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

Thanks Angie

Thanks Angie - I'll definitely keep pressing on. Thanks for relating your experience - it's kind of comforting to know we're not necessarily going-it-alone on the caffeine withdrawal. Congratulations on being caffeine-free!

Yes - all pretty normal

Thanks for your post. I think you're right (and it's certainly been my experience), there are short terms withdrawal symptoms, but also longer term, often more difficult, ones as well.

The more I understand caffeine the more I think it's a pretty serious drug with some powerful side-effects. I don't know if this is the case for most people, but there certainly seems to be a number (of which I'm one) who seem to be affected particularly badly.

As with many drugs, the "benefits" that we use them for are reversed with long term use and addiction. For example, alcoholics drink to make themselves more relaxed and sociable, but end up anxious and isolated.

Similarly caffeine perks us up and makes us think more clearly. If there were no upside, no one would use it afterall. Over time my experience was that it made me feel ill, poisoned, couldn't think clearly, anxious, exhausted and all-round dreadful.

When I gave up I had the short term symptoms you describe - sluggishness, headache, thirst, aches and pains. I imagined when these went away I'd be OK and all would be good. Sadly things didn't work out that way - for many weeks I was still below par much of the time. Tired, depressed, lethargic.

As with all things, it passes and your body will return to it's natural state. For me this is just feeling steadily pretty good - sleep well, wake up easily, think clearly, generally in a pretty good mood (think most kids you know).

Sadly I've forgotten over time and gone back to caffeine on more than one occasion. I recently stopped then thought I could just have one, but am now back on it full time. I'm planning to stop over the next couple of days and get clean again. It's hard work though - just have to be patient and treat yourself well as you work through it.

Thanks Rob

Hey Rob - thanks for your thoughts. I really appreciated your thoughts on caffeine as a drug, and one with significant side effects. Sorry to hear you're back on it - hope you're able to get off of it soon. Thanks again.

In my first week

This is my first week cold-turkey. This is almost disgusting that my body has become so very addicted to this bad substance that I hurt and feel bad because I stopped. I will make it through this, and then I will never get this involved in caffeine intake (or any other bad substance) again.
I quit caffeine, smoking, and alcohol all at once. Sounds insane, but this is a great challenge for me and sort of a right of passage into my mid-life. I cannot wait to start feeling better and for the constant headaches to subside. This blog is a helpful read. I will see you all on the other side.

Bye bye Coffee, Ciggarettes,

Bye bye Coffee, Ciggarettes, & Alcohol. Your blog hit home with me. I feel a mid-life crisis coming on and want to start feeling better physically & emotionally as well as get rid of my chronic insomnia. At least I'm not alone. Thanks for posting.

coffee and caffeine

Hi, I am on day 11 of no caffeine and no sugar. I quit cold turkey, after experiencing a severe hypoglycemia attack.

My question is has anyone felt "out of it" kind of like in a dream state on and off? I am having headaches, tiredness,

irritability,depression, anxiety, and this feeling of being in a dream. Is this normal? please share with me tips on how

to get thru this. How long will this last? thanks

GREETINGS ANGIE- Yes indeed

GREETINGS ANGIE- Yes indeed those symtoms are real- and it will take weeks to completely purge your system- but have faith, it will subside. But here is the interesting part- Why should anyone be surprised? Has anyone noticed that "Caffeine" ends in that wonderful three- letter "ine"- you know, like METHAMPHETAMINE, BENZEDRINE, ETC? Ever notice how the sheep- like morons lining up at Starbucks look just like junkies at a Methadone Clinic? It's because they are ADDICTED, to a worthless blood pressure raising drug- Don't tell me either about "benefits of Coffee" studies. They always say "some studies have shown" or "some patients showed this or that"- It's nothing but bull- crap- besides, there are plenty of safe, healthful ways to introduce the right kind of anti- oxidants into your system if thats what your after- (dark salads, fruits, veggies, etc.- easy to research)- GOOD FOR YOU FOR TOSSING THE BROWN POISON!

Quitting Caffeine

Until recently(the better part of 40+ years) I have drank between 6 to 10 Cokes and/or diet cokes a day. I just started to drastically reduce(not completely cut out) my soda comsumption and my feelings of "irritability,depression, anxiety, and this feeling of being in a dream" is about a 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. My Dr put me on Bupropion last year and at first I thought these symptoms might be a delayed side affects of the antidepresants. Now after reading your post I finially see that my symptoms are a by product of the caffeine withdrawl

Hi Angie.. this dream state

Hi Angie.. this dream state may be something caused by anxiety that I personally went through called depersonalization here's a link about it. Wish you luck you can make it through.. I'm also quitting caffine cold turkey right now. Tough! http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/dissociative_disorders/hic_depersonalization_disorder.aspx

RE: coffee and caffeine

Yes, I did. In the morning I would wake up feeling like I was in another world! Just be patient it will go away. Also during the worst of my withdrawals I had so much anxiety and depression, that I laid in bed for days. During this time it would be wise to stay away from anything depressing(newpaper,news,etc). It's all apart of the withdrawals. Remember your body now has to adjust to not having caffeine! Just hang in there!

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