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

Mountain Dew Junkie

I would have a mountain dew every morning when starting work, by late afternoon I would have a mild headache. I did what we all have done, had that period of I am quitting caffiene cold turkey. A few days would go by and I would be back on it. Well this weekend I went on serious caffene overload. On Saturday I had two mountain dews and a five hour energy and on sunday I had half a 5 hour energy and some sips of mountain dew. On Sunday morning i was already feeling like crap, I felt like I was swaying and my head spinning. I went home early, ended up treating a fever and a pounding headache. I stayed in bed from 10 am sunday to noon monday. The worst of the what seems like the never ending headache is over, now it is just 5 steps below pounding which is 1/2 taken care of by ibruprofen. The good news is that I get sick even looking at soda now. I just pray that this headache goes away.

caffeine withdrawl hell

hi everyone. i had been drinking 2-3 litters of diet coke for the past 5 years last september 2010 . i quit cold turk . i had no idea how hard it would be. i got intense anxiety and depression + insonia. now 4 months on the insonia is gone. but i still got mild depression and anxiety. some times i think i have gone crazy. in the first month was the hardest, but ibecause it has been 4 months i fear it is not going to get better. before i quit i was fine and never had this problems before. how long is it going to take to feel normal again? please help thank u. keep on fighting this drug,.

Hi Paulo

I still have insomnia after 6 weeks of being off caffeine. How bad was your insomnia? Did you have to take a prescription sleeping pill? How many hours of sleep did you get? What was your sleep pattern like? My whole sleep cycle is all messed up right now. I use to sleep after midnight till about 6 am, but now I have to sleep a lot earlier in order to fall asleep on my own without the use of a sleeping pill prescribed by my doctor. I have an anxiety disorder called OCD-Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder which makes my mind think too much. That's probably the reason why I can't seem to sleep on my own because OCD causes anxiety as well as from the caffeine withdrawals. I asked my doctor today how long is he going to keep me on the sleeping pill. He said as long as it takes for my body to complete this transition that I am going through with the acute caffeine withdrawals. It's scary having to deal with insomnia and not knowing how long it will last. From reading your post that it took you 4 months for your insomnia to go away, I guess I will have to be patient and take it day by day. The more we try to fight it, the worse it will becomes. My psychologist told me that I have two choices, take the sleeping pill or end up in the hospital from being crazy from sleep deprivation. That was harsh to hear but its reality. Caffeine is something I will never take again. I don't want to go through this ever again!

keep truckin

hey paulo. i quit cold turkey four months ago too, and also continue to have mild anxiety and depression. as with you, mine was much worse the first month or so. after doing research over the past four months, it seems as though our bodies can take 6+ months to return to normal hormonal levels. my advice is to just keep reminding yourself that the withdrawals are causing anxiety and depression and that you're not going crazy. this approach has seemed to help me a lot. unfortunately i didn't find this site until about two weeks ago, or i would have been on it constantly. anyways, my point is that we have to just keep moving forward and remember that the symptoms will eventually be completely gone.

keep us posted!

P.A.W.S.: Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Hey Everyone,

Does P.A.W.S. : Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome apply to caffeine addiction also?

Seattle: coffee capitol

I like to drink a single cup of espresso based coffee a day when working. When I am not working I easily can do without. Unfortunatly I have discovered, like clockwork, that I will get a vicious headache accompanied by nausea, three days after stopping. (I don't seem to have the same issues with tea.) I have found that limiting my intake to two cups a week with at least a day between keeps the headaches at bay. Any more than that and I risk the misery that everyone else talks about on this site. IS this a smart tactic? I don't know. It sounds a little like an addict trying to hold on to his addiction with some kind of justification. If I treat the headaches with a triple dose of Advil when they are in their early stages, I can sometimes avoid them. I have also found that if I do about 45 minutes of hard cardio in the early stages I can get rid of the headaches. Dropping everything for 45 minutes of cardio is not a ready solution for me however.

Trying to get a handle on my symptoms....

Hi Everyone!
This past Sunday was the beginning of my fifth week of being caffeine free. I'd like to say I feel terrific, but that is just not the case. My anxiety levels are so high; my legs feel like rubber when I try to walk, and I am so tired and lethargic. The headache seems to have subsided quite a bit, and that is one good thing.
So yesterday, I decided to do an experiment to see if some of these symptoms would calm down if I had a cup of coffee.......it sounded legitimate to me at the time and being a cold, snowy day, a coffee sounded sooooooo gooood!
WHAT A MISTAKE IT WAS......after my cup of Starbuck's Italian Roast, my anxiety skyrocketed and, although I was really pumped up for the entire day, I felt like I had 5 coffees, not just 1.

Oddly enough, I had the coffee at 10 am and slept like a baby at night.

I will not be doing that again, and will continue to put up with these withdrawal symptoms. I pray the anxiety goes away soon, it is very unnerving and a little scary.
I want to be my old self again.
For some of us who are extremely sensitive to caffeine, I think these symptoms will last for a while yet. This just goes to show me that I shouldn't be drinking this substance anymore.
For those of you who are suffering, hang in there, you're not going through this alone.
Patrice

Caffeine Rejection

Hi Patrice,

I wrote in another post that I accidentally drank half a bottle of vitamin that had caffeine in it. I must have drank only about 25 mgs. I felt sick after I drank it. I wish I had the reverse affect like you did with good sleep when you relapsed. I couldn't sleep at all. My mind raced all night and I had to resort to taking the sleeping pill again which I was off for a week. I hope that this doesn't start the withdrawals all over from the beginning. I will make sure from now on to read the labels of everything I eat or drink to make sure there isn't any caffeine in it. My insomnia has been really bad. I have muscle twitches which makes it hard to fall asleep. I hope things get better soon. I don't know how much more I can take of this.

Kikaida

Hi Patrice

I am the one who wrote "One Month Later." The hardest withdrawal symptom I have is insomnia. I have been taking a sleeping pill to help me sleep but I only take it every other day. I only get about 3-4 hours of sleep per night. Sometimes I wonder which is the lesser of two evils, quitting caffeine or having to deal with weeks of withdrawal symptoms and having to take prescription medications to help relieve the withdrawal symptoms. As far as my digestive system, sometimes I have constipation or diarrhea. My stomach rumbles once in a while which can be annoying. I am trying my best to take things one day at a time but its very hard. I quit the day treatment program I was in because the people in there are dealing with more hardcore drugs and I felt very uncomfortable. I think once I establish a normal sleep pattern again, I will be more happy. I can sympathize with what you are going through. I did have one relapse about 3 weeks ago. I drank a 20 oz of brewed iced tea. After drinking it, it made me feel sick. So, no more to that. Please keep posting updates and keep in touch. Reading your updates has helped me a lot.

Kikaida :)

Thanks for your comments

Hi Kikaida!
I can empathize with you about the insomnia. I've been having sleep issues since I gave up caffeine, which is kind of funny, because you would think without the caffeine the body would sleep. The insomnia and the anxiety go hand in hand with this withdrawal, along with overwhelming fatigue at times.
Then only thing to do it wait it out, I guess.
I'm trying to eat healthy and take extra B vitamins which help the nervous system. I hesitate to take any kind of drug for myself, but I understand if you feel you have to in order to get over this.
One of the reasons I wanted to give up caffeine, is I've been suffering from some health issues and was hoping that eliminating caffeine would help. It took a long time for these health issues to sneak up on me, so I know it will take a while to be healthy again.
However, this step of giving up the caffeine drug is the best we can do for our bodies, so don't become discouraged. I'm in it for the long haul.....hope you stay on it with me!!
Patrice

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