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.


Viv, I am kind of in the

Viv, I am kind of in the same boat as you as I've been on and off (mostly on) benzos for the past 20 years. Congrats on getting off of them.
I find myself trying to taper off them seriously now, along with caffeine and cigarettes. Cutting back on the caffeine has made me want to smoke way less, which has been a bonus. I realize now, that, all this time, I was taking benzos to counter the effects of the caffeine and caffeine to counter the effects of the benzos. Craziness.
I have posted on here before but never seem to follow up on any of my posts, sorry everyone. I admire all of you and find all of your stories and honesty and eloquence so helpful. It just seems like all my thoughts are so vague and I have a hard time organizing them into anything coherent. I wonder what could be causing that???
Also, it seems like I spend more time researching caffeine addiction than actually doing something about my own.
Good luck to you all and thanks for the inspiration!


Robert I am sorry to hear that you are still taking benzis, you MUST taper off them, people have died cold turkeying from benzos. they are 1000 times more difficult to get off for most people than caffeine. If you go to benzobuddies.org, you can get advice and support there. Please do this if you have not already done so.

I wish you all the best and I hope you can get off those toxic pills asap, it is so worth it when you are off and recovered!!

Good to hear from you

Hi Robert, it's good to have you here. I can identify with what you're saying - particularly the bits about vague, foggy thinking and spending more time researching caffeine addiction than actually addressing it. I must have done thousands of Google searches looking for an easy, effortless way to quit. I was also looking for inspiration and stories of people who have successfully done it with (hopefully) positive outcomes.

I've found out a few things in the (literally) years I've been at this. The main one is that caffeine is a serious drug. I don't know if it only affects some people in such a severe way, but it has seriously compromised my quality of life. It's also not at all easy to get off and stay off. It's more powerful than most give it credit for and the withdrawal effects are nasty. I should know, I'm feeling them now !

I hope you stick around and figure out a plan of action. That word "action" is the key one though - whatever you choose to do and however you choose to do it, you have to do it. As they say in recovery circles, if nothing changes, nothing changes.

Really ? That sounded like a

Really ? That sounded like a very competitive statement.

Thought so too. You just

Thought so too. You just cant beat an addiction by simply lessening the amt of poison you stuff in your body .. just a little alcohol, just a little heroin, just a little coke or caffeine .. come on, peeps! Whatever. Ween away..


Hi, Viv, I thought it was you :) Thanks again. No, I am not discouraged at all - I will get off in my own way, and not let their anonymous trolling affect me. I don't understand why people would bother to post when they only want to be scornful about someone they know absolutely nothing about - it says more about them then me. They must be irritated with something about themselves! I realise that I've changed a lot through this addiction. I used to think I HAD to do it this way or that way and , consequently, made it harder for myself. I always felt like a failure when I didn't live up to others' expectations or make a quick and relatively easy transition to a caffeine-free life. Now, I am no longer bothered what other negative people say - mind your own business. Also, people come on here and demand support and then either ignore it, don't say thank you and just go on about themselves. How rude! Of course, I talk about it a lot but I always try to give support and advice - as do you, Rob and a few others. I try not to be negative but I just needed a quick rant there lol.

Well, I'm so pleased you're reaping some reward at last. When you look at your long history of benzos and caffeine usage, it's easy to understand why it's taken so long and why your withdrawal (from both drugs) was so very hard. But you're living proof that even many, many years usage can be turned around. I salute you!

Well, dashing out for the last of the Xmas shopping so bye for now. Hope you're doing Ok still, Rob.

TC Jackie

PS I just wanted to share a major achievement, Viv - I have now lost nearly 6 stones in weight and am within 7lbs of my target weight - now, if I say so myself, that shows some determination and strength! I think I look and feel better (in that way) than when I was young. Something positive a few days before my 65th birthday :)


Sorry, I meant to congratulate you on the weight loss too. That is a fabulous achievement. I don't know about you, but I find when I use caffeine it makes me crave sweet food more. I guess I'm not alone either, if you go into any coffee shop, the food they sell always seems to be sugary, sickly stuff.

Anyway, well done. Like Viv, I'm really interested to know how you did it. Please tell me there's a simple and easy secret !

Wow Jackie - that is a huge

Wow Jackie - that is a huge achievement, how have you done it, or is it simply a by product of becoming a vegan?
and thanks for your continued understanding of my situation, it is so good to be understood!
It is fantastic to feel as well and happy (as I do at the moment) without the need for caffeine or any other stimulant as a pick-me-up I never crave caffeine when I feel as I do at the moment, (and if I did it would be cancelled out by my experience with going back on caffeine in order to taper off, but you know what I mean!)

I hope you have a brilliant 65th and a Very Happy Christmas for this year (caffeine withdrawal permitting),
and the same to you Rob (apart from the birthday wishes)!!

I'm good thanks

Hi Jackie, yes I'm good thanks. I'm just starting my 4th caffeine free day - I did what I posted last time, I had my last cup at 9am on Friday and haven't had any since. The weekend was a bit of a blur with alot of sleeping, headaches and muscle twitching. A benefit of having quit a few times is that I know what to expect now ! At the moment I feel in a bit of a daze, I'm thirsty and (although I slept really well last night) I feel like it would be great to go back to bed !

I hope you're OK too. I'm a bit bored with this taper v cold turkey debate, I think it's pretty irrelevant. There is no "right" way to get off caffeine, the only right way is the way that works for you. As I've said before, through trial and error I've find that just stopping is the best way for me. I understand the theory behind tapering and why it makes sense, but I've just found that although I have good intentions, I never reach the end of the taper. I find myself constantly "slipping" and re-starting. That doesn't mean it won't work for you or others though.

My challenge is to stay stopped. I've quit for a number of months before, but at some point a thought pops into my head that says just one cup will be great - it'll perk me up and make me feel good. It does too, but almost immediately I'm then back on the treadmill of feeling awful and hating myself. I'm just going to try and take it a day at a time and when the cravings strike, remember how it makes me feel and why I'm better without it.


Hi, Rob, glad you're doing OK and have stopped again- it seems like you have identified your pivotal moment when your patterns of thinking take over and .........off you go again. I've found, in myself, that when you do something, think something or feel something, over and over and over again, it becomes deeply embedded in your psyche and becomes a part of you......and you eventually just do it/think it/feel it 'on automatic'. I've read in The Willpower Instinct by Kelly Mcgonigal how willpower is a limited energy so that when demands are high, it can actually 'run out' (she explains the science behind it). Also, when your brain function is at a low ebb with the effects of caffeine, your willpower resources are even lower so it's even harder. I guess the challenge for you is to get past that 'thought that pops into your head' and to replace it with a different action. My challenges are to: 1) Get past that thought/feeling that I can't start the day without my 'relaxation time' in the morning, with a coffee and my laptop (NOT having the coffee this morning - I've had redbush tea, instead!) and 2) Get past automatically turning to coffee/food to pacify my feelings when I'm upset/angry etc.

I agree, the cold turkey/wean debate is getting a worn now. I think that weaning has worked well for me BUT I have stayed too long in the last stages. I should have made the leap from mainly 1 cup to stopping a long time ago because, like you say, you find yourself 'slipping' and re-starting - that sure has happened to me - to my great regret. One day at a time is good - being in the now is good too. I used to live in fear of my addiction and be scared of the next day when I went to bed - crazy! I guess I've learned that no matter how bad things appear or whatever problems you're going through or how strong that temptation is, feelings change, circumstances change or improve a little so you have to ride the roller coaster ride and hand on tight to the 'now', if that makes sense. Anyway, good luck and here's a Christmas wish that we all stay strong and leave this all behind for a better and healthier life. Jackie

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