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.


Pain in hamstrings from caffeine withdrawal

Hi, I have quit caffeine twice in my life. Once recently,  and once ten years ago. The pain in my  legs was so bad that I could not sleep, stand or sit. I had to workout my legs about ten times daily for them to settle down and be pain free. This is beacuse when you drink caffeine, you stimulate the central nervous system radically. When you overstimulate it way too offten (I drank about 1-2 pots of coffee myself), and then you stop it, you get Siatica  or "pinched nerve  syndrome". Your muscles have become so taught from overstimulation that they remain tight until the offending substance is out of your system. It can last from 4- 14 days and can be accompanied by "Diabetic" symptoms, tingling in legs and feet, flushing in feet, extreme weakness and unstable gait while walking. This will also pass in time- rebuild your bodies stores of minerals and vitamins during the detox and drink tons of water. It's been a month for me now and I hope to be off for good. 

Thank you Dave MM

Thank you for the information, it gives me hope I thought the discomfort in my legs could be associated to something else, my doctor said Restless Leg Syndrome or Multiple Sclerosis and frightened me more made the anxiety worse. My doctor prescribed Magnesium to help with the leg discomfort apparently caffeine inhibits the absorbtion or Magnesium or something like that. The afternoon after my first post I took the first dose of Magnesium and like a miracle my leg discomfort almos disapeared I was able to sleep that Friday night, last night it wasn't as good but I'm up and running I'm not going to let this feeling keeping me from doing what I need to do and I'm not going back to drinking coffe again.
Melatonin seemed to help me sleep the first night I took it was great the second night not so good.
I thank you all for the comments and experiences you are sharing there words of encouraging and consolation for me.


It's been 6-1/2 weeks since I quit caffeine cold turkey. I know for sure that I will never drink caffeine ever again. Three years ago when I first attempted to quit caffeine the only withdrawal symptoms I had to deal with were mild headaches, constipation, acid reflux and insomnia. This year, my second and last attempt to quit caffeine, the withdrawal symptoms were tension headaches, muscle twitching, constipation, acid reflux, panic attacks, agaraphobia, night sweats, hot and cold feelings, numbness and tinglings all over, extreme anxiety, and most all insomnia which was the worst I ever had to deal with. I actually became afraid to sleep because of all the withdrawal symptoms I had to deal with. The good news is that my insomnia is getting better. I am not completely out of the woods yet, but things are looking up. The one advice I can give to those who are extreme caffeine addicts like myself is to seek professional help. I am lucky. I found a very understanding and patient doctor, psychologist, substance abuse counselor and support system (friends) to help me cope with. I tell you I must have drove my doctor up the walls. But I have to say that the man above sure works in mysterious ways. Have faith in yourself and if a higher power works you then use it. I will keep you updated on how things goes whether its good or bad but I am hoping things are going to keep getting better from here on.


Congratulations, Kikaida!

Congratulations, Kikaida! Thank you for updating everyone - I'm glad to hear that things are looking up for you. It's amazing that it takes a complete withdrawal and living through the awful effects to realize exactly how bad caffeine is and the damage it does to a human body. Today is Day 17 for me and I would say that some of the most awful withdrawal symptoms for me were not insomnia, but nightmares! Really bad, scary dreams. But like you, I know that this time I'm really, truly through with the drug. Best wishes - Denise.

Re: Congratulations, Kikaida!

Thanks Denise for your posting. The only thing that I do have to deal with yet is insomnia which is getting better by the day and digestive problems like irregular bowels and a little bit of acid reflux. But other than that, things are improving. I use to panic when I had the withdrawal symptoms but I've learned that getting anxious and stressed out about it will make matters worse. Trying to relax and take it one day at a time is the best we can do. Hang in there Denise!


I was drinking 3 cups of

I was drinking 3 cups of seriously strong coffee everey day and quit cold turkey. Why I quit the week that school started, IDK?! But I have serious flu symptoms, it's exhausting just to walk to class. I have to study so I went ahead and had a green tea to substitute and although it didn't give the jolt coffee did, it made it bearable to do my work. When I looked online it has about 1/3 the amount of caffeine depending on which one you get and if you have important things to do would be a good alternative for a short time to wean off the coffee and caffeine. I didn't put sugar in mine and it is extremely bitter but lot's of good antioxidants too!

I'm in the same boat as you.

I'm in the same boat as you. I've been drinking a small cup of green tea to help me study. I agree that it is a good substitute for trying to slowly wean off of caffeine. Best of luck.

the never ending headache

hey guys i just want to thank everyone for sharing what they are going through..I was drinking atleast 3 if not more cups of coffee a day and decided to give it up for the new year. I went cold turkey and im paying the price..my head has been rocking for 2 weeks now along with neck pains and a little nausea..im kinda torn as to what i should do..should i keep drinking coffee to get my body back to where it was and try to stop slowly? or should i just stop all together and deal with the pain? of i forgot to mention anxiety! thats so much fun...feed back would be great. thank you again.


hang in there!


I know it's rough man. I quit cold turkey on September 15 after drinking 10-12 cups per day. My withdrawals were mainly intense anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate, and fatigue. It all slowly gets better. Although they're not all completely gone, they're 10 times better than they were when they first came on. I'd venture to guess that your withdrawals (with 3 cups per day compared to my 10) will persist for a much shorter time. You've already made it two weeks. See how much better you feel in another 2 weeks. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Anxiety Waves

Glad I came across this website. I've been drinking 2 cups of Joe daily for at least a decade. Last weekend, i experienced strong slow heartbeats, as low as 44 bpm. They were the kind of beats that you could feel in your chest, causing me to cough with every thump. In response, I stopped drinking coffee. Tried green tea for 2 days, then a Starbucks decaf on Friday. On Saturday evening, i began to feel weirdly ill - waves of anxiety, nausea, nervousness. After several hours of this, I admitted myself to the ER at 2:00 a.m. The EKG, blood and urine tests were normal. The ER doc said it could be stress, although I'm not experiencing any major challenging situations. On Sunday and Monday (yesterday) the headaches and tiredness came ~ flu symptoms without the body ache and fever. Normally, I'd drink coffee to address those symptoms - which got me thinking it was the lack of caffeine in my system that was making me feel crappy. The more I research, the more I believe that this is the cause for my unexplained anxiety waves. I'm going to stick this out.

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