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.


Hello Jackie and Rob, well I

Hello Jackie and Rob, well I stumped off to buy some teabags, and I noticed how the frost was glittering in the sunshine, which for some strange reason cheered me up, then I remembered a letter which I cannot copy and paste but I will try and post a link, the letter is to a "Friend" from "withdrawal symptoms" and I found it on another site devoted to another drug, but it really helped me. My mood suddenly changed (for a while) the very next day, but I am back cursing and swearing today….

Now I will try and post the link from a website called Recovery Road.http://d2vqx76lplv3ab.cloudfront.net/9c/25/i99820956._szw1280h1280_.jpg

please dont get discouraged You will do it when you are ready.

Thanks so much for posting to me

its so strange because i am not depressed, just always angry and irritable…… weird

and as for the backache and GI probs…...


So glad you had some help, even as you were going to the shops! Sometimes, just getting outside, even it's freezing cold, will lift your mood. I'll look at that letter when I've got a bit more time, thanks.
You've told me about how demanding your life is (like mine, so I do understand) and I wondered if you ever get any time to yourself? Sometimes, when I feel like I'm ALWAYS in demand - looking after absolutely everyone, with no time at all - I get very stressed - then irritable - then angry. When life is putting too many pressures on us, we do get frustrated and angry. That's why my time in the morning is so important to me. Anyway, try to have some time to yourself is the only thing I can come up with.

Update: I think my desire for coffee is finally waning. I woke up this morning and DIDN'T WANT ANY!!!! Hurrah! I still wanted a comforting milky drink so had a grain 'coffee' (Whole Earth's No-Caf - it's very good). I've noticed I've been sleeping a lot better, too, since I've been cutting down even more (albeit with the odd bad day). Had about 8 hours last night - which is a record for me (since I was a teenager!) Also, just the one milky drink is sufficient - later, I either have Redbush tea or fresh ginger tea (which I've taken quite a liking to). Diet is very good - and really enjoying it. For the first time, I'm genuinely looking forward to the spring /summer and a caffeine -free life. It feels good to be posting, here, without caffeine in my system (only had decaf yesterday).

Well, so glad you didn't have any. If you need to vent on here, any time, just do it. I look most days and will reply if you need a bit of support.

Hope everyone else is doing OK - Rob, Mandy, Sarah - and everyone. TC Jackie

Thanks Jackie, time to myself

Thanks Jackie, time to myself is a big problem at the moment, but I am angry all the time regardless of anything - I wish it would stop. I've got a horrible feeling that it wllll take me about 5 years to recover completely. Every time I am tempted to go back on, if I stop to remember how bad caffeine made me feel after losing my tolerance after only a week, I realise that it would be impossible to get back on the stuff now after nearly 2 years. I remember it made my throat bleed it was so sore, and the nausea was so bad I could hardly stand up…. I don't think I really have any choice, but it helps knowing you are there for support, so thanks again,

When Ii was tapering off my cold tea from the fridge, that's when my fatigue began, have you noticed anything like that happening to you? And that was when the OCD stuff started for me too, I was hoping that once I was off it would stop, but no such luck yet….

I sometimes feel that nobody believes me when I say I am still suffering after nearly 2 years, so your support is very important to me.


Oh, dear, that sounds awful - I know what it's like to be angry and irritable (like I've said) and it makes you feel horrible - you don't want to feel that way. But maybe if you just let yourself feel that way and not try to get rid of it, it might die down on its own, sometimes. That's what I find - and don't feed it i.e. don't kick the cat, metaphorically speaking. Easier said than done. I know. I think that in view of the problems you've had in your life, it's understandable......so don't beat yourself up for feeling that way. Sometimes, when something goes wrong AGAIN, the added pressure sets you off. Sometimes there's just too much pressure.
At least you seem set that you won't go back on the caffeine. Remembering how it REALLY made you feel is a good way to stop you. You don't want any setbacks. I've been beset with them for so long that I feel time is running out.

One other thing I thought was that Mandy said that the caffeine addiction/withdrawal brings out other issues and I agree. Any repressed anger/ irritability/distress seems to surface. At our age, we've perhaps had more time to accumulate negative feelings....so it could be that, as well, and your life has been very difficult, as you've said. The good thing is, though, I've found that they do 'drain off' as time goes by. Hope that's how it is for you. It must also be very difficult when you feel so physically unwell, too. How are you sleeping these days? I'm definitely sleeping better and it does help. Well, I can't think of anything else to add - let us know bow you're doing.

Update for me: still having the odd bad day but didn't want any coffee this morning (again) so that's a good sign as I feel it's naturally waning. I only run to it when I'm so stressed, when I just can't take it all. I should take my own advice and let the stress 'drain off' lol.
Anyway, thinking of you and sending best wishes. We've got snow this morning - it looks lovely.

Hope everyone else is doing well. Jackie


You don't seem to have a problem with caffeine (apart from the fact that you enjoy it, and see that as a problem), if it were a problem you would definitely be feeling worse and not better at this point, but you are not experiencing any withdrawal symptoms at all, so why on earth are you giving it up????

As for my anger it is purely and simply down to caffeine wd, and it will stop when it stops. It is impossible to describe, but it is so petty and so vast at the same time, it is nothing to do with anything big or psychological, it is just everything. My shoes irritate me, my hair irritates me, my fingernails irritate me, the way that man on the tv is going on irritates me, that mark o the carpet is driving me MAD!!! etc etc etc etc etc etc etc, it is so wearing and so B O R I N G . My backache is very tiring too, but not quite as bad as it was, and although the GI problems are unpleasant, I don't really mind them because they signify big changes that are happening generally. If you are not experiencing any of this, I don't think you need bother to come off caffeine because it doesn't really affect you - lucky you.


Well, obviously you have not been reading all of my posts as you would know that I've had terrible withdrawal symptoms and still do have some - like depression. anxiety, exhaustion (I feel better SOME mornings but feel terrible by pm- I woke up thus morning and felt like crap - ill, exhausted etc (and I have a full day of full-time care ahead of me), anger (but I don't take it out on people on here), hopelessness, fear(still), aches and pains, I do sleep better some nights but still wake up 2 or 3 times in the night and can't get back to sleep etc etc.
When I post on here I try to support people and I try to accentuate the positive to boost myself up and make me feel that I'm getting better. In view of all the posts I've put on here regarding what a terrible fight I've had with caffeine, I found what you said to me offensive and dismissive.
Maybe you should go to see the doctor or just accept that that's how you feel. After all, we did it to ourselves - we drank the caffeine which made us ill, cranky and exhausted. It's our responsibility.

Jackie, I am sorry - I have

Jackie, I am sorry - I have been going by your recent posts, and I had forgotten your earlier ones Duhhhhh , but that is caffeine wd, I find it hard to concentrate atm.
I do accept my feelings of irritability and I think it is better to tell the truth on this blog, because I don't find constant "positivity" helpful, and I wonder if the need to pretend that everything is fine (even too yourself) is one of the reasons you have found it so difficult to get off caffeine in the past. Just because I tell the truth on this blog does not mean that I tell anyone in the real world

It isn't "taking it out on" anybody to be authentic about how one is feeling on this blog. The reason I am so open about how I am feeling is because I know how much the old (truthful) posts on this blog have helped me, and in the unlikely event that anyone else who still feels crap after being off caffeine for 21 months ever reads this blog in the future, what help would it be to them if I don't tell the truth? Knowledge is power.

I also wake up 2 or 3 times a night, and I have found having an audio book on cd helps me back to sleep (Anthony Trollope
is particularly soporific)

I hope you will be able to forgive me for saying that your last post to me has been far more helpful than any one of your posts where you have accentuated the positive, the authentic Jackie is the one I really admire and prefer, so thank you so much for posting and I hope you can forgive me my mistake.

ps Jackie I remember now

ps Jackie I remember now about your terrible fear etc. I had done a long much more sympathetic reply to your last post, but I pressed the wrong key and got blocked and lost every word of it, so my last reply is much shorter and less sympathetic, but I am and was too tired to repeat it, but I want you to know that I am VERY SORRY to have offended you, and I hope you will post asap that you have forgiven me.

My lost post took me an hour to write, sod it….


Of course, it's Ok, 60 YH, thanks for your apology. Haven't got much time now so this is a quick reply - but didn't want to leave you in the lurch. I haven't processed everything you said but it struck me that we all deal with things differently. I find I'm better and cope better if I focus on the positive - that's why my healthy diet is so important to me - it makes me feel like I'm doing something very positive about my health (and I know it helps). If I focus on the negative when I write here, it pulls me back down e.g. i used to endlessly stress and beat myself up about how long I'd been trying to get off of caffeine ........now, I try not to think about the past and how long I'd been trying to wean off but focus on the future and being pro-active. That way just works better for me, now. Anyway, got to go - but will look at your post again tomorrow. TC JACKIE

Thanks for letting me know, I

Thanks for letting me know, I agree that it is better to focus on the positive and I do that myself, and I always include what I find has helped me - but I also feel that we need to be able to accept the more difficult things about our recovery, which absolutely does not mean that they are negative, they just are, and if we hide them they can go underground and run riot! So I also do everything I can to help my recovery - walking every day, diet, meditation etc etc. So when I say that I am feeling crap, it is the truth, but it is not "negative", it is just the way it is at the moment.

I don't even think the fact that I was feeling that I had to go back on caffeine was negative, it was just the way it was at that moment, and if i had gone back on I would have dealt with it. It is this blog that enables me, at least, to feel that I am not alone in my struggles with caffeine, and I do hope my posts are not perceived as "negative".

I think we do both agree about how to get through our recovery, but our perception is different. Thanks again, and I would love to know if you try the audio book solution to insomnia, and by the way I am glad to know that you are sleeping better, because I am too, in spite of waking up 2 or 3 times a night.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.