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.



I've tried to reply several times but the site keeps blocking me. Don't know if this will be block, as well. Jackie

I'm too exhausted to write

I'm too exhausted to write again (lost it all) and I'm on holiday but will just say, I'd try to taper as your brain WILL adjust to less caffeine over time and you won't feel as bad. What have you got to lose???? This was a very brave and honest piece of writing - it really moved me and I identified with everything you wrote. Don't lose any more of your life Rob, just TRY and keep trying. I feel so frustrated that my post got blocked as I'd wanted to support you. Anyway, only you can do it BUT it can be done. All the best Jackie

Hello Shane, (and Jackie

Hello Shane, (and Jackie andRob), I am sorry to hear of your struggle Shane, although it is a great relief to me that I am not the only one going through this who is taking far longer than normal, and don't get me started on doctors either. I have been off (and i had to taper off over 3 or 4 months), for 2 years and 5 months, and I still have fatigue, back ache, muscle weakness, anxiety, gastric issues, palpitations, and a few other symptoms which I can't remember at the moment. Have you read "welcome to the dance" by ruth Whalen yet? Thank you so much for posting, I had given up on ever hearing of anyone else in a similar position to me, and I felt so isolated.

Jackie I am glad to hear that you are finally off the toxic drug caffeine, and Rob, I agree with Jackie, you really have to want to be off it, then there is no question of going back on. And maybe you don't really need to come off it, there must be some reason why you don't ever manage it. If you do, then you will get off it when you are good and ready, in the meantime, why beat yourself up about it?


Sorry to hear you're still struggling - but I do hope it's still gradually improving. Thanks for your good wishes - it's been a long struggle to get off but I know I've beaten it. The key thing is changing the habits - and it's beginning to really work. I'm not waking up, automatically wanting coffee - I'm wanting my breakfast and redbush tea! In the end, it took just over a month to change to habit - but I do have to be vigilant for those temptation times (and my stress) and just ride through. The more you ride through, though, the easier it gets.
I also think that turning my attention to other things - not thinking about it all the time - helped me. Well, best of luck to you and everyone - and, Rob, let us know how you're doing. Shane, I did reply to you, as well, and you have my support! One last thing - if I can finally do it - anyone can! All the best - Jackie

I give up too

Well what a day of caffeine madness I had yesterday. My head ran away with me and I ended up having a useless day at work and then splitting up with my girlfriend. I’m hoping my love life can be salvaged, but the silver lining is that I think (maybe, at long last…) I’ve realised that caffeine and are completely incompatible. While others seem to drink it with impunity, for me it’s a toxic drug. It makes me crazy and feel physically awful; I’m sick of being a slave to a dirty brown liquid. So as of today I’ve just stopped it – no coffee, tea, coke or chocolate.

As Jackie says, I’ve withdrawn from the battle; I’ve been in the ring day after day for years and I’m fed up with it, I don’t want to do it anymore. I can feel the withdrawal starting, but I really don’t care what happens. If I have to spend the next couple of days with my head on my desk whimpering and groaning then so be it. I know life is better without it, so that’s what how I’m going to live from now on.


I haven't had a chance to read that book but it sounds like I should, thanks for the heads up on the book. Everybody thinks I'm crazy that all this health started once I quit caffeine, which doesn't help any while I suffer through it. I think the whole thing is crazy myself but never the less it's the truth. Thanks for responding to my post as it has been many of your posts that have helped me keep a little sanity through all of this. It definitely helps to know that your not the only one suffering through it. The doctors have given up on me and I them.

Hi Shane and Jackie, the book

Hi Shane and Jackie,

the book is full of interesting research but it's a bit of a muddle to read, worth it for the info though.
I am remembering some of the other symptoms that I still have (the feeling of being off balance when walking that you mention has stopped), but I am still getting severe muscle cramps, headaches now and then, bad mood now and then, insomnia alternating with better sleep, aching hips, eye problems, vision problems, there are more but I can't think of them at the moment.

Things are gradually (so gradually) improving, but I only have had the occasional "good day", I had one about 2 months ago, it was so wonderful, I slept well and woke up feeling so incredibly well, no pain anywhere , I could walk upright without my bent back which makes me look about 100, and for the entire day i was full of energy, outgoing and happy, I thought it would last but unfortunately back to "normal" the next day.

I am assuming that is what it will be like when this process is over, and I CANNOT WAIT.
have you experienced any good days or longer yet?
Believe me Jackie, once you have experienced one of these "good days" you will NEVER want caffeine again.

Keep on keeping on ...

PS I have found meditating 3 times a day to be very helpful indeed

Long time reader- first post

Hello all! I've been visiting here about a year and a half. This site and the good people who have shared their stories here have helped me keep my sanity over the last almost two years since I've stopped caffeine . Since stopping I've had the most severe and bizzare symptoms. It is still hard to believe that just stopping something as "harmless" as caffeine has led to all of this suffering. But, I quit cold turkey twice. The first time after about three months I couldn't take it anymore so I started back, but because the gastro issues got so bad again ( which is the main reason I stopped to begin with) I stopped cold turkey again. The withdrawal symptoms were even more severe the second time! Now it has been almost two years and though better I still am far from a 100%. I have had problems after quitting caffeine that I NEVER had before I stopped! Some but not all would include: panic attacks, dizziness, tinnitus, eye problems, feeling as if a tight band is wrapped around my head, agoraphobia/social anxiety, feel unsteady when walking like I'm floating, flashes out the corner of my eyes where I think I see a spider, hip and back tightness and pain, arms and legs going numb, catastrophic thinking, etc... One of the most infuriating and frustrating things is that the doctors do not listen! They may say that I was self-medicating with caffeine but they don't answer what I was medicating. Basically they all say there is no way quitting caffeine would cause all the symptoms that I have had and especially for as long as I've had them, even though NONE of them started until I stopped. One doctor said that she didn't know what was wrong but maybe I should just start drinking coffee again or take an SSRI. Now, if one doesn't know what's wrong why prescribe a med?! Sounds like throwing darts in the dark to me. Anyway, thanks for listening to my ramblings. :)


Hey, Shane, that's great news that you've managed to get off 'I'm going to eat your brain' caffeine! It takes a lot of effort and struggling to achieve, as the effects, for some people, can be absolutely terrible, as you found out. I, too, experienced many of the symptoms you've described (and more) and it really does feel like hell when you're in it, doesn't it? I, too, had terrible anxiety and fear - and that tendency towards catastrophic thinking etc etc and it took me over 3 years of weaning and finally pulling myself out of the battle. I am better than I was - but still get foggy, anxious and oh so tired/ill. But, it can only get better and, although I think I still have an emotional pull towards coffee - it actually smells like poison when I go past Costa etc. Incidentally, I've been drinking redbush tea and that is starting to be my comfort drink so it just shows that those patterns can be changed. Anyway, good luck and glad you found the board helpful. Oh, and don't get me started on doctors lol. All the best. Jackie

P.S. Rob, Worked for me Too, Me Too!! and 60 year habit - how's it all going?

Hi Jackie

Good to hear from you Jackie - it sounds like you're finally off caffeine. How long has it been now ? I've been on and off it for quite a while now and am currently on it again and (surprise) am feeling dreadful. I'm currently thinking I need to quit and am embroiled in my usual battle with myself about whether I should go cold turkey or taper off. I don't know what it is with me, but for some reason I see tapering as weak or some kind of failure - that if you haven't stood toe to toe with caffeine and defeated it cold turkey it somehow doesn't count. How did you quit ? All help/instructions gratefully received ! Rob.

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