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 caffeine withdrawal 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). Even small amounts of caffeine (such as a green tea, compared to a full coffee) can do wonders to alleviate a withdrawal-induced headache.

The top 10 reported symptoms of caffeine withdrawal:

  1. Headache
  2. Sleepiness
  3. Irritability
  4. Fatigue, lethargy
  5. Constipation
  6. Depression
  7. Muscle stiffness, cramping
  8. Brain fog, Inability to focus
  9. Cold-like symptoms
  10. Anxiety

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. These are very real experiences [1], and despite recurring jokes, can cause problems with normal functioning.

Is Caffeine Withdrawal Real?

In short: Yes. Negative effects from quitting caffeine have been scientifically documented in clinical studies.

Of 49 symptom categories identified, the following 10 fulfilled validity criteria: headache, fatigue, decreased energy/activeness, decreased alertness, drowsiness, decreased contentedness, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and foggy/not clearheaded. In addition, flu-like symptoms, nausea/vomiting, and muscle pain/stiffness were judged likely to represent valid symptom categories. [1]

Additionally, caffeine withdrawal is recognized by psychiatrists as a real disorder.

Caffeine withdrawal is a recognized disorder and is listed in the DSM-5.

How Long Does Caffeine Withdrawal Last?

The answer to this will depend on your level of consumption and the level you reduce your caffeine consumption to.

In experimental studies, the incidence of headache was 50% and the incidence of clinically significant distress or functional impairment was 13%. Typically, onset of symptoms occurred 12-24 h after abstinence, with peak intensity at 20-51 h, and for a duration of 2-9 days. [1]

That means you’ll probably notice the start within 12-24 hours with the worst being the second day you after you quit. From there, it gradually gets better over the course of a week to a week and a half.

Your brain is miraculously resilient and adapts to life without caffeine in just 2 short weeks. The psychological habit of drinking caffeine can take 3 to 4 weeks to break, but can also be replaced with decaf coffee or another low-caffeine drink (eg. tea).

Reports of people having withdrawal symptoms months or years after quitting coffee or caffeine are more typically confused with general health maladies or other drugs.

Dealing with Caffeine Withdrawal

The severity of caffeine withdrawal symptoms vary with how extreme the restriction, and a gradual reduction can do wonders in avoiding symptoms. Simply starting by replacing one cup of coffee with a decaf coffee or tea will provide a much smaller dose of caffeine, allowing your receptors to re-acclimate to lower levels. Drinking coffee (decaf) or other warm beverage (tea) instead of regular coffee helps psychologically with the well established habit.

Timing large reductions in caffeine consumption is also a useful tool. Picking a time of rest and relaxation such as a weekend or vacation can lessen the burden of symptoms like brain fog and a lack of motivation.

Hydration is also key – while coffee is a diuretic it’s also mostly water, and cutting back on coffee may also inadvertently cut back on your fluid intake. Many symptoms of dehydration overlap with caffeine withdrawal including headaches, cramping, irritability and lethargy.

Without caffeine blocking your adenoseine receptors, your body’s built up levels of adenosine will lead to a lot of sleepiness. Get lots of rest! Scientists are still puzzled by why humans need sleep, aside from getting tired. According to some research from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) has indicated that sleep enables your brain to drain built-up chemical by products of working so hard (you little genius), which is good for you!

Advil or Tylenol can be an effective method of dealing with the coffee withdrawal headache. Other natural pain relievers such as running / exercise and even an orgasm can provide temporary relief by dilating blood vessels in the brain.

The best solution may not be totally ceasing caffeine consumption though. Coffee does have health benefits, as it contains over 1000 known compounds, with many associated with lowering blood pressure and improving cardiac function, as well as liver protection [2]. Generally, the best coffees are grown at higher elevations will develop more healthy chlorogenic acids that are present in higher concentrations in light roasts than dark roasts. If you’re a dark roast lover however, darker roasts cause less stomach acid production. A decaffeinated coffee with just 5-25 mg of caffeine will still retain a lot of its healthy chemicals and will provide health benefits in medium and dark roasts.

With these tips you can reduce the caffeine in your body and avoid the rebound of a caffeine withdrawal.

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15448977

[2] Coffee Consumption Decreases Risks for Hepatic Fibrosis and Cirrhosis: A Meta-Analysis
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142457

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.

Xie et al “Sleep initiated fluid flux drives metabolite clearance from the adult brain.” Science, October 18, 2013. DOI: 10.1126/science.1241224

2,921 thoughts on “What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?”

  1. Hi Jackie, I do hope you can

    Hi Jackie, I do hope you can stop feeling ashamed about your “failure” and I also hope that you will not try and give up sugar, wheat etc etc at the same time as giving up caffeine, you will be making it too difficult for yourself. If I were you, I would pig out on anything and everything that I liked on condition that I didn’t take any more caffeine – I gave up sugar 3 or 4 years ago (I didn’t know about my future problems with caffeine) and that was bad enough – I know I wouldn’t be able to come off anything else besides caffeine. You are a human being, not a machine……. There will be a time to come off the sugar etc, if you still need to when you are off caffeine.

    If you can you should watch the last horizon programme on sugar, very interesting.

    I am finding that if I limit my activity to about 2 hours a day, I can keep my back ache, irritability etc etc to an acceptable level, the trouble is that life is more demanding than that, but at least I know – fatigue is a killer. I wish it would hurry up and stop.

    1. Thanks Anon

      Thanks for replying Anon and thanks for your concern about me not trying to come off sugar etc at the same time as doing this Final Weaning. I didn’t say in my post but I’m OK about that as my diet has been mainly very good for a long time (apart from Christmas, birthdays etc ). I already have that under control and feel better on it, too, so I already feel that’s under my belt…..but, thanks, I do appreciate your thoughts. Also, I do really enjoy the food I eat so it’s not hard, at all. To be honest, I’ve been driving my family crazy, endlessly talking about my diet ( I lost 5st 5 lbs about 13-14 years ago) and, for the last few years, talking about coffee…….so it’s really nice to be able to talk about it all here. I think this Final Weaning (as I’m calling it) is going to be tougher than I first thought when I was all first fired up with the idea but that’s the reality of it, I guess. Boldly on, any way.

      Well, I’m sorry to hear you’re still struggling, Anon. I think you’ve talked about this before but, when I was researching online, I did read that when caffeine consumption has been high and over a long period (like you), it can take up to 2 years for the brain to adjust and energy levels to reset to whatever is ‘normal’ for the individual. I guess when we’re older, we’re not going to feel like teenagers but it can be better than it is. Oh, and I agree with you, the fatigue is a killer – when I woke up this morning, I felt as if I hadn’t been to sleep, at all, and it was the biggest drag to get up. But that’s caffeine for you.

      Well, all the best and keep in touch. And btw, I saw that Horizon was on – and I do intend to watch it on catch-up – but thanks. Also, best of luck to everyone and any lurkers – where is everyone, these days? Hope you’re all doing awap. Jackie

      1. hi jackie, i guess i am a

        hi jackie, i guess i am a lurker! ive been two months quit of caffeine now and still check in most days, having worked my way thru about 217 back pages. ive read your previous posts and i wish you all the best this time i really do and I’ll chip in with support if i think ive something sensible to add. the only thing id add now, and its based on how I’m feelin today which is a bit fed up, is this: i spend alot of my day thinking do i feel better now, am i better than yesterday, oh i feel nauseous again oh no etc etc i personally need to free myself from the hope that im going to feel better, great etc, you know like the Buddhist non striving non attachment thing. i notice you wrote that youre looking forward to feeling better or something like that, and im sure you will but i think it puts pressure on and adds expectations and for me i am going to try and be open either way as in: i wonder how I’ll feel today, have you read the susan Jeffers books theres one called embracing uncertainty that i quite like. at the same time its hopefulness that motivates a person to start, so im wondering now whether i should just delete the last bit, anyway, with very best wishes, stay strong x

        1. Thanks so much, Mandy …

          Thanks so much for your kind words and support, Mandy. 🙂 Congrats on being caffeine free for two months – that really is great news! How are your symptoms now? I’m not sure how much caffeine you were drinking but I’d be interested to hear all about your experiences and how things are going for you now. Thanks, also, for your thoughts re needing to accept how things are more – and I totally agree with you. I’ve always had a tendency to over- analyse how I’m feeling and to seek an escape from uncomfortable feelings etc. I’m familiar with the Buddist concept of non-attachment and I do have very strong spiritual beliefs so it might help to do some reading up on that again. I think I just need to accept, as well, that I am going to feel rough until I can heal my brain/body …so thanks for this timely reminder – I think it’s something I needed to hear. And I’ll take a look at that book. All the best and keep in touch.Jackie

          1. i drank diet coke pretty much

            i drank diet coke pretty much exclusively for 17 years or so, ive worked it out to be perhaps 400 mg a day, so not as much as some. but the withdrawal was terrifying and my worst life experience to date, dram a tic i know. ive thought about quitting many times but it took a real frightener for me to do it. it was about 11 oclock monday morning at work, id had a bad nights sleep, nothing to eat and was guzzling diet coke when i experienced what i can only describe as as head rush as if the blood in my brain moved up the back of my head to the front and then back again, i was sitting at the time so i thought… stroke, seizure etc etc then had a panic attack. blood tests came back fine but i was terrified and stopping coke seemed to be the only thing i could do proactive to stop it happening again, i went on to have shakes, dizzinezs, weird head feelings for about two weeks really bad then two weeks not quite as bad, then over the last month more fleeting episodes of yhe same with much morning anxiety, evenings always give me respite, ive had health anxiety through the roof (if anyone reading this thinks my head rush as sounds like some scary illness i do NOT want to hear about it, please respect that, id be okay with someone saying oh that sounds like dehydration though!) in the last few days ive had some twitchy vibrating feelings which ive seen reported in other posts so even two months on, and i still get cortisol rushes in the morning, feel like my blood sugar has been affected somehow, deeply regret the coke but i didnt know did i, got to move on now x

          2. To Mandy

            Hi, Mandy, I’m so glad you got off diet coke because, apart from the caffeine, it rots your teeth and is full of toxic sweeteners (as you no doubt know). That must have been really scary and no wonder you thought you were having a seizure or something similar – so many people have had the same experience on here and and end up in A & E. But, from what I’ve read, EVERYTHING you describe is typical of the effects of caffeine and, as you are thankfully experiencing, these symptoms will reduce as your brain chemistry gets back in balance. With my history of endlessly trying to get off, I think you did incredibly well so a genuine well done! Oh, and caffeine does affect blood sugar, blood pressure etc. (I’ve done so much reading on this in the last 2 years lol) (My blood pressure had always been good but then shot up to 150/90 – very high for me – but is thankfully back down now.) But the good news is that as the caffeine gets out of your system, they will get back to ‘normal’, The only thing I’d ask you is how is your diet? You probably know but if you’re having too much refined sugar/junk food etc, that will play havoc with your blood sugar etc. I’m very pro-healthy eating – as you’ve probably worked out! Well, keep in touch and if you want to email, my addy is on a reply to Rob. Btw, are you interested in Buddhism? Anyway, best of luck, Mandy, stay strong and thank you so much for your support. I’m going to do a short post about how I seem to be doing – feeling very hopeful! TC Jackie

  2. A plan and a commitment…

    Jackie, you’ve inspired me to make a plan and a commitment. My caffeine addiction has limited my life, work and happiness for too long. I’m going to ditch the cold turkey heroics and commit to a rational detox plan and go on the adventure of living a caffeine free life. I will :

    • Taper off using 50mg caffeine pills. This will mean I get a measured dose of caffeine while also breaking the habit and rituals of drinking coffee.

    • Start at 400mg a day, split over 4 doses of 100mg at 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm. 100mg is about the same caffeine content as a cup of coffee. The total is around two thirds of my current caffeine intake.

    • Reduce by 50mg a day (one pill) until I’m at zero caffeine. In other words, taper over 8 days. I’ll time it so I finish at the weekend and plan to take it easy for a couple of days.

    • Hydrate heavily during the detox – a litre of pure water between each caffeine dose, i.e. 4 litres a day to flush out my system.

    • Try and eat well, take a standard multi-vitamin, get some daily exercise (even if it’s only a 20 minute walk) and get a full 8 hours sleep each night.

    • Take it easy and don’t worry too much about fixing the rest of my life. First things first, get off caffeine, then figure out if anything else needs sorting.

    • Expect it to be hard – I may feel bad, tired, grouchy. Who knows, I may even feel good !

    In terms of commitment, well I don’t know any of you personally, but I’m making a commitment here. I will start tomorrow and finish my taper next Friday, Valentine’s day. Told you I have a thing about significant dates 😉

    I’ll also commit to posting my progress every few days – that should help make sure I stick to the plan and may help someone else.

    Rob.

    1. sounds very well thought out

      sounds very well thought out to me rob, I’ll keep an eye out for your posts and support you, having read your previous posts i know you’ve done well before and your posts have been a voice of reason ive found, as ive read during my two month abstinence…

      the numerical captchas have been much easier daniel thank you.

    2. That’s great, Rob…

      Hi, Rob, that’s really great, I mean it!! I must tell you that I was so pleased to read your first reply and to hear from you and that you actually got what I was saying about the brain hijack re addiction etc. I’ve had so many thoughts going round in this brain but couldn’t possibly write them all here – my post would be 2 pages long and, also, my neurotransmitters are not firing off very well tonight haha so I’m very foggy. But about your first post, I agreed with and understood everything you said. For me, those patterns re pleasure seeking (or comfort or an escape from pain/lack of life etc) were laid down in my brain’s memory very early on in my life i.e. sugar (as a child and for the rest of my life!), alcohol (in my teens and twenties), spending (forever and especially after that dopamine rush, of course) etc etc. So the brain learns those patterns and lays down memories so that you seek all of those pleasures automatically (and it is compulsive) via the same routes BUT the problem is this (according to what I’ve read) – dopamine urges us to SEEK pleasure as it’s the motivator but it’s NOT the actual pleasure, itself. So we get hooked to the rush but it’s never satisfied…and so we keep searching whether it’s food, caffeine/other drugs, gambling, sex, etc etc. What a giddy circle of life it is.

      I realised today that I really AM a creature of my life’s habits and those damn patterns (although they have diminished somewhat or changed in some areas e.g. food) …….and that this weaning off of is going to be very tough, after so many years, because, like you said, it’s not just the caffeine, it’s all the other stuff, as well, that creates an addictive personality. However, just as my brain has been messed up, I do believe we can retrain and take it back the other way. I’m writing too much already but I’m trying to get it sorted in my mind (sorry). One thing you did say at the end of your first post really struck me and that was that we need to use our rationality – and I so agree. I naively used to think that things would magically change and that each new day would bring that change and I’d just be able to stop drinking the damn stuff – what a fool! But at least I understand now and they say that self-awareness and understanding are the keys to change. So, no matter what happens, I will keep trying to retrain my brain and my habits and not give up (which I do have a tendency to do).

      Well, back to your plan – I’m really pleased for you and you’ve given me an idea, too – I liked what you said about retraining habits/rituals by not having coffee but having tablets, instead. You see, I LOVE coffee, the taste. the smell – all of it so, in the morning, I’m going to make myself have caffeinated tea, instead – and see if that helps. I’ll get my caffeine but not the pleasure of the coffee. I don’t mind tea but it has no pull, at all, not even the caffeinated sort. I also wanted to say to you (and I hope it’s OK) that you did an incredible job of getting off alcohol. I really mean that. Anyway, I’m writing too much and feel I haven’t replied properly to your 2 posts……..but my brain really is frying here lol.

      I wondered if you wanted to email, Rob? Please don’t feel obliged – but, if you do, my email is jackielee59 ….and then separating it out for security …. @hotmail.co.uk
      If not, then that’s fine and please let us know how you’re doing on here, anyway. Best of luck!! Jackie

  3. To Rob, Anon, Mandy, Lisa and everyone..

    Rob – first of all, you are a star! Your plan inspired me, too, and I replaced my coffee with caffeinated tea this morning, in an attempt to break the ritual/habit of drinking coffee (your great idea but with tablets). Oh my word, I can’t believe what a difference it made! I drank half the tea – it tasted ‘tinny’ and I just wasn’t enjoying it – I could feel the effects of the caffeine beginning to take effect and, amazingly, I didn’t like what I was feeling! I threw the other half away and got myself an organic decaf tea, which I enjoyed much more. I really can’t believe what I’ve just experienced! It just shows how we can get psychologically addicted to our beverage of choice i.e. it’s not just the caffeine. Well, like you, Rob, I’m going to make a commitment, too. My commitment to to stop drinking coffee. If I feel I need caffeine, I will have the tea – and hopefully, it will be the same as this morning. I really hope you’re still feeling strong and committed and btw, I loved what you said about going on the adventure of living a caffeine-free life. It changed my perception and opened up a new horizon of possibilities. PMA!

    Anon, I hope you’re staying the course and making some progress. I really hope you improve soon. Let us know how you’re doing.

    Lisa, I got your email and I will reply later but I will say now STAY OFF CAFFEINE!! I am not a doctor so this is just an opinion but from what I’ve read, your brain chemistry has been messed up very badly, especially because you were on benzos AND caffeine ….and it will NOT readjust/heal if you put caffeine back into your system. And you’ve done so long already. I’ll write more in the email later but just wanted to let you know I feel for you and that it can get better.

    Take care and stay strong, everyone. Jackie

  4. End of Day 1

    It’s the end of day 1 – or at least, I’ve taken my last “dose” and am heading home from work. I’ve felt pretty tired and have had a headache all day, although both have been mild and very bearable. I’m also really hungry and can’t wait to go to sleep tonight. On balance though, I’ve felt a lot better than when I’m drinking coffee. I’m less tense, and have had a good, productive day at work. I tried to go cold turkey (again) earlier in the week and made it until 10am, so I’m hoping this approach will be far more successful.

    I’m going to London on the train tomorrow, so that will be a big challenge. There’s something about travelling, stations, getting a coffee and watching the world go by. I’m also going first class (it was cheap on a Saturday !) and I’m not sure if they give free coffee. Whatever, I guess it’s just another situation to be dealt with – I’ll just have to buy a bottle of water and a newspaper and be strong lol.

    I’m feeling really good and positive about this process. Maybe a caffeine free life is in sight !?

    1. Rob

      Hi, Rob, I’m glad you had a reasonable day – it sounds like things went better than they might have done. Good luck for your train journey tomorrow – but as you’ll have some caffeine in your system, already, maybe it won’t be so bad. I’m not sure if you’ve had time to read my posts but I just had 1/2 cup of caffeinated tea this morning but I didn’t like the ‘tinny’ taste and as the caffeine kicked in, I didn’t like the way it made me feel. I didn’t want any more caffeine all day which is something I would never have expected in a million years. Anyway, my commitment is now to stop the coffee completely and, if I feel like I do right now, stop caffeine altogether. I feel like I’m finally coming to the end of my road. Well, let us know how you get on and best of luck! Jackie

  5. Rob, if it only takes a few

    Rob, if it only takes a few days as you said before, and I quote ‘ But it is only for A FEW DAYS. After 5 days I started to feel a whole lot better. Not 100%, it does take a few weeks/months to get back there, but you’ll be a whole lot better in a few days or a couple of weeks tops.”
    Why all the fuss? I don’t get it……… Just stop drinking caffeine

    1. Agreed 100 percent! Stop

      Agreed 100 percent! Stop drinking it. Or keep drinking it! either way, man up and move on! Geez.

  6. hope everyones getting on

    hope everyones getting on okay with their quitting particularly those whove recently recommitted, rob and jackie. lisa how you getting on, and the anonymous i chatted with a couple of weeks ago? i hit the two months free mark a week or so ago and definitly feel better than ever a lot of the time, but still have a milder version of the initial withdrawal from time to time even now, incredible really, with some funny head feelings, some anxiety in the form of jelly legs and swirling stomach and not sleeping brilliant either. i slept really well, or so i thought on caffeine. funny how the head feelings have charged over time like a different readjustment jobs going on up there as each week goes by, anyway just want to post some continuing support.

    1. Mandy

      Hi, Mandy, glad things are still improving for you……it must be great to know that you’re improving all the time – I’m really pleased for you. I had a couple of emails from Lisa a few days ago and it still won’t let her post. She was still really struggling and was thinking of going back on it but I haven’t heard from her again. How are you doing, Lisa? Well, thanks for your support, Mandy, and best of luck to you. I’m going to make a separate post as I’ve found a fantastic website that I want to share. TC Jackie

  7. hi mandy, I wish I could tell

    hi mandy, I wish I could tell you i was doing as well as you are, but I feel so crappy and discouraged, it will be a year tomorrow since I had my last caffeine fix and so far it has not been worth it. I am only managing to keep on because of posts like this (which I can’t remember were I copied it from, but it helps me)it might be from this site, but I just don’t know. Anyway, here it is:

    “I’ve been off of caffeine for a 1 year 3 months and I still have these symptoms. I have a tingling sensation through out my body. Let me not get started on the digestive problems!! It’s not as bad as when I first started the withdrawal process, but it still sucks!! I was told that depending on the person it could take a year or more for your body to function normally without the caffeine. The body needs time to heal.”

    I just wish there was somebody else posting here that took as long as me to recover and then felt great. If there is anybody reading this who can relate, please let me know.

    1. To Anon

      Sorry to hear you’re still struggling, Anon. I think I’ve said before, but in all my online reading I’ve also read that it can take well over a year (even up to 18 months plus) to fully recover. Maybe because you were drinking it for so long, It’s taking longer to get better? Although, as I’ve also said, at our age, we’re not going to feel like teenagers. I know it’s hard but try to just keep going. Could you try to think of ways it HAS improved, if only by a margin. That might help. All the best.Jackie

  8. I’m manning up…

    Hi, everyone. I read the 2 replies to Rob’s last post from the 2 anons….and they really got me thinking. Instead of fussing and fighting with myself, I finally wanted to ‘man up’ and just do it, no matter how I felt. Then, I found this fantastic blog by Sam Carpenter which basically echoed the same idea – find some backbone and inner strength and just do it. Here’s the site for anyone who needs to buckle up and get on with it. http://www.workthesystem parts 1-3 Scratching the Itch, Life Cold Turkey, You are the Terminator. It made me see how my procrastination had been holding me back and that “by, say, cutting back slowly, the better the chance one will fail”. Going cold turkey takes you out of the trap and means you’re done with it and that “as significant time passes since the last ingestion, the better chance one will succeed.” Suddenly, it all made sense. I’ve been completely caffeine-free before and I know how good it feels so what the hell have I been doing for the last 2 years?! Truth is, I guess, I was afraid (I’m not even sure what of now) but now I’m not. I’ve found some backbone. at last. Today is only day 1 and I woke up with a lot of anxiety about ‘failing’ but I thought so what and carried on and I feel strong now. I think one of the differences is that when I was trying to get off it by weaning, I was never really done with it (obviously). But now I’ve finally realised that cold turkey is the answer , I feel different because there is an end in sight. I just had to let it go. Someone said to me on here, nearly 2 years ago, “you’ll do it when you want to, Jackie.” So thanks to the 2 anons – and to anyone who’s struggling to stop, check out Sam’s blog, it’s great! All the best to everyone. Jackie P.S. How’s it going, Rob?

    1. Jackie, how are you doing? I

      Jackie, how are you doing? I read Sam’s blog and wished it was that easy for me, but am hoping it is working for you.

  9. A slight change of plan….

    Some interesting posts recently and a definite theme developing… Thanks also to those providing the usual warm words and encouragement lol !

    While my tapering plan still sounds intuitively appealing and simple/easy, I don’t think it’s right for me. I didn’t make it past the train trip on Saturday before I ended up with a cup of coffee. The day turned into a mini-binge at the end of which I came to a conclusion very similar to Jackie’s below – I’ve done this before successfully by just stopping. No taper, no fancy plans, no dancing around it, just stop. As a friend of mine says, the way to stop doing something is to stop doing it.

    So I just stopped. 8pm Saturday evening I drank my last coffee and ate my last piece of chocolate (it contains caffeine too). It hasn’t been pleasant, but I’ve done it. Sunday was a bad day, feeling my head getting muzzier, like sliding into treacle. Monday was a killer, right in the eye of the storm, body ached, head ached, couldn’t think. Tuesday started bad but got better as the day went on and by the evening I felt reasonable. I’m just beginning day 4 and I feel OK. Not great – my head is slightly muzzy, I’m thirsty, muscles are a bit twitchy, my stomach is still a little upset etc. but overall I’m not too bad. I can function. I also know that things can only improve now, so long as I just stay away from caffeine. I don’t know how long it will take and what will happen, but provided I don’t start poisoning myself again, I know my body will sort itself out and get things working the way they should again. I’m looking forward to feeling better.

    I’m interested to see how everyone else gets on. So far I’m feeling pretty good – I’ve broken out of prison ! I may only be 50 yards away from the walls and still dodging the searchlights, but I can taste freedom and if I keep my wits about me, there’s no reason to end up back in a cell. I’ll post again in a few days as an update on my progress.

  10. Wow, no anxiety, no back

    Wow, no anxiety, no back ache, you are doing well. I wish I could do as well as quickly. Just keep in mind why you want to stay off the stuff……

    Jackie thanks for the encouraging post, I am busily trying to think of ways that I am feeling better than I did a year ago, and I suppose that on the rare days when I don’t have any back ache and just have the fatigue, then I feel a bit better, but the iirritable mood is never ending. I can wake up feeling sort of ok then the minute the slightest thing goes wrong, back comes the nightmare personality.

    The one thing I have noticed is that no matter how bad I feel, I never get depressed now(perhaps I am always too irritable to notice)

    If I get a really good night, then I am ok, but that doesn’t happen all that often, and the backache is 1000 times worse after a bad night (not really back ache, more neck, back, shoulder and hip ache)

    Enough of this moaning, I hope you are doing as well as Rob and I offer you the same unasked for advice, keep in mind why you want to be off the stuff

    `hope everyone on here is doing awap

    Mandy, how are you?

    1. still a bit preoccupied with

      still a bit preoccupied with it all, just been looking up PAWS and thought of you as plenty of sites say 6 months to two years you know, which is reassuring isnt it… sort of. i would say slow and steady improvement for me, the weird head feelings and anxiety and waking up early are still going on and as ive said before the longer it goes on the more it gets me down, almost like i was brave and battling the first month of it but now im losing the strengh… . ah not really, i dont know eh what a strange turn my life has taken i feel like a mad woman. im glad caffeine is out of my life though no regrets. i looked up that sam carpenter link jackie suggested – hes a character he is, even s as ys “have some fun with it” at one point, talking about withdrawing from caffeine!! he also makes it clear its hard though and said it took him 9 months, anyway keep going eh, one day at a time.

      and well done rob, ive read your update, and, all the best jackie and Lisa.

      1. I feel like a mad woman too,

        I feel like a mad woman too, a new horrible angry paranoid person who is always in pain and has to walk bent over because of back ache, who doesn’t care what what she looks like or anything much except getting through the day somehow.

        Mandy do you think you could leave a link to any sites which talk about recovery taking 2 years, because I have not found them yet. and thanks for your update, it really helped me, and I hope it helps the others too. I hope Jackie is doing ok (and Rob )

        1. its important to say they

          its important to say they were general drugs pages but i think we’ve agreed on here that caffeine is a drug, even if not as dangerous as some….i did try to copy and paste but cant see how to do it on kindle anyway the page says things like: “paws can occur and recur for up to two years” “others have experienced lingering effects for years”…..not to be depressing to anyone else reading this!!!! we’re all different etc etc. i cant see how to post the link either so I’m writing it out shorthand: http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/The-Symptoms-Of-Post-Acute-Withdrawal-Syndrome
          hope you can find it from that, let me know if not and I’ll get my lap top out. and for any other readers i cant vouch for the site etc, its all a bit of a persona learning journey and we need be selective.

          so you emaphised with my mad woman part then lol, shes my baseline really with any functioning above this a bonus! oh dear this caffeine free experience feels like a double life. what have i got now? mild anxiety, full feeling in head, but the sun is shining and I’ve got a new book to read… ive got to actively manage this alongside rest as well, i cant spend my precious life waiting to feel better…continuing best wishes.

          what a shame lisa can’t post, lisa youre getting on for three months now i think, past the point of no return now dont let it beat you.

  11. Tryin to post

    I am trying to post on here cause i have been having a hard time.. im five months and 1 week off caffeine and i am still having horrible scary head symptoms, anxiety, some fear but its getting better, my insomnia is gone, muscle pain, racing thoughts sometimes, head pressure, feelings of unreality..this all is so terrible and i cant believe how long its lasting.. i pray that i get my life back soon..i cant stand it anymore…just horrible stuff…..Lisa

    1. YAY! indeed!! 5 months then,

      YAY! indeed!! 5 months then, that’s brilliant, i still have everything you describe except muscle cramps but i still have sleeping probs, i get to sleep easily but wake around two then restless, dozing perhaps for couple of hours, then back to sleep till eight ish. yes the weird head stuff, nearly impossible todescribe isnt it? so i get two types of things, pressure and weird, slightly moving sensations like what i think i might feel if bits of my brain had excess fluid in, ive always said it feels electrical and i was reading about paws and neurotransmitter s needing to re route and the do this in the thin membranes in the brain and i thought yeah that could be it. last saturday i got scared by having one and started crying and winding myself up, my husband was like take some tablets its a headache and i was like no its not like a headache, it feels different. thats waht id say really its never painful, dont feel lightheaded with it either but just weird, perhaps sometimes like little zaps of hot and cold, i would say this though, its still there but not as bad, provided idont get anxious about it and i just acknowlede it and think right there it is, just carry on you know and then it goes again. anything to do with the brain eh!!! scary. i wish it would all stop now and get you feel the same, what we gonna do eh.

  12. thanks for the link Mandy.

    thanks for the link Mandy. If anyone can give me a link to any info re other people taking longer than normal specifically to caffeine I would be v grateful.

    I have gone back to having clogged up nostrils which make it difficult to breathe and difficult to sleep, I had this symptom initially for a few weeks and now it has come back along with severe leg camps (plus all the other stuff). Does anyone else have (now or in the past) these sx?

    Hi Lisa, glad you made it.

  13. I am v worried, I was feeling

    I am v worried, I was feeling like giving up today and decided to read through old posts here for encouragement, and I found this scary post:


    Wed, 2010-12-22 11:00 — ed (not verified)
    Long term problems after quitting 12 cup habit
    Hi,
    I wanted to know if anybody else feels like they’ve had long term withdrawal problems. Over about 10 years I went from very little caffeine to needing about 4 cups, or a full dark french press worth in the morning just to avoid a headache. Another at lunch. If I needed to feel up, I’d have several more equivalent shots. I had to quit because I could not sleep if I had any after lunch and if I did that then I’d be a complete bear in the evenings around my family and wake up with a headache in the morning (early withdrawal). My vision would also get blurry if I got stressed out and i got generally sensitive to lights and sound. I finally succeeded in quiting about 3 years ago, after going through terrible acute withdrawal. I get massive migraines (which as a guy, I’d never had before) between days 3-5 of cold turkey. I can get through that because I know it goes away after that. My problem was that I’d feel dumb and slow and had no motivation to do anything. I now know this as mild depression, which I was OK with as long as I could just mope around the house. But I felt that my family needed me to get stuff stuff done, or my wife would complain about low sex drive, and I’d fall off the wagon. To get off completely, I had to quit work and lay low. I’d use what little energy I had to get basic housework done. The depression has lifted verrrrrrry slowly, but worse, I seem to have worse sleep problems than before (I used to lay awake and think too much but now I’ve developed sleep apnea instead). Also, my nose is dry and swells shut at night, which did not happen when I was obeying my addiction. The apnea literature says that caffeine can help, so I’m trying to figure out what affect coming off of a big addiction has had on the tissues around my throat and nose. If I have a little caffeine, it seems to help a little. But i dont want to have a bunch to see if it clears up completely. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to take up chamomile, meditation and yoga, but I was raised red neck and its been really hard to get all hippy like this.
    Advice welcome,
    Ed”

    I am in despairing mode now, if it happens to anyone it will happen to me – it took me years and years to recover from benzos and now this!!!!

    1. hey dont despair honestly,

      hey dont despair honestly, for as many posts as will reassure you there will be a few that send you panicing, i had one just the same, my caffeine withdrawal started with a horrible head symptom – not a headache – a weird feeling sensation, and there is a post on here , dated very early, about stress induced epilepsy and i freaked!! i started pacing round my house and i feel a twinge of as nxiety even now remembering it, honestly you have to bear in mind all the diverse experiene on here, all those stories, so there are bound to be some that push your own triggers, fears. and we dont know the whole story for “ed” do we. i do empathise, my caffeine withdrawal was some of the most difficult time i have spent in my life and i know well that feeling of p a nic thinking either, this will never get any better, or ive done permanent d as mage, or i have a serious illness, and i dr as nk hardley as ny compared to some, 350-400 mg a day, which i guess is why i seem to be coming through it now, i hope i hope i hope, dont let the despair take over. you are not alone with this.

      1. thank you so much for that

        thank you so much for that Mandy, I was definitely in panic mode there!!

        I am glad you are feeling so much better. I was only drinking 2 cups of tea a day too, but i guess 60 yrs is a v long time. I think that is just the way it goes, symptoms seem to come and go and then hopefully, stop altogether.. For instance I thought that the weird sensations in my feet had completely stopped, (it is a horrible sensation, as if my toes are going to curl up in the wrong direction plus a horrible tingling/cramping sensation) but they came back last night and I also had some chills and hot flashes (which I also thought had stopped) – but today I feel better again. My backache etc is still lurking around, but today the fatigue is not so bad. It ‘s a lovely day, so i will test my walking ability and stamina – fingers crossed.

        Next time it all comes back I will try not to give in to panic.

        PS I tried inhaling steam for the nostril blocking and that helped a great deal ……….

        1. PPS

          I will hope I don’t fly into a rage as soon as anything goes wrong today too, because that is one of my v worst sx

  14. Withdrawal; combine with being ill

    I’ve been looking for a withdrawal ‘wave to catch’ for a while. Made some withdrawal attempts but failed.
    We’ve had a bad cold/flu working through the family; when it began to hit me I thought I’d use it to withdraw.
    This allowed me to be ‘wiped out’, in bed, and socially and professionally unavailable. It also gave me great support from family, made it easier to avoid temptation, and enabled me to associate caffeine with catching the illness; i.e. ‘yeughhh’ when think of caffeine.
    I’m now on day 9-10, and going very well. Some chuckling in last few days. Some up and down feelings; that’s ok. Good to be alive.
    P.s. I’m exiting caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, paracetamol (was using at advised max to reduce anxiety). Also minimalising sugar, cheese, wheat.

    1. also enabled me to ‘mentally

      also enabled me to ‘mentally mix up’ some caffeine withdrawal symptoms within the illness (i.e. ‘I’m not sure and I don’t care what is causing this headache’).

  15. it seems odd to me that the

    it seems odd to me that the people who report fewer problems coming off and are even able to “chuckle” about it, are the ones
    who seem unable to stay off. I hope that you will manage to change this scenario with your latest attempt……..

    Good Luck

    1. This is a mean-spirited

      This is a mean-spirited comment (not surprising). The poster tried to share his/her idea of combining a withdrawal with a period of being ill with the flu. He/she said they were even able to chuckle, which could simply mean that they experienced moments of happiness.

      As for your first statement about people who “report” fewer problems, just the opposite seems to be true. The people who quit, quit. And don’t come back here to post endlessly month after month year after year.

      Best of luck, JCJC! Thanx for sharing your experience.

  16. At last – I could walk at my

    At last – I could walk at my usual speed today, for the first time in over a year, I could walk at a fast pace!!

    anon, you can’t be reading the same posts as me!! the poster to whom you refer had been trying for years to get off, I hope he does this time, I really do, but I think it is unrealistic to give up so many things at once, but maybe he really is a superman.

  17. Thanks anon for the added spur!

    You’re right I’ve been on-off for a long time. In recent years my pattern has been that if I can get through 10 days, as I have now, then I stay clean for 3,6,9 months. (For c.20 years of my earlier life I was totally clean.) I am very realistic that times of stress or boredom have then in the past led to relapse. I think one of the great messages from the addiction discussions after Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death was that, even after 23 years clean, you are still at risk. Need to be vigilant.

    The point about my withdrawing from alcohol etc as well, is that previously I have found one leads to the other, and that for me the best place is clean. Good so far; my GAD has basically completely gone at this stage.

    Wish you all the best – if I’m not on here you’ll know is going well for me at least.
    (P.s. some notes in withdrawal section (in key points) here might help you; caffeineevaluation.blogspot.co.uk/)

    1. meditation is helping me a

      meditation is helping me a lot. raises my happiness set point. that’s a major difference vs previous withdrawal attempts.

  18. That is such good news, I am

    That is such good news, I am v hopeful for you now.

    I am finding meditation helps as well.

    I am glad you found (my? if you did mean this anon) post a spur, that is what I hoped it would do, but then I got worried that if you couldn’t manage to come off everything at once it would make it harder to post for you, but it obviously won’t. it ‘s amazing how a little opposition can help (occasionally).

    Every good wish for a successful recovery for us all on here……..

  19. Long Road

    It took me months to recover from years of fairly heavy caffeine use. I used to get up in the middle of the night and drink a pepsi and go back to bed. That’s how tolerant i was.

    The worst part for me after the acute withdrawl symptoms was the depression and lack of motivation. If your life isn’t perfect withdrawal will make it worse. Even if your life is good it still makes it suck. lol

    Now even if i have a chunk of milk chocolate it makes my heart race. I don’t like the downside after use it’s temporary and short but it makes me feel like crap. If that’s not a drug don’t know what is.

    I actually feel better than ever so if you want to endure the pain there is a bright side of the tunnel.

    But watch it they sneak it into many foods, i wonder why? Oh yea it makes people buy more. lol

    1. I posted in the past during

      I posted in the past during my experience so if you want insight to how my recovery progressed go read some of those older posts. I think i come back here to help others since this site helped me.

  20. jC and ahuman,
    thank you both

    jC and ahuman,

    thank you both so much, it was your posts here that gave me the inspiration and info to get off caffeine, JC it was your post about having “some of the best days of your life” off caffeine that made me want to try and get off and made me so disappointed when you went back on, and ahuman – all your posts were so helpful. Could you remind me exactly how long it took for you to completely recover – I think it was about a year.

    Thank you both very much indeed!!!!!!!!! (and good luck JC in this your last caffeine detox)

  21. 5 Days Clean

    I’ve now completed 5 days off caffeine in all forms – coffee, tea, chocolate. It should be closer to 2 weeks, but I was out with friends on Friday evening and a huge urge to have a coffee came over me. I gave in and had one, then stopped again. On Saturday I had a couple of really strong cravings that seemed to last about an hour each, but I managed to ride them out and haven’t had any since. It’s quite scary how quickly and completely the craving got hold of me on the Friday though. A lesson to be learned…

    I feel pretty good now. I’m still in a bit of a daze and have some minor muscle pains in my legs and back, but they’re fading slowly. I’m taking it a day at a time and also taking nothing for granted, but I’d like to think this is the last time I’m going to go through this. I am truly sick and tired of this caffeine merry-go-round and have had enough. I feel like I’ve given in – I have years and years of experience of how it doesn’t work for me, so I’m just not going to bother trying to use it any more. It may work for other people, but it doesn’t for me. I’m better off caffeine free.

  22. Dear owner of this site

    it would be so valuable, and cool, for you to email everyone who has posted here, going back all the way (2006?), to survey them about if/how they withdrew from caffeine, and what their experiences were. Sure there would be some self-selection maybe in who replied (as I’m sure there is in who posts), but the results could give a really useful handbook on withdrawal. If you’d like to work with a science researcher on this, let me know, I could try some people. Thanks for the site, and best wishes

    1. RE: Dear owner of this site

      I do not have contact info for people who post on the site. I might look into a poll module in the future for this type of thing but right now life is keeping me busy with other projects and as you said any info you could glean from such a survey while interesting would have such a self selection bias as to be useless for anything but curiosity about users of this site.

  23. Dizziness with caffeine?

    Hello. I’ve posted to this site in previous months. I’m 3 weeks off Lexapro (yay!). I took Lexapro for 7 months for acute anxiety. I finally made the connection that when I drank coffee while being on Lexapro, I would get intense flashes of anxiety, dizziness, and scary/worried thoughts. So although I’ve never had a caffeine addiction, I really decreased the amount of caffeine intake – mostly drinking decaf teas and maybe the occasional cup of coffee with later regret when it gave me anxiety. Now that I’m off Lexapro, I want to enjoy the occasional cup of coffee. But just a couple days ago, I had half a cup of coffee and have since noticed slight episodes of dizziness, almost like my head is buzzing. I notice it when I’m sitting still or trying to focus on something. I just talked to the pharmacist who said the withdrawal symptoms should be done by now and that the dizziness must be caused by something else. But half a cup of coffee?

    So my question is, for those who have gone several weeks (or months) with little to no caffeine and then start consuming caffeine again, do you experience these head sensations? I know that strange head sensations accompany caffeine withdrawal, but how about on/off/on caffeine intake? I’ve been keeping up with these posts and I agree with those who report that the head sensations are the scariest/weirdest. I initially worried that I was having minor seizures or that it was a symptom of something else, but I’ve never had this problem before until I had my first panic attack just under a year ago. In the days and weeks following the panic attack (probably brought on by extreme stress and anxiety and not caffeine withdrawal), I had those same buzzing/dizzy spells that last barely a second or two. Then when I started Lexapro and would drink coffee, the dizziness and buzzing sensations increased. But now that I’m off Lexapro, shouldn’t they be gone too? Unless my nervous system is still settling into my new state of being and is a bit worked up…

    Thank you for your insights.

    1. I’d vote it was the caffeine

      I’d vote it was the caffeine personally as dizziness was my worse withdrawal symptom after the weird head feelings which have now become headaches incidently, any way i was two and half months caffeine free and the dizziness had gone, when i stupidly impulsively had a handful of chocolate buttons, just to see, and ive had a re emergence of all symptoms including dizziness, isnt that incredible, but not as bad at least as it was during my original withdrawal, alas even chocolate is deffo out now. anyway thats what i think. well done on coming off the anxiety meds by the way.

  24. A month clean….

    A month in and I thought I’d give a little update on my detox. It can only be a little update as there’s not a huge amount to say ! Just over 4 weeks ago I (finally) decided (again) that I needed to drop caffeine from my life altogether. I had 2/3 days of feeling awful, a further 2/3 days of not feeling quite right, then it’s been pretty much OK since. I don’t feel 100% but I know from previous experience withdrawal has a long tail before feeling completely better – most of the benefit comes quickly, then a long, slow improvement over the final stages. I’ve previously been caffeine free for 4 months, but I really plan this time to be for good. I’m not thinking about it, or craving it at all, so I’m hopeful. Just need to watch out for those out-of-the-blue cravings that hit from nowhere and have caught me in the past.

    Overall though, I feel great. I’m calmer, thinking more clearly, more productive, sleeping better and saving a small fortune by not visiting coffee shops !

    That said, I have eaten chocolate a couple of times. The caffeine content is tiny (it was milk chocolate and not much of it), but I feel uncomfortable about it so need to be on my guard. I’m also realising (again) that sugar is a big issue for me and really affects how I feel. Whenever I eat something very sweet, I very quickly start to lose focus and feel mentally foggy, similar to when I drank coffee. I wonder if maybe that’s why I didn’t feel great with caffeine – that it was messing with my blood sugar ?

    I may have to do a little experiment and drop the sweet stuff for a month or so and see what difference it makes….

  25. caffeine overdose

    I think I had a caffeine overdose when I was stuck at home with double vision after having a concussion. I had half a cup of a medium coffee which is probably close to a real cup with breakfast and had a lindt truffle about six hours later with no food and I started getting nauseated with slight perspiration and then my heart rate skyrocketed to 180 bpm and I know this cause I had the squad called on me. I also experienced extreme tremors and weakness associared with this episode. I went to the hospital and my heart rate continued to go up and down several more times and they seemed to think I have some kind of heart condition but after reading the acute symptoms of caffeine overdose on this site I am now convinced thats what it was cause I have always had high sensitivity from caffeine and other drugs. Since that experience I have only had caffeine a few times but a few times too many. I have experienced hot flashes, tremors,twitching muscles,irritability,etc from caffeine withdrawls and I am not going to ingest it ever again just like so many more of my old vices long since left in the wind lol. It really sucks being a recovering aaddict to know that one cant even enjoy a little caffeine here and there. Congratulations to all those who have stayed clean and I hope I can follow in your footsteps.

  26. I can relate to everything on

    I can relate to everything on these posts.. These crazy head feelings are the worst.. Still have them after a month.. Along with an awful Constant feeling of stupidity and blank mind.

    1. I found the weird head

      I found the weird head feelings the worse as well, they changed as the weeks went by, but I was having them at three months caffeine free, nearly four months free now and they have gone but I still have a fuzzy foggy brain feeling and am starting to wonder if ill ever feel clear headed again, I have just finished with a sudden bout of insomnia as well which was horrible, any way hang in there guys.

    2. stupidity and blank mind

      I know what you mean. I had major brain farts as well. And it was really pronounced too.
      Running helped clear up my brain fog. The more intense the faster I got rid of it.

      1. Hi Jayson,
        I am the anon (60

        Hi Jayson,

        I am the anon (60 year habit) that you helped so much a few months ago, and at last I feel that I am beginning to recover – my energy is gradually coming back, as is my sleep, my mood is gradually getting better and the aches and pains are slowly fading too. Muscle weakness is still a big feature, I used to have big biceps but they and all my other muscles have gone, shrunk, I hope I can get them back eventually when the fatigue finally goes, but it is still bad enough to prevent my normal levels of activity. I feel so well everyday though – even with all those symptoms, i still have bad days, but not so often. This is after a 4 month or so taper and 13 months of being caffeine free. It has been so worth it, just to feel so great even though I still have a lot of symptoms. I can’t wait to be fully recovered!!!

        Thanks again for your past encouragement.

        How are you now, still feeling great I hope?

  27. update from Lisa
    Have a

    update from Lisa

    Have a little anxiety and adrenaline of course. I just feel like it’s taking so long to heal. And I have days where I have terrible symptoms still. I do see something starting to change like I’m getting more fatigued like I said and less anxiety but I still have some scary head symptoms.. I get fear once in a while still as well.. It’s been 6 1/2 months already actually think it’s like six months and 20 days about 10 more days I’ll be at seven months already.. I been waking up a lot more calm than I used to probably about two months ago that started.. I do have a lot of muscle and joint pain very bad actually sometimes. I still also get akathisia but it’s very mild now it’s not his horrible as it used to be.. Knock on wood of course I did have a pretty bad about twice last month for the whole entire day.. It’s one of my most hated symptoms of course.. I still think I have a mild case of akathisia though every day because I can’t keep still and I have to constantly move my legs.. But it is getting better.. I do get a lot of headaches and head pressure and still I get some sinus pressure and weird burning in my ears just weird stuff… I keep getting this really scary feeling sometimes that everything is just to come back to me again like it did seven months ago and put me back in the cold turkey again.. I pray that never happens .. Lisa

  28. Hi Anon (60 year habit)

    Hi there. Glad to hear about your progress!

    And yeah, I’m doing really great. I’ve been caffeine-free since 2011!

    I also wanted to say that I chanced upon a scholarly article published by California State University, Long Beach (where I currently attend) about the dangers of caffeine and how it can lead to serious mental illnesses and disorders. I’m gonna try to upload it online and post the link here sometime after finals, as the article was a hardcopy. It’s worth a read and definitely will cement your decision of staying caffeine-free.

    Amidst my withdrawal symptoms back then, I remember having “OCD” like behavior and thought process. And it went away completely after a couple of years of being caffeine-free. =)

    1. That sounds really

      That sounds really interesting, I have read a similar article by Ruth Whalen.

      I am interested to know that it took 2 years for your ocd behaviour to go, that gives me even more hope. I had not realised what a negative impact caffeine had had on my mood, because (as I said in my last post) I feel so “well`’now, in spite of all the lingering symptoms.

      I had another bout of strange cramps in my legs and feet last night, but they are so much milder now, but it certainly proves to me that my symptoms are still directly related to caffeine withdrawal. I have also developed a sort of mild dry cough and have a feeling of constant inflammation and/or irritation in my lungs, plus chest – do you remember if you had any similar symptoms? (I am worried about heart attack/stroke).

      If only I had known what I know now, I would have come off caffeine years and years ago.

      I hope your finals go well(what is your subject) and I am so glad you managed to come off caffeine at a early age, your life will be so much better!!!!

        1. From the Livestrong site:

          From the Livestrong site:

          Chest pains may occur in some people after drinking caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system and helps you feel more awake. Chest pain from caffeine consumption is the result of inflammation and tightness in your airways and lungs.

      1. Here is the article:Caffeine

        Here is the article:
        CAFFEINE ALLERGY: Past Disorder or Present Epidemic?
        [EDITED to remove probable copyright issue]

        1. Please do not post copyrighted content unless you own the copyri

          I heavily redacted the comment above because it appears to be a copy-past from another site. If you want to refer people please use a URL or the title of the article.

          Ruth Whalen if you were the poster please accept my apologies and repost. I’ll email you to confirm your allowance of the re-post. Based on the original post that didn’t appear to be the case.

          Thanks

          Daniel Owen

          1. apologies, I misunderstood

            apologies, I misunderstood the small print at the end of the article. I have emailed Ruth to apologise and to ask for her permission.

            Again, many thanks for this site.

          2. Here is Ruth’s answer:
            Dear

            Here is Ruth’s answer:

            Dear ,

            Feel free to post any of my articles. I work for God, not the governments, so I ignore copyright “laws.”

            Ethically,
            Ruth Whalen

            Unless you object, I will repost the article, it is such an interesting and important piece of information………

          3. Thanks Daniel. I will check

            Thanks Daniel. I will check before posting anything else. I have also ordered her book about caffeine “Welcome to the Dance” and am wondering if anyone else on this site has read it.

            CAFFEINE ALLERGY: Past Disorder or Present Epidemic?
            by Ruth Whalen, Medical Laboratory Technician
            Cape Cod, MA USA.

            With the upswing of “chemical imbalance” disorders that surfaced in the latter twentieth century, many researchers frantically attempt to unravel the brain’s intricate clockworks. In turn, as the number of persons suffering with mental issues mount, it seems that doctors, pressed for time, are quick to refer patients to psychiatrists. Failing to request a medical physical, many psychiatrists hand out medications, often masking the underlying physical problem.

            People have overlooked two simple but deleterious factors: 1,3,7 trimethylxanthine and allergy. Simply put: caffeine allergy. It is medical knowledge that the longer a person is exposed to a drug, the higher the chances are for developing a tolerance, and an allergy to the substance. Once this happens, caffeine allergic persons can’t properly metabolize caffeine, which is rapidly absorbed by all organs, and distributed into intracellular compartments, and extracellular water.

            Mentioned in a 1936 article by Drs. McManamy and Schube, a young woman, allergic to caffeine, presented with alternating states of delirium and mania, resembling schizophrenia (1). After the recorded case, allergy documentation becomes rare. And not surprisingly.

            The drug’s stimulating properties masks its allergic symptoms. Circulating adrenaline (epinephrine) increases in caffeine consuming persons (2,3). In its synthetic form, epinephrine is the drug of choice for anaphylactic reactions, halting allergic reactions. But added to a stimulant reaction, excess adrenaline may induce delusions. And the breakdown of some adrenaline byproducts mimics symptoms of schizophrenia (4).

            Brain levels increase proportionately with dosage (5). In allergic persons, each cup of coffee, cola, tea, every piece of chocolate, and any ingested caffeine products, intensifies toxic psychosis. Half-life increases. Subsequent doses, including minute amounts, act as a bolus. Cells are poisoned, including neurons.

            Symptoms of cerebral allergy can range from minimal reactions, such as lack of comprehension and inability to focus, to severe psychotic states, such as delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations (6). It’s known that amphetamine psychosis can’t be distinguished from schizophrenia (7,8). With a caffeine allergic person’s inability to eliminate, continually ingesting caffeine, neurotransmitter levels, including dopamine and adrenaline, quickly increase. Cells rapidly absorb the drug.

            Dopamine increases proportionately to the amount of stress (9). The higher the adrenaline level, the greater the increase in dopamine. Serotonin also increases. Dopamine and serotonin decrease during partial, toxic withdrawal states. But as long as caffeine remains in the toxic body, neurotransmitters never adjust to the victim’s natural state.

            Toxicity is known to cause excitement, agitation, restlessness, shifting states of consciousness, and toxic psychosis (10), mimicking amphetamine psychosis. Allergic individuals may be erroneously diagnosed, medicated, and lost in a dark disturbed world, until death.

            Adenosine receptors are blocked by caffeine (11,16), maintaining neuronal firing. Persons remain excited and often euphoric.

            Caffeine toxicity may be mistaken for bipolar disorder (1,12). Symptoms include: chattiness, repetitive thought and action (resembling obsessive compulsive disorder, OCD), restlessness, psychomotor agitation, alternating moods, anger, impulsiveness, aggression, omnipotence, delirium, buying sprees, lack of sexual inhibition, and loss of values.

            Allergy can mimic Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) (13). As far back as 1902, T. D. Crothers noted that many caffeine consuming children “exhibit precocity” and “functional exaltation” (14).

            Caffeine poisoning may also resemble schizophrenia. One woman’s conversational topics wandered from subject to subject. She screamed, and believed that she was in prison. Natural judgement was impaired (1). In 1931, a truck driver brought to the hospital in a confused and irritable condition, complained of being attacked by flies. Flies were never present. Examination revealed that he’d consumed large amounts of cola (15). One gentleman ended his political speech with predictions and threats, out of the ordinary for his personality, stunning the audience (14). Another case describes a man, who imagined himself very wealthy, and assumed that his mental state was normal (14).

            Caffeine toxicity may also masquerade as depression, and anxiety. In 1925, Powers described nervousness, visual problems, and dizziness, in patients he discovered suffered from caffeine toxicity (16). In 1974, caffeine toxic patients, experiencing the same symptoms, were erroneously admitted to a psychiatric hospital, for treatment of anxiety (16,17). In other studies, depression and anxiety are also correlated with caffeine intake (18,19,20,21).

            In several reports, patients diagnosed with anxiety disorder experienced panic attacks with ingestion of caffeine (18,19,20). One study reveals that six persons improved with caffeine cessation and remained improved for at least six months (21). Other reports reveal that some persons not afflicted with panic disorder, experienced panic attacks with intravenously administered caffeine (22, 23).

            Written materials on panic disorder symptoms and anaphylactic symptoms do not clearly differentiate between the two. Parasthesia (pins and needle sensations), a feeling of choking, hyperactive symptoms, chest pains, and hyperventilation, amongst other symptoms, are common in both conditions. They’re also common in many caffeine consuming persons.

            This suggests that caffeine allergy may be responsible for many cases of panic disorder. In which case, panic attacks in allergic individuals are suppressed anaphylactic reactions – mimicking ADHD, and panic disorder. They’re “have to get up and run” and “I think I’m losing my mind” feelings, brought about by increased neurotransmitter levels, associated with the “fight or flight” syndrome.

            Dr. William Walsh connected anxiety and severe allergic reactions. Dr.Walsh maintains that allergic anxiety stems from a choking sense, and loss of air; not a psychological deficit (24).

            Caffeine converts into many byproducts, including theophylline. Theophylline keeps the bronchial tubes open. Allergic individuals are less likely to suffer respiratory collapse, during an anaphylactic reaction.

            A proficient Boston neurologist mentions that sixty-six percent of elevated CPK MM (creatine phosphokinase of muscle) levels are of an “unknown origin” (25). Innumerable mid to late twentieth century studies reveal that a high number of persons diagnosed with mental disorders, including personality disorder, mania, BPD, depression, catatonia, and schizophrenia, exhibit elevated CPK MM levels (26,27,28-38,39,40-50).

            The high majority of these studies, and others, attribute elevated CPK levels to a commonality between patients with mental disorders. Not one focuses on caffeine allergy as a contributing factor of mental disorders.

            CPK MM, a muscle enzyme, increases with severe muscle trauma, burns, inflammatory states, and poisoning. This may stem from drugs (36,37,38,39), including cocaine, alcohol, amphetamines, heroin, and stimulants (37,40). Antihistamines, salicylates, cyclic antidepressants, theophylline, and others also cause this disorder (37).

            This condition, called rhabdomyolysis, stresses and inflames tissues, including brain cells, breaking down muscle fibers, and discharging potentially toxic cellular matter into the bloodstream (37). Caffeine poisoning can cause rhabdomyolysis (10,37,41).

            Myoglobinuria is a symptom of rhabdomyolysis, but often urine myoglobin disappears early in the course of the disorder, or is absent altogether (37). Generalized muscle cramping (associated with rhabdomyolysis) (14,37) may also be absent, or subside early on. Accumulation of caffeine acts as morphine, alleviating pain and discomfort, often inducing muscle rigidity.

            With toxins leaking into the bloodstream, the CPK increases. The higher the CPK, the higher the neurotransmitters, and the deeper into psychosis a person spirals.

            In the late 1960’s, Bengzon et al proposed that the leakage of CPK and aldolase might explain schizophrenia (26). Studies on patients with non-restrictive diets, concentrated on various factors, including medication, but failed to include caffeine as a possible factor (26). More recent studies have also overlooked caffeine allergy as a factor in any mental disorders, including schizophrenia.

            A study theorized caffeine as a possible, psychosis inducing agent. Researchers eliminated patients’ caffeine for a short duration. It was decided that caffeine aggravates symptoms of thought disorder and psychosis (42). Caffeine was reintroduced-never allowing for sufficient withdrawal times-and significant improvements.

            Proportionate to toxicity, physical withdrawal may take up to 12 months, or longer. Recovery symptoms include memory loss, confusion, tremors, agitated states, insomnia or somnolence, and nightmares associated with amphetamine withdrawal. Following physical recovery, residual mental symptoms, primarily confusion and mood alterations, may exist for several months.

            Evidence suggests that caffeine, and synthetic neurotransmitter altering medications, merely balance one another, and that upon cessation of caffeine, medication is no longer needed. Several reports indicate that upon caffeine cessation, tremors increased in lithium consuming individuals (43). In some patients, caffeine withdrawal increased lithium levels (44). After experiencing a 10-year course of seasonal BPD, a woman eliminated caffeine from her diet. She no longer needed BPD medication (45).

            Caffeine may compete for benzodiazepine receptors (5). In which case, benzodiazepines reduce caffeine’s effects and vice versa; balancing each other.

            Chronic toxicity may affect functional aspects of every organ (14). Allergic persons may become sensitive to bright light, and resort to sunglasses. It’s not uncommon to find dilated but reactive pupils on examination (14). Toxic persons usually present with a whitish, or grayish coated tongue (14, 46). Other findings imply that caffeine inhibits anaphylaxis, by suppressing histamine release (47,48). Due to caffeine’s antihistamine properties, a skin test for caffeine allergy may be negative.

            Several laboratory tests may be used as markers for allergic toxicity. A detectable Theophylline level in a patient not receiving Theophylline therapy, and an elevated CPK level are indicative of caffeine toxicity. Along with these, an increased glucose level (10,49) and an elevated white blood count (1,49) may also be significant of toxicity, as many patients assumed afflicted with mental disorders present with elevation of these (1,50). An elevated sedimentation rate, indicative of inflammatory processes, might signify rhabdomyolysis.

            It’s highly probable, that millions of consumers developed an allergy to caffeine, especially since availability and production increased rapidly mid- twentieth century. In which case, natural insights, and physical and mental health, have been sacrificed to chronic toxicity, resulting in organic brain, silently posing as ADD, ADHD, anxiety, BPD, depression, OCD, panic, and schizophrenia. Physical ailments resemble amphetamine poisoning, and include drug eruptions, masquerading as “rosacea.”

            Back in 1936, McManamy and Schube maintained that in all probability, many people of that era might have already been erroneously diagnosed with some form of mental illness. The doctors further predicted, that in the future, with lack of time, and proper medical insight, many doctors would not be able to diagnose simple disorders such as caffeine allergy, and would label many patients as psychotic (1).

            Well, here we are. Welcome to the future.

            (Copyright 2001 © Ruth Whalen M.L.T., ASCP, BA. Tenpaisleypark@hotmail.com Reprinted with permission.)

            REFERENCES:
            1. McManamy MC, Schube PG. Caffeine Intoxication: Report of a Case the Symptoms of which Amounted to a Psychosis. N Eng Journ Med. 1936. 215:616-620.

            2. Cherniske, Stephen. Caffeine Blues: Wake Up to the Hidden Dangers of America’s #1 Drug.New York: Warner. 1998.

            3. James, Jack E. Understanding Caffeine: A Biobehavioral Analysis. California: Sage. 1997.

            4. Huxley, Aldous. THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION and HEAVEN AND HELL. New York: Harper & Row. 1954.

            5. Spiller, Gene A., ed. The Methylxanthines Beverages and Foods: Chemistry, Consumption, and Health Effects. New York: Alan R. Liss Inc. 1984.

            6. Sheinken, David, Schachter, Michael, Hutton, Richard. The Food Connection: How the Things You Eat Affect the Way You Feel-And What You Can Do About It. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co. 1979.

            7. Arieti, Silvano. Interpretation of Schizophrenia. New York: Basic Books, Inc. 1974.

            8. Lukas, Scott. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs: Amphetamines: Danger in the Fast Lane. New York: Chelsea House. 1985.

            9. Ruden, Ronald. The Craving Brain. New York: Harper Collins. 1997.

            10. Fisher Scientific Corporation. Material Safety Data Sheet: Caffeine. NJ: MDL Information Systems. 1984. (Rev. 1995).

            11. Nehlig, A. Are We Dependent upon Coffee and Caffeine?: A Review on Human and Animal. Neurosci and Biobehav Reviews. 1999. 23:563-576.

            12. American Psychiatric Association. Caffeine-Induced Organic Mental Disorder. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual III-R (DSM III-R). 1987 and 1994. http://www.drowning.com/caffeine.html.

            13. Rapp, Doris. Is This Your Child?: Discovering and Treating Unrecognized Allergies in Children and Adults. New York: William Morrow & Co. 1991.

            14. Crothers, T.D. Morphinism and Narcomanias from Other Drugs. Philadelphia: W. B. Sanders & Co. 1902.

            15. Shen WW, D’Souza TC.Cola-induced psychotic organic brain syndrome: A Case Report. Rocky Mountain Med Journ.1979. 76: 312-313.

            16. Snyder SH, Pamela Sklar. PSYCHIATRIC PROGRESS: BEHAVIORAL AND
            MOLECULAR ACTIONS OF CAFFEINE: FOCUS ON ADENOSINE. J. Psychiat. Res.1984. 91-106.

            17. Greden JF. Anxiety or Caffeinism: A Diagnostic Dilemma. Amer Journ Psychiatry. 1974. 1089-1092.

            18. Lee MA, Flegel P, Greden JF, Cameron OG. Anxiogenic effects of caffeine on panic and depressed patients. American Journ Psychiatry. 1988. 145: 632-635.

            19. Clementz GL, Dailey JW. Psychotropic effects of caffeine. Amer Fam Physician. 1988.37: 167-172.

            20.Boulenger JP, Uhde TW, Wolff EA 3rd, Post RM. Increased sensitivity to caffeine in patients with panic disorders. Preliminary evidence. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984. 41:1067-1071.

            21. Bruce MS, Lader M. Caffeine abstention in the management of anxiety disorders. Psychol Med. 1989. 19: 211-214.

            22. Lin AS, Uhde TW, Slate SO, McCann UD. Effects of intravenous caffeine administered to Healthy males during sleep. Depress Anxiety. 1997. 5: 21-28.

            23. Nickell PV, Uhde TW. Dose-response of intravenous caffeine in normal volunteers. Anxiety.1994-1995. 1: 161-168.

            24. Walsh, William E. The Complete Guide to Understanding and Relieving Your Food Allergies. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2000.

            25. Neurology Department. New England Medical Center. Boston. 2001.

            26. Meltzer, H. Muscle Enzyme Release in the Acute Psychosis. Arch General Psychiatry.1969.21: 102-112.

            27. Meltzer, HY. Neuromuscular Abnormalities in the major mental illnesses .I. Serum enzyme studies. Res Publ Assoc Res Nerv Ment Disor. 1975. 54:165-188.

            28. Crayton JW, Meltzer HY. Serum creatine phosphokinase activity in psychiatrically hospitalized children. Arch Gen Psychiatry.1976. 33: 679-681.

            29. Meltzer, HY. Serum creatine phosphokinase in schizophrenia. Amer Journ Psychiatry.1976. 192-197.

            30. Cohen DJ, Johnson W, Caparulo BK, Young JG. Creatine phosphokinase levels in children with severe developmental disturbances. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976. 33: 683-686.

            31. Faulstich ME, Brantley PJ, Barkemeyer CA. Creatine phosphokinase, the MMPI, and Psychosis. Amer Journ Psychiatry. 1984. 141: 584-586.

            32. Balaita C, Christodorescu D, Nastase R, Iscrulescu C, Dimian G. The serum creatine-kinase as a biological marker in major depression. Rom Journ Neurol Psychiatry. 1990.28: 127-134.

            33. Swartz CM, Breen KJ. Multiple muscle enzyme release with psychiatric illness. Journ Nerv Ment Disor.1990. 178: 755-759.

            34. Nastase R, Balaita C, Iscrulescu C, Petrea A. The concentration of serum-kinase in manic attacks of primary affective psychoses. Rom Journ Neurol Psychiatry. 1993.31: 97-103.

            35. Blumensohn R, Yoran-Hegesh R, Golubchik P, Mester R, Fluhr H, Hermesh H, Weizman A. Elevated serum creatine kinase activity in adolescent psychiatric inpatients on admission. Int Clinic Psychopharmacol. 1998. 13: 269-272.

            36. Berkow, Robert , ed. Sixteenth Edition. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. NJ:Merck Research Laboratories. 1992.

            37. Craig, Sandy. Rhabdomyolyis. Emergency Medicine. May, 2001. http://www.emedicine.com/Emerg/topic508.htm.

            38. Davidson, Israel, and Henry John Bernard, eds. Todd-Sanford Clinical Diagnosis by Laboratory Methods. 15th Edition. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. 1974.

            39. Widmann, Frances K. Clinical Interpretation of Laboratory Tests. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Co. 1983.

            40. Richards, Jr. Rhabdomyolsis and Drugs of Abuse. J Emerg Med. 2000.
            19: 51-56.

            41. Wrenn KD, Oschner I. Rhabdomyolysis induced by caffeine overdose. Ann Emerg Med. 1989. 18: 94-97.

            42. Lucas PB, Pickar David, Kelsoe, John, Rapaport Mark, Pato Carlos, Hommer, Daniel. Effects of Acute Administration of Caffeine in Patients with Schizophrenia.
            Biol Psychiatry.1990. 28: 35-40.

            43. Jefferson, JW. Lithium tremor and caffeine intake: two cases of drinking less and shaking more. Journ Clin Psychiatry. 1988. 49: 72-73.

            44. Mester R, Toren P, Mizrachi I, Wolmer L, Karni N, Weizman A.Caffeine withdrawal increases lithium blood levels. Biol Psychiatry. 1995. 37: 348-350.

            45. Tondo L, Rudas N. The course of a seasonal bipolar disorder influenced by caffeine.Journ Affect Disor. 1991. 22: 249-251.

            46. Headlee, Raymond, and Wells, Bonnie Corey. Psychiatry in Nursing. New York: Rhinehart & Co. 1948.

            47. Shiozaki T, Sugiyama K, Nakazato K, Takeo T. Effects of tea extracts, catechin and caffeine against type-I allergic reaction. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1997. 117: 448-454.

            48. Shin HY, Lee CS, Chae HJ, Kim HR, Baek SH, An NH, Kim MH. Inhibitory effects of anaphylactic shock by caffeine in rats. Int J Immunopharmacol. 2000. 22: 411-418.

            49. Massachusetts Poison Control System. Caffeine. Clinical Toxicology Review. Nov. 1994. http://www.mapoison.org/ctr/9411caffeine.html

            50. Hatta K, Takahashi T, Nakamura H, Yamashiro H, Endo H, Fujii S, Fukami G, Masui K, Asukai N, Yonezawa Y. Abnormal physiological conditions in acute schizophrenic patients on emergency admission: dehydration, hypokalemia, leukocytosis and elevated serum muscle enzymes. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1998. 248: 180-188.

  29. @Anon (60 year habit)

    No, I never had those, especially chest pain. The major symptoms I had and the ones I remember most clearly are anxiety, phobias, OCD like behavior, muscle fatigue and brain fog/memory problems. I had other ones as well, but they’re petty compared to the ones I just mentioned, such as trembling and shakiness, a ringing sound in my ear, problems with my appetite, etc..

    If you’re overweight and have a big belly, heart attack/stroke becomes extremely relevant. If not and you’re in shape, I’d say it’s pretty safe to assume that the chest pain and such are withdrawal symptoms, especially since caffeine was a 60 year habit for you.

    Also, heart attack is a symptom of what’s about to happen, which is cardiac arrest. People normally complain of chest pain that radiates through their arms and jaw. My auntie was complaining about the pain in her left arm one day and dismissed it as the outcome of having slept wrongly. Turns out she was having a heart attack.

    Withdrawal symptoms sucks. I became suicidal at one point (I posted about it here some hundreds of pages back. Around 2010/2011), but I endured it and here I am, literally stoked! =)

    1. Thanks again Jayson, I think

      Thanks again Jayson, I think I will assume that it is caffeine wd after reading your post……

  30. Day 35

    The comments on this site has helped a lot. I quit caffeine on April 04, 2014. Things are getting better. Sometimes I feel 100%, but then tiredness settles back in. But, I’m not as tired as I once was. Depression is gone. Reading everything on this site has helped me be patient until at least the 60 day mark. The pain in my back is my pancreas, I’m sure. Considering my mother died of pancreatic cancer, it has freaked me out a little bit. This site has helped me tell myself that this is likely not a real concern, but a concern that is a symptom of my withdrawal.

    The events leading up to me stopping caffeine started in December 2013.

    December 2013

    Out of the blue, I felt extremely fatigued. It surprised me because I’m usually so high energy going non-stop from the time I wake up until bed time. (Now I realize that was caffeine induced mania.) I went to the doctor and he ran blood tests. Everything came back fine. By the time I got the results, I also felt normal again. Coincidentally I had stopped caffeine for a few days. I just figured that I had been going to hard for too long. I started caffeine again and was fine.

    February 2014

    Out of the blue, I experienced partial blindness for 25 minutes. Then twice more over the next 3 days. I researched what was going on and then confirmed it with an eye doctor visit. I had experienced aura migraines which are pain free, but does interfere with my eyesight. These are very common as it turns out and the source is stress. At the time from October 2013 to February 2014, I had been trying to buy a house much more expensive than the one in which I currently live. The guy from whom I was trying to buy it was flipping the house. He kept promising it would be done in November, then December, then January, etc… I really wanted the house, but I felt constant non-stop stress. I’m sure that coffee didn’t help. Anyway, I gave up on buying the house and immediately felt all my stress melt away.

    April 2014

    Out of the blue, I felt extremely fatigued again. I had started taking Claritin a couple of weeks before for some extreme allergies that I was experiencing. I was trying to ride out the fatigue by just resting again, but this time I wasn’t getting any better. I was actually getting worse. I was having trouble breathing. My right lung actually hurt. I had researched where this could be a rare allergic reaction to Claritin. It seemed odd to have an allergic reaction to allergy medicine, but it is possible. I immediately stopped Claritin and coffee and went to the doctor. The doctor told me there was nothing wrong with me. Just to be safe, stay off the Claritin. Now come on. I knew there was something wrong with me. Being off the Claritin and caffeine slowly allowed my breathing to come back.

    May 2014

    In hindsight, I find it interesting that instinctively, I quit caffeine with each fatigue episode. I didn’t think about caffeine causing it. My body just knew it needed rest and subconsciously my mind had me give up coffee. Since giving up caffeine 35 days ago, I have experience most of the symptoms that I’ve found on this website.

    01. Fatigue
    02. Depression
    03. Weakness / lack of energy
    04. Weight loss
    05. Back pain which I think is my pancreas hurting
    06. Headaches
    07. Foggy thinking
    08. Dizziness
    09. A little nausea
    10. Constipation

    More and more frequently I’m having more energy and thinking clearly. At day 35, I’m having an off day with a lack of energy. But, I now trust that’s temporary and my energy level could come back at any moment. My weight loss has stopped and leveled out. My back actually didn’t start noticeably hurting until last week and it’s gradually gotten worse. It hurts today. Not significantly, but enough for me to know it’s there. I’m guessing that maybe it’s part of the process of my endocrine system rebooting. I hope so because my mother died of pancreatic cancer, so it freaks me out a little. This site is helping to ignore those thoughts for now. Lastly, I still struggle with the constipation as of today. Never never had that problem before. I mention my symptoms as of day 35 in case it helps anyone else on day 35.

    I’m starting to look at the house buying stress as pushing me over the edge (the straw that broke the camel’s back) as a blessing helping me see what stress the caffeine was putting on me. I didn’t even realize it. I’m just looking forward to 60 days!!

    1. Hello Michael, I just wanted

      Hello Michael, I just wanted to tell you that now I have been off over a year (and I am sure it won’t take you this long), I have started to lose some of my other allergies ….. I think they were caused by caffeine, so perhaps the same will happen for you.

      My back ache hip ache everything ache does not go on all the time now, it comes on at the end of the day or as soon as I start doing too much, which doesn’t take long as I am still wiped out with fatigue and muscle weakness. I too have times when I think my symptoms are all sinister, but as you say, this seems to be part of the process, as does the changing and waxing and waning of symptoms. Anyway, I hope your rapid improvement continues.

      1. Hello Anonymous (60 year old

        Hello Anonymous (60 year old habit), Thanks for your encouragement. Can I ask if your back hurting was your muscles? I’m sure that mine is not my muscles. Mine feels more like the pancreas because it only hurts if I press on that spot in my back. I’d like to hear from anyone that has anything of value to share concerning the back pain. Since it didn’t start until a couple of weeks ago, I’m going to think positively and trust it’s just a withdrawal symptom. The timing of it makes sense. And the fact that the pancreas is attached to the adrenal glands and both are part of the same endocrine system, it makes sense. But I’ve only found two references to “pancreas” in this forum. And, I haven’t found anything very descriptive about the back pain.

        Thanks for responding!

        1. Hello again, when I first

          Hello again, when I first came off the worst part of the back pain was in that area around the adrenals, luckily I didn’t know it was the pancreatic area, or I might have been even more worried, since then it has moved around and I now get it in the hips, and in the middle of my upper back and neck, I don’t know whether it is muscular or not, it is definitely very very painful and any activity makes it worse, apart from first thing in the morning when It is actually better when I have been moving around a bit. try googling liquid stress, caffeine cup of pain.

          1. Wow! Very interesting

            Wow! Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing that. I did not experience back pain while I was drinking caffeine, so I’m hoping it’s not the case with me. Plus, I’ve only been drinking caffeine for 6 years. I’m hoping there’s not too much irreversible damage to my body. Still, it’s amazing how tough it is getting off a 6 year habit. I feel fortunate to find out when I did.

            Thanks again 60 year old habit!

          2. No I didn’t get back pain

            No I didn’t get back pain when I was on it either, but I certainly do now. If you get the chance to read “Welcome to the Dance”by Ruth Mor, it is very interesting on the side effects of caffeine and why we don’t all experience them when we are still ingesting it. (see her short article below)

            I think you are v fortunate too, if only I had known about caffeine earlier too….

            How are you doing now?

          3. DAY 42

            Thank you 60 year habit for suggesting the book. I’ve ordered it today. Sounds really interesting! I also appreciate you interacting with me and everyone on this website. It helps hearing from someone who has gone through the withdrawals and still working on recovery.

            You asked me how I’m doing?

            I think the pancreas has stopped hurting. Now the pain is slightly higher between my shoulder blades. I’ve read scary stuff about back pain between the shoulder blades like cancer and I’ve read that it can be just stress. But, I prefer to think it’s a symptom of my caffeine withdrawal.

            Overall, I don’t have the energy that I once had when I was hyped on caffeine, but I guess that’s to be expected. I’m hoping more of it returns in the next month or so. I do work out at the gym for a couple of hours per day on most days. The exercise actually seems to help my energy level. And 2 hours is actually more than I did before while on caffeine. I’m going to guess that since caffeine masks my fatigue that I was really tired before, but didn’t know how tired I was. Now I’m more rested and my body can actually do more when called upon to do so. I just can’t do it constantly in a state of near mania like I did before.

            I haven’t read anything on hear much about people’s sex drive during the withdrawal. Mine was pretty high before stopping caffeine, but now it’s pretty low. Not gone entirely, but pretty low. My wife and I both hope that soon returns. lol. She’s being very supportive and patient with everything.

            Still, the biggest concern that I have right now is the back pain between the shoulder blades. I’m having faith that it will soon lessen and pass. I’m starting to take Glucosomine Chondroitin twice a day like I did before. Started that 2 days ago. I’ll let you know how it goes.

            No depression for a good while. I’m keeping in pretty good spirits and I’m not having the negative thoughts that I was having. Overall, I keep making progress.

            You mentioned that you still have fatigue and muscle weakness. Have you tried exercise? When I was experiencing the worst of my fatigue, I actually did the opposite of what my body wanted me to do and worked out. I pushed myself beyond the point where my body was screaming for me to stop. I was trying to build serotonin up with exercise to offset my depression and produce cortisol to offset energy symptoms caused by cortisol deficit. I don’t know if it helped me or not, but I did it. Also, did you go to an endocrinologist? I cancelled my appointment for now. I decided to wait until after the 60 day mark and see how I feel.

            Hang in there!

            Michael

  31. Hello Michael,
    I am also

    Hello Michael,

    I am also unable to do what I used to be able to do on caffeine, I used to walk incredibly fast everywhere (I was known for it, nobody could keep up), now I feel as though I am wading through water and feel as if I am walking incredibly slowly but when I compare myself with other people on the street, I am in reality walking at the same pace as them ie a normal walking pace.

    I have tried exercise with no success, it makes my back ache incredibly bad and the fatigue becomes a thousand times worse, I found a useful link will try and post it later. I do walk for at least half an hour a day though and more usually.
    You say “Now the pain is slightly higher between my shoulder blades.” exactly like me so it MUST be caffeine induced.

    I have just got back from hospital because I took Jayson’s advice and got my chest and arm pain checked out, after I went to the ER, they kept me in for x rays blood tests and I was hooked up to machines all night for tests, it was stressful and exhausting but thank goodness, there is nothing wrong with my heart, they were mystified but I didn’t mention that I had had these symptoms for the past 14 months after coming off caffeine!! Too much for them to believe…….

    1. Day 45

      I think it was wise to not mention that you had those symptoms for the past 14 months after coming off caffeine. They may not have tried as hard to find a cause. I would find it reassuring that they didn’t find anything. That reinforces your knowledge that it is the caffeine withdrawal and someday it will come to an end and you will recover. After 60 years, it is going to take a good while longer that someone like me that was only on it 6 years. I’m assuming that you’re still making slow, but steady progress??

      My back still hurts between my shoulder blades today, but I do have upbeat news. My energy level has felt pretty good for the past 3 days. The energy level has come and gone ever since I stopped caffeine 45 days ago, but this is the longest stretch of a normal energy level that I’ve felt. I’m expecting to still cycle through ups and downs of having energy and not having energy, but I’m hopeful that the having energy will continue to be longer and longer and the not having energy will be shorter and shorter.

      1. Hi michael, I am so glad you

        Hi michael, I am so glad you are getting your energy back – that is good news. Yes I am making steady progress, although the fatigue seems never ending. I think you will get longer and longer periods of having energy, so you might be back to “normal” very soon.

        I often think of John C, Mandy, Dave and all the others (and Jackie) and wonder how they are doing, I am in touch with Lisa and I know she is still struggling and having a hard time, although she too is very gradually improving. I hope they are all getting or are already better.

  32. “Step 1
    Practice patience and

    “Step 1
    Practice patience and start slowly. One of the biggest challenges that you may face while attempting to rebuild muscle is overcoming the realization that your body is not physically capable of the feats it used to be prior to atrophy. You will have to gradually work up to your fitness goals again”

    a quote from a site I got when I googled “how to build up muscle after wasting away” (on azcentral).

    It is going to take me a very long time, because I have to wait for the fatigue to improve as well……….

  33. DAY 54

    I’m still noticing improvement. While my energy level still isn’t 100% all of the time, it’s roughly 85% most of the time. I’m happy with that. There haven’t been any doom and gloom thoughts for at least 10 days. Yay! I’m really happy with that.

    @60 year habit: I got that book that you suggested, “Welcome to the Dance”. I find it interesting that she says that it takes 3 years of total abstinence from caffeine to experience a total detox of caffeine from every organ in the body. Hang in there! The 60 day mark that I’ve read on this forum and other places on the internet, seems to be a reliable milestone for me based on my progress. I did read in this book that exercise helps to speed up the detox process. Coincidentally, I exercised hard and on a regular basis no matter how bad I felt. This might have helped me. Plus, last summer I had kidney stones (another caffeine related illness) for the first time in my life. The urologist suggest that I started drinking lemon water and drop coffee. While I didn’t listen to his suggestion to drop coffee, I did start drinking 2 full glasses of lemon water every morning when I first wake up. I wanted to rehydrate my body and prevent the return of the kidney stones. It turns out that lemon water helps to detox the body. I did not read this in the book, but I’m thinking that the lemon water (in addition to the exercise) might have help speed up the detox process. I’m not a doctor, but it sounds logical. I don’t think this could hurt you 60-year-habit and it might actually help… maybe. 🙂

    In retrospect, I can see symptoms of my caffeine addiction and how it all fits into place. I’m glad that caffeine is all I did: no smoking, no drugs, and no drinking. It made it easier to figure out what my problem was even when the doctor sent me away saying there’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fortunate.

    Pieces of the puzzle that make sense now include the kidney stones, fatigue, and vertigo. The vertigo I was previously able to connect to aspartame. If there was aspartame in anything even without my knowledge, I would experience vertigo. Now I’m thinking that caffeine contributed to the vertigo by pushing my endocrine system to the point where it was especially sensitive to aspartame. Again, it’s a guess on my part, but it seems logical.

    In conclusion, I’m pretty optimistic about the future. And I’m confident that detoxing off of caffeine will be one of the best things I’ve ever done!

  34. I am glad you got something

    I am glad you got something from the book, I thought that was interesting too.

    Re the lemon juice, because I am allergic to sulfites (and cannot therefore use vinegar etc), I am awash with lemon juice AND I drink water with lemon juice (by the way, it is wise to eat a small piece of cheese after drinking lemon juice or it destroys the enamel on your teeth).
    I am trying to do as much exercise as I can, and my muscles are gradually getting stronger although nowhere near back to normal (I’d say I am at about 20 % of normal at the moment).

    I do envy you finding out about caffeine so early, at 72 it isn’t easy!!!!!

    1. DAY 63

      I forget 60 year habit, how much caffeine were you drinking daily before you quit? It sounds like it must have been a lot.

      I can’t say at day 63 I’m at 100%. I still have some allergies at night with the dry nose symptoms. I still have back pains. But, I remain hopeful that my symptoms will disappear in time. That book said that it takes 3 years of being totally off of caffeine to get that stuff out of every organ of our bodies.

      Today is Thursday, so Tuesday I skipped a day of exercising. I was getting worn out from too much exercise. However, skipping a day brought on that feeling of weakness like it’s a mild flu. I was feeling about 70% of normal yesterday up until I did my first sit ups before going to the gym. The sit ups by themselves helped me jump from 70% to 90% normal. After work out, I was nearly 100%. I woke up this morning (Thursday) feeling 100% but have dropped to 95%. So I think my problem is a cortisol deficiency since exercise creates cortisol. This tells me that my adrenal glands are completely healed yet, but getting better. I’m not a doctor, but this makes sense to me.

      I asked you before if you’ve gone to see an endocrinologist? Your reply was about your trip to the emergency room. An endocrinologist can do specialized tests on your adrenal glands, pancreas, thyroid, pituitary glands, etc. I’m just not sure that an emergency room really has enough specialized knowledge to examine your endocrine system on the level that would be helpful. Plus, an endocrinologist might be able to suggest (or prescribe) treatment that will help your endocrine system to heal quicker. You may have done all of this, but it’s just seems like a good way to go to me. What do you think?

  35. DAY 61

    At day 61, I feel mostly normal again minus the caffeine induced mania. 🙂 I didn’t think 60 days would ever get here, but around day 40 or so, time started to speed up. I couldn’t ever imagine feeling normal again, but I did make it. I say all this in case other people read this and need to feel hopeful that the withdrawal symptoms aren’t going to last forever.

    It did seem to help when I started to take a multi-vitamin along with extra zinc supplement and extra vitamin C. The only thing from which I varied in helping my adrenal glands to heal was that I put myself on a diet to lose weight. I had started to lose weight while going through the initial depression, but decided to maintain that weight loss and lose more. I lost 15 lbs. in 60 days. I don’t know if this slowed my recovery or actually helped by forcing the pituitary and thyroid glands to be more self-reliant and efficient. In any case, I helped me to resist eating more food and sugars to compensate for less caffeine. I don’t know if that’s how it works, but in my mind it sounds right.

    I do sleep more than when I drink caffeine. I feel myself getting wore out and needing rest. However, I think that before caffeine stopped me from feeling how tired I was; thereby, preventing me from getting the rest that I need. I just kept going and going until I crashed from fatigue. This might also explain why I only could run 1.5 miles before. Now 60 days later, I run 5 miles on a good day and 3.5 miles on an easy day. In addition, I walk 30 minutes everyday, stretch, and lift weights 3 to 4 times a week.

    I’m so thankful to have reached the 60 day mark. All the comments on here really helped me understand what was going on and have faith that what I was experiencing wasn’t fatal. 🙂

  36. I was only drinking 2 cups of

    I was only drinking 2 cups of tea a day, so not much, but I am extremely sensitive to all meds now (after decades of prescription benzodiazepines) which is why it would be pointless for me to see an endocrinologist, I cannot tolerate any supplements or vitamins etc except as they come naturally, in fruit and veg etc.

    I am sure all your symptoms will fade eventually.

  37. DAY 68

    @ 60 YEAR HABIT: I’m not sure that it’s pointless for you to see an endocrinologist. At the very least, he could identify the problem so you know it’s nothing worse than a dysfunctional endocrine system. It might help relieve some worries if you have any. Plus, he might know some non-medicine treatments. We don’t know what we don’t know sometimes.

    I have read that drinking too much lemon juice (“lemon juice cleansing”) can also cause fatigue. Too much of anything is usually not good. Plus too much lemon juice can flush out essential nutrients that your body needs.

    I hope you don’t mind me trying to help brain storm. I personally am always open to suggestions. Sometimes I’m too close to what’s going on to see clear solutions. Plus, I would like to hear you are starting to feel better. I’m hopeful that you’ll get to feeling better!

    DAY 68: On day 68, I’m feeling a little weak the past couple of days. Before that, I was feeling on top of the world and very happy. Some of my weakness might be the result of my diet and me exercising so much. I took off exercising yesterday to rest up. I still experience some back pain when walking 30 minutes and holding a book that I’m reading at the same time, but there’s a little bit of improvement.

    I made an appointment for a physical today. It will be 6 weeks before they can get me in, so I’m going to be patient. Plus, I plan on making an appointment with an endocrinologist just to get checked out and here what he has to say. Since my mother died of pancreatic cancer, I figure it can’t hurt.

  38. I am waiting for some blood

    I am waiting for some blood test results (just an annual check up) so they may reveal something, I hope not. I am happy with my progress and am not worried about it, I wish it would speed up, but I can’t make it happen, I can’t control my metabolism.
    Of course I don’t mind your making suggestions. I don’t have your faith in “experts” though….

  39. 6.5 months caffeine free now

    i was on this site everyday in the first four months of quitting a diet coke habit and was really helped by all the posts, i thought id come on and see how people were doing and came across micheals posts which ive read, anyway i have no regrets quitting diet coke but havent reaped full benifits as i started eating chocolate again – i promise you that first piece of chocolate tasted horrible… i know, so why eat it then. so im going to cut it out and also aspartame as i have a bit of that too, not as much as in diet coke days, but some, as i am left with cognitive fog and dizzyness, giddiness still. i was drinking diet coke all day for about 17 years. and i did some exercise yesterday and felt better for it, when i first quit i experienced such trembling dizziness and weird head sensations that i developed a panic thought around collapsing, so i became very sedentry and need to correct this now, my mind says “dont overdo it else your head will go dizzy and youll collapse and they’ll find a tumour or something” i type that down and see how bizarre the thought is but when its in my head it has power, I’ll get there, so saying hello and i understand and well done etc, will check in again soon. best wishes folks.

  40. Hey guys I really need some

    Hey guys I really need some encouragement or something to ease my mind right now. I quit caffeine about a week ago and about 3 days ago I started to experience extremely bad panic attacks followed by really bad depression. I got scared so now I’m allowing myself a little amount of caffeine everyday. I’m normally a really happy level headed person but I’m starting to feel scared that something is actually mentally wrong with me. I’m hoping I can connect the depression to caffeine withdrawal but I’ve found little on people actually becoming severely depressed from it. I was drinking a monster every morning. A red bull every afternoon and an iced coffee on top of that sometimes for about 8 months straight I want to say. I’m just hoping someone can calm me down and help me feel level headed again. If anyone is experiencing what I’m going through I would really appreciate someone to talk to. Thanks so much.

    1. Well you must be reading the

      Well you must be reading the wrong posts, because many of the posts on this site are about anxiety and depression from caffeine withdrawal…….

      1. Caffeine causing my fatigue?

        Hello all,

        I have been reading through most of these posts and I cannot help be notice a trend in the way people feel while having their favorite drink. Mine, is Coffee. Anywhere from 4-10 cups a day for the past 9 years. I write because for the past 8 of those 9 years, my body has been in a constant state of tiredness. NO matter how much I sleep, I always feel exhausted. I have been to every doctor known to man, and spent Tens of thousands of dollars on co-pays, prescriptions, out of network visits, and holistic testing. You name the issue, I have tried it and and the drug that combats it. My only symptom, is fatigue/daytime sleepiness. I have had two sleep studies to rule out sleep apnea and narcolepsy.

        I quit coffee/caffeine for about 5 months before and never felt any better, however I’m wondering if I didn’t give my cleanse long enough for my body to recover. I can drink coffee and loads of it before bed and fall right to sleep, but I often wake and have crazy dreams through out the night.

        Anyone else here like me? Anyone else recover from this?

    2. DAY 82

      Hello Nicole, I’m on day 82 of having no caffeine. During the 1st 4 weeks of having no caffeine is some of the worst days of my life. I had never felt so much depression, anxiety, and panic. I had health fears, too. Looking back, I would not have stopped cold turkey the way that I did. I had read on this website numerous stories of people with depression and also how day 60 was an important mark for many people (not all). For me, day 60 found me feeling much better: not 100% recovered, but 80% to 90%. I feel 100% more days than not now. Today is one of those not days for me, but the past 82 days of experience have taught me that it’s temporary. Hang in there. Yours is temporary, too. You’ll make it. I’m not sure if your little “sips” of caffeine helps or hurts you, but I don’t think it changes the fact that the withdrawal will be temporary. The only hurt that I can imagine coming from the little “sips” is that day 60 may not be the magic number for you like it was for me. Our brain tries to trick us into drinking caffeine. It almost negotiates by saying, “Just drinking a little sip. It will help. It won’t hurt.” During my withdrawal, I was dreaming of drinking the coffee that I loved so much. That desire is now broken.

    3. I had the exact same

      I had the exact same experience back in June. I am now on day 58 of no coffee and things are looking up but definitely not back to normal. That first month was one of the worst months of my entire life. I had severe anxiety (I had never experienced anxiety before and for the first few days was absolutely terrified I was dying). Even at day 58 I still get severe depression some days but they are getting fewer and fewer as the weeks wear on and the anxiety is hardly there anymore. Stay strong!!!!! In a weird way it is so great to hear someone else has experienced the same thing.

  41. Just got my blood test

    Just got my blood test results back, all ok apart from ferritin and iron which are too high. Just done the usual panic google search, it seems that tea and milk (both of which I have avoided for all the time I have been off caffeine) inhibit iron absorption. I have an appt with my GP soon, in the meantime I will get some milk. too much iron in the blood can apparently be v serious. I wish I could just have a cup of tea!

    1. DAY 82

      Dear 60 year habit,

      After I read your comment, I googled too much iron in the blood. It sounds like this could very well take care of a lot of your symptoms. I don’t drink milk, but will give this a try, too. I’m hoping that you’re happy to see the tests confirm that there is indeed something wrong and that you can treat it without medicine. From what I read, too much iron can effect the adrenal glands, make us feel overly tired, and have trouble breathing among other things. I had the trouble breathing and the fatigue. I’m hopeful that this news for you might be able to help me, too. Do you know yet what an adequate amount of milk you should drink daily to help inhibit iron absorption??

      To me, this is great news for you! I hope you’re happy and more importantly, I hope that milk really helps you. 🙂

      1. DAY 82

        Dear 60 year habit,

        From what I read, it’s the calcium in the milk that inhibit iron absorption. So, yogurt also works which I eat one or two each day. I haven’t read it, but it seems like calcium rich Tums would work, too. You might ask your GP. I’d be curious to hear what he/she has to say about that.

  42. Hello again 6 year habit,

    Hello again 6 year habit, just spoken to my GP who says that my ferritin levels were normal and the serum iron was probably elevated because I was dehydrated, (i was definitely dehydrated), so although he said I didn’t need to make any changes at all, I am going to stop my high protein diet (which I hoped would help the fatigue) and go back to a more normal (for me) diet and avoid excess red meat.

    Panic over ……

    1. DAY 83 – IRON AND FERRITIN

      Hello 60 year habit,

      I’m really glad that worked out to be something simple. I had never heard of ferritin before. I’m not sure what red meat has to do with it, but I don’t eat red meat. I’m glad your panic is over. 🙂

      Tomorrow when I go to the doctor, I’ll ask about iron test and ferritin test. I don’t think that’s what is wrong with me, but it can’t hurt to have it tested.

  43. DAY 83 – SET BACK

    I feel absolutely terrible today. Absolute total fatigue and loss of appetite. A co-worker went to the store for me and bought me a blood glucose monitoring system in case it was low blood sugar. It wasn’t low blood sugar. My coworkers were concerned and said I looked so pale. 🙁 I felt like just collapsing to the floor. I’ve made a doctor’s appointment, but they couldn’t get me in until tomorrow. I’m not expecting that they’ll find anything, but I’ve got to try something.

    I’m just disappointed. After 60 days, I was doing so well. I had several 100% days and was feeling pretty optimistic. Hopefully temporary set backs are normal. I’m having these gloom and doom thoughts again.

    Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

    Good news is that a coworker who just started overheard my conversation and said that he had experienced the same type of thing. He started taking something that you can buy over the counter supplement to help his adrenal glands, but couldn’t remember the name of it. He will let me know tomorrow. Likewise, I’ll post on here what it is.

  44. I am sorry you are feeling

    I am sorry you are feeling bad again, but it is just part of the recovery pattern, although it seems a little strange to have such a big setback after feeling well for ages.

    Good idea to get yourself checked out, not so good the adrenal support supplement. How do you know your adrenals are the problem, if it is just caffeine wd, time is the only cure.

    I treated my “adrenal problem” with a high protein diet and only got high iron from it, it didn’t help my fatigue.

    I have checked my ferritin levels on the web and they are at the extremely high end of the normal range, and not in the optimal range, so I have done myself no favours with the diet at all, and I suspect it would be the same with a supplement.

  45. Caffeine causing my fatigue?

    Hello all,

    I have been reading through most of these posts and I cannot help be notice a trend in the way people feel while having their favorite drink. Mine, is Coffee. Anywhere from 4-10 cups a day for the past 9 years. I write because for the past 8 of those 9 years, my body has been in a constant state of tiredness. NO matter how much I sleep, I always feel exhausted. I have been to every doctor known to man, and spent Tens of thousands of dollars on co-pays, prescriptions, out of network visits, and holistic testing. You name the issue, I have tried it and and the drug that combats it. My only symptom, is fatigue/daytime sleepiness. I have had two sleep studies to rule out sleep apnea and narcolepsy.

    I quit coffee/caffeine for about 5 months before and never felt any better, however I’m wondering if I didn’t give my cleanse long enough for my body to recover. I can drink coffee and loads of it before bed and fall right to sleep, but I often wake and have crazy dreams through out the night.

    Anyone else here like me? Anyone else recover from this?

  46. Did you have any withdrawal

    Did you have any withdrawal symptoms at all? If not I would doubt it is the coffee, except it is strange about the timing being so coincidental.

    I think the only way of finding out is to stay off for much longer, I have been off for over a year and still have severe fatigue, and I have read a book by someone who still had the fatigue after over 2 years of being caffeine free. although it did eventually stop. It apparently takes about 3 years for all the caffeine to leave your body.

    1. Thanks for the reply.
      I did

      Thanks for the reply.

      I did have withdrawl symptoms, mostly headaches for a good 4-5 days. I’m already exhausted so it’s hard to tell if I was any more tired or not. Lack of caffeine in my system is also doing a number of my blood sugar, too. Cravings for junk if I don’t get my cup in followed by my blood sugar dropping and getting the shakes. Not sure if the shakes are lack of no coffee, same with sweating.

      I just would have thought being off it for almost a half a year would have shown me something. Looks like I’m going back off it for at least a year, now.

  47. Well that sounds more hopeful

    Well that sounds more hopeful to me, as if you may have found the answer to your fatigue. If you are anything like me, it will take you more than a year though….

    I am still getting phases of having the shakes and sweating too, plus dreadful backache, and a lot of insomnia. i was amazed to find that caffeine wd was stopping me sleep!

    I have noticed a very slight improvement, not much, of my level of fatigue, although my muscles are gradually getting stronger and I can walk further and faster. (I have had a few short periods of a week or so when the fatigue has improved, but not for ages).

    I hope somebody with a similar experience to yours chimes in soon, that would really help you.

    1. Thank you again, for your

      Thank you again, for your reply! 🙂

      Did you have issues with tiredness/fatigue and the blood sugar/shakes before quitting coffee? Or only through your withdrawal symptoms?

      1. No I didn’t have those issues

        No I didn’t have those issues but I did have depression, and I haven’t had a day of depression since I stopped drinking caffeine.

        In fact I had a sort of manic energy all the time which I now know was related to caffeine, and I used to walk so fast none of my friends could keep up with me.

  48. DAY 87 – (DAY 2 OF NO LEMON WATER)

    Negative side effects reported using too much lemon water over a prolonged period of time include vomiting, lethargy, extreme weakness, and fainting. I did a search for “Dangers of lemon water detox” to find articles on this. Considering that my 1st episode of fatigue happened 4 months before I stopped drinking caffeine, but 5 months after I started drinking 2 glasses of lemon water every morning when I wake up, there’s a possibility that lemon water is actually stopping me from recovering from my caffeine withdrawal. I’ve been drinking lemon water for close to a year now. I’m sure everyone is different and I can’t say for sure this will cure my feeling of weakness and fatigue, but I am going to give it a try. I’ll report back here how things turn out.

    In the mean time, I did go to the doctor this week and he ran a full set of blood tests and everything came back normal. I’m supposed to go back in two week for a follow up appointment.

    @ 60 Year Habit: I know you’ve been drinking lemon water for a long time now. Because of this, I made a special point to share this information on this board. It may help you. It may not. It’s just another angle to consider.

  49. Hello again, glad your bloods

    Hello again, glad your bloods were ok, I hope the lack of lemon water helps. I haven’t actually been drinking lemon water, only using instead of vinegar but I have been doing that for many years pre my caffeine wd fatigue, so I don’t think there is a connection but will try not using it for a few days to see.

  50. DAY 88 – (DAY 3 OF NO LEMON WATER)

    So far, I’m feeling a lot better. Yesterday I was feeling great. It’s still too early to tell if it’s coincidence, placebo effect, or it’s really me cutting out the lemon water. It does make sense though because anything (like lemon) that detoxes the body is likely detoxing the body of both good and bad stuff. My fingers continue to be crossed.

    I have not been tempted to go back to caffeine. Even if caffeine hasn’t been the original source of my fatigue back in December, I feel so much better not drinking caffeine than I ever felt on caffeine! 🙂

  51. I am glad you’re feeling

    I am glad you’re feeling better and I hope it is the lemon juice – it would e good to be feeling better!

    Re My lemon juice intake, I am wondering if that has contributed to my high iron levels (on top of giving up milk and tea), because vitamin c taken with food apparently increases iron absorption…….

  52. DAY 89 OF NO CAFFEINE – (DAY 4 OF NO LEMON WATER)

    When I stopped drinking lemon water, I immediately started replacing electrolytes and added Vitamin B-12 complex and Vitamin C to the One A Day vitamins that I was already taking. The thought was to replace any lost nutrients as quickly as possible. I started to notice a substantial difference within 48 hours. Yesterday was my best day yet. I would say I felt better than 100%. I know mathematically that’s not possible, but if I felt 100% some days while on lemon water, then this felt a lot better than that. It could still be a placebo effect or coincidence. It’s too early to know for sure, I’m feeling pretty good.

    My caffeine ordeal has motivated a friend to start backing off of her caffeine… slowly. Hopefully, others will learn from my mistakes as well.

  53. Damn tired, if you are still

    Damn tired, if you are still around I have remembered that I did have symptoms from caffeine pre my withdrawal which are still around or have changed a bit, I had developed a nasty dry cough in the year preceding my caffeine withdrawal which I still have and I had body aches and stiffness, which are v gradually lessening, which I think must mean that your fatigue could definitely be linked to your caffeine use.

    6 year habit, I hope all your symptoms have nearly gone by now, and thanks for the info on lemon juice – amazing!!
    It doesn’t seem to make much difference to me going without it though.

  54. PS, some of my friends tried

    PS, some of my friends tried coming off caffeine too, nobody stuck it out beyond 2 weeks because they had no symptoms at all……

    1. no they had no symptoms of wd

      no they had no symptoms of wd or of being on caffeine.

      My B12 level is fine, I think you need to get yours tested before you think your symptoms are caused by B12, IMHO they are all caused by caffeine wd.

      1. DAY 95 NO CAFFEINE

        You may be right 60 Year Habit. I do have another doctor’s appointment and hope to get my B12 tested. Time will tell.

  55. DAY 91 OF NO CAFFEINE – (DAY 6 OF NO LEMON WATER)

    Dear 60 Year Habit,

    Lemon water appears to only bit a piece of the puzzle for me. This morning, I felt some mild fatigue coming on for the 1st time since stopping lemon water. A fact that I left out unintentionally about the day I stopped drinking lemon water is that I also started taking additional vitamins including B12 complex. My theory was that the lemon water had detoxed me of these vital nutrients. This morning, I didn’t have time to take my sublingual B12 in liquid form, but brought it with me to work. Once I reached work, this is when the fatigue started creeping up on me rather quickly. It was the same time that I took the B12. For the first time, the fatigue quickly disappeared about an hour or two after taking the liquid sublingual B12 complex. This has lead me to believe that I’ve been B12 deficient.

    I’m not sure that this is necessarily what is going on in your situation. I remember reading where you ate so much more red meat and meat is an excellent source of B12. I haven’t ate much meat at all in the past year and have ate protein bars instead. Plus, on top of the fatigue, in recent months have had numbness in my right leg. The combination of not eating meat, being fatigued, and having numbness are all symptomatic of B12 deficiency. From what I’ve read, it will take a while for me to restore the balance and to overcome the symptoms. It’s apparently a long process. In a way, it makes me think of how long it takes to recover from caffeine withdrawal and the similar symptoms. It would be a stretch though for me to connect dots and say that caffeine flushed the body of B12. I tried, but can’t really make that theory stick.

    Anyway, I thought that I would share more of my experience. Even though not drinking lemon water hasn’t helped you yet, it could still be a part of the solution and not be the entire solution.

    I’m assuming that you’ve been tested for your B12 levels.

  56. DAY 95 OF NO CAFFEINE

    I searched for a link between Vitamin B12 deficiency and caffeine. We can’t trust much of what is on the internet, but I found articles saying that “coffee” can cause Vitamin B12 deficiency. There are 3 risk factors for Vitamin B12 deficiency: 1. Smoking (not me) 2. Vegetarian (me) 3. Over 50 (me). I was an unintentional Vegetarian because I ate protein bars for protein not knowing that meat was the main way to consume B12. Considering that I found articles about the link between Vitamin B12 deficiency and caffeine, I would guess that coffee drinkers who fall in one or more of the 3 risk groups listed above are even more likely to experience B12 deficiency whose symptoms may include constant fatigue, depression, brain fog, and tingling in feet and hand.

    Dear 60 Year Habit, Maybe the above information might help. It seems very coincidental that so many symptoms of B12 deficiency match (or fit) so closely to caffeine related symptoms. Just more thoughts. I would love to hear someday you’ve started feeling better.

    1. DAY 96 OF NO CAFFEINE

      Dear 60 Year Habit, I apologize, but I had forgotten that you mentioned that your B12 level is fine. I was so focused on the findings of my research that I forgot that you mentioned that. I still find the link interesting and the fact that they one can sometimes be connected to the other. It seems like there coulud be other connections with caffeine that no one knows about.

  57. Hello 6 year habit, I am just

    Hello 6 year habit, I am just caught up in a v stressful situation atm, so am not posting here. Nothing new to report, and as soon as I have the mental energy back I will catch up with you. It will be interesting to see how good or bad your b12 level is.

  58. DAY 104 OF NO CAFFEINE

    Hello 60 Year Habit. The blood test came back. I’m severely Vitamin D deficient. I didn’t really consider this, but it seems to explain the fatigue. I’m tired right now, but will write more in the coming week.

  59. Well I don’t expect you will

    Well I don’t expect you will listen, but do go carefully, I made myself very ill with Vit D, and it as a half life of 6 – 8 weeks so it can take months to get out of your system if you do experience side effects. I now get mine from 10 mins exposure to sunshine between 12 and 2 pm every day.

    If you do feel you must take synthetic Vit D, I would start very low and don’t do what I did,which was to take 2000 iu.

  60. DAY 104 NO CAFFEINE – Vitamin D

    Hello 60 Year Habit: I’m going to follow what the doctor told me to do. Unfortunately, it happens to the be same 2000 IU that you did. Is this something that you just tried on your own? My D level is around 12. Considering this is a caffeine forum, I’m wondering if there is any connection to caffeine at all?? I’ve not been able to find anywhere that a person’s Vitamin D level drops while on caffeine or after stopping. All things considered, I prefer this to the solution to my chronic fatigue. Time will tell. Your message did help me resist doing more than 2000 IU. I’ve read so much how up to 10,000 IU per day is okay, but because of your message, I’ll follow the doctor’s orders exactly. Thanks.

  61. well thank goodness you

    well thank goodness you didn’t take 50,000 iu which some gP”s prescribe……

    Here are a few entries re Vit D and caffeine:

    Caffeine inhibits vitamin D receptors, which limit the amount that will be absorbed. Because vitamin D is important in the absorption and use of calcium in building bone, this could also decrease bone mineral density, resulting in an increased risk for osteoporosis.

    Iron

    Caffeine interferes with the body’s absorption of iron, which is necessary for red blood cell production. Drinking caffeine at the same time as an iron source can reduce absorption by up to 80%, according to the Nutrition Desk Reference. Any beverage containing caffeine should be separated from iron-containing foods or supplements by at least one hour.

    and:

    The study investigated the interaction between caffeine and Vitamin D receptor. It concluded that Intakes of caffeine in amounts >300 mg/d ( approximately 514 g, or 18 oz, brewed coffee) accelerate bone loss at the spine in elderly post menopausal women. Furthermore, women with the tt genetic variant of VDR appear to be at a greater risk for this deleterious effect of caffeine on bone.”

    The last comment should be of special concern to those whose parents or grandparents had Osteopenia or Osteoporosis, or if they were never diagnosed the fracture of a hip or loss of height as they aged can be taken as an indication that theydid have Osteoporosis.

    and:

    Caffeine may interfere with your body’s metabolism of vitamin D, according to a 2007 “Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology” study. You have vitamin D receptors, or VDRs, in your osteoblast cells. These large cells are responsible for the mineralization and synthesis of bone in your body. They create a sheet on the surface of your bones. The D receptors are nuclear hormone receptors that control the action of vitamin D-3 by controlling hormone-sensitive gene expression. These receptors are critical to good bone health. For example, a vitamin D metabolism disorder in which

  62. Nerve Pain

    Has anybody figured out what could be causing numbness, tingling, burning, pins and needles (paresthesias) after cutting out caffeine? I overdosed on 300 mg at caffeine at once in February and have been having strange symptoms ever since. I have chronic low back pain, weakness, myoclonic jerks, body aches, and etc. Overall just a lot of pain. I am so confused because caffeine usually doesn’t cause this. I strongly believe adrenal exhaustion might be the cause of all my problems. Its just too hard for me to believe that this is all withdrawal. Another thing I noticed is that all my symptoms are IDENTICAL to those who withdraw from benzos (check out benzobuddies). Caffeine can actually inhibit GABA transmission in large doses which can cause symptoms identical to benzo withdrawal. I The last theories I have is that caffeine withdrawal can leave the nerves inflamed or perhaps muscles tight causing these symptoms. I too thought of b12 deficiency but it doesnt make sense, my nerve pain started I kid u not the next day after I took caffeine. Also, the shooting electric pain I got was all over. B 12 deficiency nerve problems start slowly, they are not that acute. I dont know for sure. I must be extremely sensitive to caffeine but I have stopped intake, what is going on with my body? I am honestly so scared. I am getting an EMG/NCS of my extremeties.

  63. I don’t know why you say

    I don’t know why you say “caffeine doesn’t usually cause this” because it certainly has in my case, I have every single symptom you mention and I have had them all since I came off caffeine over a year ago. They are all improving, and the numbness and burning have almoat stopped (apart from occasionally my feet still feel numb), but in my case I know they are all caused by caffeine wd, so I wouldn’t worry about them too much. Good idea to get them checked out in case there is something else going on…….

  64. Tommy girl, I found this on

    Tommy girl, I found this on another website today:
    July 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    i have been a long time coffee drinker. Especially Dunkin donuts coffee, but I noticed lately that it is keeping me up later and later and i’m having trouble sleeping right away like I used to. Well, this past Thursday I had a med. coffee at DD on an empty stomach as usual.. i’m never hungry in the morning. I went to the gym afterwards and worked out on the weight machines, I left the gym and did not hydrate with water at all! half way home I got light headed and my fingers started to feel like I had pins and needles… to the point where my hand closed shut and seized up, I could not open them, i got so scared i sent myself to the hospital, when i got there my whole body and legs, stomach cramped up and even my ear lobs had pins and needles… I don’t know if the caffeine affected me in such a bad way due to being dehydrated OR if the caffeine triggered a panic attack which I NEVER EVER had one… to days later, I had coffee again on an empty stomach and an hour later the same thing happened, very scary! I am NOT longer drinking coffee or caffeine, after all these years it finally it starting to bother me, thanks for your great story… hope i start feeling better real soon!

  65. diagnosis

    Your problems are likely due to adrenaline exhaustion like mine, low back pain is a classic symptom along with complete exhaustian, low blood pressure and low blood sugar. Blood work shows all the signs of addisons disease . I would get your thyroid and adrenal checked ASAP. I am getting admitted into the hospital. I probabaly suffered from adrenal fatigue for quite some time but the caffiene pushed me over the edge. I read about addisons disease and I had ALL the early signs as well as the late signs. Doctors don’t give adrenal glands enough credit. It’s why I have been so sick from the muscle aches (due to muscuskeletal breakdown) to numbness and tingling from electrolyte unbalances

  66. DAY 113 NO CAFFEINE – VDR’s

    Hi 60 Year Habit: Thank you for sharing that information about VDR’s. It makes perfect sense with everything that’s going on with me. It could also explain my acute episode of fatigue once in December and again on April 4th when I gave up caffeine. My instinct to give up caffeine both in December and April could have been my body telling me what was going on. 🙂

    On a related note, the neuropathy that began in April and intensified in July has nearly vanished now that I’m taking Vitamin D3 and spending time in the sun. 🙂

    I’m still struggling with mild fatigue that comes and goes, but it seems to get better when I take B12. Since the fatigue seems to connected to vitamin deficiencies, I’m still going to the endocrinologist next week…. just to hear from an expert.

    Even though there are all these symptoms spread out all over the place, it’s amazing how almost all of them trace back to caffeine. I can understand why it’s hard for doctors to buy into it, but the timing of my symptoms is too coincidental to not be connected to caffeine.

  67. DAY 113 NO CAFFEINE – BREATHING ISSUES

    Hello 60 Year Habit: I’ve recently started having more problems breathing and getting enough oxygen. Have you had anything like this during your caffeine withdrawal?? I don’t drink alcohol, smoke, or do drugs. I don’t even snore. However, I do notice as I’m drifting to sleep for a nap, I’ll suddenly wake up in a panic breathing heavier trying to get air.

    I suspect this is related to my vitamin deficiencies which are connected to caffeine. I’m just curious if you experienced the breathing issue and made a connection to the caffeine.

  68. Hello again, yes I am having

    Hello again, yes I am having breathing issues at the moment funnily enough, similar to yours, but they happen during the day as well. I put it down to the fact that caffeine is a vasodilator and is apparently good for asthmatics because of this. I have had them on and off ever since I came off caffeine, but they have been particularly bad during the last week. In my case I know it is not linked to vit d, because my levels were 88 recentlY, and even in winter I get sunshine whenever it is about for 10 minutes around noon.

    At the moment my breathing is impeded by my nostrils feeling blocked (there is no mucous or discharge) so I am sure it is the lack of the vasodilator caffeine…….

    1. DAY 113 NO CAFFEINE – VASOLDILATOR CAFFEINE

      Thanks. It’s really vitamin B12 and C deficiencies have that this symptom, not the vitamin D deficiency…. from what I’ve read. But, I’m sure that it still doesn’t apply to you. My shortness of breath happens even during the day. Today it was while I was taking a nap at lunch.

      It’s reassuring to hear that it can also be connected to the caffeine withdrawals. It helps keep my mind from developing awfulized scenarios of what else it could be. 🙂

    2. that’s good (i mean that it

      that’s good (i mean that it is reassuring), and of course I meant that caffeine is a vasoconstrictor not a dilator!!

  69. DAY 119 NO CAFFEINE – BREATHING, CT SCAN, ENDOCRINOLOGIST

    Hello again 60 Year Habit: I’ve been thinking, my breathing issue feels more like my body isn’t getting enough oxygen rather my nostrils feeling like they’re blocked. As I drift off to sleep for a nap during the day, I frequently quickly wake up gasping for air like I was suffocating. It’s not sleep apnea. I don’t snore and I’m not over weight at all. 148 lbs. It could still be caffeine related and my body is adjusting.

    My CT Scan found nothing. My pancreas, adrenal glands, etc. all look good. At least, I don’t have to worry about that. Xrays of my lungs show that they are good.

    I also saw an endocrinologist today. He tells me that my Vitamin D3 treatment is the right amount. He confirms that there is nothing wrong with any of my endocrine system. So, I’m good there.

    So, it’s just my body adjusting to life without caffeine and a Vitamin D deficiency. I just need to be patient and wait out all of the symptoms.

    1. Maybe a psychiatrist ?

      Perhaps you should include a psychiatric assessment among the barrage of medical tests you’re having ? You could maybe get them to check for advanced hypochondria and neurosis ?

      1. DAY 120 NO CAFFEINE – You’re right.

        You’re right in that there is definitely a psychological aspect with the caffeine withdrawal. Many people worry when coming off of caffeine. I’m satisfied now that there is nothing wrong with me other than caffeine withdrawal and Vitamin D deficiency. I’m no longer worried about it. I was especially worried some about pancreatic cancer considering that’s how my mom died and she quit caffeine shortly before her diagnosis. I’m probably still a little traumatized by her death. The CT scan has reassured me that my pancreas is fine. I appreciate your input. It is a valid point.

      2. Please, with the rudeness

        Please keep the rude comments to yourself. I (among many) would like to know what people are experiencing after they discontinue caffeine. I’d be astonished if you could tell me exactly what caffeine does to everyone’s individual makeup in their individual circumstances.

        Caffeine has been scientifically proven to have bronchodilator effects. “A bronchodilator is a substance that dilates the bronchi and bronchioles, decreasing resistance in the respiratory airway and increasing airflow to the lungs.” per Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronchodilator

        Also “Caffeine has a variety of pharmacological effects; it is a weak bronchodilator and it also reduces respiratory muscle fatigue. It is chemically related to the drug theophylline which is used to treat asthma. It has been suggested that caffeine may reduce asthma symptoms and interest has been expressed in its potential role as an asthma treatment.” per a scientific study, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0010864/

        Therefore it’s reasonable to conclude that breathing changes upon cessation of a caffeine habit could be related.

        1. DAY 120 NO CAFFEINE – BRONCHODILATOR

          Hi Interested Reader: Thanks for the information on caffeine being a weak bronchodilator. What you wrote makes sense and seems to be consistent with my breathing issues. In turn, it sounds like the breathing issues are partly responsible for the fatigue. If the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, the body has to work harder. Of course, it’s just a guess on my part.

          In any case, the information that you shared with me really does help me.

          And thanks for the support about rude comments. I was trying to give the person the benefit of the doubt that it just came across wrong when it was put out there in writing. It happens to me occasionally.

          I’ve tried to keep the day number in the subject line with each post for easy reference for anyone wanting to compare how they are feeling and experiencing in the same time frame after quitting caffeine.

          I’m sure there is a combination of physical, emotional, and psychological elements at play.

          I did notice a big difference at the 60 day mark where things were much better. Even though I still struggle some, it’s nowhere near as tough as the 1st 60 days. And I just happen to notice that today is my 2nd complete 60 day period of being off of caffeine. Yay!!!

          Seems like I remember some other milestone after 60 days. Maybe 6 months. When I get some time, I need to go back and read many of the comments from my predecessors to find what that milestone is.

    2. I had been having the exact

      I had been having the exact same problem after I quit caffeine! At first, I had no idea it was related. I went to the hospital twice and had absolutely everything checked. The only thing out of sorts was low vitamin D. They labelled it generalized anxiety and gave me drugs to use which I refused. It was only after a few weeks of dealing with all the symptoms (including the feeling of not getting enough oxygen) that I began to make a timeline and put together that the only thing that coincided with the start of the symptoms was the day I quit coffee. I thought I was crazy for having all these symptoms over coffee (after all, I had quit before and had no problems like this) until I finally found a few websites (such as this) where people described similar things. I FEEL SO RELIEVED! IT MAKES ME SO HOPEFUL THAT THERE IS AN END TO THIS! I am currently on Day 58 of no coffee.. feeling better than the first few weeks but far from back to my normal self.

      1. DAY 134 NO CAFFEINE

        I’m glad that me sharing my experience helped. 🙂 That’s the primary reason that I share so much information. And, it’s a relief to me to read that someone else besides me experienced this exactly. I am much much better than I was at the 60 day mark of not having caffeine. I’m sure that my Vitamin D supplements that my doctor ordered helps tremendously, too. However, I will say that not everyday is good. But, more and more of the days are good and many of the symptoms (when they occur) aren’t so scary and much milder. When I do experience these milder symptoms, I am better able to ignore them and have faith that I will soon be rid of them forever!

        I’m currently looking forward to the 180 day milestone as mentioned by Mandy a few days ago. I have about a month and a half to go.

        I do strongly believe that the Vitamin D deficiency and caffeine are very much connected. My doctor told me that all my symptoms including the breathing is directly related to the Vitamin D deficiency. He told me that the symptoms could be gone in 3 months from the time I started taking the supplements or could be as long as a year. He told me to have faith and that recovering from Vitamin D deficiency is a long slow process, but I’m on the right course. I should mention to you that I have not shared with my doctor the caffeine angle. Like many doctors, I don’t believe that he would be receptive. But especially considering what 60 Year Habit shared with me about Vitamin D receptors and caffeine, I am 100% confident that they are both involved.

        Thanks for letting me know what I wrote helped you. 🙂

  70. wow, what a lot of action

    wow, what a lot of action since I last visited. Yes, we do have to wait, but I feel that I have already waited quite long enough!

    1. DAY 121 NO CAFFEINE

      Yes 60 Year Habit, I agree. You have waited quite long enough for several people combined. I am hopeful that one day soon you will be posting about how your improving. It’s hard to remember and keep track of all that you’ve gone through and all of the things that you have tried, but anyone new to this site might take the time to read all of your previous posts. Many things that you’ve written either to me directly, or elsewhere on this site, have given me encouragement and hope.

      For me, today is a pretty decent feeling day. I woke up feeling a little fatigue, but once I started working out and eating my increase caloric diet, I’m feeling better. I figure that I’ll share my good days as well as my not so good days. 🙂

  71. eight months free and clear

    eight months free and clear and finally i am feeling good, sometimes i think ive not felt as well in years, its such a relief, good luck to evryone else, from my point of view its well worth quitting and i was terrified by the withdrawal i experienced diagnosing myself with all kinds of catastrophic illnesses in addition to loads of strange mini syptoms like phobias, twitchy muscles and mild allergic reactions, lt was also six months out of my life and im picking up the pieces now, my friends, my hobbies, i had only been manging the bare minimum at work, but its all coming back now. phew its over. i know how hard it is, i am proud even in awe of myself for getting through it and you will too. best wishes.

    1. DAY 123 NO CAFFEINE

      Hello Mandy. That is awesome to hear. Congrats!! I’m so happy for you. And, I’m happy to hear a number like six months when you finally made it past the withdrawal period. Gives me something to shoot for. However, I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress the past week. It sounds like many people share similar withdrawal symptoms while at the same time many of the same people have their own unique symptoms and challenges to overcome.

      The first number I shot for was 60 days. It seemed to be quite the milestone. Now I’m marking 180 days as my next milestone. And since you’re at 8 months, it sounds like you’ve been doing great for the past 2 months. Am I understanding you correctly? Great job!! And thanks for coming back and sharing.

      1. hi and thank you for sending

        hi and thank you for sending me congrats, it is important to come back and share progress i think mostly because when i felt at my worst i was on here all the time getting the reassurance i needed, ive read every single message, several times, and the relief i felt when i recognised the similarities with others. i am sounding a bit OTT perhaps but it was a tough time. so yeah i felt i had come through it at six months but its only for the last two or three weeks that ive felt good, good enough to recognise feeling good, and i still have the mildest versions of the symtoms but they are so mild now i only just notice, like the funny head swimmy feelings that were always one of the worst for me. it was years of diet coke for me, two litres a day, for 17 years ish – i went out to lunch with five friends today and four of them had coke with their lunch and i wanted to say: its a drug!!! its changing your brain chemistry, you must be addicted at some level to even think you enjoy it, its noxious chemical gas and poison ! but i didnt say any of that. am just glad yo be free. if it helps i had: panic attacks, headaches, insomnia, weird head feelings that scared me no end, trembling, anxiety stuff like derealisation depersonalisation, twitching muscles, stiff muscles, little phobic things like eating food with a napkin held round having thoughts of contamination and dizziness with major light headedness and weird glycemic things getting anxious about must eat while not being hungry because of these things i developed a thought that i would collapse, and it all came on within a couple of hours of quitting, major intensity and then week by week it lessened, but some symptoms were like a acute surge so the insomnis lasted as bout five weeks at the three month mark, and now hardly anything…..bit of funny head stuff yeah but hardly, its worth it worth it worth it

    2. DAY 123 NO CAFFEINE – TWITCH MUSCLES

      …….and Mandy, strangely only recently have I started having the twitchy muscles that you mentioned. Seems odd that it waited until now to start! I’m hoping it’s a good sign.

  72. Mandy it is good news, it

    Mandy it is good news, it makes me feel envious and hopeful at the same time. I am 18 months off and can’t wait to be able to say that I am feeling really really good.

    At the moment I would say that I have recovered by about 45% on the fatigue (it fluctuates still, but 45% is on a good day)
    My mood (depending on the amount of stress life throws at me) is about 55% improved. The weird burning and other strange sensations in my feet have completely stopped although they do still feel a tiny bit numb, and I still occasionally get cramps in my legs but not my feet any more. I still get back ache, but that has also improved by about 50%, and I still get the shakes and I am still clumsy, all improved by about 45%.

    Insomnia is about 45% improved, and my gut problems are about 50% improved. The woman who wrote “Welcome to the Dance” said that she still had fatigue at 2 years and 3 months off, but most of the other symptoms had stopped.

    I am a bit confused by your last remarks about your insomnia, I think there must be a few typos there, and I would like to know how your improvement went regarding insomnia, if you have the time to post it.

    Oh and I still have itchy eyes a lot of the time too.

    I expect I have forgotten something, but that’s all for now. I hope you go on feeling better and better as other people have reported. I also share your feelings about my friends when I see them knocking their huge coffees back, but its a waste of time going on about it, especially as I can’t tell them that I feel wonderful for coming off it, YET!!!!!!!

  73. DAY 129 NO CAFFEINE – DIAGNOSING SELF

    I like how Mandy describes one of her caffeine withdrawal symptoms as “diagnosing self with all kinds of catastrophic diseases”. I still struggle with this even though not as frequently as before. Each time I have physical symptoms occur, my mind starts analyzing it and fears the worse case scenario. Considering caffeine is a psychoactive drug, I find it fascinating that coming off of caffeine 129 days later can still have me thinking like this. I can see why the medical community can’t make the connection. I can’t make the connection and only believe it because I am experiencing it along with others on here. It’s hard to understand why the “diagnosing self” symptom happens during the withdrawal period and not while I was actually consuming caffeine. I’m not asking anyone to explain it. I’m just sharing my thoughts.

    The neuropathy that I experience has lessened over the past month. But, when the neuropathy increases for a day or two, I begin to worry about the possibility that it’s MS. I know that the neuropathy didn’t start until I stopped caffeine and later diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency, so logically the odds of coincidentally having a two issues (Vitamin D deficiency and MS) that share the same symptoms must be very very remote. The only thing that seems to explain the “diagnosing self with catastrophic diseases” is that the depression that I felt in the 1st 60 days is still present on a much lower level under the surface and this depression distorts my perceptions. I’m probably overthinking it, but this is what is on my mind on day 129.

    Along with MS, I’ve begun to worry about congestive heart failure. Pressure in the lower part of my calf has me worrying that I have fluid retention. I’ve only begun to worry about my heart in the past couple of days. I exercise 2 to 3 hours almost everyday, so it’s crazy for me to think this. Plus, other than this weird filling, there is no evidence that it is fluid retention. I press on the skin of my calf and the color resumes to normal quickly. I just keep reminding myself that this “diagnosing self with catastrophic diseases” is part of my caffeine recovery process.

    Reading about what others go through on this website helps so much. I appreciate everyone’s contribution.

    1. Think less….

      I really think you need to think less. I appreciate that hypochondria is probably a recognised psychological disorder, but you’ve got to think the constant stress of imagined diseases will probably end up making you ill !! Live in the day, be thankful you’re fit and well now.

      1. DAY 130 NO CAFFEINE – OVERTHINKING IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE

        I realize that overthinking is counterproductive. For the most part, I’m winning this battle. I just have lapses. However, the point of me posting was just to share what was going on in my mind at this stage of caffeine withdrawal for other people to read in the future. Some people might go through the same thing and reading that I went through the same thing might give them some hope and encouragement. While I appreciate your offer of solutions, I not really asking for solutions. I know that I just need to wait it all out.

        1. DAY 130 NO CAFFEINE – OVERTHINKING IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE

          …and I was acknowledging Mandy’s comment that “diagnosing self with catastrophic illnesses” is a symptom. I know this because it is a symptom that I have.

    2. just a quick one – i did the

      just a quick one – i did the MS one because i felt dizzy lots of the time and i also worried about my heart and got my doctor to send me for an ecg – its because our systems are stressed chronically during withdrawal and our frontal lobes try and problem solve – unhelpfully! it really helped me to start reading all the health anxiety literature, i found lots of comments that said that because stress is so neurological nervous system people often fear M$, so again the theme is yes i went through that…. and came through it. keep going.

    3. My Story Quitting Caffeine 4 years Ago

      For almost 20 years, I drank anywhere from five 44 oz. cups of diet pepsi, and several cups of brewed iced tea per day. I went through the same thing that you are dealing with now. Almost 4 years ago, I quit caffeine of 20 years and went through the worse withdrawals ever. My PCP, neurologist, gastroenterologist, ENT all thought I was crazy. They said the withdrawal symptoms I expressed at that time was similar to that of a cocaine addict. The withdrawal symptoms I had were: headaches, increased anxiety, constipation, acid reflux, shortness of breath, chest tightness, elevated blood pressure, severe insomnia, night sweats, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, electrical shock sensation all over body, muscle twitching, panic attacks, burning head sensations, shaking and tremors, and sinus issues. My doctor put me on a low dose of valium and clonazepam. I had to take it to calm me down. I also had to take sleeping pills to help me sleep a night. My insomnia was so bad that I slept only about 1-2 hours per night for 3 months. It took me close to 6 months to get over the withdrawals. I recently started to drink a few cups of ice tea again and started noticing neuropathy symptoms again. I recently had to take 3 MRI’s for the possibility of MS. All of the MRIs came back normal. I am beginning to think that all of my symptoms could be from consuming some caffeine again. Anyways, I could keep going on with my story but I will end here. You can do a search on this site and type “kikaida” and you’ll probably find me. Or do a google search and type “kikaida, caffeine withdrawals” and you’ll probably see my old postings. Good luck to you! Congratulations in your quest to quit caffeine!

      Kikaida

      1. DAY 152 NO CAFFEINE – KIKAIDA

        Thanks Kikaida! I’m hoping that you stopped the caffeine again. While it’s very encouraging to hear that you symptoms stopped at 6 months too, it’s kind of scary to think that I might be tempted to start back up again after 4 years.

        The MS fear can be very overwhelming, but 3 MRIs should put your fears to rest. Most of my neuropathy is gone now, so I’m no longer worried about it. In fact, most of my symptoms are gone. Considering that I haven’t reached that magical 6 month mark yet, I realize that symptoms may continue to come and go. Fortunately, they come less frequently these days and with less intensity each time.

        Thanks for the encouragement and the congratulations! It has been one of the toughest things that I’ve had to experience. I am determined to not have to experience all of that again, so I’m confident that I won’t relapse. Now that I wrote that, I did dream last night that someone was forcing me to drink Mountain Dew and how mad I was at them because of the caffeine. lol. I guess that’s a sign that I’m not totally over the withdrawal because I did have a couple of dreams about coffee early on after quitting caffeine. But, this is the first time for a long time and this time I dreamed of Mountain Dew and not coffee like before. 🙂

        1. Small relapse cause withdrawal symptoms?

          Hi there, about two weeks ago I had three 24 oz cups of iced tea and starting having digestive issues again ex: mild acid reflux and burning stomach. Before that I was drinking a 20 oz can of green tea with some chocolate bars at least once or twice a week for about a month. I have been noticing sinus issues, headaches, constipation, disrupted sleep, and about a month ago I started having this rash almost like heat rash. The doctors don’t know what is causing it. I had an allergy test three weeks ago and came back positive for about 30 different things and coffee was one of them. My question is that if I have been slowly introducing caffeine back into my system about once a week, could I be experiencing withdrawals again and could the symptoms I listed above be from caffeine? And the biggest question is even if I had small amounts of caffeine introduced back into my system, how long will the withdrawals last this time? I feel so stupid!

          Kikaida

          1. If you are allergic to

            If you are allergic to caffeine then I would think all the symptoms you listed would be side effects rather than withdrawal symptoms and it might take a week or two to get it out of your system: side effects/withdrawals either way it won’t take long to stop I shouldn’t think.

  74. DAY 139 NO CAFFEINE – DOING GOOD

    The past 10 days have been pretty good. I did wake up one morning with a slight panic feeling, but I was able to disconnect my thoughts from going negative and had faith that this is just part of the caffeine withdrawal process. I went to the gym for a really hard workout to successfully rid myself of that feeling.

    I have a friend expressing an interest in also quitting his caffeine addiction. He’s a truck driver, so he said that he can’t imagine being able to quit. I suggested exactly keeping track of his caffeine intake and very gradually over weeks or months decreasing his consumption of caffeine until he was caffeine free. However, people often speak of giving up addictions, but rarely follow through.

  75. DAY 150 NO CAFFEINE – THANKS MANDY

    Thanks Mandy! I searched “health anxiety”. I hadn’t thought of doing that before I read your post. It helps tremendously. Just knowing doesn’t necessarily make it go away, but it does help keep myself calmer. Fortunately, health anxiety issues are happening more rarely now. I can go an entire week being absolutely fine thinking that I’m 100% recovered, then those fears creep back in for a visit. Knowing the symptoms of “health anxiety” does help me work through the anxiety much quicker and stay calmer. Thank you sooo much!!! 🙂 I’m still staying focused on day 180 (6 months) to reach the point where you are. I’m so happy for you!

  76. DAY 171 NO CAFFEINE

    For nearly 20 days in the row, I’ve had a ton of energy working out at the gym for 3 hours per day on average: 60 minutes aerobic cross ramp machine, 30 minutes walking, 20 minutes stretching, 200 sit ups, 30 leg lifts, 15+ sets of weights on most days. However, I ran out of energy 30 minutes into my workout Friday. I took off Saturday (yesterday). I felt like I had energy until 30 minutes of aerobics Sunday (today). I’m hoping that this is not a caffeine withdrawal comeback. However, if it is, I’m sure it’s temporary. For the moment, I’m going to assume that my body has been over exercising and try moderating things a bit.

    Other than that, the only symptoms that I’ve had recently is just a tad of tingling in my feet and occasional twitching of my calf muscles.

    With the magical 180 day mark coming up soon, I’m still very happy with the constant improvement in my condition. Even though I may, or may not, being feeling 100% at 180 days like Mandy does, I’m at least at 95%. It is still a little scary when I run out of energy. My mind still wonders a little if this is a permanent issue with me running out of energy quicker than I used to. But, if it is, maybe it has to do more with turning 50 years old than permanent caffeine damage.

    Overall, everything is looking pretty great! I just through in the 2 minor issues for anyone else reading this in the future when they reach the 171 day mark. 🙂

    1. good on you for sticking with

      good on you for sticking with it, im coming up to ten months caffeine free now, the last couple of days my heads felt a bit swimmy, my feet are not so sure when they walk, they are very mild versions of what i went through when i quit december 2013. sometimes i think that caffeine used to mask my normal stress and what i get now is normal feelings of stress but then there is this gradual tapering off as if it is a tailing off withdrawal process, there’s plenty of posts on here that say one year, and i should know i read them all several times over in the early months. today i had the strongest urge for a can of diet coke ive had since quitting!!! it really surprised me after all this time. theres no chance I’ll ever drink that foul poison again, i never drank coffee you see i can understand why that might be enjoyable perhaps but diet coke what did i do to myself, 17 years of drinking nothing but…. anyway bring on your 180 days clear!

  77. Caffeine/Aspartame/Diet Soda Addiction

    Ah! My parents never let my sister and I have soda when we were kids. Now, as an adult, I drive about 5-6 20-ounce bottles of Diet Doctor Pepper per day. I am also on anxiety medication and an antidepressant. I have done my homework and I know that the combination isn’t a good one; what I’m drinking, the Diet Doctor Pepper, is interfering with my medication and it isn’t working as well as it could. Why do I keep drinking the soda? I’m addicted to the caffeine and the aspartame, that’s why. I think about quitting the stuff…a lot. But…I don’t seem to have the willpower. I have the choice to quit, I know, but I guess that I don’t have the willpower, despite what I know about diet soda, etc. Any comments and suggestions are much appreciated! Thanks!

    1. it was diet coke for me, that

      it was diet coke for me, that was all i drank for about 17 years and i thought about reducing, quitting for many years but unfortunately it took a near death experience to get me to stop. diet coke used to fuel me you see and on the 2 December 2013 i had this head rush thing and i thought im having a stroke, seizure, i have a tumour or something, i then went on to have what i now know is a panic attack. looking back now i know I’d had nothing to eat, had not slept well the night before and was coming down with a virus but at the time i was terrified and the diet coke was the one thing i could immediately control and i stopped there and then cold turkey, which is not recommended by the way, lots of posts debate cold turkey versus taper, hut ive no regrets the cold turkey for me showed me how mucked up my neurochemistry was on the diet coke, see my previous posts if youre interested. anyway i hope you can at least reduce watch out for the impact on your mood, lots of people talk about feeling more low, apathetic on quitting even reducing but many more talk of panic and agitation, there are also people who dont experience any withdrawal effects at all or minimal, you could be one of them. best wishes.

  78. DAY 179 NO CAFFEINE

    After those 20 marvelous days, fatigue came back knocking at my door. I’m going to guess that set backs are normal and that I’ll move past this like I have the other periods of fatigue. There were a few days of more intense neuropathy, but that’s a little better again. In the past week, I’ve also battled a little mild depression.

    @ Mandy, I thought I read where you were doing great at around 200 days and had been really good since passing the 180 day mark. Now I read where you are battle some swimmy head symptoms again at 10 months. I’m going to guess again that this confirms my suspicion that these symptoms come and go. As time goes by, there are more and more good days and less and less swimmy (bad) days.

    Now that I’m one day shy of the 180 day mark, I’m looking forward to the 1 year mark. I will admit that in the past week, I have been tempted to sample some caffeine either via coffee or a soft drink. I have held off and I’m still pure. I still go to this website for inspiration and motivation to stay caffeine free.

    @ Mandy again, I’m glad to see occasional posts on here from you. Hang in there. I’m really looking forward to hearing when your feeling really good again. 🙂

  79. DAY 180 NO CAFFEINE – MUSCLE TWITCHING

    I did fail to mention yesterday that my calf muscles were twitching again. Since today is the magical day 180, I’ll recap the list of symptoms that still bother me.

    1. Calf muscles twitching.
    2. Neuropathy.
    3. Fatigue.
    4. Lower back pain.

    This is still quite a bit better than it was a few months ago. I’m just looking forward to all the caffeine withdrawal symptoms to disappear.

  80. DAY 183 NO CAFFEINE

    Energy has mostly come back and most of the muscle twitching and neuropathy is gone. I’m exercising 2 hours a day now. I realize that the fatigue, twitching, etc. may return, but most days I’m pretty much back to normal.

  81. 6 days off — brain fog unrelenting

    Hello all. I have read this site for over four years during my on/off again relationship with coffee/caffeine.

    Recently, I quit as I knew it was REALLY getting out of hand. Coffee, pop, excederin.

    This past week has been worse than any other time I’ve gotten off.

    For the past 6 days, I’ve experienced headaches (top of skull, temples, back of head), severe anxiety/depression, twitching eyes, GI upset, but by far the worst has been the brainfog/confusion/memory issues. While I’ve read that others have experienced the brainfog, I guess I’m writing for some level of affirmation/comfort. I normally have a quick wit and a strong memory, but I am having trouble speaking with people about deeper subjects that require some thought and I can’t remember things for the life of me! It is VERY scary.

    I know 6 days isn’t far in, and I am 100% determined that this is my last relapse. Can anyone comment as to the mental impairment issues and when the typically resolve? They are very scary to me.

    1. DAY 186 NO CAFFEINE

      My brain fog was most severe during the first 30 days, but continued to a lesser degree for a total of 60 days. I think the main symptom to be aware of is you being scared over a temporary symptoms. I believe that Mandy called it catastrophic thinking. The brain fog will disappear. You will have many other symptoms come and go, but have faith that they will go away even though it seems like it takes a long time. Hang in there. You’re going to be fine.

  82. Day 1 starts tomorrow

    Hey guys:

    I am so glad this forum is still here. I’ve looked at it off and on since 2009 when I first got off caffeine. I stuck with it for 9 straight months until a new job required me to work late into the night. My adrenal glands were so shot that I could barely move or think. I was still gorging down pounds of sugar to make up for the caffeine withdrawal and just to function.

    Now it’s 5 years later and I am 2 years sober from alcohol but caffeine is still a problem. Surprisingly sugar is not. I still suffer from depression and anxiety and I know it has to do with the caffeine but as you all know it is a bitch to get off of. but i’m determined. My depression has caused a lot of strife in my relationships, the way I look – I lost 12 pounds and am underweight – job hopping and suicidal.

    I exercised a little this morning which gave me and appetite, put me in a pretty good mood and I only had a cup of coffee and an espresso shot. This is tame compared to a double shot, then a single shot at 3pm and coffee at 2 AA meetings a day.

    Tomorrow, I plan on indulging in decaf and see where that takes me. Although I am sensitive to the mild amount of caffeine in decaf it is GREAT progress. I plan on visiting this forum daily like I initially did in 2009 for encouragement.

    Right now, my main worry is the brain fog and my thoughts. I drink coffee when I am upset like I used alcohol. Today I was able to curb my thoughts by doing something else. With the brain fog, my biggest fear is wondering what will happen after my body and mind normalizes. I have had caffeine for most of my life and don’t recall writing (my old passion before 10 years of depression set in) without caffeine.

    But I know it is what I have to do and i’ll do it with God’s help and the people here. Thanks for letting me share :

    1. I haven’t been posting

      I haven’t been posting because I am over a year off and still feeling crap, although not nearly as crap as a year ago, and I didn’t feel like I belonged here any more, but if you were still suffering 9 months on, then perhaps I do. If I were you I would taper off much more slowly than simply switching to decaff, that’s more like a cold turkey….

  83. Relapsing

    I quit my 20 year caffeine addiction 4 years ago and for several months I have been drinking a few caffeinated beverages at least 2-3 times per week. But that is enough to get the cycle started all over again. I have been experiencing withdrawal like symptoms again like the neuropathy in the feet, sleep disturbances, digestive issues, and an unexplainable rash for the past 3 months that appears daily. It resembles heat rash. Have any of you ever had a rash that you think may be linked to caffeine intake or withdrawals? In fact, like most of you have experienced where medical doctors themselves don’t feel that caffeine withdrawals can last beyond two weeks which we know that is not true for mine lasted 5 months. Also some medical doctors don’t feel that some of the withdrawal symptoms that we have experienced may be linked to caffeine. What I don’t get is if caffeine is not in our system after a few days, then why can it take a few months for withdrawal symptoms to subside? On that note, I am going to start from today again not drinking caffeine at all. Wish me luck!

  84. what doctors don’t seem to

    what doctors don’t seem to realise is that caffeine is fat soluble, and the author of “welcome to the Dance” (an account of her caffeine sensitivity) says that it takes 3 years for every organ of the body to be free of caffeine. Gp’s seem to think that the half life of caffeine can be measured by the water soluble only components of caffeine.

  85. Neuropathy and burning sensations

    Do you think that caffeine withdrawals can cause a burning sensation of the feet? I remember this happening 4 years ago just before I quit caffeine and when I woke up in the morning both feet had a burning sensation. I recently starting drinking caffeine again but not in large quantities but enough to cause withdrawal symptoms again. Have any of you ever had this before?

  86. Could someone explain brain fog?

    So, I’ve read through about 11 pages of comments and it’s been amazing. So many of the same symptoms, and I think it’s actually sorting out for me a lot of problems I’ve been having over the last week. I’m hoping to find some reassurance in a response…

    I didn’t think I had a caffeine addiction, but I, without intending to, stopped caffeine for a bit. Between being away for a few days where only juices were served, then a weekend without caffeine in the house, and a day being sick, I had zero from any source (food or drink) for five days. This past Sunday I was nauseous and had a headache, so I just thought nothing of it and took a few Advil. Monday again, work up with a headache and now what I think you’re all describing as brain fog (more on that below).

    Normally, before this unintended hiatus, I drank 284mg of caffeine per day, Monday-Friday. Weekends were typically less.

    So on Monday: I realized I hadn’t had caffeine in a while and it was probably related, so I had 214mg (through soda & energy drinks), and I had a panic attack that I now assume was related. BP raised up 150/90, crazy pulse, lasted about 30 minutes before I came back down to my norm.

    Then on Tuesday: More headaches, and a little afraid to hit the caffeine again. Serious brain fog. To try and combat it, because I’m not a cold-turkey kind of guy, I had 72mg of caffeine. Still had the fog and the headaches but didn’t have any panic attack.

    Then on Wednesday: I had 144mg of caffeine. Still some headaches, still some brain fog. But better than previously.

    And today, Thursday: Another 144mg of caffeine. Headaches are still here, and foggy. No panic.

    So, at 144mg of caffeine, I’m half of what I was a week ago. I feel like I should be doing better than I am on half, and I’m starting to worry that something else might be wrong. I’m considering upping my caffeine again tomorrow just to see if I get back to my normal state, or at least a bit closer, to prove to myself that it’s just the lack of caffeine making me feel this way and it’s not something more serious. So, to those who have been down this road, should I still be feeling this fog at half my normal caffeine, or should I really be closer to my normal state?

    I’d also like to describe my “fog” because I want to make sure that I’m lining up with everyone else, and this isn’t something different. I’ll be sitting working on my computer or talking to someone, and out of apparently no where, I’ll just feel like I’m checking out or zoning out. It’s worst if I haven’t moved around in a while or when I’m sitting in traffic. I feel like I can’t process outside stimulus while it’s going on, and I don’t want to converse while it’s happening. It almost kind of has that feeling of looking down when you’re really high up, but without the dizzyness feeling. Is this the fog that everyone else is having?

    As a last thing, my appetite has shrunk pretty significantly, which is atypical for me, anyone else experience this?

    The more I read, the more I realize I want out of this crazy caffeine game, but I need to do it on my own terms when I have the availability to checkout, to have headaches, to be achy, and when I can be committed to success, and that’s just not right now.

    1. To Caffeinated

      Hi, I thought I’d respond and I hope it helps. Everything I’m going to say comes out of my own experience with caffeine addiction.
      1) As you’ve realised, when you inadvertently stopped ingesting caffeine, you went into caffeine withdrawal and so triggered some of the symptoms. I would say that all of your symptoms are part of the caffeine withdrawal process.
      2) Put very simply, caffeine interferes with brain/body chemistry e.g. the production of adrenalin, adenosine, dopamine and serotonin and this imbalance produces the symptoms you are describing. You can still experience them while still having caffeine as your body/brain learns to tolerate the caffeine. There are a lots a sites to explain this properly online.
      3)Sorry to be so blunt, but you cannot ‘cure’ your symptoms, long-term, while you are still ingesting caffeine. Your brain chemistry will only re-balance when you stop having it. This can take weeks or often months of symptoms BUT they do ease off as the process continues. I would add, here, that as your caffeine intake was moderate compared to some, your withdrawal period might not be too long and might not be as severe as it could be. So, if you stop having caffeine, you WILL experience all the symptoms you describe but it WILL get better, in time. Also, you said “I feel I should be doing better than this on half,” – but I’m afraid the answer to this is ‘no’ as your ‘normal’ is 284mgs and so you will only feel ‘normal’ on that. So expect to feel those symptoms as you either stop or taper but remember that, as your brain adjusted to the intake of caffeine, it can adjust back to a life without it! I hope that makes sense.
      4) I would just add that, if you do decide to stop having caffeine, I would advise nutritional support i.e. healthy food (lots of fruit and vegetables), no sugar, no processed food, lots of filtered water (for headaches), plenty of fresh air and as much activity as you can manage.
      Good luck and I do hope this helps.

      1. Thank you

        JSL – I was happy to be browsing this post today and realized that I had gotten a response. I really appreciate your insight, especially regarding my normal intake and how any change (downward) from that will cause the symptoms I’m having. I have a lot going on right now and being able to attribute this part of my life towards a caffeine issue is reassuring. I’ll keep in touch!

    2. Convinced about the panic attacks

      I have had several random panic attacks over the last 4 years, a few of which sent me to the ER (including one 3 months ago) followed by cardiologists and my GP, with the same full gamut of tests and the same perfect bill of health. It was suggested that I have anxiety, but I truly don’t feel I do. I exercise, eat right, don’t smoke, drink or do drugs, I do yoga, meditate, have supportive family/friends/fiance all of whom I see frequently, a decent job and stable finances, and generally just have no serious life issues and am a happy and lucky gal.

      So after years of recurrences and of thinking on this issue, I am convinced the panic attacks have all been directly related to periods of caffeine withrawl followed by re-caffeinating. Each time I had a nagging suspiscion that it was caffeine related but I somehow managed to dismiss caffeine as not powerful enough to cause more than a headache. I also do get some heart palpatations both during caffeinated times and they actually have sometimes become worse during withdrawl. I don’t know why I return to this habit over and over when I know very well that I will once again have the misery of withdrawl and then feel balanced again when I am clear of it.

      Perhaps it is the intoxicating aroma of those magic, evil little beans.

      Anyhow I am glad to see more doctors accepting and treating caffeine withdrawl as a legitimate thing, and I am comforted to know I am not alone as I yet again attempt to remove caffeine from my habits.

      Keep calm and carry on!

      1. To I guess it could be worse

        Hi, how are you doing? Not being mean (I’ve been there myself), but my first thought was ‘but you are doing drugs’ – and caffeine IS a very powerful and insidious drug which can do a lot of harm to the body and brain. You said you didn’t know why you returned to it over and over……I used to be like that – I knew it was damaging me but I still kept drinking it. But when you look up the science of it all, it explains the way we get addicted and how the addiction is perpetuated. Also, it’s so ingrained in our culture (I’m from the U.K. and you can’t move for coffee houses over here, too) and it’s seen as completely desirable, socially acceptable and ‘cool’ ….did that all start with Friends? I’ve been told by an American friend that, over there, it’s like some kind of Holy Grail, even. Also it is possible to get psychologically addicted to ‘having coffee’. ‘going for coffee’ etc as it is associated with ‘having a good time’ because, of course, it does make you feel good for a while. But then you get the slump……and off you go on the cycle.

        Anyway, I do agree with you on that it is evil but it is also intoxicating! So what do we do? Get off it, I guess and see how good we can feel without it. Trouble is, it’s easier said than done.

        I’d be interested to hear how you’re doing. Best wishes.

        P.S. I’m like you, I eat well (I’m vegan), I don’t smoke or drink, I’ve been meditating for 24 years and have a lovely family etc……..it sometimes feels like caffeine is my last great battle in life!

    3. I am on and off caffeine as

      I am on and off caffeine as well as this website. I am trying to quit again and wanted to comment on the brain fog. That was the most dangerous part of quitting for me. My responses to everything were slow and I often ran red lights because of it. I would see that the light was yellow but I think I was too “zombie” to want to bother calculating how much time I needed to get thru the light and I would end up going thru just after they turned red. And my reaction to doing it would be very zombie like. I would kind of just be wondering to myself “why didn’t I react to that light when it turned yellow…hmmm”. Slowing down for cars in front of me did not seem to be a problem as that felt more like an auto pilot situation. It was the brain work involved in determining whether I had time to get thru a yellow light or not. I had similar problems with having conversations. I just wouldn’t want to bother sorting out all the words so I just did a lot of nodding and agreeing. This makes a lot of conversations short and one sided. Later I would regret not speaking up about something and would wonder “why didn’t I just say something..”. It’s very much like you are simply observing rather than a part of something.
      Driving is the main reason I don’t quit cold turkey but another reason is because years of taking nsaids (ibuprofen, aspirin) has screwed up my digestion and I have quit those. So when I get the headache and, for me, what feels like bone aches in my hips, back and legs (it moves around from day to day) I have to have a little coffee. If I just sip a little coffee or tea until it goes away I find it takes less than a quarter of a cup for it to disappear and then I go longer without getting them each time.

  87. Yes, of course, brain fog is

    Yes, of course, brain fog is always a complete………..now what was it I was going to say….. sorry – can’t think straight atm

  88. Can a small relapse cause withdrawals?

    I gave up caffeine 4 years ago after a 20 year heavy caffeine addiction. About 6 months ago I started drinking caffeine again once or twice a week and starting noticing some unusual health problems like sinus pressure or sensitivity, skin rash, allergies, digestive issues, neuropathy and disruptive sleep. Can I get withdrawals by only drinking caffeine once or twice a week? And can it last several months like it did for me 4 years ago? I haven’t drank for a week and have these health issues, possibly withdrawals symptoms. I hope they go away. I am disappointed in myself for relapsing. Your input would be appreciated.

    1. To kikaida

      Hi, from my own experience, I would say that, after such a long and heavy addiction, you would get extremely sensitive to even small amounts of caffeine…so, yes, even having it once or twice a week could trigger problems again. I wouldn’t have thought it would last as long as four months but I guess all you can do is see. Hope it all goes well and let us know how it’s going. I’d be interested to hear how you got off it originally – did you go cold turkey or did you taper? Good luck.

      1. Re: 4 Months

        Hi JSL, I think I am getting some withdrawal symptoms again like the possible skin rash, neuropathy, etc, because I never stopped 100% during that 4 months. I did drink a few caffeine beverages maybe once a week or more or sometimes skip a week or two and drink again. So I never gave my body a chance to clear the caffeine out of my system completely. I’ve asked this question more than once on this forum but has anyone experienced a skin rash from caffeine withdrawals?

    2. DAY 211 NO CAFFEINE – TO KIKAIDA

      kikaida,

      I can’t give you a definite answer since I have started drinking caffeine again, so it’s hard for me to say if 6 months is enough to start experiencing withdrawal symptoms again. However, I can offer some logic. It took me just over 6 months to rid myself of 99.9% of the symptoms. Since caffeine is fat soluble and it took 6 months for the caffeine to reduce down to the level where I’m not experiencing with symptoms any more, it seems to make sense that drinking it again for 6 month is enough for the caffeine to get back up to that harmful level resulting in withdrawal symptoms when you go to quit. I’m going to guess that 6 months of no caffeine again will get you back to being symptom free.

      I hope this helps. I didn’t see anyone else chiming in with a similar experience to what you are dealing with. ( As I’m about to post this, I see that JSL just did post a reply. I’ve already typed this, so hopefully it’s still helpful.)

      My symptoms didn’t clear up at exactly day 180 like I read that another person (Mandy I think) said was the case for her. The only thing that I experience is just occasional neuropathy. A few seconds every couple of days. And, some lower back pain that I didn’t have before. I’m not sure if that’s a symptom or not. I’m just hoping.

      Best of luck to you!

      1. Day3 no caffeine

        Hi Kikaida,
        Find you from a google search cause of my back pain.
        I was drinking about 6-8 coffees a day and 4 days ago i stopped to 0.The first day i start having headaches and back pain.The second day have back pain but no headaches.Third day still back pain. Today still back pain so i got frustrated and did a coffee for myself and in 5-10 minutes back pain disappears.So i guess we had the same symptom.I will try to lower my caffeine intake instead stop to 0.Thanks for writing your experience.

    3. As I said before, I think it

      As I said before, I think it is side effects that you are experiencing as well as withdrawals, and the sooner you stop completely the shorter your true withdrawal symptoms will be.

      hello 6 year habit, is that true that you have started drinking caffeine again? I wonder why if you are…….

      1. DAY 214 NO CAFFEINE – TO 60 YEAR HABIT – 99.9% RECOVERED

        Oops. That was a typo 60 year habit. I mean to type “since I have not started drinking caffeine again”. I’m pretty sure that makes that sentence make more sense. Thanks for catching that. 🙂

        To recap my very mild and nearly non-existent withdrawal symptoms after 180 days of being off of caffeine, mild lower back pain occasionally and occasional brief neuropathy. The lower back pain happens more after exercising for several days in a row, so it may not be related to caffeine withdrawal. The neuropathy is experienced just a few seconds every few days and it continues to get even better.

        So, the 180 days may not be exactly right for me, but mostly right. My energy and everything else is perfectly normal again. 🙂

        1. Phew, that’s a relief! I

          Phew, that’s a relief! I hoped it was a typo.
          I am so glad you are feeling so much better (and a bit envious). I have made huge strides too, although I have flu at the moment so can’t really write about how much “weller” I am feeling, will do as soon as my flu goes.

          i have the same experience with low back pain, although in my case it only takes a few hours of hard work or any activity before it starts, so I am sure it is caffeine related (I had it 24/7 initially)

          Congratulations on being nearly recovered!!!

          1. DAY 224 NO CAFFEINE – 60 YEAR HABIT

            @ 60 YEAR HABIT

            Concerning my back pain, mine is the same way. If I’m not exercising, it’s not hurting. To me, that made me doubt that it was caffeine related. But, after reading your post, I guess I’m leaning more toward the caffeine angle then. After all, I did not have the back pain before I stopped caffeine.

            The past 3 days, I have been a little off my normal energy level. I’m guessing that since it takes 3 full years to get caffeine out of our systems that I’m going to occasionally experience this lower energy level. But even at the lower energy level, I’m still 85% of normal.

            Hopefully you get over the flu quickly and you continue to make huge strides. You’ve worked hard and long at it, so if I wish it for anyone, I wish for you to get past all these withdrawal symptoms. Are you huge strides mainly the energy level? What percentage are you up to now if you had to come up with a number?

          2. 60 year habit to 6 year habit

            I am feeling so crap with this never ending gastric/sore throat, aches, nausea bug whatever it is, that I just can’t get in touch with how I was feeling before it hit, but I think i was feeling better all round, can’t wait to be feeling better again, but can’t post anything accurate yet.

            So glad you are feeling so much better albeit with a few glitches here and there.

  89. Rash and neuropathy

    Hi there,

    Like I said in another posting that I have been having this unexplainable skin rash and neuropathy symptoms for 4 months. It usually comes in a form of a burning sensation in my feet and hands. I was drinking caffeine only once or twice a week for the past several months and quit cold turkey again three weeks ago. I was stupid and drank yesterday again just a little but enough to cause that burning sensation in my feet again. When I quit 4 years ago I had a lot of severe caffeine withdrawals that lasted 5 months. I don’t know if the skin rash, sleep disturbance and neuropathy can be from just drinking caffeine periodically for the past several months. I don’t think its allergies because I don’t have any other allergy related symptoms besides the rash. Have any of you experienced a skin rash from caffeine withdrawals before or any of the above symptoms mentioned?

    1. Most Common Allergic

      Most Common Allergic Reactions to Caffeine
      1. Skin problems such as hives, eczema, rashes, acne, severe itching
      from caffeineinformer.com

  90. Burning feet after 2

    Burning feet after 2 weeks
    Hello everybody, I’m new to the Blog but very desperate.
    About a month ago I started having some digestive problems and frequent diarreah and my doctor recommended me to stop drinking caffeine. I usually drink 4-6 cups of coffee every day for the last 4-5 years, never missed a day. The first week I reduced to half a cup a day and started to feel the weird symptoms, fatigue, constipation, extreme dizziness, abdominal pain, burning eyes, hot sweats, and night sweats. The second and third week I reduced the caffeine intake to 1/4 cup of coffee, it was then that I started to panic with so many weird symptoms including anxiety, panic attacks and a burning sensation on my hands and more intense on my feet but it diminished in the last two days. It has been 4 weeks now, I felt a little better yesterday and today I couldn’t resist and had a full of cup of coffee in the morning. By midday symptoms returned but stronger, specially the burning feet sansation, anxiety and the panic attacks. Reading some of the post gives me some faith and relief to share this with somebody. Has anybody experienced something similar. I desperately need some advice and support. Thank you

    1. RE: Burning Feet and Hands

      Hi there,

      When I quit caffeine 4 years ago after almost 20 years of a heavy caffeine addiction, I also had to deal with burnings sensations on my forehead. And as I decreased the amount of caffeine in my system, my body became hypersensitive to almost anything else I tried to introduce to my body like herbal teas, etc. Recently I started drinking caffeine again in small quantities but enough to trigger withdrawal symptoms. I must have a caffeine sensitivity now. When I do drink caffeine again, I do get burning sensations in my feet and sometimes in my hands. I also get once in a while shocking sensations in my feet which is a form of neuropathy. I have been seen by a neurologist a few years ago and this year too for the neuropathy symptoms. With all the tests done the doctor concludes anxiety but I know its also from the caffeine. Once you stay off caffeine for a few months I would say like five months, you will notice that the burning sensations will subside. But you do have abstain from all caffeine and also deal with the withdrawals. I know its hard. Trust me I went through it. I would say to you and to everyone else, don’t be stupid like me and try to drink just a little caffeine after cleansing your body for months and having to deal with all the withdrawal symptoms. Stay off of it permanently. I am beginning to find out that our body has a memory of some sort and when and if you reintroduce the caffeine again, your body becomes hypersensitive to it. This is just my opinion but I think that if a person drinks caffeine in large quantities for many years it must cause some permanent damage to our nervous system which most doctors will disagree with.

      Kikaida

  91. Extreme

    Well I had been using various forms of caffeine since I was 14. It wa svery addictive and I ended up ingesting a total of 4000 mg a day, approaching the lower end of a lethal dose for those without tolerance. At some point it became impossible to maintain with liquid so I would crush up caffeine pills and hold them unde rmy tongue and around my gums. Then I went for pure powder which I would snort and stuff. I’m pretty sure the withdrawl almost killed me because I had tremors and hallucinations for two days and I couldn’t even redose because of the pain and confusion.

    1. That’s terrible, I’m sorry

      That’s terrible, I’m sorry you went through that. How are you doing now? Did you have to deal with a long withdrawal process after cold turkey, or did you bring yourself down slowly? And if so, how slowly did you go?

    2. re: Extreme

      Hey I can feel your pain. When I quit caffeine 4 years ago I also had tremors and hallucinations. I also had headaches, night sweats, severe insomnia, neuropathy, burning sensations, agoraphobia, sinus problems, severe constipation, extreme anxiety, acid reflux, ocd, gastritis, and body jerks/twitching. I ended up in the psychiatric ward for almost a week. Hang in there!

      Kikaida

    3. Extreme

      Wow, I’ve never heard of anyone having so much caffeine before. It must have been hell getting off it – but good on you for doing it and getting through. How long did it take? Hope you’re doing OK now and I hope you’re never tempted to go back. TC.

  92. 7 days off – still VERY symptomatic

    Hello all — looking for encouragement here.

    I have been on and off caffeine for 6+ years (mostly on), and have had difficult withdrawal in the past but this time is very scary.

    Since stopping cold turkey, my head feels like there is an oversized balloon in it — massive pressure, especially in the back/top of my head. Whenever the pressure gets bad, I start feeling very light-headed. I’ve been having lots of cognitive issues as well — can’t remember certain words, lose my train of thought while speaking to someone, feel confused.

    Tons of anxiety as well — I typically wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing out of my chest!

    A lot of sites seem to indicate the headache should be gone in 5 days, yet I am on day 7 today and my head is still throbbing! Anyone else have the head pain/pressure last a long time?

    1. Re 7 days off

      Hi, as I think you already know, all of your symptoms are part of the withdrawal process and there are no set rules for how long it takes for your body and brain to readjust to being caffeine free. These sites which say you’ll be symptom free in 2 weeks etc just don’t take into account a person’s length of habit, how much caffeine they’ve been ingesting, their age and individual tolerance levels. So basically, each person’s withdrawal can be different. As you know, there is a basic list of symptoms e.g. anxiety, exhaustion, insomnia etc etc and the inevitable headache – which, incidentally, I’ve never had. I put that down to drinking a lot of filtered, even when I was having coffee. I’d really advise you to drink a lot of water (between meals) – it should help. I had terrible anxiety, too, and always woke up in the night. I take calcium citrate and magnesium citrate (with vit d) as a supplement, anyway, but it does definitely help to calm you down. But check with your doctor as overdosing is not good. Also, if I used to wake up in the night, I’d have something to eat – no-sugar carbs are best – I had oats with a small banana- and they also help to calm you down.
      As for the cognitive issues – absolutely! At its worst, I felt like a complete zombie as if I couldn’t even form thoughts in my head. My memory is still not as good as it was (although that could be because I’m getting on now!) …and I do have a tendency to ramble when I write (as you can tell).
      Anyway, what I’m saying is that everything you’re going through is ‘normal’ so try to hang on in there and it will get better but it will take time. Good luck and keep us posted.

      1. 11 days off now

        Hey guys, thanks for the reassuring… do you guys find that it comes and goes in waves a lot?

        I actually experienced some nice calm Thursday and yesterday, but for some reason, this afternoon I got hit with really big waves of anxiety, brain fog and headaches. Almost like my body was cycling…

        1. Cyclical Symptoms

          Hi Anon,

          To answer your question, yes I do find that the symptoms/good days/bad days operate in cycles. This occurs in both the short and long terms. In the short term (in my experience) I had days that were good/tolerable, followed by days where symptoms really flared up. In the longer term, I find that symptoms can vary from month to month. This past month I had days with muscle aches, and back and limb aches, which I first had in late July/early August. This month, I’m dealing with stomach acidity and GERD problems, which hadn’t bothered me much since early September.

      2. JSL how long did it take for

        JSL how long did it take for you to recover and how long had you been drinking caffeine? I would find that helpful to know, but thanks for the encouragement anyway.

        1. To Anon fromJSL

          Hello, hope you’re managing to stay the course. Well, it’s a complicated answer to your questions. Truth is, I am still having a 50mg caffeine ‘fix’ every morning, as I continue to fight my addiction – but I would add here that I am A LOT better, even though I’m still having a little. Anyway, here’s the story (hope it’s not too long!).
          I started drinking coffee when I was about 14 (I’m 63, now). I live in the U.K. so for many, many years, it was instant which isn’t as strong as brewed or filter. I remember when my children were young, I used to drink about 8-10 cups a day, with no adverse effects. I did stop for about a 3-4 year period (no caffeine, at all) when I went on a healthy eating program and lost 173 lbs – and, obviously, I felt a lot better. But, about 10 years ago, life became very difficult (I know everyone has their problems, too!) as there were many family problems (I won’t go into detail but some were very severe, like long-term illness and becoming disabled). I turned back to coffee to help me get through all the stress but I think what tipped me over the edge was that I was only getting about 3-4 hours sleep a night. Then, we started going to Starbucks and I genuinely think it was the filter coffee which got me addicted – plus, because of my age, I was less tolerant, I believe. Anyway, you know the route – you have to drink more and more to get the same effect and I was back to 8 cups a day.
          About two and a half years ago, I realised I was starting to feel ill from all that caffeine and lack of sleep etc. I was getting withdrawal symptoms, even though I was still drinking coffee! Sleeplessness, terrible anxiety (and fear), felt so ill all the time, cognitive problems etc etc. I researched and found this forum………and knew I HAD to get off it. I never say OMG but OMG – what a struggle it’s been. I tried cold turkey, I tried weaning but I always went back. After about 18 months ( although it’a a bit of a blur), I HAD gradually reduced to 2 per day…………but when I was really exhausted or stressed, I’d still turn to it, to help me get through.
          Maybe I was weak, I don’t know. Anyway, I finally feel I’ve come out ‘on the other side’ and I AM determined to get off it – if I’m being really honest, I think there was a part of me that didn’t want to get off it, back then. I found a collection of online posts which really helped me, recently – Sam Carpenter: You Are The Terminator ( plus 2 other essays) – these helped me to see the reality and to want to try harder. I’m doing Sam’s method of weaning where you just have 1 x 50mgs shot in the morning to take the edge off. I’ve been doing this since 24th October and even managed to stop for 8 days, completely. I DO feel a lot better than I did. Sleeping better, anxiety is MUCH less although my cognitive functioning is still not as good as it was. One thing I have always done, though, is to eat very healthily and drink lots of water and I know this helps. Things are easier at home now so I hope to be free by Christmas.

          I’m sorry this has been so long but it has helped me to write it – to really see that I am coming out on the other side. It feels like it’s been the last great struggle of my life lol……………hopefully over soon. What it’s also shown me is that I need to look forward and let go of what went wrong.
          Anyway, I’n not sure if this has helped you but, remember this, as your withdrawal continues, it WILL get easier. Good luck and I apologise, again, for this personal therapy post! Best wishes and let us know how it’s going.

          1. Is that Jackie ?

            Hey, just wondering if that’s you Jackie ? Sounds like (whoever you are !) you’re making good progress. I have stupidly started drinking coffee (again !). When will I ever learn ? After being off it, I get about a day or two of feeling good from the caffeine then it’s back to the old cycle of feeling exhausted and ill all the time. I need to get off it again, but it seems to take forever to muster the willpower to start the horrible withdrawal process again….

          2. Rob

            Hi, Rob, yes, it’s me – Jackie 🙂 I went incognito (not very well, obviously lol) as I just felt I couldn’t come on here again and say I was still drinking the damn stuff (albeit only a little). I felt I was starting to sound like a broken record……but I’m glad you posted as it helps to know that there are others who are still struggling. Anyway, looks like you’re stuck in a pattern – and I know what’s it’s like, genuinely. I’ve realised that we really do get stuck in a loop, not just in terms of physical addiction but also in terms of emotional and psychological habits. For example,, even though I know how bad it is for me, I STILL wake up in the morning with, not just the physical craving, but, also, with the mindset (and it’s like it’s set in stone!) that my morning coffee and time on the laptop, before everyone is up, is my time to relax and start the day (this comes from when it was the only time I had to myself, all day and the evening). It feels like all there is in life is coffee. Sad, I know. It’s a loop that plays and it’s like it controls me, like I have no reasoning power to change it and, obviously, the physical addiction plays its part in that, too. However, with weaning, that power is waning, too. Sam Carpenter has told me that if you do properly wean, your dependence reduces and if you’re having a lot less coffee, you’re changing the pattern, anyway. I know that the brain chemistry must adjust but I also think we have to find ways of changing the habits or REPLACING them, with something better. I’m trying to do that, as well. The book, Making Habits, Breaking Habits by Jeremy Dean helped me with this. But I think the final realisation, for me, was that, like Sam says – I am the terminator. I have to find a way to stop it, myself. It CAN be done, though. Sorry if this is very rambling, it’s really hard to explain my actual experiences (which may be very different to what other people experience Anyway, talk to me, if it helps, Rob. How many are you drinking a day? Do you really want to give it up? How rough are you feeling?

          3. Yes, crazy thinking

            Jackie. Yes, caught up in crazy thinking & behaviour. I’ve given up caffeine a few times now (over 20+ years of knowing I need to), maybe 3-4 times for up to 4 months each time. Each time I’ll get a few months in and then a crazy thought will come into my head that somehow a cup of coffee would be a good idea – I’ll have one and it will feel good as I’m not used to it, then very quickly I’m back in that exhausted, dragging around state where I’m using it just to function, but generally feeling sick and tired. Then comes normally months/years of knowing I need to stop, planning every day to do it, but never normally making it very far as I find the physical and mental withdrawal incredibly powerful. It leaves me unable to function for a few days. Part of my problem is I convince myself I have to quit cold turkey rather than tapering – that if I wean myself off it, it’s somehow cheating. I think I maybe need to get me and my stupid head out of the way and just come up with a logical tapering plan and commit to it. All the reading I’ve done on the subject by people who are qualified to comment (e.g. Roland Griffiths from Johns Hopkins Hospital) says tapering is the most effective, best way to go. I’d be interested to hear more about Sam Carpenter and the plan you’re following. Rob.

          4. Rob

            Hi, yes, I think ‘crazy thinking’ or, specifically, ingrained patterns or mindsets of thinking, feeling and behaviour is the key, here. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since you posted. I re-read my post and the phrase ‘broken record’ leapt off the page – i.e. stuck in the groove, on repeat. That’s what we are, Rob, stuck in the ‘grooves’ of our minds, on repeat. I think that when we’ve done something or felt something, over and over, it really does get ingrained in our psyche and becomes part of who we are. Your ‘crazy thought’ that a coffee would be a good idea, my attachment to it as in that it will make me feel content, help me to relax etc (oh, the irony), your feeling that you’ve got to go cold turkey – all just damn tapes playing in out minds! And, importantly, the problem is that caffeine makes you so physically ill, bad-tempered and all the other nasty symptoms that you’re at such a low par and cannot muster the willpower and energy to change that damn tape. These words don’t really evoke the severity of what state my mind and psyche are in – no word of a lie! It is SO powerful and my brain chemistry is so messed up and I do still feel so rough (despite some things being a little better), I just keep letting the tapes play. It’s like I haven’t got the energy to fight it. Does this make sense? If I can just share this, please – one mindset that is very, very strong in me is to turn to food/sugar and I’ve been creating this since I was 5 years old. When I got older, I turned to caffeine, as well, and remember when I started work at 16, I used to mark the time by coffee break, lunch and coffee break, again, I have ALWAYS used junk food/sugar/caffeine (and when I was in my teens, alcohol) to pacify my feelings, relieve stress or ‘give me energy’ when I’ve been exhausted. No wonder my ‘groove’ is so strong. The bottom line is that now I know fully what I’m dealing with, I need to find a way to change that groove – either that or I stay stuck in it for the rest of my life. That is scary. I think I really do get it now…………..and it’s just occurred to me that the reason I always write a lot in my posts and analyse, in detail, is because I did that for 7 years when I was studying and then, later, at uni (doing English Lit.). Good grief, it makes me wonder what else I do on autopilot lol. What do you think??

            I think your phrase ‘get my stupid head of of the way’ is the key……….or maybe creating new grooves and tapes. It’s a tough job but maybe those grooves can be changed quicker than we think.
            Do have a look at Sam’s essays…….although, in some ways, I feel my understanding has come on further now. In the ‘going cold turkey’ part, he’s very tough about manning up and getting a backbone etc – but I now believe that’s not the whole story – and I know he still has a daily espresso. But I did find the essays very helpful and there is a small part about tapering. On this plan, basically, you are allowed 50mgs of caffeine in the morning and then, that’s it for the day – and you have to be precise with the measurements etc so that you really are weaning. I’ve found that that small amount does actually take the edge right off. If you google Sam Carpenter: You Are the Terminator, it will come up (this is part 3) but you can click on to 1 and 2.

            Anyway, brain damage here with all this compulsive writing lol………….so hope this helps and I’ll be interested to hear what you think. I do feel that there is some hope for us, Rob. Jackie

          5. Hello Jackie, I also went

            Hello Jackie, I also went anon because I thought it was you but didn’t want to come out and say so, I’m not sure why…..

            Anyway, it’s so good to hear from you (and Rob), you can’t tell me anything about how difficult it is to get off caffeine!!!!!

            I have been off it for 21 months and am still suffering (although not nearly as much) and I hang on to Jayson’s story, and it took him 2 years to be free of withdrawal symptoms and he was much younger than me and hadn’t been drinking it for nearly so long as I have.

            Anyway, I have got swine flu at the moment (according to my GP) and feeling v low, in my 3rd week, so will post about my current caffeine wd symptoms when I feel better able to assess them accurately.

            In the meantime, I just want to say that I think you are being v sensible about coming off really slowly, I tapered over “only” 3 months, and I think now if I had tapered off over a longer period, it would have been faster in the long run. Rob, I don’t think you have withdrawal symptoms for longer than a few weeks, (I think I remember), so I don’t know how to give you any helpful advice, other than to write down all your reasons for not wanting to go back on. Perhaps your withdrawal symptoms last a bit longer than you feel they do, and if you were able to stay off for longer, you might feel so well that you would not be tempted, but I don’t know. All I know is that I never want to go through this again, so abstinence is the only way for me.

          6. Withdrawal symptoms

            Interesting comment on the withdrawal symptoms. When I said I didn’t get any for more than a few weeks, I think I was talking about what I would call acute withdrawal symptoms – the muscle aches, headaches etc. that are bad for the first week or two. What I’m beginning to think having read this site and through my own experience is that there are much longer term effects of coming off caffeine that may take months (or maybe years) to correct. The main reason I started drinking coffee again after a few months is that I still felt dreadful – couldn’t concentrate, tired, foggy etc. In other words, I was still going through the withdrawal process, just not the “acute” phase of it.
            The more I experience it and think about it, I think caffeine is a very powerful drug that royally screws your body up. I’ve read for example that it’s fat soluble, so is stored in all the cells of the body and it takes a long time for the body to return to normal, longer (I guess) if you’re operating sub-optimally from years of caffeine abuse.
            I think I need to stop trying to be macho about it, work out a simple, sensible tapering plan and then accept that the full recovery process may take an extended period. I certainly can’t keep living like this, exhausted and staggering through life.

          7. Rob I can only corroborate

            Rob I can only corroborate what you say, I have been off for 21 months and still have a lot of the wd symptoms that you mention, I think you are right to think about tapering, what does it matter how you do it as long as you succeed?

            You are probably much younger than me, so it won’t take this long for you!!

          8. Rob

            I so agree, there really are severe long term effects and as you say, it surely is a very powerful drug. I’ve read many times that the withdrawal process can be equally as difficult as trying to get off cocaine etc which acts on the brain in the same way. People think caffeine is a mild stimulant but it’s not, although I think we can tolerate it better if we don’t overdo it – and when we’re younger. I sometimes wonder what our world would be like if people hadn’t started having caffeine in all its forms. Think about it – everyone either wired up like crazies or depressed and cranky (or worse)……..and the rush of dopamine makes you act rashly sometimes e.g buying stuff which you don’t want or can’t afford – AND it makes you want to eat vast amounts of sugar.
            Anyway, Rob, after thinking about it, I definitely agree with 60 YH, a tapering plan seems the obvious choice for you and I really hope you can do it. As you can tell, I’ve just had my 50mgs and am unsurprisingly chatty lol………….how embarrassing some of my post have been – ah, well, that’s caffeine for you.
            Confession: I’ve actually had a couple of really bad days and I even ended up buying 2 bars of chocolate – I haven’t done that for 14 years!! As I said in my other post, childhood patterns rearing up like demons to haunt me. But I vow I will now stick to my weaning and I KNOW the symptoms will wane as I wean. I hope you can be more sensible than me Rob and just do it. Good luck. Jackie

          9. 60 year habit

            Hello, again, sorry to hear you’ve had swine flu………that’s really rubbish. Hopefully, you’ll be over that soon and can then see how you’re doing caffeine-wise. Who’d have thought it could take so long after 21 months? But, then, as we’ve said, when you’ve been drinking it for a long, long time – it’s going to take time. Well, I’ve just done a big post to Rob (brain’s dead now) so I’ll speak to you later and keep strong. Jackie

    2. RE: Head Pressure

      Hi there, I have the same thing right now after just drinking caffeine a week ago. My head feels like it has a cap holding my head down. Kind of like tension headaches. Hang in there it will subside. The thing is I just don’t know how long.

      Kikaida

  93. Should I see a doctor or is it just withdrawal?

    I gave up caffeine about a month ago, completely cold turkey. I was taking upwards of 500 mg a day between coffee and energy drinks, and decided I needed to stop, and that was that.

    Since then, I’ve been able to cut my acid reflux medication dosage in half, but outside of that, I’ve been experiencing the following:

    Brain fog
    Severe headaches (more mild now, but still can be severe at times)
    Feeling like I’m not getting enough air
    Rapid heartbeat
    Pounding heartbeat that I can feel through my chest
    General anxiety
    Feeling like I’m going to die
    Muscle aches/aches and pains in weird places

    I’d like to think that this is all related to the withdrawal, but I can’t help but fear that it might be something worse (cue the anxiety and feeling like I’m going to die). Some posts I’ve read on here have given me some reassurance that it is the withdrawal, but I felt like I needed to post this and get some feedback.

    Thank you.

    1. hello cold turkey, yes it is

      hello cold turkey, yes it is all withdrawal, the feeling that you are going to die is anxiety and possibly a panic attack, if it gets any worse, I would go back on caffeine and come of more slowly. I had to because I became suicidal because of the severe anxiety and panic attacks and depression. If you can manage to handle it it will get better, but in my case, because I had been drinking caffeine for so many years, I feared it would go on for a very long time, so I went back on caffeine and tapered off over 3 months. I didn’t get any panic attacks when I finally came off, but i did get all the other things you mention and still have some of them.

      If you go back to the earliest posts here and read through them gradually, you should find many other people who went through the same thing as you are going through now. I found it unbelievable and I still do that such a “harmless” habit can wreak such havoc.

      I hope this reassures you a little.

    2. Hello Cold Turkey — reply

      I have experienced every single one of the symptoms you listed!!!

      Keep at it… I am two weeks clean now and the end of WEEK 2 is much better than the end of WEEK 1. Everyone takes a different amount of time to withdrawal based on their age, health, how much they were drinking, how long they were drinking for.

      What helped me was just to keep saying, “This too shall pass”. And, try to pass time to get some more days under your belt. You are a month in, which is huge. I would expect relief to be around the corner. Measure relief by weeks, not days…

      keep at it!

    3. Hi Cold Turkey

      Chiming in here to say that I had all of these symptoms as well. I had roughly the same caffeine intake as you before I quit 5 months ago. They were particularly acute from 1 into 2 months off.

      All your listed symptoms are very common to people who go cold turkey. Your body had a dependence on a powerful stimulant and now its panicking because its not getting it daily.

      I’m not a Dr., and won’t tell you not to go to a Dr., but you are certainly not alone in the symptoms and timeframe you listed.

    4. To Cold Turkey

      Hi, just to add some encouragement – yes, I’ve had most of those symptoms, plus others, even though I’m still tapering. I started to have severe withdrawal symptoms when I was drinking up to 800mgs a day as my brain and body had got used to the caffeine and so wanted more (now mostly on 50mgs a day). The only symptom I’ve never had is a headache but I put that down to having always drunk LOTS of filtered water (even when I was drinking a lot of coffee). Also, I usually eat a very healthy diet and I’m sure that helps, too.
      Anyway, congrats on getting off it and keep strong. Jackie

  94. Jackie

    Jackie, thanks for all your interesting news. Re your last post (on another page), I don’t think you will find that your symptoms wane as you taper (not in my experience anyway), I think you will have to get through a lot of horrible symptoms until after you have been “clean” for some time (months and months in my case. I am telling you this so that you don’t get discouraged if it happens to you.

    And I am another person who didn’t get the headaches either until I had been off caffeine for a month or two, then I started getting weird head sensations and pain in bits of my head that I didn’t know existed, but that only went on for 3 or 4 months.

    If you can cut down even more slowly than I did, that gives your receptors and neurons time to adapt to the new circumstances instead of giving them a really big shock.

    If you are getting bad days, that is a sign that you are cutting down too fast. A general rule for tapering is 10% every 2 weeks, (not ten percent of the total amount divided up, but 10% of your new total after every cut), and if you get bad days you need to leave more weeks between the cuts. (I wish i had, but I was too impatient to be off)

    And please don’t even mention chocolate, I haven’t had any for soooooo long…..

    1. To 60 year habit

      Thanks for this – it was actually very helpful. I think I’ve been expecting to be better, too quickly – as you say, I need to allow time so that my brain chemistry can adjust. I’ve always been an all or nothing sort of person and so, because I wanted a quick-fix, I would inevitably fail. I have hopefully found some common sense at last and will carry on with my weaning but will strictly monitor the amount I’m having. At least that will be taking it in the right direction……and I’ll just have to accept that it’s going to take time and that I AM going to feel like hell.
      You made me laugh about the chocolate but it actually wasn’t that nice – at least I’ve lost my taste for that!
      Thanks again and let me know how you’re doing – and with the swine ‘flu. Jackie

  95. 17 days clean… very light-headed

    17 days without caffeine. My headache, which was incredibly bad, has dropped to a light dull sensation.

    The worst for me is occasional brain fogginess and the light-headed/dizzy feeling. I have a constant light-headed sensation where it feels like I just don’t have my balance.

    Has anyone else experienced that sensation through withdrawal? That, combined with my withdrawal anxiety is making for a scary day-to-day experience. Anyone know WHY withdrawal would cause light-headedness? Is it because the blood vessels in the head are now no longer being constricted and that there is more blood flow?

    1. To 17 Days Clean…

      I felt the same way at about the same point. I’m a month into withdrawal and the brain fog and lightheadedness is mostly gone, but there are still times when I feel that way. I went through a good two week stretch where I constantly felt disconnected, couldn’t focus on anything, and felt like I was going to faint at a moment’s notice. It’s all a part of the withdrawal, but it will go away. I’m still fighting the anxiety, but I’m hoping that will clear up soon too. Keep fighting the fight.

      1. To 17 Days Clean: Re Lightheaded

        About 3 weeks to a month off caffeine, I switched from headache into alternating days of tension headache with cloudy/blurry vision and lightheaded feelings. A few weeks into that I had visual migraine-like headaches (no pain, pretty colors).

        Now I’m nearly at 5 months cold turkey, I still occasionally get lightheaded feelings when I am anxious. They last a few minutes and pass.

        This phase will pass. Stay strong and drink lots of water.

  96. Jackie I am replying at the

    Jackie I am replying at the top again for the sake of convenience – I am glad you found my post helpful and I have remembered something else that may help a bit. When I decided to taper off, I worked out roughly how much tea I was drinking per day and then I made up a huge batch (to keep it at a stable strength) which would last me 2 weeks. I then stabilised on what I thought was the amount I usually drank, after 2 weeks I then cid the same again (made another big batch) and cut the daily amount by 10%. I realise now that that completely changed my attitude to tea, instead of being an enjoyable treat, it was quite horrible to have to drink this nasty tasting cold stuff every day, it turned tea into an addictive substance which I no longer enjoyed. Unfortunately for me, I jumped off at too high a dose, because I thought I would be ok, and I couldn’t bear to go back on it again, but if I had carried on tapering for another 3 or 4 months I think I would have recovered much more quickly.

    Re the flu, i thought I was better yesterday, but it is back in spades today.

    PS thanks for telling me you didn’t enjoy the chocolate, I will remember that…

    1. 60 year habit

      Thanks – that’s a really good idea (about making up batches of tea). I’ve already been watering down my milky coffee to make it less comforting and tasty. I actually dislike coffee which is just made with water and a splash of milk. Now there’s an idea – I could start to drink it like that – that would soon act as aversion therapy and take away the comfort factor! Thanks.
      Did the doc say how long the swine flu symptoms might take to disappear? Hoping you feel better soon. Best wishes. Jackie

      1. Jackie, and try it cold and

        Jackie, and try it cold and 10 days old from the fridge, disgusting!!!

        No gp didn’t give a time scale but a friend has had it for 4 weeks, and I am at the end of my third week.
        I don’t think you will take as long as me to recover whatever method you use, I am a genetic oddity I fear…

        very best wishes

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