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

Caffiene withdrawal

hi there, sorry to single you out, but i have to ask you this becausae you may be able to help me., but first let me explain.

i'm 17 now- and like you, i was addicted to caffiene, drinking many cans of soda a day, and decided to stop roughly six months ago.
anyway, i began feeling long-term effects, for last 5 months;
anxiety, irritable, unable to concentrate, palpitations (most likely anxiety) depressed (although i am a teenager) mood swings, body aches, mostly in legs and upper arms, waking up in middle of night with pounding heart, and the list goes on.

now, i began drinking coffee for the first time and suddenly symptoms decrease draumatically.

anyway, the question was: did you feel any of these things?

the reason i ask is because this could either be severe caffiene withdrawal OR it's all anxiety and the coffee- high won't last

anyway you are under NO obligation to answer this, although if you could at least let me know if you can answer or not i would be forever in debt to you, as this is a very scary time in my life.

Hi Felix

Hi Felix - I'm not sure if you are referring to me in your post, but please know that ALL of the crap you are feeling can be related to caffeine withdrawal. You are so young! Try to get off of the sodas - not only is the caffeine bad, but the soda is loaded with sugar! Are you drinking enough water? Best of luck to you! Hang in there.

Hi ck - I hope you are

Hi ck - I hope you are feeling better and able to stick to your resolution. I noted that you have Celiac's Disease, which is very rough to deal with. Have you noticed an improvement without the caffeine? I know that Celiac's Disease (leaky gut) can cause many health problems and is, in fact, something that may be part of my own nightmare - a suspected (not diagnosed yet) case of MS. I don't have all the symptoms normally associated with MS, but do have balance and walking issues. Not to get into a long horror story - I just wanted to say that eliminating caffeine is definitely a smart thing to do. Good luck to you.

Caffeine? or Aspartame

I didn't read every single one of the comments, but of the many I did read, it seemed that most spoke of giving up Coke or Pepsi. Many also spoke of giving up caffeinated coffee, some replacing with water or other beverage.
I wondered, however, how many left off the word "diet" in describing what they drank, and how many, when they ceased coffee altogether, had been using Equal or similar aspartame sweetners and as a by-product was giving up aspartame as well.
There's no argument that caffeine is an addictive drug, but here's my point: 15 years ago after reading quite a bit about aspartame, I gave up diet sodas (I've since been drinking nothing but water as my cold beverage) and I stopped using Equal to sweeten my coffee.
Within about a week or so of going cold turkey I was in pain. My joints hurt and my doctor was convinced it was Rheumatism, although at 55, I never had signs of it before. I also had severe anxiety which the doc attributed to worry about the pain source. The anxiety subsided within a few weeks, but the pain stayed with me for nearly a year. Nothing in any blood tests indicated any rheumatic causes.
Since I never stopped the caffeine, it seemed clear to me that the problem was possibly related to the aspartame.

Aspertame

I have recently given up caffeine and aspartame (as a prelude to going on a much-needed diet, as I have suspected artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and other such substances had been playing havoc on my appetite forever). I have had a similar problem with joint pain, specifically in my knee, which used to bother me a bit when I was running regularly in college (and I haven't been jogging in years), but only minorly since. I woke up yesterday and was in significant pain, which is now fading, but I think that was the second or third day that I hadn't had as much as a stick of artificially sweetened gum. So, I could see that aspartame might play a role.

In my case, I also quadrupled my consumption of vegetables and vegetable juices recently, and I'm told that can contribute to joint pain. So, I'm avoiding my low sodium V8s this week. Sigh.

But I suspect aspartame withdrawal is real, and I'm almost certain that (in my case) it actually enhanced my appetite. As it is, I'm happy to be getting off both aspartame and caffeine, finally, after 40 years.

I stopped to think about it, and the last time I had tried to quit caffeine was when I was in college, 20 years ago. So for the last 20 years, I probably haven't gone more than a day without ingesting some form of caffeine. Now, I've gone will over a week, and I think the worst of the withdrawal is behind me.

I'm glad to be getting this particular monkey of my back.

And, boy, that captcha is terrible. Got it first try, though.

Can anyone relate to this?

Hi everyone

Wondered if anyone out there has had similar experience to me?
I have been a 'tea monster' all my life virtually, I would drink tea on the hour, every hour. The odd coffee, lots of chocolate and coke. I soon worked out that if I stopped eating/drinking this way it made me ill (headaches mainly).

Anyhow, a few months ago, hubby and I decided to do a detox. Big mistake! by 8 pm that day my head burned and I threw up. I knew I needed a cup of tea to make me feel better and it did!

At this point I knew I had to get myself off the caffeine... so I've gradually cut down and now only consume decaffinated drinks.

This is my dilemma.. I'd been having anxiety problems/panic attacks for a couple of years now; but they were kind of under control. Over the Christmas period I relaxed my eating habits back to my old ways. I soon noticed I was getting a lot of palpitations...so I got myself off the caffeine again. Second night into this I woke up in the middle of the night ... palpitations and a head rush kind of feeling that kept coming over me in waves... then major panic... hot flashes sweeping my body and even my feet were hot/tingling. Hubby helped me to calm down and could see it was only panic. I've felt jittery since but I now feel a bit better/clearly.

Has anybody experinced anything similar??

Many Thanks

R x

I can relate

I can relate to all of your symptoms. By the next day if I don't have my coffee I get the usual severe headache that will only go away with a little bit of caffeine. By day two I have the headache, irritability, I can't focus, my brain just feels like it is turned off, sometimes thinking of the right words to say is difficult because my brain is so clouded, but recently I have gotten the hot flashes too. I thought I was getting sick or didn't have enough water to drink but I am convinced now that it is the lack of caffeine. I get really hot then I feel like I am going to pass out but I never do. The heat is all over my body and my face gets red. My withdrawl usually lasts over a week. Drink lots of water and try not to do too much that week. If you have to drink a soda or something with a little caffeine in it and it will help a little. Thats the only advice I can give. Good luck.

palpitations

Yes, I have. The thing that helped me was Magnesium. Palpitations and panic attacks seem to be linked to low magnesium. I used magnesium lotion which increases the intercellular levels of magnesium much faster. Ialso took magnesium citrate supplements, but now I just use the magnesium oil . I'm not sure what the connection to caffeine is, but when I was having these problems, if I drank coffee my symptoms were worse. So I had to stop drinking coffee for a while. ( Should have stayed off it) .

Hope this helps!

I have. I also have anxiety

I have. I also have anxiety issues. Nothing serious and mostly controlled but I've been "on edge" since fasting diet coke 3 days ago. By doing that I haven't really had much caffeine cause I've been drinking water. I'm unable to sleep and my anxiety has hightened some. What I notice is having a little caffeine helps. Usually I drink mostly Caffeine Free Diet Coke and mix a little regular in to. Also use the coping skills you know to ease your anxiety. It will all pass in a few days. Just be consistant one way or another so your anxiety knows how to respond.

I've enjoyed reading

I've enjoyed reading everyone's stories and thought I would add my own. I gave up caffeine as my New Year's resolution. I decided to give it up because I felt like a hypocrite telling my son to not eat chocolate and sodas. Usually I drink a 16 oz coffee once I arrive at work and a Diet Pepsi at about 2 pm. Not a ton, but enough to disturb my sleep pattern. On Day 1, I fell asleep early but otherwise felt OK. On Day 2, I started to feel a little grouchy. Interestingly, I had difficulty speaking enthusiastically at a dinner party that night, as if I couldn't be bothered! Today is Day 3 and I had a horrible sleep due to muscle aches in my hip and knee, both of which hurt a little from running. It seems I'm looking to do things that will improve my mood, like surfing the internet on a Sunday morning (quite unlike me!).

Good luck everyone!

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