health, and as good as coffee tastes, it's not worth the headache - literally - along with the many other pains that go right along with it.


Hi, Rob, reading your post made me realise how strange our behaviour has been over the last few years. I have fallen back down the rabbit hole so many times and it's the same struggle to pull yourself out. I AM getting over it, though and learned my final lesson, recently. I finally gave up on 26th May and went without coffee for 32 days! I swear I thought I'd conquered it - I was beginning to feel slightly better - the first few weeks were absolute hell but I was beginning to sleep a little better and feel more like 'me' again. Remember, I had been weaning for a long time and was down to 1 a day. Then something triggered it again (I've finally learned about my emotional triggers and how to avoid them) and BAM, I was truly down the hole again, drinking loads of coffee and eating everything in sight as well. But, in a way, that made me realise that 'just one' will NEVER work as it just spirals out of control and that you have to CHANGE YOUR MINDSET, TAKE CONTROL AND REPLACE THE RITUAL. I think, importantly, you have to WANT to give it up - and in the early years, I didn't want to. These are the things that have worked for me and now e.g. I drink a lot of redbush tea (I get 'cravings' for that now!!) and eat breakfast and focus on my healthy meals which I really enjoy, as a kind of substitute. I KNOW my fight is over BUT you have to be vigilant.
Take control, Rob, and just STOP - don't waste any more time! I wasted over 3 years trying to get off it but if I can turn it around, anybody can. I was such a different person on caffeine - It's good to be finally coming home. Good luck! And 60 year habit, hope you're continuing to improve. Jackie

Thanks Jackie

Thanks for your words Jackie. It's good to see you're finally off it, although I'm a bit confused if you still are ? You said you stopped at the end of May and lasted 32 days. Did you then have a blip and have since given it up again ? I stopped on 7th July - I just felt like I was incredibly anxious and just thought I can't do this anymore. I guess a kind of caffeine rock-bottom. Giving up hasn't been easy, but it's not been too difficult as (like you say) I think I'm ready to stop. I'm sick of it, how it makes me feel and mostly how it makes me act as a person.

This is day 6 and I'm tired, but the headaches and muscle aches are mostly gone, and I'm beginning to see some benefits. I can think clearer, my sleep is better, I've lost a little weight (no chocolate) etc. I've quit before for quite a while - I've done a number of months a few times, the longest was 4. But then for some reason I have got in the wrong frame of mind - tired, restless - and thought a coffee would be a good idea. That first cup was great, but then I'd be back in the grind of using it to try and feel normal, actually feeling dreadful. I just need to bear that in mind and take it a day at a time.

Good luck in your journey. I'll try to remember to post on here once in a while to keep me honest !

Hi anon, well you can't

Hi anon, well you can't judge yourself by me because I cannot metabolise drugs normally and it always takes me ages to get over them, it took me more than a year to get rid of the huge red hives that came up around my eyes after I had two days on "only" 2000iu of vit D3. So don't be discouraged if I tell you that I do have bladder problems and still suffer from water retention after being off caffeine for more than 2 years. I am gradually improving though and cannot wait for it all to stop!!!!

I remember reading on the vit d blog that there was something you could take to help eliminate the vit D, something weird, I think it was wheatgerm, but you would have to go through all the posts to get to it.

Supplements are a big no no for me, so I can't help you there. Hopefully you are feeling better by now anyway.

Vit D and caffeine

I wonder if anyone could help me . I gave up caffeine 4 months ago , and seemed to be getting a little better at the three month mark . I then started taking a high dose ( 5 thousand iu ) of vit D 3 and vitamin K 2 . I took it for a month but felt worse and worse with a lot of original symptoms that had gone returning . I eventually had to stop as I was so bloated , couldn't sleep and itchy all over especially my face . I know these are all liver symptoms but was wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience ? I have read that caffeine blocks the vit D receptors so maybe this has just created another detox ? I'm five days off the Vits now and still not back to where I was .

it's the side effects of vit

it's the side effects of vit d supplements, and because vit d is fat soluble and has a half life of approx 6 - 8 weeks, it can take a while to clear up.

I will try to post a useful link re vit d side effects etc:https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=12575046&postID=2612696461249365197
hope this helps.

Hi 60 yr habit, I wondered if

Hi 60 yr habit, I wondered if you had any problems with water retention, it's 2 weeks since I stopped the vit D and I am struggling with bad water retention which came on after I stopped the caffeine and wonder how long it will last. How are you now. Many thanks

Thank you so much for getting

Thank you so much for getting back to me, I will try to access the site. I stopped the vit D almost a week ago now but I'm still getting cramps and bloating. Did you find any supplements which helped with the withdrawal, I really like Marine Phytoplanton

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