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

Energy Drinks

Sounds like me before I got diagnosed with Narcolepsy, I have been addicted to energy drinks and caffeine since high school... increasing amounts to the point that I had hit 18 servings plus (instant coffee in smoothies) dumb dumb dumb, I stopped counting at that point.

One of the things that I found is that energy drinks also have the benefit of B-vitamins and other amino acids and I noticed that when I dropped the energy drinks I had a worse withdrawal period with that in it then just caffeine. Vitamin B-3 in the form of Niacinamide can build up in the system and mimic manic depression. (hypersomnia is a symptom of it)

My reccomendation is find a B vitamin supplement... with a reasonable amount of b-vitamins (use a low amount of regular niacin so you don't get itchy and flushed) and get some complex carbs and protein for each meal.

Five Days with no caffeine

Okay, so that title is a little bit of a lie.

I decided to quit the addiction I had to caffeine last week because I'm basically just sick of "needing" it. I don't need it, and yet I was clearly addicted. I say the tittle was a lie because I didn't quit cold turkey, and instead weaned myself off of it by having one cup a day for the first two days.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a "coffee drinker". Two small cups of coffee, or less, is normal for me. I enjoy coffee, but it's just not my thing. I'm a soda addict. Specifically Diet Coke (not for any dietary reason, I just like the taste more than regular), but during the peak of my addiction (a few years ago as a sophomore in college), I would polish off a four pack of energy drinks per day. I've since eliminated the energy drinks, but I would still average about one 2 liter of Diet Coke per day, plus the cup of coffee or two.

So, like I said, last week I decided I had enough. I don't like that caffeine controlled me. I had to have it, even if I knew I didn't want it. Seriously. Like meth, heroine, or any other drug, I would sit there drinking a glass of soda thinking about how I didn't really even want it that much. Something that controls you so strongly cannot possibly be good. I worried about future stomach problems and kidney problems. My mother has digestive problems that I'm sure that, while maybe not entirely caused by regular caffeine (coffee & soda) abuse, would at least be helped if she stopped. I don't want to end up, like her, taking several pills a day when I'm in my 50's to help alleviate digestive problems (acid reflux specifically).

I have nothing against caffeine generally. I still fully intend to enjoy the occasional glass of soda, coffee, or piece of dark chocolate. It's the "need it everyday" part that I'm trying to get past. I'm a little shocked at reading some of the other posts. Maybe I wasn't consuming as much as some of the other posters, or maybe it's because I didn't try to go cold turkey, but really after the first two days I didn't find it hard at all. Today, and the past two days, I haven't had any caffeine at all, and I feel a little fatigued (not even really that much) but that's about all. No mysterious pains, no stomach problems, and what's really surprising to me, no cravings.

I am cheating a little. I knew that I would never be able to get off it if I just up and quit soda and coffee for a while, so I bought caffeine free soda and decaffeinated coffee. But what is still surprising to me, is that even though I haven't restricted how much caffeine soda or coffee I've been drinking, I still don't want it as much as before. Don't get me wrong. The first two days SUCKED! The second day was the worst. I think I drank more soda than normal, subconsciously trying to get rid of the withdraw symptoms. I was dizzy, nauseous, my head hurt so bad I felt like I wanted to drill a hole in it to let out whatever pressure was trapped inside, and it felt like my heart was racing, but I could have been imagining that. By the third day it was almost all gone, so I cut out caffeine completely after that. That brings me to today. I drank one glass of soda today (caffeine free), and honestly didn't feel like I wanted any more. I actually crave water more, which is good because before, in between my many many glasses of soda per day, I had no room left for plain old water. I am a little tired, but not too bad, however the past few nights I've slept like a baby (normally I wake up several times a night).

Like I said, I'm a little surprised how relatively easy it has been so far. After the first two days, it was all down hill. So, it was kind of shocking to read that some people are still having cravings months after giving it up. I'm wondering if these cravings might be psychosomatic since it seems like those who are not allowing themselves any caffeine at all, ever, seem to be having the worst time. Maybe it's kind of like dieting advice? If you eliminate a food group entirely, it makes you want it so much more, and it's best to take everything in moderation. Whatever. I do wish more research would be done to study the long term affects of caffeine on humans, because I do think that it's a much more potent drug than most people might think it is. I love ice cream too, but I don't get a migraine when I don't have it for a while, you know.

I know how you feel!

I got used to drinking caffeine so regularly that when I didn't have it for a day, I vomited from such a terrible headache all over my dorm bathroom and finally made it to the toilet. It was so gross and painful. I had to take loads of advil. I've only drank a cup a day since, and I still feel like shit. UGH!

Day 50

Kicking caffiene has been quite a journey!! This is day 50 for me. I still have some withdrawal symptoms(lightheadedness, some digestive problems, some fatigue, etc.) but overall I feel great. This site has been such a great help for me. The first month was horrible!! There were points in this process where I thought I was going crazy and at one point I thought I was dying. But reading everyone elses experiences made me feel like I wasn't alone. Patience is defintely needed to get through. Hang in there guys it gets better.

Headaches, brain fog and short term memory loss

Hi,

I am posting this because I am hoping I will find other caffine abusers have suffered the same withdrawal symptoms when trying to give it up.

I am a 24yr oldI just finished a year of studying an extremely stressful masters course and drinking 2/3 large, strong, americanos a day. I fell into the habit of having them inbetween lectures and after lunch.

10 days ago I decided to quit because I have developed an "extremely tense back" and neck problems.

Since stopping I feel tired all the time, from the moment I wake up all day long. I have trouble focusing both visually and mentally.
I forget things and feel stupid and am unable to remember passages from books as I read them, names of people I meet, plans I have made.

I am hoping that these problems are encountered by others? if not I should probably see a doctor as it may be something more serious and the coffee withdrawal has just illuminated the issue?

Caffine is clearly a much stronger and influential drug than the food standards and safety authority announce. It definately does not recieve adequate health warnings for its long term use.

Please advise

Me too!!!

I have had the same symtoms, lack of focus, short term memory and it feels like I dropped 50 IQ points since giving up caffine about five days ago. The headaches were anoying but I got through them; now I'm just moody, I eat to much, and seem to walk around with my head in a cloud. I hope this weres off soon other wise I'm gonna need to grab a tripple latte or a CAT scan.

Caffeine Withdrawal & Memory Loss

I would like to respond to your post by saying that I am experiencing all of the symptoms to which you are referring. I too forget things and am unable to remember passages from books as I read them, names of people I meet, etc.

My doctor indicated that withdrawal can take several months. I was drinking at least 2 pots per day--more than 12 cups. I take medication that makes me feel tired, so the coffee was my source of energy. Instead of slowly decreasing the number of cups per day, I decreased my intake to 3 – 4 cups. I am having an awful time with short-term memory and cognition issues.

Brain fog

luke,

The brain fog will gradually get better but it doesn't happen overnight. I'm in day 50 give or take a little, and it finally feels like most of the time, my mind is clear. However, there are still significant periods of fog or hazyness, when I know my thought process is not 100%. Also, I'm still tired especially during those parts of the day when I would have, in the past, reached for a 'boost' from a soda pop, or chocolate, or tea. I've taken naps on some days, and found last week I slept for about 3 hours starting about 4PM in the afternoon. I figure this is part of the process, and there is nothing woring with a little nap time, compared the the caffeine buzz and the problems it brings.

Be strong and persistent, and know that you're going in the right direction.

thank you so much for the

thank you so much for the info what a relief...Its good to go this rout and know that others r going through this and I'm not alone in this, again thanks.

Your post sure hits close to

Your post sure hits close to home with me, Luke. I went through an MBA program, while working as a CPA and studying for the CPA exam. And how did I get the energy to do all of this? Easy, I abused caffeine to give me the "energy" to make it all work. Trust me when I say this, you do not need the caffeine to get through your life. It will help you at first, and then it will turn on you, and you will need to drink copious amounts of it to feel normal. But by that time, you won't even know what the hell normal is.

And no, I don't believe you need to see a doctor. I know you probably feel like a moron with your horrible short-term memory, but it is definitely a part of caffeine withdrawal and not a medical problem. From day one of quitting caffeine, I saw a huge drop off in short-term memory. However, it is now day 23 and I'm getting sharper again, getting better each day. I feel better all the time and am satisfied know that I made the right choice.

Keep it up, Luke! I and the rest of the people on this site are pulling for you to kick your caffeine habit. If you have any questions, feel free to keep asking them. Its better to kick this nasty drug while we are still young.

Dave

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