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

So Frustrating....

Well, here's an update on my quest to eliminate caffeine.....I went one day and this morning the headache got so bad I caved and had a cup of coffee. I am very disgusted with myself....
I'll start again tomorrow..... (sigh)

Patrice

caffeine withdrawal

I have been taking headache pills that contain caffeine. It suddenly dawned on me that I may be having continued headaches from the caffeine withdrawal from headache pills! I was addicted to caffeine. It took me a month to wean myself off of coffee. I did it by reducing my caffeine by 1/2 cup of coffee per day then staying at that level for 3 days. I also had decaffeinated coffee ready in case I wanted another cup of coffee that day. I was able to do it that way without much headache.

Coffee Withdrawals

I'm using tea to withdraw from coffee. Tea has enough caffeine in it that I can get off coffee without the headaches and withdrawals. For some reason, I'm not as "addicted" to tea, and I can "taper off" easier than coffee. So I drink a cup of tea when I feel the headache coming and that stops the coffee withdrawals. Then one day I can get off tea when I've tapered off enough.

I've done it before, then gone back to coffee. Hopefully, this will be the last time.

Ron

Lifestyle change

My attempt to give up coffee lasted a day or two, then I had some pastry I usually associate with coffee.... Then I had some junk food I usually associate with a coke.... Then my "new lifestyle" finally became so eroded that I could see no reason to deprive myself of coffee when I'm eating sugar, salt, fats and oils, chemicals, preservatives and additives, etc., so I had a coffee! And another!! And another!!!

Today I'm back at Square One. Today I see the problem as bigger than coffee. It is the sights, sounds and atmosphere of the coffee shop. The smells, tastes and atmosphere associated with coffee. It's the mass media, peer pressure, social norms and lifelong habits I've come to accept as "normal." It's a whole multiple addiction associated with coffee that eases me back a step at a time, until I see no reason not to have a cup! It's the progressive breakdown of all my boundaries by multiple addictions related to coffee; multiple misinformation---and a lack of understanding about myself---that finally means I don't have a chance.

It's like alcohol! AA has a way to stop drinking alcohol. I wonder if that would work on coffee? Today is Day One...again! I'll try The Twelve Step approach to quitting coffee.

Ron

Well said!

Hi Ron!
I agree wholeheartedly with your honest and revealing post. This "coffee thing" is so much bigger than just having a cup. It is a lifestyle!
I'm starting again today, as well.

Good luck to you!
Patrice

Spiritual Approach

Hi Patrice,

Well, I'm starting again today also. I think this thing is emotional as well spiritual and social. In fact, I think that smell and taste and emotions and relationships with people, and peer pressure, and mass media advertising, and thoughts as well as the addiction to caffeine are all tugging at me to "have a drink." Then after the first cup, my addiction tells me to "have another! It won't hurt you!!"

But it does seem to get me started on a spree of some kind. Once I'm Off To The Races again; once I walk into a coffee shop again, I seem to have no more boundaries! I seem to have no more will power!! It seems like I lose control if I take even one sip of coffee! It's almost like alcohol!

Could I be addicted to coffee? Do you think coffee could be having some kind of drug effect on my brain receptors?

This is Day Two for me, again. I'm off coffee, cokes, caffeine energy drinks--but I'm allowing myself to drink tea. That way, I am getting away from all sources of caffeine--especially coffee--and I'm not suffering the caffeine withdrawals. In a week or a month or so--but not today--I'll perhaps taper off tea. Then the problem will be to entirely abstain from all sources of caffeine--because one little taste seems to "get me started again"! I think the only way I can stop this addiction is to draw the line with the first drink...like the alkies do!

How are you doing today?

Ron

Maybe if I write it out for the world to see, I can do it!

I've lost track of the number of times I've attempted to give up coffee, and all caffeine containing foods and beverages. The withdrawal symptoms always lead me back to my morning cup after only a few days.
I want to quite because it infuriates me that I have become a slave to a drink.......and because I think some health issues I'm having are directly related to caffeine, and all the other poisons in that cup of black nectar. Don't get me wrong, I love the taste of coffee and the feeling I get from it.....well I used to.....now it just makes me feel sick!
Tomorrow I am starting my caffeine free life!
I'm making this announcement on this public site so it will hopefully compel me to stick with it. I will be regularly writing about my ordeal on this site, if that's okay to do.
Seeing it in writing for others to see, will make it more real for me, and hopefully help others who are battling this addiction as well. Knowing that I have to write about it in public might help me stay on course.

Thank you to all others in the past who have written about their experiences.

Wish me luck!
Patrice

Giving Up Coffee

Hi Patrice, how is it going? I am on day 8 of giving up coffee and still having splitting headaches but they are getting lighter and lighter. Some days if I can't bear it anymore I take Excedrin which has caffeine and that does the trick. I am still committed though. I am also trying to lose weight and I've read that getting caffeine out of your life helps with that. I'll let you know, this is all new to me.

Anyway, wishing you luck! Keep going.
Denise

Quitting Coffee

Good luck, Patrice. I sympathize with your dilemma. I've been there many times myself. In fact, I'm starting again today. Seems like I've quit coffee more times than I've quit alcohol! In fact, I've got 3 1/2 years of sobriety, and 2 hours of abstinence from coffee!

I now admit that self-will doesn't work. My problem may be that I've been trying to use self-will, self-discipline, self-control, will-power, etc. Just for today I'm going to try giving up; admitting complete defeat; turning it over to God...like I quit alcohol. I'll let you know if it works for me.

How have you been doing since your last post?

Ron

Quitting Coffee

Hi Patrice,

I quit alcohol 3 1/2 years ago, but I can't seem to quit coffee!! Actually, let me re-phrase that: I quit coffee--again--today! Actually, I'm allowing myself to have all the tea I want so I don't get caffeine withdrawals.

I sympathize with your struggle. How are you doing it? Self-will?

In AA they convinced me that self-will does not work. Today I'm trying the "spiritual approach"! The spiritual approach seems to center around helping and being helped by others.

Anyway. I'm looking for a way to do this. I've been off coffee since I woke up today...over an hour ago! We'll see how long it lasts this time! Best of luck to you as well.

Ron

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