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

:(

I am not a coffee drinker, however, I am a 16 year old female, and as most teenagers do, I do drink soda on a regular basis, with the occasional cup of tea. (green) For about the past 2 or 3 months, I've had at least a 20 oz bottle of Diet Pepsi EVERY DAY. On some occasions, I would buy a 2 liter bottle and drink all of it within a few hours, plus drink a few cups of tea later in the day. My mood is constantly changing, and I feel absolutely terrible in the evening. Depressed, it seems. Before I drink caffeine, I'm really lightheaded and dizzy a lot. I shake pretty bad too. I haven't had any caffeine for two days, and I just feel weak and hopeless, and it's hard to type this because my fingers feel so stiff and are shaking. I don't feel like exercising, like I normally do, and I just woke up from a 3-hour nap. I NEVER take naps. I drink caffeine later in the day, then I'm awake all night, and I finally get to sleep, and wake up every few hours. During the day, I'm always tired, so I drink more caffeine. It's like I'm stuck in a cycle. I want to quit, but I can't find the willpower. :/ I plan on getting another Pepsi today to stop this madness. I can't quit going back for more... :(

going on 6 days...

day 6 no caffeine. No energy. Pain in lower back. Managed to exercise for about an hour and a half - very low performance with that. For those trying to kick the habit - remember that caffeine causes weight gain and in many instances high blood pressure. Coffee and tea also darken and make your complexion murky. Get off this stuff! I quit black coffee 4months ago after severe migraine - they went away. I drank strong black tea in its place - though more healthful it was about the same amount of caffeine.

Finaly!

I've now been off caffeine now for 19 days now... I feel SO much better now!
Here's my story... out of the blue, I began to suffer panic attacks and heart palpitations.  I only drank maybe 12oz of coffee each morning with an occational soda here and there.  I've had heart palpitations in the past and know (for me) they are related to excessive sugar intake over a long period of time.  I cut out the sugar, the heart palpitations went away, but the panic attacks kept coming on intermittently.  I then began to ween myself off caffeine, but after daily headaches and nausea for two weeks, I started back on coffee.
Then I had another panic attack, and quit caffeine cold turkey.  I have to say, the headaches and nausea weren't all that bad this time around... but two weeks later, I took a road trip and had extreme anxiey and panic attacks for four days straight.  Accompanied with the anxiety were symptoms of nausea, light headedness, heavy arms and legs, trouble concentrating, shakes, hot and cold sweats, no apppetite, and sporatic headaches.  I then tried to have a cup of coffee one morning and the next, which only made things worse... I was a mess!  I decided to go off caffeine once again and stay off.
Once I got back home I found this blog... and found all of you with the same symptoms.  The worry of not knowing was just horrible.  So... here I am... 19 days and running and as time goes by, my symptoms seem to diminish a little each day.  Mostly everything is gone now, but not totally... I'm still struggling with nightmares and mild anxiety, but the symptoms are now manageable.  I also started taking Aleve, which really seemed to take the edge off both the headaches and the anxieties... not sure why.  My advice is to stay the course... and DON'T think having caffeine is going to make things better.
Oh, forgot to mention... I went to my doctor and he seemed to refuse the notion that my symptoms were from caffeine withdrawal... he thought I may have an overactive thyroid.  He ran a myriad of tests and they all came back negative.

Help please!

My doctor seems to think I have an overactive thyroid too! The last day I had coffee was Friday, and then I got blood work done the following Tuesday; and the results seemed to show I might have hyperthyroidism. But I stupidly forgot to tell the endocrinologist I saw that I had stopped drinking coffee for four days before I got my blood work done and six days before I saw the endocrinologist. By any chance can you tell me some of the symptoms you had that led the doctor to think you had an overactive thyroid?

Congrats on quitting! I too

Congrats on quitting! I too quit caffeine cold turkey, but I did it 10 months ago. I just wanted to give you a heads up that there is some caffeine in Aleve, which may be why it's helping so much with your withdrawal symptoms. It'd probably be a good idea to switch over to ibuprofen for the headaches. Just thought I'd share. Keep your head up! All of this will pass!

I verified that Aleve

I verified that Aleve actually doesn't contain any caffeine at all... it's stated on the Aleve web site.  Do you still suffer any side affects from being off caffeine?  I'm still having issues with headaches, intense dreams, and anxieties.  Some days are better than others... just hoping this wares off once and for all.

Aleeve

A friend of mine just went through a kidney transplant. He had taken aleeve for hip pain for a couple of years. Docs said that was the only thing that could have caused his kidney failure. READ the small print! Better yet, try natural remedies. They may take longer, but you will be healthier in the end. The pain is telling you something. Why not ask the question.....What does it mean?

I hate it!

I hate what coffee has made me into, or rather, what has happened to me since i stopped.
I used to pound 4-6 cups every week day (black) + 3-4 iced coffees on the weekend.  My pain is hard to explain, like being wide awake but tired at the same time!  I always felt unusually anxious too.
Now that ive quit (almost a week) im sooo tired, i hate it.  I can wake up after 8hrs of sleep and still feel exhausted.
After lunch, its an uphill battle trying to stay awake.
The temptation is always there.
Im not sure if i'll quit %100 as a long drive usually requires coffee and those iced coffee on the weekend are a blessing..lol

strategies

Strategies to help transition to a caffeine free lifestyle:
1)  during the transition, exercise.  The headaches are caused by excess blood flow to the brain -- if you lift weights, walk or run, you will move the blood around in your body, lessening the impact.  
2)  12-16 hour fasts-- if you choose to slowly reduce the amount of caffeine per day, fasting will greatly help.  When you fast, caffeine effects are amplified.  So as an example -- have a light breafast -- then don't eat all day, using minimal amounts of caffeine during the day -- then a solid dinner in the evening.
3)  Related to #2 above -- don't use any caffeine on a full stomach during your transition.  You can use less caffenie and get more "bang for your buck"
4)  Find a project to work on -- The more you think about not using caffeine, the more you will suffer
 

headache

Great info, but I would add instead of using anelgesics to ease the pain, I would try to get off caffeine gradually preventing your body to react in such a way as to have a headache.

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