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.


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.



Hi, Mandy, I think your description of your relationship with caffeine and subsequent need to get off it, is absolutely classic. I could identify with everything you said (except the cold turkey - I could never do it) - that is, you absolutely LOVE it - and that whole cafe experience - and then you hate it - but you still want it! Seriously, I think it looks like you've already worked your way through a lot of the issues and are left with those horrible cravings. I wish you well and hope you can be strong enough to ride it out. I know you know this but it does get easier. I did find that replacing the habit helps, I've said it loads but I replaced my cup of heaven/hell with redbush tea (no caffeine)and almond milk. I could never imagine that it could become my comfort drink - but it has and I love it. We adapt to any change if the habit is repeated often enough. Anyway, my advice to anyone is not to fight the urge to drink that cup of tea?coffee etc but to REPLACE it with something that is healthy - and also comforting.

Also, caffeine IS a seriously addictive drug with serious effects - I also felt like a complete crack addict or something because that IS how it affects the brain ( I do think that some people are more sensitive to it than others, depending of length of usage, health etc).
Btw (and just wanting to be helpful), caffeine creates a dopamine surge which is a pleasure seeking chemical but it doesn't actually give you that pleasure, as such, so you endlessly crave something, especially more coffee, or you endlessly buy stuff etc. The brain, over time, becomes chemically unbalanced and you produce far less serotonin and that is why we get depressed etc (I know all of this cos I've been reading about it, endlessly, for three and a half years!). Caffeine also spikes your blood sugar so you want to eat sugar etc.
The bottom line is that you have to get off the caffeine so that your brain chemistry can re-balance so that you can feel 'normal' again. If only it were that simple. Anyway, best of luck and let us know how you're getting on. Jackie

Thanks JSL, yep I feel like

Thanks JSL, yep I feel like i'm a classic caffeine addict lol. So I got to 10 days of no caffeine and caved, cravings got too much and I felt pretty damn depressed so back to the black tea it was. Now I'm having about 2 cups a day. I feel coffee/tea is such a social thing as well and it drives me to get out of the house (currently not working at the moment) so when I'm out and about, which is currently not a lot, I really crave the cafe ritual and really look forward to relaxing away from home with a nice cup of tea and something to eat. I've been reading through a few of the comments on here and see other people are also experiencing lack of motivation to do simple daily things ironing, laundry, etc. I have moderate OCD and doing certain housework just puts me off as it seems overwhelming - I think caffeine contributes to this overwhelming feeling at times. My house is not a mess, however it just sometimes feels like there's too much to do (even if it's really just as simple as doing a few dishes, cooking dinner and doing a load of laundry) it just seems all too much so I opt out and don't do it, or just do the bare minimum that needs doing.
ALSO, since coming off the black tea completely for 10 days and going 'cold turkey' another development has happened, I am craving coffee again - BIG TIME! Like actually dreaming of going to the cafe and getting a coffee - even though it has been 2 years (apart from 2 cups during that time) since I came off coffee, the cravings remind me of the cravings I used to have when I was a daily coffee drinker, so it seems like I could easily slip back into the daily coffee grind again as well, which has baffled me because I thought I was completely over coffee. Somehow I think the mind is craving as much caffeine as possible since going cold turkey. Caffeine is a truly crazy drug.


Hi, Mandy. First, I could never go cold turkey but, if you're having less caffeine at 2 cups a day, you ARE taking it in the right direction. One of the key things is to change the habit. Remember, that you're brain chemistry will adjust to less caffeine and that will make it easier when you feel ready to have even less. I reduced my coffee down to just one in the morning and then had a redbush tea (no caffeine) in the afternoon which did become my comfort drink, overtime. I do still have the odd lapse btw.
Oh, I so identify with what you're saying about the social side of having a drink in a cafe etc. If you've read some of my other posts you might have seen that I have a lot of caring responsibilities etc - and going to a cafe, having a drink and, your key word, relaxing, sometimes seemed that that was the only personal pleasure I had. I used to love books, literature/poetry (I did English Lit. at uni) films, history, art etc but haven't had the brain power or time for those - so the cafe experience became equated with relaxation and feeling good - an escape from the drudgery of the household chores. However, when dopamine is over-produced with caffeine, our brain chemistry changes to keep craving those feel-good chemicals - and then you get the come-down and feel depressed and you can't be bothered to do the housework etc. Classic. The only answer (and I'm speaking to myself, as well) is to reduce and eventually let the brain chemistry adjust to normal again.
When I stopped having caffeine for a couple years (about 10-11 years ago), I can remember waking up feeling good and I had the motivation to keep the house clean etc and I used to love doing my garden - and it felt good to do that (even though I was still very very busy looking after my family). As suggested in Viv's post, you could maybe set small goals with the housework and try to do 1 small job a day or an hour's housework a day - whatever seems possible. When we do 'get up and get on', we sometimes feel a bit better - but it is hard to get going, I know. Well, I apologise for rambling - I do that lol - but just trying to help. Good luck and keep us posted. TC


there are too many mandys on

there are too many mandys on this website, it's confusing


I would argue there are too many anonymouses :)




I've stopped drinking caffeine regularly (drink it less than once a month) for a little over two years. One thing that has become apparent is I don't seem to need very much sleep and have ridiculous amounts of energy at times during the day. For some reason I seem to always wake up around 2 or 3 am. It takes me a long time to get back to sleep. I tried waking up and just starting my day. This seemed to reset my sleep schedule for about a week, but now I'm back to waking up at the same time again. Has anyone else who is off caffeine experienced this?

Yes I also have tried the

Yes I also have tried the sleep hygiene but still wake up at 3am (although in my better patches (or "windows") I sleep through the night with only a brief couple of wakings when I get back to sleep quickly. I don't know if you have read "welcome to the dance", but if not, the author explains that once one is off caffeine, any further dose acts as a "bolus" and will reactivate any symptoms, so perhaps if you tried avoiding caffeine completely, that might help.

Although it is apparently "normal" to wake at 3 am anyway, but I find that when I do, the best thing for me to do is to have a banana and milk smoothie, watch TV for an hour and then go back to bed, usually it takes 3 or 4 hours before I go back to sleep.

I always have a much better day when I don't wake at 3 for a long period, and I am sure you are the same, it is a pain.

Amanda and 60YH

Yes, I always wake up, any time between 2.00 and 4.00 (tbh, for the toilet). I used to be awake for hours and hours, after, stressing about getting back to sleep but have developed a pattern which seems to have trained my brain to go back to sleep fairly quickly (mostly, anyway). I also think that when we think we won't go back to sleep, we won't. Over time, when you DO start to fall asleep OK, you relax and that helps. Here's my routine. I realised that when I used go to bed at the normal time, I had this routine. Have supper. clean my teeth, make new hot water bottle etc. My daughter's CBT therapist advised her, when waking up in the early hours, to open her windows really wide and to throw the bedclothes back to let the room and the bed get really cold. So I do that and make a new hot water bottle which makes you feel all warm and snuggly in your cold room. The therapist actually said the change in temperature in the room activates sleep hormones (or something like that) and that the reasoning behind is based on science.
Anyway, so I started saving my supper for when I woke up and went through that same routine at 2 - 4.00 and so fooled my brain into thinking I was just going to bed! I swear it worked! Maybe not so well on some nights - but I've noticed that when I wake up now, I'm not stressed about it so that helps me to get back off anyway.
I'd say the window opening does work, too, even if it sounds like it won't. Hope this helps.

Caffeine and emotions

Hello and nice to meet you all. Been reading all the comments on here for the last week or so and have found them very helpful as I begin to taper and hopefully kick this crazy addiction for good. 40+ year user here.
I came across this quote from a former caffeine junkie that really hit home with me:

"ALSO – even a cup a day does this strange thing to my brain where it makes me feel
disconnected from my emotions. Like, it’s totally “harder” to connect with happiness and take pleasure in small things. This is definitely a neurological thing, and it isn’t good."

Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on this and if you have had similar experiences?

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