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.


24 Hrs In... Not doing so hot...

As I lay in bed at 2 a.m. wide awake with a stomach ache, wondering how I'm going to drag myself through work tomorrow, I decided to peruse the Internet on this topic. I wasn't intending on quitting cold turkey but I ran out of my favorite liquid gold (Pepsi) yesterday and haven't made it to the store. I made it through the headache earlier today, after I got all clammy a half hour into work and thought I was going to throw up. I left work, thinking I had some virus, and it dawned on me over a classic rerun of Matlock that this isn't a virus. I figured if I could just make it through the rest of the day, the withdrawal symptoms would let up and everything would work out. That's probably true, and I have to keep telling myself that as I lay with my head hanging in a bucket off the side of the bed... I'm glad to read others' dilemmas on the topic because I never knew that the random body aches were part of this. My husband and I joke all the time that we're going to have me tested for Fibromyalgia because I'm always sore. Hmmmm... Won't he be interested to hear at a reasonable hour of the morning that maybe we can alleviate some of my crappy feelings by reducing the caffeine?

On a more serious note, I really appreciated reading what other people felt in their detox process because it made me feel like I'm not alone and I'll make it through. So, for the people out there who are feeling awful right now, you're not alone and you'll be ok. My process started out with a sour stomach first thing in the morning. I started to feel sweaty and clammy and nauseous. I slept for a good portion of the day, waking up every few hours with a splitting headache and couldn't find the energy to go get an Advil to help it. I got up and made some dinner and did eat it, but I didn't really want it. I spent the majority of my waking hours with a dull nagging stomach ache and random bouts of nausea and sweating. I also have a weird taste in my mouth that won't go away even when I brush my teeth. It causes horrible breath. My body aches everywhere, especially in my elbows and ankles. I literally want someone to massage my arms. I have a slight ringing in my ears and it feels really good when the furnace kicks on and warms up the air in the room.

I don't recommend quitting cold turkey as there really is no benefit. Come up with a good strategy ahead of time to reduce your intake, and treat it like a serious addiction. Involve family members or friends in your plan. There's no reason to be laying around with horrible withdrawals and flu-like symptoms. I missed a day of work so far with this monkey business and I doubt my boss is going to find the seriousness in all of this.

personally, ii've never liked

personally, ii've never liked the taste of coffee, sodas hurt my throat and mouth going down and if ii drink an energy drink ii'm either verry jittery or ii fall asleep(anyone know why?).
despite this, ii do know there is caffeine in chocolate and ii have always liked that. knowing eating too much chocolate is bad for you, ii try to limit it to mugs on a cold evening(in cali, not very many) and some baked goods when ii feel self rewarding.
yet reading all of these stories makes me worry for my freinds. some drink 5 sodas a day, some buy a large can of monster energy drink more than once a day, while others simply sip coffee all the time that they are awake. each of them have headaches with intense pain when they dont drink their regular amount. while this is not as bad as much of what ii've been reading here, it encourages me to help my freinds find ways of limiting their intake. while still a drug, for those not so heavily addicted it does much less damage. maybe ii can help them so that they (as one of my freinds has done with soda) can little by little resist caffeine until they can control themselves to only drink small amounts or turn away from it completely.
if your wondering, ii havent mentioned tea because ii've only seen people react this way to very sweet tea, usually iced, and it is most often due to the sugar, not the caffeine.

6 weeks at 0

Starting to feel like the old me again, plus benefits...  Cronic pain almost gone that i had for over a year is gone.  It was so bad i couldnt run full speed, this last week i could run again.  Which makes playing hockey and baseball alot easier.  Everything is slowing down a lot now.  Weekend seemed nice and long.
Seemed like it would never end but it has, and i feel really good.  I'm done with caffine forever. I wonder how many people are having problems because they dont know they are using a "drug".  I know i suffered a lot for no reason.  But hey, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger!
good luck everyone!

Post acute withdrawl

I figured out that i have been through this both times, thats why it seems to take months to feel normal again.  the bad physical stuff ends relatively fast but this lingers for awhile.   It helped me to understand why i would have mood swings and depression swings.  Hope it helps anyone here with doubts.  It's not you its your brain going back to normal, if you remember that you can try and ignore the feelings and not concentrate on them.  It's making this time alot easier than last time.

4 weeks at 0

Most days feel really good.  Some days not quite as good.  Excersise seems to make it alot better.  But my anxiety/fear level is almost back to my normal level of really calm.  Slight depression is only once and awhile now.  Body pains i had for a long time seem to be clearing up.  Still tired some days but not excessive.  Sleeping about 8 hours a day and i noticed that i have been having dreams every night for the last 3 weeks, though they are starting to taper down.  I have started taking interest in listening to my podcasts again and using my computer.  I had no interest for the last 2 months.  It's funny its like the withdrawls inverted my personality and now its bouncing back.  Calm became crazy, happy became sad, confident became scared....  what a mess...  I'll never do this again, i can't believe i had to go through it twice to be free.

Cold Turkey

I was a regular consumer of about 6 - 8 cups of coffee per day, over many years.
I am currently on day 8 of withdrawals from coffee, going cold turkey.  I haven't felt the need to drink coffee at all during this time, and I know that cutting back gradually would have been much more ' comfortable ' but I have tried to cut back in the past a few times unsuccessfully.
By the end of day 2, I had a shocking migraine headache and vomiting.
The headache, which feels like it is a severe sinus headache, through the nose, eyes and up through the top of the head.... is pretty much consistent throughout the day, building to a more severe level by afternoon / evening.  
Panadol, Panadol Sinus Relief.... have been of little use so far.

Kicking the addiction to Dr. Pepper

I am on day 2 of kicking my addiction to Dr. Pepper. I finally felt it was time to do something healthy for my body instead of doing something worse. I have had quite a headache for the last two days, but I am going to stick with it. I hope that some of the small health problems that I have been having will go away as well. I know the next few days will be difficult, but worth it. I am giving daily updates on my website http://www.dosomethingdifficult.net and studying the effects of soda on your body. So far I have not read of any health benefits of drinking soda, only negative.

how did the dr pepper quit

how did the dr pepper quit plan go? thanks

2.5 weeks at 0

The depression has lifted.  Anxiety is almost gone.  Things i enjoy are starting to bring me pleasure again.  All i can say is that it will pass, but it sucks for some people(ME!).  If all you get is a headache count yourself lucky beacuse it was a nightmare for me.  And i have done it more than once without knowing.  Tapering was way better than cold turkey though.  DO NOT GO COLD TURKEY!!!!  There is no advantage to cold turkey it will just take longer to recover from the extra stress it puts on your body and brain.  It took me months to feel normal when i went cold turkey,  this time only a couple weeks. It does help to know i wasn't just suffering anxiety it was a checmical withdrawl.  It lets you put it behind you permanently.
The funny thing is who is ever told that drinking pepsi and eating chocolate will get you hooked on a drug?  This should be more public.
Now that i know what happened i think i will be alot more aware of whats in my food and drink.  It makes me wonder how many other people are effected by this and just dont know it.

Update: 32 days caffeine free

I posted a bit more than a week ago. I wanted to add that I've crossed the one month mark and I am amazed at how many mystery symptoms I have been having for years just went away since quitting caffeine. I have had the occasional cup of water-processed decaf but I even decided to give that up a few days ago. If you have a caffeine allergy and don't know it (most people don't) then even the decaf would be a no-no, but yet I still am getting great results drinking an occasional decaf. I wonder if my local store carries decaf pumpkin coffee...sigh..I'll always be a sucker for coffee, especially in the fall and winter, but I will never ever go back to caffeine! I am going to try Teecino soon as well.
In the first couple of weeks I noticed I was super irritable and very sensitive to noise. I continue to be somewhat sensitive to noise, always hushing my kids and stuff. I have to think perhaps my auditory system is readjusting. What's interesting is I was looking up Meniere's disease before I quit caffeine. I had a lot of the symptoms. Tinnitus, dizziness, nausea, sometimes a feeling of fullness in the inner ear, well all of those are GONE, and they actually went away in the first 2 weeks. I am so used to feeling dizzy and nauseous so often that to be free of these is truly incredible for me.
I also noticed I have a much higher tolerance for alcohol and get a much less severe hangover if I overindulge. It's like my liver is cleaned out and processes alcohol faster and better. I honestly have to wonder if coffee is worse for you than alcohol. My next challenge is to quit drinking! I don't smoke so that's not an issue for me. The more time that passes, the less I miss my morning coffee. On days when I really am missing it, that's when I have the decaf. When I feel strong, I go for Good Earth herbal tea (original) which I like because it's sweet and spicy.
My brain is working so much better! My husband has been mentioning my intelligence lately and I can only chalk it up to my mind is functioning at a higher level now. I AM still fatigued at times but only now do I feel this lifting, so for me about the one month mark is when I felt my energy levels returning to a normal level. Before then, I was really quite tired and glad I do not have a job outside the home because it would have been difficult. I am eating healthy, lots of good proteins and vegetables, watermelon juice works wonders. I juiced half a watermelon and sipped it slowly over about a one hour course, and the next day I felt fantastic. I slacked off on exercise this past week but it didn't affect my feeling more benefits.
I am more centered. I surf the net but instead of going from one site to another in a distracted fashion, I find I get into one site and stay there. I am looking forward to reading books again. That was difficult for me as I had a short attention span and my mind wandered. I feel my mind is really healing. I just need to quit the drinking as alcohol is also damaging to the brain. Nonetheless, I STILL feel and think better even though I drink more alcohol lately. My skin is clearer and my sandpaper-like rosacea is GONE. I am convinced caffeine is one terribly harsh chemical for our livers.
Back, neck and shoulder random aches and pains, gone. Sleeping better but still waking in the night, but I chalk this up to major personal stress going on in my life. Still noise and light sensitive. Craving sugar so much less! This was an unexpected benefit. I rarely want any sweets and I used to be a sugarhead, always wanting to taste my kids' candies and cookies. I drink water with meals and am happy with that now. Depression is going away although I am having some circumstantial depression but that icky, deeply sad feeling I used to have a lot is gone. Anxiety? What's that? I used to have it a LOT so I do know. I would think I heard things at night, a burgar or bad guy, and freak out. Now I hear stuff and it doesn't raise my heartrate a drop. I walk through the mall now completely unaware of myself whereas I used to be very self-concious and wonder how I looked to others. Not anymore.
I just feel so much cleaner inside and on a spiritual level. More in control. Attracting better things into my life. Quitting caffeine has been a bit like taking an anti depressant except there are no harsh side effects. I know it will continue to get better and better as time goes on. I will check in here at the 2 month mark and give you an update. Good luck everyone, remember, there is nothing healthy about this drug and your life will change when you quit it, just give it time, maybe a year even, to reverse caffeine-induced cerebral changes. Caffeine is a drug just like cocaine or marijuana, brain changes do indeed happen but the good news is the damage can be reversed.

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