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

Hi Kikaida

Wow, it sounds like you are having a really grim time. You hang in there too!

I wonder if your doctor is saying that the chemical residues of caffeine clear out of the body in nine days to two weeks? That would 'just' leave dealing with the psychological adjustments. I notice that the symptoms that people mention continuing for months are the disordered moods and sleeping difficulties. I'm thinking that people like me, with a history of depression, may have been self-medicating with caffeine without noticing and without it there remains a tendency for the depression to return? I've recently made a lot of progress in therapy with my messed up mind so perhaps I'll get through without dropping too low. Fingers crossed there!

It doesn't surprise me that thoughts of self harm have surfaced for you. I know several people who do this and, though the reasons vary, some say that they are stimulated by the practice and jerked out of their withdrawals into black depression. I think it's a shock/adrenaline response to the pain. Caffeine as stimulant might be similar I guess. Unfortunately, self-harm is also very addictive and the social side-effects are awful. You'd probably be better off with a cuppa!

Best of luck,

Don

re: Hi Kikaida

Hi Don, Thanks for replying back. Having bad insomnia really screws your mind up. My sleep pattern has been really bad. I tend to wake up like every 90 mins, 60 mins and 30 mins per night. It's awful having to deal with it. Plus I have OCD which causes my mind to think a lot. I am starting to have a depression setting in because of having to deal with the overwhelming withdrawals. I think for those who don't have any type of mental issues, it might be easier for them to cope with things. I am trying to handle things as best as I can, but it sure ain't easy.
Kikaida

How you doing, pal?

I hope things ate easing for you. I've been headache free for a couple of days now and I think I'm suddenly over the worst of it. I'm noticeably more relaxed, taking reversals at work in a good easy stride for once. But then I've been sleeping well, unlike you. Do you get plenty of exercise? Just a thought...
Good luck, Don

I'm a few days into getting

I'm a few days into getting myself off the caffeine. I took the advice of another site and am taking phenylalanine supplements (DLPA. Some take tyrosine instead). Just 500 mg in the morning with breakfast (some take two 1,000 mg doses a day). So far I'm not getting the strong cravings or regular withdrawal symptoms, but again it's only been a few days and my problem is with soda which has less caffeine than coffee. I'll just have to see if the cravings are still down in another week or so.

One issue I am having is sore muscles. May be a coincidence considering my job. Or it could be that I've been unintentionally medicating myself with caffeine and now I'm paying the price.

I have been drinking more water as a result which is good. That's something.

3 weeks out

I quit caffeine about 3 weeks ago due to anxiety. I feel great now, but the side effects I had was really tough and caused to me to have anxiety attacks because I thought something was wrong with me. Along with caffeine I stopped MSG and aspartame. My muscles are not stiff anymore and I seem to be far more alert and attentive. Everyone hang in there it get so much better with time and your body will love you later.

Sleeping/Muscle Twitching/Constipation

Hi there,

The biggest problem that I have is muscle twitching while trying to sleep. What irritates me the most is that I normally sleep on my left side and now my ear twitches and makes it hard for me to fall asleep. I can't seem to sleep on my back so that creates another problem. If its not one thing that happens, another comes along. I tell you this battle to give up caffeine is not easy. It causes tremendous amount of anxiety and for me that leads to insomnia and other problems. Constipation is another problem that I battle. I take Miralax daily and I guess being under a lot of stress it will make the constipation worse. It can be like 3 days and I still have not gone to the bathroom. I do worry a lot. My family told me that more you worry about it, the worse it will become. I guess thats true. I hope this nightmare ends someday soon.

Kikaida

Depression from coffee withdrawal

I am 10 days off caffeine and I am experiencing some pretty bad depression. Has anyone else experienced this and does it get better. Thanks

Hi Mary. I feel your pain. I

Hi Mary. I feel your pain. I quit cold turkey about 4 1/2 months ago and experienced pretty bad depression. I had good days and bad days. To be honest it lasted about four months, but I did everything wrong. I went from drinking 700 mg of caffeine per day to none at all overnight. For this reason, my withdrawal has been intense. The best advice I can give you is to just try to always remember that you're not going crazy and that it is the lack of caffeine that is causing you to have these feelings.

Keep your head up! It will get better!

Say No To Joe, Thanks for

Say No To Joe,
Thanks for replying to my post. I can't believe your depression lasted four months. Drinking coffee use to give me a reason to get up in the morning and I miss that. What did you subsitute to drink in the morning.

I actually didn't substitute

I actually didn't substitute anything in the morning. While it probably would have helped to drink some caffeine free tea or something, I just tried to not think about the fact that I'd ever had a morning ritual. I also went cold turkey. Both of these decisions were not the best, but I made it. How are you feeling nowadays?

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