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.

References.

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.

Comments

Good reply

John,good reply,your # 2 comment was right on about caffeine tension leading to alcohol abuse later is something I dont mention very often but is a big factor,I dont think a lot of people realize this.

5 days off coffe

I stoped drinking coffe 5 days ago, I feel like I ran a marathon without drinking water, all my bonds hurts especially pelvis and Nees.

I have to take pain killers to sleep well, is coffe bad for your health? Why shall I stop drinking it? I did because I realized that I am addicted to it but I don't know if it is bad.

I fell less alert, tired and disoriented. I never did drugs or execive alcohol, but I guess that what I am feeling is the feeling of addiction.

If somebody could tell me what should I quit? Please doit to fell more motivation.

Thanks and have a good life!

10 days and counting

I cannot express how grateful I am to find this page.  I am 10 days off of caffiene due to skipped heart beats (PVC's) that sent me to the ER.  Although the heart issue is probably due to peri-menopause, I was told to stay off caffeine and alcohol until all my tests are done.  That won't be for another 2 weeks.  I thought I was going crazy....anxiety, aches all over, killer headache, weird dreams and sleep patterns, crankienss, foggy brain and a feeling of my head not being attached to my body most of the time.  Now, at least, I know I'm just going through withdrawals, not headed for the looney bin.  Up until 10 days ago, I had caffeine every day of my life for 40 years.  No wonder I feel this way.  It's good to know that there is relief in sight.  Thank you for sharing your experiences here so that I can feel better.

Your Comments...

8 days ago, I thought I was having a heart attack.  Went to the doctor and found out they were PVCs.  I had been drinking 5-6 cups of very strong coffee a day for about the last 4 years.  He told me I should quit coffee to start with.  I freaked out and went off caffeine cold turkey.  Two nights ago, I wound up in the ER because I thought I was REALLY having a heart attack.  Turns out it was a serious anxiety attack.  I've been going nuts wondering what I should do.  I'm just curious if you have had any serious anxiety attacks or any type of chest pain?  They keep telling me my heart is fine, but that trip to the ER the other night showed both PVCs and PACs which has me freaking out again.  They put me on Xanax for awhile and that's helping.  Just curious as to if you or anyone else is having this hard of a reaction? 

Anxiety

It's so good to hear that maybe the terrifying anxiety will eventually subside. I am day 20 quitting cold turkey. I would drink about 80 ounces of diet coke each day. I feel like I am going crazy and losing my grip on life, hopefully will get better. Anyone else experience anxiety to this extreme? What worked for you? I hate to start taking a prescription but may have to. Thanks for your help. Is site makes me feel like I'm not going crazy.

Typical Symptoms

I had the same thing.  It goes away.  Just takes time.  I am almost 4 months out and the only real problem i seem to have left is loss of coordination and some shakiness/twitching in my hands at times.  It was alot worse early on.  I pretty much feel back to normal with alot less stress and anxiety than when i drank all that pop.  And more steady energy during the day, no more 2pm after lunch crash.  My mood has returned to its cheery state as well.  So it feels pretty awesome now. 
But it was a rough ride for me, espessicialy the anxiety/depression.  So if it gets too intense try tapering more slowly or just maybe get some meds to help.  I have a pretty strong mind and it was hard for me to keep it together at times.  But i did it without any other drugs to offset it.
So it will pass but it wont be fun if you get serious withdrawls, the good news is that only around 13% of people in tests had severe withdrawls.   Not that it made me feel special to be one of the 13%  lol
Good luck

Hi Deanna,  I have quit

Hi Deanna, 
I have quit completely for over a week now although I reduced my caffeine intake very gradually.  I have been experiencing similar side effects - depression, sleepiness and extreme anxiety especially at night.  I used to drink around 6 mugs of tea or coffee a day and didn't realise how addicted I was.  I hope that my symptoms ease soon too! I must admit I thought I would be feeling better by now.  Just keep going with it.  I am determined to cut it out and hopefully will start to seen the benefits.  

better gradually decaf over

better gradually decaf over weeks

Day SIX of no COKE!!!

The headaches are gone pretty much now.  I am feeling better.  I find I am not feeling run down all the time.   I slept last night
for over 5 hours straight without waking up which for me is HUGE.   I am waking up actual feeling awake if that makes sense. 
On Day 4 I ate a small bowl of FRESH blueburries and it the side effect seemed to be that my headaches faded right after eating them.  I am not into organic food by any means but that is what happened.  Another up side of cutting the caff. and coke is that I do not feel bloated or feel like the size of a zepplin!!  I feel better.   

1 year off caffeine

Hi Everyone,
I haven't posted on here for a while.    I have been off caffeine for 13 months.   It wasn't that easy but I did it.   I would say the first 3 months were the hardest, but after that it got better.    I don't have any cravings for caffeine.   I do drink caffeine free sodas and sometimes decaf teas.     I found out by quitting caffeine, that I am able to deal with anxiety and with my ocd a lot better.     I would have to say that the caffeine made my ocd and anxiety level really bad.    I also had to learn to relax which I never knew how because the caffeine all those years made my body all tensed.    I am still experiencing some mild nerve related problems and I don't know for sure if it was caused by my 20 years of heavy caffeine addiction.    My neurologist told me that a lot of the nerve problems I am experiencing are that of an alcoholic.   Well like alcohol, caffeine is also a substance and drug.   Therefore, I do feel long term use in excessive amounts of any susbstance can cause damage to the body.   I am not a doctor but who can explain all the nerve problems I am experiencing till this day.    Enough said, I wish everyone the best in their effort to quit caffeine.   Stick with it because quitting caffeine was the best thing I ever did in my life.
Kikaida

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