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

about the caffeine/headaches

I went years doing the same as you and dude... wow now i feel like crap every SINGLE day pretty much. You MUST CUT DOWN YOUR SUGAR INTAKE in a huge way, man. It sucks too but seriously try in morning something not terribly sweet with lot of cinnamon, (sliced apples, oatmeal, ect) and for lunch again nothing too sugary but try a good portion of avocado with lunch any way you are willing to eat it; with salt, in guacamole, in sushi, doesnt matter just eat some and for snacks try the drinks called Glucerna, (made for diabetics) and see if that doesnt make you feel better... You may have given yourself type 2 diabetes. I am not a doctor, just going through what you are and this is the only thing that made me feel any better. Now i need to drop this extra weight drinking soda for years has put on me (like 30-40 lbs probably) and see if that doesnt get rid of the symptoms completely. The only time i can recall drinking ton of soda since then and not feeling all blaaaah was when i went to amusement park and sweat my ass off walked my ass off. Also stress seems to trigger this blahh feeling and you shold take any steps possible to reduce stress or relieve it quickly. Oh also get off the white breads, do anything else wheat, rye, multigrain and also increase fiber intake and hopeully some days wont suck too badly.

Wow, I had stopped coffee

Wow, I had stopped coffee cold turkey several times before and never noticed much. This time, not thinking I needed to taper down, stopped and had no headaches, but soon started having SEVERE muscle pain, much like labor pains, waves of pain from ankles to thighs. Trouble doing my normal run & no ability to stretch the thighs as I normally could during yoga. Thought I might have a serious disease! Was waking up at night in serious pain. Thanks so much for your comments. I am on day 7 and feel better already. Hope I can sleep tonight.

I am on day 7 of no coffee

I am on day 7 of no coffee and I have had severe headaches and SEVERE leg, thigh, and hip pain. I was beginning to think the same thing, that there has got to be something wrong with me. But after reading all of these comments I realize that it is from the caffeine withdrawal. I really hope this pain in my legs and the headaches go away soon because it is unbearable and I really need to get a good nights sleep! I cant wait to kick this awful habit for good without the pain that comes along with it.

Intense pain on withdrawal

I got into a cycle of depression and excessive coffee drinking, which I eventually quit. I guess I was on a heavy dose of 4 or 5 mugs of filter coffee when I quit. I had headache for a couple of days but worse than that, severe joint pain, especially in my legs.

Having said that I did start to feel clearer and fresher, even when I had the pain. But the pain took a good couple of weeks to go completely. Painkillers helped. The first week I allowed myself a small cup in the afternoon each only, and no other. Almost instantly at that time I felt the effect of the caffine relieving the joint pain, which also made me worried about just how powerful an effect it had.

I can see there's some sense in suddenly quitting, when it's so hard. But if you can try a limiting amount for 1 or 2 weeks first (such as one cup at a set time every day and nothing else) it might educe the withdrawal pain a bit.

Back pain & fatigue! Wow, I

Back pain & fatigue!
Wow, I was on the internet searching effects of caffeine withdrawal and your comments hit home. I've just quit cold turkey, on day 4 and the headaches are gone, but the joint pain in my back is strange! Like you, it went away with advil, but sort of scares me about why?? It's probably been 11 years since I've gone completely without, when I was pregnant and nursing. But even then I did have a little. I'm drinking only water this time and never experienced joint pain and fatigue like this.

caffine is a drug

caffine is a drug and it can actualy block the pain reseperters in your brain. I used to drink coffee because i had races in the morning at like 4 AM. I quit now and have been free for 3 weeks. i still am not feeling clear yet and my sleep pattern is all messed up. Right now, i am just a mess and it is going to take some time for my brain to recover. I kinda feel like a meth adict in a way. So, good luck to you all.

Withdraaawal

Well I had the most important exam session last week and had been drinking 2 cups of relatively strong coffee (300-400 mg i guess) Today I only drank a small cup of espresso - cutting it down slowly. IT is evening here and in this very moment I'm feeling quite fatigued and have this weird pain in my back and in my knees. I'm gonna try to stop coffee altogether since my bowels burn and i get heartburn sometimes as well. I also dislike the whole idea of being dependent of some substance.
How long to be at 100% again? I've been drinking 1-2 cups a day for 4 months now with 1 week pauses.

Curious, did you take the CFA

Curious, did you take the CFA exam? I just took it as well on Saturday.

cfa addiction

I took the cfa exam, now I'm on day 4 sans coffee. I had to up my dose to get through studying. I've so far been able to manage the symptoms with lots of water, excercise, and ibuprofen. I was drinking maybe 5 cups per day.

How to help the leg pain

I'm on day 4 (or 6, depending on how you count - I'll explain in a bit) and into my 3rd day of serious leg pain. I mean screaming, can't-focus-on-anything-else, difficult-to-walk pain. How do you alleviate this symptom?!? I have a desk job so I thought maybe the lack of exercise was making it last longer than "average". So last night I walked for 45 minutes - my legs still woke me up at 4:30 this morning and I think they are worse, if anything. I'm drinking water like a fiend. Never been big into over-the-counter medication so I haven't taken aspirin or alleve or anything.

Something has to help. I've even found myself wondering if I need to go back to the bean just to make it stop. The only thing keeping me on the wagon at this point is I don't know if/how fast that would help. I know all about the headache and exactly how much coffee it takes to make that go away but the leg pain... WIMPER.

My waffling on the days is because I chose to quit cold-turkey in the middle of suffering one of the worst stomach bugs of my life (school age kids - gotta love em). Regular coffee intake on Friday (about 24 oz, regular brew, every morning for the last 6 years), vomitting Friday night, didn't get out of bed or have coffee on Saturday (I certainly had a headache that day but bug or withdrawal, who can say?), tried to "normalize" on Sunday but only managed to choke down a few sips of coffee and that is when it finally occured to my illness-ridden brain that this is my opportunity to quit the bean. So I'm on day 6 if you ignore the Sunday sips or day 4 if you count them.

Pluses of this "detox method" is that I definitely feel like I skated through the headache dept - was suffering anyway and since I so rarely can spend a whole day in bed, I feel like I really managed that well. But the leg thing took me totally by surprise and I am not happy! Make it go away!

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