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

It is not that bad at all

I have been drinking well over 1000 mg a day (mainly through redlines) for atleast three years now.  I stopped a couple days ago and I have a headache and feel a little tired but it is not bad at all.  All of you seem to be overreacting very much.  If you read some of these peoples stories you will find yourself withdrwaling harder and longer just because you will make your mind believe it is much worse than it is.  Please, none of you ever become addicted to heroin or benzos because if you are thinking cofee withdrwals are bad, then I think most of you might commit suicide  having to endure those by the looks of some of your posts.  Just realize your not gonna be at  100% for probably a week.  Trying to do all the things you are used to doing will just frustrate you because you will be so used to caffeine.  Just kick back for a couple days, and if it means maybe missing some work or not studying as much, then so be it.  You were the one who got yourself into it in the first place, and now you are responsible for getting yourself out.  The energy you will have down the road without any type of drug in you at all is far superior to the little 'boost" caffeine gives you.

Nonsense

I stopped drinking coffee because it was so hot out and I don't have air conditioning. I was swamped with an overwhelming wave of depression and anxiety and had no idea what was happening. Just by chance I got an iced coffee with a friend and started feeling a million times better. I had no idea I was going through caffeine withdrawal.

You are not a doctor or a researcher. Keep your boring limited opinions to yourself. Do not dismiss others pain just because you have it easy in one aspect of life where others might suffer greatly. Your individual experience does not make you an expert on anything other than how you react to caffeine withdrawal.

Thank you

Thank you for this post (the first paragraph because I am ignoring the one who said we were all over-reacting).  I stopped drinking my regular 9 a.m. Diet Dr. Pepper that I have consumed for over 12 years about 2 weeks ago.  I have thought I was losing my mind.  I want to cry all the time, I get irritated at the stupist things and I am more anxious.  My husband today thought of the possible link between my emotional/hormone behaviour and the withdrawal of caffeine, and I think he may be right. 

It depends

I think it is different for everybody. If you have more time to sleep, then quitting will be easier. Also, some people (like myself) are prone to depression and have been using caffeine to stay happy. Thus, when I quit for 21 days cold turkey, I thought that the world was so full of evil and the life was not worth living. I got over that in about a week, but I was still tired at day 21 (because my sleep schedule was not that good). Caffeine withdraw is actually two issues:
1. The chemical withdraw that most people know about
2. The sleep debt that caffeine has caused you to build up.
If you don't get the sleep debt paid back up (it takes about 30 days according to a military study), then you will still feel very tired.
Finally, your fitness level will determine a lot of this in regards to how well you get back to normal.

Tried to quit Coffee

I quit (or tried to) drinking coffee last week and by the 3rd day I was soooooo sick. I thought something was seriously wrong; I had terrible back/neck/joint/muscle pain, I felt like there was a bomb exploding in my head, I was confused, fatigued, getting sick to my stomach, etc. etc. I was a mess. Went to the Dr. ( I just knew I was dying).. I couldn't even drive I was so sick. Anyway, after 3 days of no coffee I couldn't take it anymore, I forced myself to drink coffee and it took 2 days before all the symptoms went away.  I read how someone gradually quit drinking coffee instead of going cold turkey like I did with great results; maybe I'll try that but not yet, I'm too afraid because I've never been so sick. Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone else went through what I did and how did you finally quit.. Have a great day everyone!

Don't know if I can take it any longer

I went cold Turkey about 3 days ago and the withdrawl symptoms are horrible.  Headaches, irritabilty, fatigue, insomnia, pressure in head, foggy mind, can't concentrate, motivation totally gone, aching back.  I was a two cup a-day drinker and an occasional Starbucks.  These feelings are driving me crazy but I do not want to get back on the caffeine, I refuse to but some days I feel like I cannot take it anymore.  The comments on this site have been helping me allot.  They are starting to motivate me to stay focused.  I just want to be myself again.  I hate that I even started drinking coffee.   I pray that it does not take long for my symptoms to go away. 

Hang in there

I gave up chocolate, tea and coffee (I only had one cup of the latter two each day) at the beginning of the week as I had been finding their affect on my PMT was severe.  I am still suffering cramps all over the body but the headaches have stopped now.  HOpefully the cramps will diminish in the next couple of days.  All the best.

Give it about a week

In a week, most of your symptoms will go away. You will still be tired until you pay up your sleep debt.

stopped 6 weeks ago

I stopped drinking coffee about six weeks ago and have noticed an extreme change in my sex drive. Is this possible or just my imagination?  As a male, I am thinking of returning to drinking  it. 

I think my sex drive lowered

I think my sex drive lowered at first but about 2 months ago I started taking 25 mg of zinc picolinate a day and after about 6 weeks it seemed like I started getting my drive back and feeling a lot more sensitivity as well (been caffeine free for 70 days). I also suggest you try a couple of tbsp of apple cider vinegar per day. Some people put a pinch of baking soda in it, dilute it all in a glass of water. I also noticed some improvement with that and I haven't even done it regularly. So apple cider vinegar (with the "mother" in it, look for Bragg's), and 25 mg of zinc a day are my suggestions. They have worked for me without caffeine. I agree caffeine has a short-term affect on sex drive. Longterm though, I don't know if it's beneficial. Good luck.

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