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

Kicking Caffeine is Hell!!

I'm a 23 year old female. I have LOVED Mt. Dew and sweet tea since I was old enough to drink it. I never realized how much the caffeine affected my life. When I was 17 I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). My doctors told me to stop drinking all caffeine and have no chocolate. I quit caffeine cold turkey-no problem. Eventually, I started drinking sweet tea again because I realized it didn't hurt my stomach like coffee or sodas did.
Now I'm trying to get healthy. I joined a gym and have been working out regularly. I have also been adjusting my diet. The next thing I'm trying to eliminate is caffeine. In the past month or two I have tried multiple times to quit caffeine but I always give up because by noon or earlier, I have a horrible headache. I have a job where I stare at a computer all day long and this extreme headache just makes it absolutely horrific.
However, today is my second day without caffeine. I have an awful headache and I can't even focus on my work (hence why I am browsing the Internet). I get migraines and have had hangovers but this headache is so much more than either of those. I really don't know how I will manage to get through this weekend or next week at work... Hopefully I can continue drinking the water and working out. Maybe that will help the symptoms... :(

You can do it,

I was wondering how you did on kicking the caffeine. It is hard with the terrible headaches but they really do only last 3-5 days at the most. I have the worst affects of caffeine withdrawal. One tip I'll give you is that once you've kicked it, don't have anything with caffeine again because if you are truly a caffeine addict, all it takes is once glass of mountain dew or a cup of coffee to start it all over again! Believe me I know, I'm back in a bad phase of drinking it again but I think you've motivated me to quit again and stay with it!!!
Thanks!
(sad that it sounds like an alcoholic talking but its very similiar in what it does to you!)

find another way to heal the

find another way to heal the IBS. just have a cup
of coffee the heck with it. you only live once.

Maybe the coffee is causing

Maybe the coffee is causing the IBS! Not worth it. I suffered through overwhelming side effects due to coffee/caffeine addiction. I have been through the withdrawal several times. The improvement in my health is dramatic (each time). Caffeine addiction affects all 24 hours of every day. NO cup of coffee tastes as good as being healthy feels.

dumb

dumb

caffine is a drug and it can

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.

Mark C is playing black jack

For the last several years, I

For the last several years, I would wake up every morning with a nasty headache. I had no idea what was causing it, but I knew I needed to do something about it eventually. I put off going to the doctor, because they'd just prescribe pain meds. On a whim, I decided to quit drinking my usual 2 cups of coffee each morning (this was around May 15, 2010), and to abstain from drinking anything but water. The withdrawal was unbelievably horrible! However, the amazing thing was my morning headaches completely went away after about day 3 of drinking nothing but water. Clearly, what was happening is my body was craving those 2 cups of coffee each morning while I was asleep, and the withdrawal headaches were waking me up. It's now been about a month, and I've been completely headache free (not just in the mornings, but throughout the day) for that entire time. I've also noticed tons of other beneficial changes from drinking nothing but water (losing weight, don't have to use the restroom very often at all). I'd be willing to bet at least half of the medical/health problems in America could be solved, if everyone stopped drinking "substances".

worst headache of my life

So I first must say, this site and these comments have been super helpful, and of immense aid to me in my effort to deal with my caffeine problems...I am not a major coffee drinker, but I do partake of maybe one or two cups of international instant coffee french vanilla a day, sometimes up to 2 or 3, but some days I don't drink any, but I do however drink around 10 cans of soda a day, or maybe a 2 liter depending on what deals I find at the supermarket...well I was unable to make it to the grocery store and instead of drinking my usual mountain dew or coke, I found myself drinking only caffeine free sodas completely on accident, and by the end of the day, I had the worst headache I've ever had in my life, and that's saying alot as I suffer from migraines and sinus headaches and this put all of that noise to shame...it was bad. I couldn't see, it would spread all over my skull, in waves, it throbbed, it burned, I thought honestly I was dying....I was clueless as to what was the cause of this until it hit me I wasn't taking in my normal amount of caffeine, which after this little exercise calculated to be around 800mg....Jesus that's alot...anyways once I realized it was some sort of withdrawal I quickly made a cup of coffee and tried to choke it down, I got through about 3/4s of a cup, and then I threw-up...I hadn't felt nauseous at all, it came on instantly....then I took 3 Excedrin migraines which each contain 65mg of caffeine, that fixed it, but I can tell you I am resolved to kick caffeine...but there's no way I'll be able to do it if the headaches are that bad....no person should ever have to feel that kind of pain....so I guess I'll try to ween myself off, bummer...

also to those thinking of quitting, don't do it cold turkey....just trust me don't....even if your headache isn't half as and as mine you'll never make it ...good luck and thank you for hosting this site...

-B

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.

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