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.


Well if you do try it I will

Well if you do try it I will be interested to know how it works for you, I have tried it briefly in the past, but possibly I am too sceptical, because it didn't do anything at all for me, but as I say, I did not persevere.

Anyway, maybe you have had your last bout of anxiety, dizziness and fog, I do hope so!!

thanks anon 60 yh i hope so

thanks anon 60 yh i hope so too! at least a decent gap before the next lot. its the faster eft by robert smith specifically which seems v different to the trad eft, hes charismatic though so maybe thats a factor. anyway next patch of brain fog i get im trying it, have been trying it on headaches and housework today with apprent success...brain fog remains elusive again today.

Speaking of housework,

Speaking of housework, although I can't stand doing at the moment because of back ache and fatigue, I have developed a sort of ocd awareness of dust and dirt and untidiness, so I cannot stand any sort of mess (which is too bad, because there always is mess atm because I am so tired all the time), have you noticed anything at all similar Mandy? (Or anyone else). It is a complete pain. Plus atm I am having another patch ov etreme sensitivity to smell, so I can't stand any unpleasant smell either. Jayson said it took 2 years for his ocd symptoms to disappear, I fear it's going to take longer than that for me...

Mandy I know it is caffeine

Mandy I know it is caffeine because it is the fatigue that started with caffeine wd that makes my life a problem at the moment, if that would stop, none of the stuff I described is a problem for me…

The way I deal with agoraphobia doesn't result in the symptoms you describe, or I wouldn't do it at the moment. Anyway, I am certain that it is all due to caffeine, and nothing will shake my conviction about that. It is just like any withdrawal from any drug, but in a minor way (compared to benzos), and it will take as long as it takes.

and Jackie, one thing I do

and Jackie, one thing I do know that helps everyone, is

take things a day at a time, don't look forward or back, just take it one day at a time.

It is so much easier to stay off caffeine for just one day….

very very best wishes

60YH 2

VERY good advice - thanks. I really am running out of brain energy now so if I've not answered anything re you or Mandy - sorry. I'll be back! Thanks, again for everything. TC Jackie

Anon - 60 year habit

Hello, thanks for asking about me - it really touched me, as I'm feeling lost at the moment and stuck in the same old rut. Btw, yes, it was me who replied to Sarah. I thought you might guess it was me - but it made me laugh that you did!
If it's OK, I'd like to do a post about how I'm doing and then speak to you and Mandy in another post, later, about how you're doing etc - I've had some thoughts about both of you but my post might be long and my brain isn't working too well to do it all.
First, as you might suspect, I haven't posted because I haven't been doing very well. Some better days but a lot of bad days, especially over Christmas. I'll be honest and 'fess up - I've felt too ashamed to come back on and say how I've been really doing.
I'd been doing well with the taper - but then too much continual stress regarding 20 year plus family health/relationship matters, all sorts of pressures and my own health/coffee addiction sometimes got the better of me and I'd foolishly resort to coffee to 'relieve the stress'. I know that everyone has their problems but, if I can just say it, sometimes I just can't take all the pressure of my life and it seems that coffee is the ONLY thing that relieves it and gives me some respite. Very sad but true - and, of course, it might make me feel better for a little while but the repercussions are terrifying. I also know it's a false reality.
Anon, I remember you once said to me something like - why are you still drinking it when you know it is poison?. Part of the reason is above i.e. relieving the stress of my life (which never goes away) but there are other factors, too. I've been trying to give it up for nearly 3 years and have always wondered why I always seem to automatically slip back into the old ways (like Rob used to - and I hope he's doing well with his latest abstinence). I've talked before about habits becoming ingrained and becoming a part of us before but I don't think that I fully realised or was fully conscious of how true that really is. Christmas showed me this. I'm not sure if I've talked about this before (my memory is very poor) but I got addicted to sugar/junk food when I was very young (under 5, I'd say) and started drinking coffee when I was about 14. So, for the vast majority of my life, I was creating very strong habits. Over Christmas, it was like I was completely back 'in the habit', with over-eating, chocolate, cakes etc, coffee, even alcohol! We went out for my daughter's birthday on 2nd Jan and I completely over-indulged - and I suddenly realised, Jesus, I'm 64 years old and I'm STILL back where I was when I was really young. Same old patterns, same old failure to CHANGE those habits. I have always beaten myself up about my complete failure. I think there was an ingrained BELIEF that I COULDN'T do it, as well. But then I came across a site and it gave me hope. It's Redbird - and it talked about how repeated behaviour create a neural pathway and that is does become completely ingrained in our automatic nervous system("life-time neural habits")......and that a life-time of eating/drinking coffee etc becomes part of who you are and that it's very, very difficult to change it. It said that you have to "overwrite a new habit" or re-write the neural network with a new habit - and that it can take 18 - 224 days DEPENDING ON LENGTH OF HABIT. Eureka! No wonder my habits are so strong - 60 years of sugar, 50 years of coffee (with a few years abstinence in the middle). Reading this was like a kind of final realisation for me about the REALITY of my addiction. So I'm trying to put it into practice. I also read this somewhere and it's obviously true - with a new habit, 'you have to have MANY repetitions for it to become a part of you'. I just wanted to remind myself that I also have the habit (or used to) that if I blew my diet or went on the coffee, I'd be 'oh, I've blown it, so might as well indulge and start again tomorrow' - 50 years and that becomes a ingrained pattern of behaviour, too. So I'm trying AGAIN - I have taken a liking to fresh ginger tea which I always have in the afternoon. I do think I've beaten the Costa temptation ( I take the ginger with me and ask for hot water) and the pm coffee is mostly out of the door. BUT the am coffee is still a massive pull which I can't seem to get rid of, especially when I'm feeling depressed or stressed. I do sometimes have more than the tapering amount. If I can be honest, if I had a 'normal' life with all the usual ups and downs, I think I could do it, but the constant pressure is what steers me - sometimes, I feel like the coffee is the only thing to relieve it. A false god, I know. But then I have to face up to the reality of how my life is. I either deal with it or not. It's up to me.
Well, I truly am SORRY to have written such a long post but I don't talk to anyone about this (I can't worry my family) and it's really helped me to write it all down. I guess the only place we can start is where we are - and just try to overwrite those habits. Anon, I thought some of what I've written might ring true for you (although you probably know it all, too) but, anyway, it makes me realise how strong you were to get off the damn stuff. I hope you and everyone is doing awap and I will post to you and Mandy, either later today or tomorrow. Thanks, again, and, I'll just say, I'm not expecting you to have any solutions for me but if you do have any practical tips, I'd be grateful. TC Jackie
P.S. I've just read this through and feel genuinely upset as I've finally realised that my whole life has been driven by my eating and drinking habits. But at least I DO realise.

Jackie, I agree with Mandy,

Jackie, I agree with Mandy, you are being so dreadfully hard on yourself, and I simply don't understand why or how you can be "ashamed" of how you are dealing with this caffeine problem, I am sorry if I minimised it by saying what I did about it not being as hard to get off as benzos, and telling you about my stressful life, I wasn't thinking about you when I did that, I got carried away with my story.
I think that if you could see how many times I have failed and felt ashamed about things you might feel a little better. I try and think about failing better every time I fail. There isn;t any progress without failure, life is just one long learning process. I think perfectionism is a difficult thing to deal with, I try now to make things a little better and have given up on perfect, so please can you be a little kinder to yourself?

Regarding what you wrote, are you sure that when you say that coffee is the only thing that gives you relief from pressure I think you may be like a nicotine addict who says that cigarettes help them to relax, when in both cases, it is simply because they get relief (or "relaxation" ) from taking their substance of choice because it stops the withdrawal symptoms. So until they get off caffeine or nicotine and recover, they are caught in a vicious circle. Because caffeine is certainly not known for it's ability to help relieve pressure!!!!

60 year habit

Thanks, again, for all of you support :) So much to say and hope I can get my head around it. First, please don't apologise for talking about your issues - it sounds like you are in a similar situation to me and I really understand how you can get worn out with stress and sometimes we just need to say how we feel or we get bottled up which only makes the stress worse. I have gone on endlessly about my addiction, stress etc so please feel free to vent or talk about your problems - if I couldn't have done it here, I'd have gone mad. And, oh my word, I didn't know (or hadn't remembered due to my brain fog) just how difficult your life has been - 60 years on caffeine, 40 years of prescribed meds etc - no wonder your withdrawal has been so long and so difficult. You do well to come on here and give the support you do - and I mean that. And now, to be suffering with agoraphobia - are you getting any help for that? CBT or some sort of support? I do genuinely feel you've had a very rough ride through life but I'm so glad you're off all those meds and the dreaded caffeine now. Surely, you will continue to improve and I hope you're stressful situation at home improves. Can you get any help for that?
Thanks for your kind words, also - they did help. As I said, earlier, I read about a guy who took 13 years to get off so that made me feel a little better. I take on about about what you said about learning through your mistakes and perfectiionism etc - I've always wanted a quick fix, been an all or nothing kind of girl i.e. beat myself up when I'm drinking coffee or my diet isn't perfect BUT then go down the opposite road of over-indulgence.
And, eureka, your last paragraph sums it up exactly! In the morning, I come on the laptop and have my poison and feel 'relaxed' before the day begins ( my daughter gets up late due to her illness) .......but it IS a false reality - as I said on my top post, I felt calm and in myself, this morning but from habitual thinking that the only way I can relax is through the coffee and a kind of weird fear of life without it and just habit, I had it. But, as I described, I REALLY wish I hadn't. I feel I'm breaking through and finally seeing it all clearly. I really do feel like I've been in hell these last few years. Anyway, been there, done that - time to get out. Again, thanks so much 60 YH, your perception helps a lot. TC


I'm perhaps getting too analytical here but I wanted to say that as my caffeine 'high' is falling away, the old thinking pattern of being unable to do it, being in a tug of war, feeling anxious, scared and uncertain etc - those feelings are all starting to creep back BUT the big difference is that there's a separate part of me that's aware of it! Wow, caffeine really does mess up your perception and brain function, does it not?! You've been right all along, 60 YH re this notion. I won't experience the clarity/reality etc until I'm off it. Makes me even more determined and want to take control. It's had this power over me for far too long - it's the time to take back my own power. I WILL do it this time. I'm 64 years old and it's time to get my life and health back.

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