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. (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

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 more 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, muscle soreness and leg 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 and muscle pain. 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.


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

[2] Coffee Consumption Decreases Risks for Hepatic Fibrosis and Cirrhosis: A Meta-Analysis

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

2,932 thoughts on “What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?”

  1. Weird symptoms of withdrawal — anyone else?

    Hello — I have the classic withdrawal symptoms (headache, anxiety), but I was wondering if anyone else has ever experienced these withdrawal symptoms as I couldn’t find much reference to them on this site. They all started after I stopped drinking coffee:

    -moving muscle/joint pains. very, very severe at times and then they migrate to another area (advil/tylenol does nothing to help this pain)
    -thyroid pressure (feeling like your throat area is swollen) — hard to swallow at times
    -intestinal oddities — goes between diarrhea and constipation
    -twitches/fasciculations — had it in my eye for a while and now it is in the tip of my tongue

    I really feel like they are all from withdrawal since I didn’t have them before stopping coffee. I hope I”m not alone.

    1. Yup…

      Muscle and joint pain, thyroid pressure, intestinal oddities all for sure. I haven’t noticed twitching. I twitched more when I was on caffeine. But yes, I’ve experienced a lot of it.

    2. Weird Symptoms


      Had all of those, or variations of them. The twitching only lasted a day or three, but I have read of other people having eye and muscle twitches for longer.

  2. Glad to know I am not dying.

    I am 5 days into no caffeine. I was a very heavy soda drinker. 4 or 5 20oz Mt. Dews a day. No water no milk all soda all the time. I weighed 211 4 months ago. Husband got deployed and I decided to make a change. I started losing weight and am now at 186. However I didn’t give up Soda. I had a headache the 1st day. Tired the 2nd. But these past 3 days I have been vomiting. Dry Heaves. sp? Anyway I am certain my 1 year old has poisoned me. 🙂 Anyone else have this? If so please tell me it passes quickly. I mean I have a knack for humiliating myself. But I draw the line when I can’t make it to the bathroom while in a grocery store.

  3. I’ve been reading these posts

    I’ve been reading these posts for a couple of months now and was hoping I would be able to be all sunshine and
    blue skies 3 months after ditching coffee. It just ain’t like that -for me anyway! It is much, much better but if you would have told me ditching caffeine would be this tough , I would have called BS. As a pharmacist, you would think I would have known better. I cut back drastically from 6 to 10 cups a day to two. That was a very bad idea. I have never felt that bad. Almost like the flu except with anxiety and what I guess you would call panic attacks. Gi problems, insomnia , foggy brain like a hangover, afternoon doldrums , depression, loss of interest in usual stuff. My friends think I am crazy..they don’t say of course, but it is hard to find folks that quit caffeine and had more than a headache. The good news, so this isn’t gloom and doom , I haven’t had many heart palpitations at all since quitting which was my original reason for thinking I should cut back. I also started exercising , cut back what I was putting in that hole in my face and lost 20 lbs. Long walks help my anxiety–which I know is unfounded, it just occurs..worrying about stupid stuff. I have one cup of tea in the morning and studiously avoid any caffeine or chocolate . Old reliable coffee pot is in the attic or somewhere. I may just quit the tea as well, but I like it. I drank coffee for 25 years and I don’t miss it, which is strange because it was such an important part of my day. I watch my friends and coworkers topping off their cups and travel mugs and I am glad I am done with that. My wife says I am more laid back and my kids think so too. The other thing is, my sleep, when I am relaxed and not anxious (never had anxiety like this until I stopped coffee) is so very good! I do have to take something for sleep periodically , and it works, but I am hopeful when my ‘brain gets right’ I will not need it. I am also saving money , the starbucks in the afternoons was not exactly cheap. I hope this will help someone like reading all the other posts made me feel like I wasn’t going completely nuts.

  4. I am glad you are feeling

    I am glad you are feeling better, but watch the tea, I was only drinking 2 cups a day and read my posts to see the effect it had on me. Imagine my shock when I came off and hit the hell of caffeine withdrawal! If I were you I would get off all caffeine and see how you feel after a few months, judging by some of the posts here, it can be wonderful.

  5. Making progress

    I’m into my second month of being clean from caffeine. I’m feeling a lot better most days. Today is one of those days, though, where symptoms are hitting me. It’s obnoxious that one day I can feel the best I’ve felt in years, and the next day I’m right back to where I started. But at least there is a comforting thought in knowing that it will pass. It might be in a few hours or it might be tomorrow, but it will pass. Anyone coming here feeling like they’re going to die after quitting caffeine, just remember that – you will be fine; the symptoms will pass. Hang in there, everyone. We’re all in this together.

    1. RE: Making progress

      Keep it up!!! I’m behind your schedule but on my way. Don’t get tempted to go back. I have done that several times and regretted it every single time.

  6. Day 6

    Well here we are again ! This is my 6th day off caffeine – once again (and hopefully for the last time) I’ve been through the nightmare that is withdrawal. I did it cold turkey (again) as this seems to be the only way that works for me. I’m relieved and happy to be past what I’d call the chronic symptoms – muscle cramps, splitting headache etc.
    My previous experience is that I’ll do OK for a few months then have an off-day and a little voice will pop into my head that tells me what would really help is a cup of coffee. I need to watch out for that. It can be tough though as although the chronic symptoms seem to go quickly, it takes a long time to recover fully. At the moment I feel tired, a little anxious, foggy headed and achey. Again my experience is that the tiredness and fogginess lasts for a long time, probably many months, which can become depressing.
    I can’t believe what a powerful drug caffeine is. Maybe it only affects some people so badly, but I find its effects profound. I really do mean to stay off it this time and I’m really looking forward to living clean – I’m going to cut down on sugar, drink lots of water, eat well, sleep enough and get some exercise. But mainly I’m going to stay away from caffeine in all its forms, chocolate included (a previous slippery slope for me). I guess I’m going on a caffeine free adventure. I wonder where it will take me ?

    1. Good Luck Rob!

      I just started my new, caffeine free life on Monday and the only caffeine I have had is a few sips of coffee or green tea to make the headache or leg aches go away.
      I have quit many times and like you something always pulls me back down.

      I quit in March 2013 and was free until the very end of June. I had to drive my daughters to the beach and had gotten absolutely no sleep the night before thanks to some indigestion. I drank all the way to Hilton Head and then couldn’t help but feel left out when the girls wanted to go to the coffee shops there. So I drank more.

      It seems my digestion issues are what always pull me back down. I’ll eat some foods that constipate me (wheat and dairy) and then feel like I need coffee to get things going. Or the indigestion will keep me up all night and then I need it to get thru the next day.

      I decided to try this again because I have fixed some digestive issues by giving up ibuprofen and other nsaids and also quit taking benedryl at night for allergies. I am completely free of all other drugs (including sugar except for a little fruit now and then) so I might as well eliminate caffeine too.

      My only caffeine free partner is my 15 yr old daughter. Friends always want coffee. Husband always wants coffee. It’s hard to kick a habit when you are surrounded by users.

      1. “I just started my new,

        “I just started my new, caffeine free life on Monday and the only caffeine I have had is a few sips of coffee or green tea to make the headache or leg aches go away.” ???

        caffeine free???? I don’t think so, not yet…… You have to be TRULY caffeine free before you even begin to recover. So good luck with becoming truly caffeine free. Just think what those users who surround you are doing to themselves and how much better they would feel if they stopped.. If you can prove how much better you will eventually feel, that might persuade them.

        For constipation (which I have also experienced in caffeine wd), I find that drinking a glass of hot water within half an hour of eating really helps as do prunes when it gets really bad. Apparently cheese, rice and eggs are triggers for constipation too. I found that info, including the hot water tip, on a really good site re constipation, natural remedies, but don’t have a link any more.

        I don’t want to discourage you with this post, but wanted to point out that your thinking is a bit muddled (caffeine confusion)

        very best of luck!

        1. Haven’t been back since I

          Haven’t been back since I quit. I just wanted to point out that when I wrote that I just started my “new caffeine free life” I was already past the point of needing a sip or or two of coffee to make the headache go away. The declaration I made was from a place of hope -my first day. I think the fact that you were so quick to “correct” me might be from your own caffeine withdrawal symptoms (caffeine irritation).
          But, even if I had a small square of chocolate for Valentine’s Day I still wouldn’t restart my Caffeine Free ticker as there is a negligible amount in a bite of chocolate or a sip of coffee. If I had to have a bite or sip every day to stave off withdrawal symptoms I would rethink the decision to declare myself free of caffeine but since I no longer have symptoms and rarely have chocolate I just don’t think it’s worth getting anal over.
          I’m certainly not above being muddled but I’m polite enough not to point it out in others.

      2. Thanks

        Thanks for the good wishes, and good luck to you on your caffeine free journey.
        It’s day 9 for me and looking forward to the weekend. The real painful headaches have gone, but I’ve still got a dull ache and it feels like my brain isn’t quite functioning properly – much better than on caffeine, but still foggy and slow. I don’t think there’s any option other than to just take care of myself and be patient and over time things will hopefully improve.
        Just ate 2 packets of jelly sweets/candy which has noticeably worsened my brain fog. I’m thinking I really need to cut down on the sugar…

  7. 4 weeks clean… constant runny nose. ??

    4 weeks clean… headaches are pretty much gone. Sleeping GREAT. Brainfog and light-headed at a minimal… comes and goes but doesn’t appear to stay for long. The horrific anxiety has lessened as well… again, it comes in spurts but isn’t a constant. Starting to enjoy parts of life again.

    One thing I have noticed is a constant runny nose. It is like my sinuses are draining all the time. I don’t think I am sick, but this has been going on for 2-3 weeks. Anyone else experience this as a withdrawal reaction?

    1. Sinus flare-up

      Hey Paul,

      Yes, I’ve had sinus stuff happen for as part of the withdraw process. I had the constant draining thing go on for a few weeks before it stopped as suddenly as it started. I have read of others having the same sinus issues.

    2. runny nose

      the runny nose is a way of the body detoxing the bad parts of caffeine. i had the same thing. i also experienced the same thing with alcohol withdrawal many years ago. so, this is a GOOD thing because it is getting rid of old stuff you don’t want. try not to take any decongestants, etc or anything that will dry it up. that just hardens the toxins all over again. let them flow. i went thru many boxes of kleenex but it was worth it. once its over you will feel a very cleansing 🙂

  8. withdrawal — vein reaction in legs

    When I started drinking coffee years ago, I distinctly remember my legs burning badly hours after drinking. Kind of a deep aching, burning sensation in my legs. With hindsight, I now attribute it to the distinct vasoconstricting effects of caffeine. For years following, as I consumed coffee on a regular basis, I noticed a regular painful burning of my legs — nearly a constant symptom.

    Now, having been off coffee for a while and having gone through many of the classic withdrawal symptoms, I’m having quite severe pain in my legs. I am now wondering if this is the veins reacting to the lack of the constricting and are perhaps now being more dilated as they adjust to normal.

    Anyone else experience anything remotely similar to this or can you confirm this theory? Caffeine has a very strong effect on veins/blood flow, and since the classic “caffeine withdrawal headache” is simply the veins expanding in your head, why wouldn’t you be susceptible to vein-reaction symptoms elsewhere?

    1. I get a similar sensation in

      I get a similar sensation in my left arm, it seems to come and go and fluctuate in intensity …

      plus one of my ankles (my right ankle) has started swelling up – I have an old injury there, but the swelling is definitely caffeine related.

    2. DAY 251 NO CAFFEINE

      Coincidentally, leg pain is the only symptom that I am still experiencing to any degree. I have small muscle spasms (twitching) in the calves of my legs. Plus, I have some pain that feels like it’s the bone that hurts. It comes and goes. It seems like my leg “twitching” is another vein-reaction type of symptom related to what you’re experiencing. I think that I’m just further on down the road. It’s mostly after I exercise when the spasms happen. My rule of thumb with caffeine withdrawal symptoms is that if I have any reason to suspect that it’s related to caffeine withdrawal, it probably is. Have faith that it will pass.

      1. leg pain

        Would you mind describing your leg pain for me when you first went through withdrawal? I am several weeks out and have experienced lots of “leg burning/aching”…

        1. DAY 253 NO CAFFEINE

          I haven’t noticed my leg pain until more recently. I think too many other things were bothering me before for me to notice. Right now, the pain feels more in my bone below my knee closer to my ankle. Considering one of the problems with caffeine is that inhibits the body’s Vitamin D receptors and I was Vitamin D deficient, I’m thinking my pain is related to that. For our bodies to absorb calcium, we need Vitamin D. So, the bone in my leg is likely painfully reintegrating calcium. With caffeine, my opinion (not necessarily fact) is that there is a domino effect resulting in some things that we experience. In this case, 1. caffeine reduced my Vitamin D intake. 2. I became Vitamin D deficient. 3. I couldn’t absorb calcium efficiently. 4. My leg hurt.

          The biggest challenge for me was that I would constantly diagnosing myself with catastrophic illnesses. That too seems to be a symptom of caffeine withdrawal.

  9. ups and downs

    Anyone else experience a rollarcoaster ride with this thing? I was making daily progress for weeks and then the past two days have been filled with heightened brain fog, confusion, dizzy feeling, anxiety, etc… Haven’t had any caffeine at all. Seems like the withdrawal is very unpredictable. 🙁

    1. Funny you should say that…

      Funny you should say that…I’ve been experiencing the same thing lately. The last week or two have been mostly great, but the last couple of days in particular have been hellish, without a drop of caffeine. It’s got to be related.

      1. what exactly…

        What symptoms flared up for you exactly? I can’t shake the brainfog, sadness, mild anxiety, feelings of despair… really low. 🙁

  10. Nearly six weeks in… nasty symptom increase

    This is starting to get very frustrating. I had a nice improvement about 10 days ago and for the past 5-7 days, I’ve had a severe kickup of anxiety, brainfog, light-headedness, etc… I have not touched caffeine since I stopped nearly six weeks ago. How could I experience a solid week of improvement only to topple back down again? 🙁

    1. Symptom Increase

      Don’t get discouraged Paul.

      For myself, and the majority of people going through this with you, the recovery process is cyclical, not linear. You will have good, okay, and bad days and weeks. But you are getting better, hang in there.

      1. Thanks, Zac

        I appreciate the encouragement. I expect bad days, but a bad week is really hard to handle. My anxiety gets the best of me and I start worrying that this is my new “normal”. And it makes me start worrying that something is damaged in my brain… ugh. Why did I ever drink this horrid stuff. 😐

  11. Trying something

    I’ve been doing some research and it sounds like a lot of what we experience from caffeine withdrawal can also be attributed to low levels of magnesium. Also, drinking caffeinated beverages can lower your body’s magnesium levels.

    Starting today, I’m taking a magnesium supplement and I’ll keep you all posted on if it works or not. I’m not sure how long it’d take to possibly notice any changes, but we’ll see.

    If anyone else has tried this, please let me know. I’m curious to see if it has helped.

    1. Magnesium

      Cold Turkey,

      I started using magnesium oil in early October. It seems to have some positive impact on my anxiety and muscle aches/tension.

      Two things to consider:

      – In pill form, magnesium can be hard on your stomach. If you get nausea or diarrhea after taking it for a while, step back your dosage.

      – Studies are coming out that indicate regular magnesium use can alter hormone levels in males. If someone has hormone issues or related health considerations, they may want to ask a doctor first before supplementing.

  12. magnesium

    How to Increase Your Magnesium Intake

    If you think you might be low in magnesium, your best way to address this issue is to start consuming foods that are high in magnesium.

    Buying foods from your local farmers market and foods that are certified organic may have higher levels of magnesium. The soil from conventional farms is depleted of magnesium because they do not rotate their crops or let the land rest. Also, they typically only put nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium back in the soil, but leave out magnesium.

    Typically, the foods you’ll find that are highest in magnesium are green leafy vegetables which are packed with chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is known as the “life blood” of a plant and has the ability to absorb the sun’s light and turn it into energy.

    One major difference between human blood and chlorophyll is that human blood has iron at the center of the cell, but plants have magnesium at the center of the cell.

    That being said, green leafy vegetables aren’t the only foods rich in magnesium and chlorophyll, here are the top 10 foods high in magnesium that you will want to add into your diet.

    Top 10 Magnesium Rich Foods
    (Men RDA 400mg and Women RDA 310mg a day)

    #1 Spinach 1 c: 157 mg (40% DV)

    #2 Chard 1 c: 154 mg (38% DV)

    #3 Pumpkin seeds 1/8 c: 92 mg (23% DV)

    #4 Yogurt or Kefir 1 c: 50 mg (13% DV)

    #5 Almonds 1 oz: 80 mg (20% DV)

    #6 Black Beans ½ c: 60 mg (15% DV)

    #7 Avocado 1 medium: 58 mg (15% DV)

    #8 Figs ½ c: 50 mg (13% DV)

    #9 Dark Chocolate 1 square: 95 mg (24% DV)

    #10 Banana 1 medium: 32 mg (8% DV)

    Other foods that are also high in magnesium include: salmon, coriander, cashews, goat cheese and artichokes.

    1. Beware of dark chocolate, the 60% one has 109mg of caffeine for every 100g, 72% has 128mg/100g, 86% has 152.45mg/100g, not too far from a Grande Mocha in Starbucks (175mg).

  13. Ultra sensitive while going through withdrawal

    Anyone else notice an increased hypersensitivity while going through withdrawal? Several weeks into it, I find myself very hypersensitive to certain foods, supplements, pain killers, air quality, etc… almost like my body is on some sort of high alert where things that wouldn’t previously bother me really seem to cause upset.

    Would love some feedback on this…

    1. Yes, I am exactly the same,

      Yes, I am exactly the same, to smells, sounds, light, food additives etc etc, I do hope it isn’t permanent. I am having a strange reaction when I take a deep breath, I have a sort of chest irritation which makes taking a deep breath impossible, It makes me cough. I must have become allergic to something in my environment, but I don’t know what. Food tastes a whole lot better too, although anything hot or bitter tastes worse.

      I too would welcome any other feedback on this, is it permanent or does it stop eventually?

  14. 4 Weeks Today

    Hi all, just a quick note to wish everyone a happy and caffeine free Christmas and New Year. It’s been 4 weeks since I quit cold turkey and things are improving slowly but steadily. I find I’m sleeping better, am beginning to think more clearly and coherently, have more energy and am saving alot of money not going to coffee shops. On the downside I’ve still got a very muzzy head, tingling in my hands and feet, a sore liver/stomach and a bit of muscle tension in my back.

    The sum of the negatives is still way less than the way I felt when drinking coffee though, so I’m just going to keep plodding along, a day at a time, and see what happens. I feel like I’m slowly climbing out of the dark, dingy pit of caffeine addiction into a brighter, clearer future.

  15. Stomach Issues

    Anyone having stomach issues several months after going off caffeine?

    I’m at the six month mark and I’m having acid stomach/GERD, bloating, and general discomfort almost daily. I’ve been taking omeprazole for about six weeks now, as well drinking kefir and eating yogurt, with limited success on easing thing up.

    Anyone experience anything similar?

    1. stomach problems

      I don’t know how long you have been drinking the kefir, but I got terrible GERD, bloating, discomfort & heartburn from drinking kefir. Once I eliminated it, the symptoms slowly disappeared. It was not related to coffee withdrawals!!

      1. Stomach problems

        Thank you for the reply. I’ve only been drinking the kefir for about 3 weeks. The stomach problems have been persistent since early November.

    2. yes i have still got stomach

      yes i have still got stomach issues from caffeine wd, although they are gradually improving, but I wouldn’t ever take meds for it, in my experience only time will sort it out.

      I have copied and pasted the following:
      If any of the following side effects occur while taking omeprazole, check with your doctor immediately:

      Back, leg, or stomach pain
      bleeding or crusting sores on the lips
      bloody or cloudy urine
      continuing ulcers or sores in the mouth
      difficult, burning, or painful urination
      frequent urge to urinate
      general feeling of discomfort or illness
      joint pain
      loss of appetite
      muscle aches or cramps
      red or irritated eyes
      redness, tenderness, itching, burning, or peeling of the skin
      skin rash or itching
      sore throat
      sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips, in the mouth, or on the genitals
      unusual bleeding or bruising
      unusual tiredness or weakness
      Incidence not known
      fast, racing, or uneven heartbeat
      mood or mental changes
      muscle spasms (tetany) or twitching seizures
      nausea or vomiting
      If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking omeprazole, get emergency help immediately:

      Symptoms of overdose
      Blurred vision
      dryness of the mouth
      increased sweating
      Some omeprazole side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

      Less common
      Body aches or pain
      chest pain
      diarrhea or loose stools
      difficulty with breathing
      ear congestion
      loss of voice
      muscle pain
      nasal congestion
      runny nose
      unusual drowsiness

  16. I should have added that if

    I should have added that if we want our guts to get back to normal asap, taking meds will only disrupt our systems even more.

    Plus I am even more sensitive to any meds atm because of caffeine wd, so that makes things even worse if I take them.

  17. a comment from

    a comment from Smithsonian.com:

    you only need to get through about 7-12 days of symptoms without drinking any caffeine. If you can make it that long, your addiction will be broken.
    Yyyyyessss, it’s just that simple! Bulk wrap.

    I started drinking coffee in university. Landed in hospital once when the regular barista at my regular coffee place gave me a 6-shot mocha one morning. Doctor told me to quit. I kept right on. It took me many, many failed attempts over more than 13 years to kick caffeine. No matter whether I went cold turkey or tapered down to zero intake, the relentless symptoms lasted for weeks—much longer than 12 days—and eventually I would pick up a cup of coffee because I couldn’t think, concentrate, or get anything done; I couldn’t function and the bills and incomplete work would pile up. And that one cup would invariably make the next day’s cup almost impossible to resist.

    From time to time I managed to quit for a couple of months and the withdrawal symptoms would start to go away, then for whatever reason within 2 days I was back to daily use. Despite the obvious negative health effects—the gastrointestinal upset, the disrupted sleep cycle, the energy peaks and valleys all day long—I kept relapsing.

    Finally, after many years, many quits, and many relapses, I kicked it for good. I no longer consume caffeine—not even “decaf” coffee, which just contains less caffeine, not no caffeine. I guess there may be inconsequential amounts in dark chocolate I sometimes eat, but that’s it.

    Do I miss coffee? Yup, sometimes I still do, and most of all I miss coffee ice cream. I found a decaffeinated brand and gave it a try; it was delicious, but the next morning brought the familiar old uphill struggle to get out of bed. Apparently I am enduringly hypersensitive to even small amounts of caffeine. But life is much, much better without it. I wake easily in the morning; it’s no longer a hideous, painful struggle to drag myself out of bed and I am no longer a slave to the coffee machine (nor is my wallet a slave to the coffee shop). I no longer hit that zero-energy wall in the afternoon. Both ends of my gut are much happier; no more heartburn, no more acid reflux, no more gobbling Tums like candy, no more running to the washroom. My urine doesn’t stink as it did.

    1. 3 years to recover!! I am not

      3 years to recover!! I am not alone, so relieved to read this post on Corbett Barr”s blog:

      February 7, 2010 at 11:12 am
      A london bank had the most excellent espresso in little cardboard shot cups. I drank these as doubles. One lunchtime I counted 20 – twenty – little cups lined up on my desk. At that point I decided to give up. Cold turkey – No tea or coffee. It was hell. The first 3 months I was a mess – the biggest problems were head aches, lack of concentration, fatigue. It took about 3 years to totally get over it. During that time if I had one sip I could feel the effects for 3 days. Now a tiramisu will still keep me awake all night. I gave up 10 years ago.
      I do feel a lot better now.
      I hated the thought of being addicted to something.

  18. Hi everyone

    Hi everyone

    I have really enjoyed reading your comments, and I would like to thank you all for sharing your stories.

    I am a 33 year old woman who has consumed caffeine in one form or another all her life. When I was in my 20s my coffee consumption really got away on me. I was very naïve to the potential for harm, I really wish more people would talk about it.

    Anyway, I have been trying to quit for a while now and have established that cold turkey is disastrous for me. The anxiety is horrendous. So I have cut back to one small flat white for now and even though that is enough to cause withdrawal it is manageable. My plan is to stabilise on that and then go for half strength etc. I know this isn’t ideal, but I can’t seem to function doing it cold turkey.

    Hope to chat to you all soon.

    And here’s to a healthier 2015 for us all!

    1. Hi On my way, I had to do the

      Hi On my way, I had to do the same thing, (go back on and come off more slowly) for the same reasons, and it was easier, so I think you did the right thing. I just wish I had had access to all this info when I was your age, I am in my seventies now, and I have been off for 21 months and am still feeling crap, but not as bad as when I started. I think the length of time one has been consuming this toxic drug must affect the time it takes to recover, so you an be sure it won’t take you this long, lucky you…..

      Best wishes for 2015 to all struggling with caffeine!

  19. TMI

    This is gonna be TMI but anyone suffer from virtually no libido before getting off of caffeine? I suffer from adrenal fatigue and candida and of course caffeine is a huge culprit.

    I’m only on day 11. I went cold turkey for 4 days. Then had 6 Oz of coffee per day and now dropped all coffee for 11 days. I have cheated twice with a small coke. Not sure how much it has set me back. I’m up at 3 am again but have 9.5 hours of work tomorrow.

    I’ve also lost a lot of weight, anhedonia, and such from depression. Meds just make things worse.

    I’m in fear that I won’t stick with this. I’ve read it takes 2 months. 3 months for adrenal fatigue but it see several cases of this taking several months to 1 to 2 years. I’m afraid I won’t last that long.

  20. good to be back on this site,

    good to be back on this site, I’m still caffeine free after quitting cold turkey dec 2nd 2013, but still dont feel quite right, its like a malaise now with the woozy full feeling head still, even after a year and still not quite right! so its good to be back reading the posts because this is the only reassurance that really resonates, works for me, so thank you. i read them over and tick off all the “symptoms” people have but all the same thoughts too, all the worries, all the hopes, just the same. and it calms me, takes me out of my self and encourages me. dyou know i wouldnt dare use caffeine again, ive become scared of it, bit dramatic yes, because of how i felt coming off it i guess. i was at a friends house over xmas and they were brewing coffee and i said, in a very over the top patronising way: this smells like poison, cant you smell it, you think it smells nice.. I’ve gone mad i think. but thanks again everyone, keep posting, its helps so much.

    1. Mandy

      Hello, again, Mandy. 🙂 My reaction to your continuing symptoms was – how long were you having caffeine and what level of caffeine were you having? If, like 60 YH, you were imbibing for a long time, it will take time to heal and I’ve read that it’s not a straight line of healing – there are dips and curves etc. It’s not dramatic at all to say you’re scared of coffee (I’ve had terrible fear about my addiction) and we know what damage it can do and how addictive it can be. I thought I’d been a failure in taking nearly 3 years to get off it – but I read about one guy who took 13 years! It really is insidious stuff and I wish I was scared like you, Mandy, it would have meant that stopping would have been easier. But, know this, you HAVE stopped and your body and brain ARE both healing. I also do genuinely understand the last part of your post – I became obsessive about how bad caffeine is for you and talked to people about it (ironic, I know, as I’ve still been drinking it!) ….and, also, about the dangers of junk food/sugar etc. I think it comes from our obsession in wanting to either get off it or our worry about what it’s done/doing to our health – so we project it outwards. I also think that when you’ve investigated caffeine and realise that it really IS poison (and that’s how it acts, in the berry), there’s a kind a disbelief and anger that it’s such an accepted cultural phenomenon………..here we all are (or were), sitting around, drinking it like we’re on Friends or something and that it’s cool. Well, that’s the marketing for you – because it makes a lot of money and then the dopamine rush makes you go out and buy stuff – a well-know marketing ploy. Anyway, I digress…….so see you on another post!

  21. Mandy it is good to hear from

    Mandy it is good to hear from you, and very reassuring for people like me (if there are any) that it can take a long time to fully recover, so thank you for your post. The real reason I am replying is because I got in contact with the woman who wrote “welcome to the Dance” last year and she told me to avoid even the smell of caffeine, because it is indeed toxic to people who are sensitive to caffeine (in the same way, I suppose, that cigarette smoke is toxic to people (like me) who are allergic to cigarette smoke.

    And I share your morbid fear, and I am sure all my friends think I have gone mad too… whereas I think how mad they are to be so complacent about their caffeine use. I know so many people who show all the symptoms of caffeine sensitivity, but I have had to give up trying to convince them, I just hope that when I finally recover they will be convinced, but at the moment I cannot function properly because of the severe fatigue, back ache, muscle weakness etc. All my symptoms have improved by about 40% but I have bee off for 21 months, so I have no idea how long it will take me to recover. I just hope it speeds up a bit. I am wondering what sort of pattern your recovery took, because I no longer seem to have great highs and lows, just a sort of mediocre gradual improvement.

    Please do keep in touch when you have the time, it is so encouraging to hear from you.

    PS I am wondering how Rob and Jackie are doing too, and wish them a speedy recovery (and everyone else on this site)

    1. that makes total sense then,

      that makes total sense then, that even the smell of coffee would smell so horrible to me, thanks for telling me that. my recovery seems to have plateaued i would say, or perhaps the improvement s are so minute, still there but minute. i know ive never felt as bad as i did in those first 8-12 weeks so that tells me the caffeine withdrawal was the cause not all the other diseases i worried about having. i think what has complicated things for me is that the caffeine use compensated for an unhealthy lifestyle, i always felt well on it, until the very end, so i never needed to pay attention to eating regular meals, stress management, work life balance, i certainly never drank water. what i am left with now is a life thats caffeine free (cognitive fog free, addiction free as in addictive behaviours like not been table to settle if there was no diet coke in the house) but is still not healthy so so ive actually put on two stone in weight since quitting, i think there are some clear reasons for this mainly because i felt so dizzy i became anxious i would collapse so became much more sedentary and caffeine is a stimulant, hence faster metabolism isnt it so i was unknowing ly using it to control my weight. anyway i suppose what i am saying is i realise getting off caffeine and through withdrawal is only part of the picture, i have to add eating well, exercise, stress mangemet and relaxation, totally alien lifeskills for me and this i where i am struggling at the moment. i hope that a healthier lifestyle will maximise the caffeine free benifits and I’ll feel well more often than not. and what do i read on this site? many posts saying how important healthy lifestyle is, caffeine free may not be enough to feel well i need to do the other stuff aswell, afterall i used caffeine for a reason, to feel good. stay in touch . And do not give up or feel disappointed in the process. is there anything you can add to your life? could you switch your thoughts about not feeling quite right yet to what else could i do – how about some mindfulness meditation or a massage or swimming or something? i struggle to eat regulary and healthy so im not trying to patronise. pats on the back to us for getting this far, indeed to evryone giving this thing their best shot.

      1. I always understood that

        I always understood that caffeine is an appetite suppressant, so your weight gain doesn’t surprise me, plus I don’t know about you, but since I have been off caffeine, food tastes so GOOD!!! I still go for a walk every day, no matter how bad I feel, so I haven’t put on any weight, but I have eaten so healthily for many years now(I have to, I am allergic to every food additive that exists, unfortunately), and I meditate etc etc, I think although all these things obviously help, it is only the passage of time that will cure me of my fatigue, back ache, extreme irritability, leg cramps, stomach problems etc etc. I already feel better than I did on caffeine, because caffeine made me very depressed and I am rarely if ever depressed now, although extreme stress will make me depressed for a very short time now (as opposed to a very very long time before).

        If you could get into the habit of walking (you may already be doing this) every day, that would probably help you lose the sedentary habits enforced on you by caffeine wd, I find it difficult to do it every day because my fatigue is so severe, but I just make myself go by thinking of all the benefits of sunlight, fresh air, etc etc. It certainly helps my frame of mind to walk somewhere green and leafy….

        I wish that Jackie would let us know how she is getting on with her slow taper, I so wish I had had more patience and come off more slowly. Jackie are you there? I suspect you are the “Anon” who is giving good advice re diet etc etc.

        Oh and by the way Mandy, thanks for telling me about how your progress has ‘plateaued”
        because that is exactly how I feel about mine, and I am so very very far from being back to normal that I KNOW my wd process is not over, so if I were you, I would have faith in the fact that you are still recovering and can look forward to feeling a whole lot better with or without any other huge changes in your lifestyle.

        If only I had known what I know now years and years ago, I think it takes longer to recover from anything in your 70’s, sod it. ButI am so grateful that I have found out what has been plagueing me for so many years, I expect loads of people never ever suspect their daily cup of tea may be wrecking their health

        As you say, pats on the back all round!

        oh and by the way, don’t forget that the woman who wrote “welcome to the dance” also said (I have posted this before) that because caffeine is fat soluble it takes 3 years to completely clear our bodies.

  22. Trying to make it through this journey

    First I would like to say, thank you for all of these amazing and inspiring stories. It has really helped me in moments of temptation.

    I would like to ask some advise on symptoms and possible ways to deal with them in a healthy manner. Some personal background: I am a student and have been working at bars for the past few years. I decided to quit my addiction over winter break when I was home with my family. I have been drinking caffeine for about 6 years now and was up to ingesting around 1000+mg a day for the last few years.

    I had all the usual symptoms when I quit 4 weeks ago (severe headache starting behind the eyes, dizzy, lightheaded, depressed, nauseous and irritability). Some symptoms I am a little concerned about are:
    -I am still nauseous; highly processed foods I was once able to digest make me sick and am overly sensitive to odors
    -My body feels week and fragile; I get out of breath easily and once easy workouts now feel impossible
    -My alcohol tolerance has decreased significantly

    I know detoxing is a process but I was hoping for some guidance in dealing with these symptoms. I am accustom to headaches and migraines so I have those under control but I would love some help with the other less common symptoms. Thank you all for listening and good luck detoxing!!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I don’t think any

      Hi Sarah,

      I don’t think any of your symptoms are uncommon, if you have time to read through all the older comments on this site, I am sure you will find them all. I have had all of them at one time or another, but have not had the nausea after the first few months thank goodness. I think it might be a good thing that you are avoiding processed foods because of all the additives etc etc.

      As far as advice goes, the only thing that will help is time without caffeine, and learning to go gently with oneself whilst going through the process. I think you will be able to do workouts etc eventually, in the meantime, my advice is to go for some gently walks somewhere green and fresh.

    2. Sarah

      Hi, Sarah. I’d say it’s important to eat very healthily while you’re detoxing as your body needs all the nutritional support it can get. Eating loads of junk food and sugar will only put extra stress on your liver etc and is toxic and addictive, anyway. Eat lots of good quality protein (chicken, fish, beans, lentils and no red meat, if possible). whole grains, veggies/salad, fruits and a good quality oil eg. olive or canola and drink lots of filtered water. Fresh air and getting outside does help – and plenty of sleep/rest. Good luck and congrats on your 4 week abstinence!

    3. Update (from Sarah)…

      Update (from Sarah)…

      Thanks so much for all of your help!

      Slowly becoming less sensitive to things that were really hard at the beginning. I have found what I thought was a decrease in tolerance for alcohol was just a better ability to determine my level of intoxication without any caffeine in my system (ps Im just a typical college student and it is basketball season — bad luck not to have a beer in your hand!). I am able to wake up faster in the morning instead of taking a few hours and caffeinated drinks to fully wake up but I am never as awake during the day as before. My nausea is almost all the way gone which is really exciting and am much less weak feeling.

      Again, thank you so much for everyones posts on here. It really helps and I am finally feeling somewhat back to normal. I am still tempted every day to pick up a red bull but I am finding it easier to say no. Good luck to everyone in their efforts and have a great day!

  23. Anon – 60 year habit

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

    1. Hello Jackie,
      it so nice to

      Hello Jackie,

      it so nice to hear from you again, I also have been thinking a lot about you.

      I also have an incredibly stressful life at the moment and it never ever lets up, I sometimes feel I won;t actually mind when I have to leave this planet, but I am not at all suicidal, just completely worn out with stress and never ever ending housework etc (caused by illness (not mine), but I am the one who has to keep things going. I wouldn’t think of resorting to caffeine because I now know how ill it makes me feel, and I am wondering if you have ever lost your tolerance to caffeine so that it made you feel crap when you went back on it? That might be part of an answer to your question re how to help you.

      I know that habits are extremely difficult to break because I am battling with agoraphobia (amongst other things) and I have to repeat a journey to an unfamiliar place over and over again (and I usually have to start by breaking it down into small bits, ie 1 tube stop , and building up to the complete journey. So I do know what you are talking about, but for some reason I can override my liking for sugar, caffeine etc etc. I have had to be extremely determined to get through some of the terrible life events that have been mine, but I don’t feel particularly strong. I think that I never ever want to be addicted to anything again (I have mentioned my addiction to prescribed meds that took years to recover from, and the drugs that my idiot GP had me on for 40 years which are far more difficult to get off than heroin, so although caffeine is a complete pain to get off it is only an inconvenience and not the complete and utter hell that I went through getting off the prescribed stuff) (that may be why I am not as sympathetic to some posters on this site as I might be). Anyway, I am just trying to think my way around this (and not getting very far).

      I think that you possibly don’t really believe that getting off caffeine will really be that big a deal for you, you may not believe how “wonderful” you will feel, but I can tell you that getting off prescribed benzodiazepines was such an awful experience that I was suicidal for years, but when I finally recovered life was such bliss, that that experience has given me the confidence to realise that life can be even better without caffeine (to which I have become “allergic” to anyway). So what I am trying to say to you is that if you could see how well you will feel when you are off caffeine, nothing at all could induce you to drink it ever again.

      So I hope you can find a way to believe in the healing that comes from being caffeine free. Please write back and tell me what you think, because I feel that caffeine may not be a big problem for you, in which case why give it up?

      1. what i mean is, maybe

        what i mean is, maybe caffeine doesn’t give you a problem as it does me because I have suddenly become “allergic to it”, If it wasn’t for that, I would probably still be drinking it, and I can’t remember what effect it has on you, and if none, why put yourself through the withdrawal process, although the fact that you have bad wd symptoms indicates to me that you may very well have a serious problem with it, and could therefore look forward to eventually feeling really really well!

        1. youve a lot going on too

          youve a lot going on too then, and this is the thing: how do we know its caffeine withdrawal we feel as opposed to stress and anxiety ? you bravely push through your agoraphobia but the cost of that huge success is a body filled with adrenalin with resultant symptoms. (i am sorry if i have gone too far, i dont presume to know you better than you know yourself.)

    2. ah Jackie you are being very

      ah Jackie you are being very hard on yourself indeed. i have realised how i feel and function now is not all about the caffeine battle, but something about the caffeine battle has brought all the other issues into sharper focus, same for you perhaps. I’ll say as i have before i can only stay off caffeine because of how scared i was during something like a hypo dehydrated panic attack thing where my brain did a ten second whirl and whoosh, and believing that caffeine was a part cause got me off it; i had been trying to quit unsuccessful ly for several years.

      1. Mandy 2

        Aww, thanks for your kind words, Mandy 🙂 I absolutely agree with what you said – the caffeine battle raises many issues, demons and negative aspects of the self. I think I asked you earlier (brain fog really is bad atm – can’t remember anything) – how many years before you came off it? But to say again, you DID come off it! You did it and that’s the most important thing. I’ve said it a million times, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to eat a healthy diet. The average U,K. diet is partly responsible for all of our terrible health issues(as I’m sure you know) and I have experienced genuine health benefits from (mostly, apart from a terrible Chrsitmas) eating good food while weaning. And simply, the healing elements in food can help to combat the caffeine poison. Since tapering, I’ve used the properties of food to help me sleep longer and better (although it may be partly psychological) but that has improved, anyway. Anyway, let me know what you think. TC

        1. to reply to you jackie, i

          to reply to you jackie, i drank diet coke only for about 17 yrs, so there was a bit of an aspartame and caffeine overlap in the wd symptoms. ive never drank coffee so there were some wd symptoms i never had like the muscular joint pain many desctibe. i had weird head feelings, headaches, sinus problems (i researched this one and found that caffeine is mucus inhibiting) dizziness, light headed, gi problems, panic attacks, anxiety, muscle twitches, being sensitised inc sore itchy eyes, sore scalp and getting a few rashes from products id been using no problem for years, brain fog, insomnia and scary head rushes when sleeping to wake me up they were vile, some brief phobia reaction about contamination i remeber holding some chips with a serviette to avoid using my hands, and lots of flu like stuff.
          i completely agree with you that food will be the best medicine but this self care and nourishment stuff is all new to me and i have a junk food habit. you sound very knowledgeable about this kind of thing, if you suggest me a starting point I’ll give it ago.

          and i read youre feeling stronger again, good, any caffeine reduction is a sucess isnt it.

          1. Mandy

            Mandy, it seems you’ve had all the classic symptoms of caffeine withdrawal and this is obviously still affecting you. But, as you say you have a junk food habit, I am wondering if some of your present symptoms are coming from this. I know from experience and it’s well documented that junk food with all its additives, preservatives, artificial flavours etc etc, saturated fat, added sugar/artificial sweeteners etc etc can make us feel really ill and I genuinely think that you can feel better if you eat better. There are hundreds of sites (and books) to explain healthy eating so you could have a look at some. I don’t know if you work or have a family so don’t know how much time you have to research, shop and cook – but here are some pointers for now, as best as I can.
            * If you are eating a lot of junk food and processed food, it must seem like a mountain to climb, so climb it slowly.
            * Start by introducing more fruits, vegetable and salads – aim for 5 a day to start with and then increase as your appetite changes (it will and you will want more!).
            * Change your carbs from refined to whole e.g. brown rice, not white, wholemeal bread/pasta not white, potatoes with skins on.
            * Cut out (or at least cut down) on processed main meals. Have good quality protein : chicken, fish (both white fish and oily – like salmon), beans/legumes. Have some good quality red meat (beef, lamb, pork) but try not to have it more than twice a week.
            * Cut right down on sugar: cakes, biscuits, pastries etc Sugar, which is just as toxic as caffeine, is addictive and plays havoc with your blood sugar. Try fresh fruit or if you need something sweet, try low sugar/ fat flapjacks. You may get other ideas from books/the net. I haven’t had desert for many, many years and it becomes a habit and I don’t miss it (ironic, I know, considering my coffee habit!).
            * Have less salt – processed food is loaded with salt etc.
            *Cut down on saturated fat – cheese, fatty red meat and, above all, processed foods like luncheon meat, salami etc.

            This seems like a list of ‘you can’t eat this and you can’t eat that’ but there are many delicious and tempting foods to eat, in their whole state. When I started to change my diet about 16-18 years ago, I bought books with titles like ‘healing foods’ which were illustrated and the wonderful array of colourful foods inspired me and made me realise that healthy food can be enjoyable. There are a ton of these books on the market today, with recipes etc.

            I realise, as I said, that it’s a mountain but research and introduce some changes gradually – you will not regret it. I would say that if you can only make 1 change for now – introduce 5 fruits/veggies. Good luck and feel free to ask me any questions. I would have tried to make this more specific but brain energy is running out. TC

    3. Jackie, I agree with Mandy,

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

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

      1. 60 year habit

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

        1. P.S.

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

          1. Jackie I am so glad you are

            Jackie I am so glad you are feeling encouraged, but please don’t think of doing a cold turkey, slow and steady is the easiest way for us oldies I think.

            BTW, I am also v interested in nutrition and found a brilliant site called truthinlabelling about hidden MSG, it is a real eyeopener, and has helped me immensely because I am EXTREMELY sensitive to MSG. Let me know what you think if you do get time to check it out

            I felt the same unwillingness to drink caffeine (cold tea) when I was tapering too, but it would have been an even longer recovery period for me if I hadn’t tapered I am sure. (if I could have got through the dreadful depression etc)
            Keep in touch, we worry when we don’t hear from you.

  24. and Jackie, one thing I do

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

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

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

    very very best wishes

    1. 60YH 2

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

  25. Mandy I know it is caffeine

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

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

  26. how about we try EFT tapping?

    how about we try EFT tapping? i’ve been off from work today and have spent a lot of time watching EFT videos on you tube to see if that might help my anxiety, dizziness and brain fog and i am going to give it a go, have waited all day to feel.anxious dizzy or foggy so i can test it out and not a sign! now what does that tell me…

    1. Well if you do try it I will

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

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

      1. thanks anon 60 yh i hope so

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

        1. Speaking of housework,

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

    2. Many 3

      I just saw this, Mandy. I’d try anything if it helps. Also, I hope it’s Ok to share this. Before I got up this morning and foolishly had my tapering amount – I did feel calm and in myself, as I said, despite feeling physically rubbish. I also felt that I’ve spent the last 3 years in this battle, always running round (both internally and externally), trying to fix myself. Last night, I felt really rough but then felt that maybe I needed to try to stop ‘running’ and try to be more still and ‘listen’ to my body or just let it be a bit and, of course, give my body and brain the chance to heal. Then this morning, I felt that calm etc. I guess I’m saying if we get off the caffeine, look after ourselves as much as we possibly can, then ways of helping ourselves might surface, intuitively – if that makes sense. I’m perhaps not explaining what I mean very well – but I believe there’s sometimes an answer, inside, if we can ‘listen’. Not sure if this is a help or not. TC

  27. 60 year habit and Mandy!

    Thank you SO much, both, for your replies and support. It really has meant a lot. I don’t think I’ve got the brain power to write just one post to amalgamate my replies to you – I think the only way I can do it is to reply to each post. But, just to say, I AM definitely feeling more hopeful and positive. I’m back to strictly tapering and I actually drank my tapered amount, this morning, and REALLY wish I hadn’t. After I’d had it, I was fully aware of how the caffeine creates that false sense of self, and pushes all the energy into the head and creates that kind of constant craving for something to happen or to feel something, like a restlessness, an anxiety. I know that’s the dopamine. I was actually feeling quite calm and in myself, for a change, so why did I have it? The pattern/habit? The belief I couldn’t do without it? Neural pathways? Who knows …but I think for the first time is nearly 3 years, I actually felt I DID NOT WANT IT AGAIN…….and wanted to feel that calmness and being in myself – even if I was physically feeling like crap! This did seem like a genuine change and for the first time, I BELIEVE I can do it. I have been attending to my diet and that is not so hard, any more, unless it’s Christmas etc. I believe I have mostly changed those neural pathways – the trick is not to slip back when temptation is around. As I think you know, I am vegan and very interested in food and its health properties. I just got a book ‘anti cancer, a new way of life’ by Dr David Servan-Schreiber. It goes into the science behind the incredible healing power of some foods and I’m going to immerse myself in that and create a new, very pro-active attitude to food. Besides, I do actually enjoy my way of eating, rather than all the junk and sugar crap which isn’t really food at all and leaves you still hungry and craving more.
    Anyway, I am rambling but I am very excited and relieved to be here. I feel I’m at the crossroads and the choice is mine but I WILL keep on taking it down the right road, this time. Again, I really BELIEVE I can do it now. Can’t say enough how grateful I am to you both – and to everyone on here who has supported me in the past. I hope everyone is doing awap – and to any lurkers on here who feel swamped by their own addictions, it seems to me that it’s a process you have to go through, but you do come out on the other side. To those who have found it easy – you really don’t know how lucky you are!
    Rob -how are you doing? TC Jackie

  28. jackie I keep forgetting to

    jackie I keep forgetting to tell you that I decided to drink filtered water again (after a long break) a year or so ago, but I had the most dreadful reaction to it, it took a long time to figure it out, but I googled something like “problems with charcoal filters” and I am not the only one, I only used it for 10 days and it took 2 or 3 months for my gut to get back to normal. The symptoms were severe nausea after eating and severe stomach pain, (which I of course thought must be something to do with caffeine). If you r interested I could find the link for you .

    When I looked at the filtered water it did contain tiny particles of activated charcoal, and if you look up the side effects pf activated charcoal, you might get a bit of a shock (I did).

    1. 60 year habit

      It seems you have become incredibly sensitive to just about everything, 60YH – that must be very difficult. I presume you think your sensitivity id due to the meds and caffeine? Well, I looked it all up and they say that you get tiny particles of charcoal of the water when the filter hasn’t been changed as often as it should. I do use a water filter and glad you brought this to my attention as I must confess I have’t been changing it as often as I should have been. Also, it said that the filter doesn’t kill bacteria so it’s important to change as per the instructions as the bacteria can build up and cling to the charcoal. I use the Brita one and I looked up an independent review and it said that it does remove chlorine and metals – so fingers crossed.
      Also, I looked up truthlabelling. I did know about MSG causing problems but am careful to avoid it. I eat whole foods, anyway. so wouldn’t come across it. I know you have to be very careful with processed food, tins etc.
      Thanks for the tips, anyway, and hope you’re doing awap.

      1. I do too, but you cancreate

        I do too, but you cancreate MSG yourself by long slow cooking, ie when making meat stocks (although I know you are vegan),
        but barley malt and flour improvers are the same, so I have also to make my own bread using only wholemeal flour because of the additives in white flour unless you buy it in FRance where they don’t fortify it.

        My water filter was new and I only used it for 10 days before I had to stop…

        this was a quick note so apologies for any typos…

        yes I do put my sensitivities down to meds and caffeine wd

        oh and skimmed milk contains MSg too but I am sure you know all this!

  29. Just a quick update – I’m

    Just a quick update – I’m doing well on the tapering and cut down, again, this morning to just over half a teaspoon of coffee.
    Normally when I have a whole teaspoon, I still get quite wired (as you can probably tell!). Now, I fell less manic but, more, I wish I could just stop. I do think, now, that my habit is purely psychological. When I woke up this morning, the mental craving to have the coffee and the (false) promise of a ‘normal’ life was all-consuming. It really is set in me and I would not have believed that such a psychological false belief could be created in a person. Anyway, I have become my own psychoanalyst and am finding ways to change it. Very determined with my food – I’m having so many super nutrients which will hopefully outweigh the effects of the coffee. Thanks, all, again.
    How is everyone doing ?

  30. An update at 5 1/2 weeks.

    An update at 5 1/2 weeks.

    The over sensitivity has gone down but am still sensitive to highly processed foods. My hormone levels seem to have evened out a bit and feel less weak day to day.

    Two discoveries I have found that I find really interesting:
    1. Previously I thought my alcohol tolerance drastically lowered but I have concluded that I am just able to more accurately determine my level of intoxication. It seems caffeine masked my ability to realize my level and black out from drinking many nights (I do not have an alcohol problem but I am a typical college student and with basketball season in full swing it is bad luck to not have a beer in your hand).
    2. It seems my sleep apnea has become more prevalent. I think it is because I am either sleeping longer consecutive hours or caffeine helped my sleep apnea. Sedatives and depressants (such as alcohol) in your system relax your throat muscles even more making sleep apnea worse so it would logically follow that stimulants would keep the throat muscles less relaxed, resulting in less instances a night.

    Again, thank you so much for everyone sharing their stories! It really helps every day when I am tempted walking by a 7-11 or Starbucks. Have a great day!!

  31. Appetite

    At what point did you get your appetite back if you lost it? I read one blog where the writer said it took two months for her to feel genuinely hungry

  32. it’s no good, I can’t stand

    it’s no good, I can’t stand being in a bad mood another day, i am going back on caffeine.

    1. How are you ?

      AW60YH, how are you ? Not sure if that was a genuine post from you or someone messing around ? I am back on caffeine and have been for a few weeks after a couple of months off. I’m currently trying to limit myself to a couple of good quality coffees a day. I have been here before and if I’m honest it’s just rationalising a bad habit…
      I have 2 big health challenges in my life – caffeine and sugar. I spend alot of time in various permutations of which I’m going to give up – both all at once, just caffeine, just sugar etc. In the past I’ve given up caffeine, then started eating chocolate again which contains a small amount of caffeine and on it goes.
      Anyway, hope you’re OK. If you have used caffeine again it would be interesting to hear from you and what your experience has been – did it improve your mood ? My own experience is that it does, but only on a short term basis. The “energy” it gives is quickly replaced with anxiety and exhaustion. Keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing.

    2. How are you ?

      AW60YH, how are you ? Not sure if that was a genuine post from you or someone messing around ? I am back on caffeine and have been for a few weeks after a couple of months off. I’m currently trying to limit myself to a couple of good quality coffees a day. I have been here before and if I’m honest it’s just rationalising a bad habit…
      I have 2 big health challenges in my life – caffeine and sugar. I spend alot of time in various permutations of which I’m going to give up – both all at once, just caffeine, just sugar etc. In the past I’ve given up caffeine, then started eating chocolate again which contains a small amount of caffeine and on it goes.
      Anyway, hope you’re OK. If you have used caffeine again it would be interesting to hear from you and what your experience has been – did it improve your mood ? My own experience is that it does, but only on a short term basis. The “energy” it gives is quickly replaced with anxiety and exhaustion. Keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing.

      1. Rob

        Hi, Rob, sorry to hear you’re still struggling – it’s like being on a treadmill, isn’t it? You keep walking but don’t really get anywhere. I’ve been doing better – having 1 decaf in the morning, generally – but then, on the odd day, the stress of my life gets me down and I have a bad day because I think I can ‘run away’ , have a good old cup of coffee which, as we all know, makes the world feel OK (for about ten seconds, now!)…and then it runs away with me and I over-indulge on everything. But doing better as a rule.
        I wondered if you could concentrate on just giving up either sugar OR caffeine? Decide which one you’d rather do without and try to stick with that. Or you could try to keep your coffee to 2 a day (better than the 7 I was having) and then have some sugar but try to have it bound up with fibre so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar so much e.g. flapjacks. I must admit, I can’t eat chocolate (although it doesn’t tempt me too much) as it turns me into a werewolf – I’m not kidding, I get very angry and hate everyone when I eat it lol- it must be the chemicals in it. If I can also say, I don’t mean it to be critical (God knows, I’ve got no reason to be critical with my history) but when you post, it feels like your heart’s not really in wanting to give up. Do you really want to give up? Someone on here once said to me, you’ll give it up when you want to. Anyway, any thoughts? TC Jackie

    3. 60YH

      Well, I hope you don’t! This is perhaps an understandable expression of all of your frustration and I do understand how you feel. But think how far you’ve come to get off it and, if you do go back on it, you will only end up feeling worse in the long run. As Rob said, the lift is very short term and then you end up feeling anxious and, in your situation, even more exhausted than you already are. Let us know how you’re doing asap. TC Jackie

    4. 60 year habit

      Please let us know how you are. I’m sure you look on here every day so please post. If you have had caffeine, it’s not the end of the world as you can decide to stop again, if you want to. Worried here, so please post 🙂 TC jACKIE

  33. Hello Jackie and Rob, well I

    Hello Jackie and Rob, well I stumped off to buy some teabags, and I noticed how the frost was glittering in the sunshine, which for some strange reason cheered me up, then I remembered a letter which I cannot copy and paste but I will try and post a link, the letter is to a “Friend” from “withdrawal symptoms” and I found it on another site devoted to another drug, but it really helped me. My mood suddenly changed (for a while) the very next day, but I am back cursing and swearing today….

    Now I will try and post the link from a website called Recovery Road.http://d2vqx76lplv3ab.cloudfront.net/9c/25/i99820956._szw1280h1280_.jpg

    please dont get discouraged You will do it when you are ready.

    Thanks so much for posting to me

    its so strange because i am not depressed, just always angry and irritable…… weird

    and as for the backache and GI probs……

    1. 60YH

      So glad you had some help, even as you were going to the shops! Sometimes, just getting outside, even it’s freezing cold, will lift your mood. I’ll look at that letter when I’ve got a bit more time, thanks.
      You’ve told me about how demanding your life is (like mine, so I do understand) and I wondered if you ever get any time to yourself? Sometimes, when I feel like I’m ALWAYS in demand – looking after absolutely everyone, with no time at all – I get very stressed – then irritable – then angry. When life is putting too many pressures on us, we do get frustrated and angry. That’s why my time in the morning is so important to me. Anyway, try to have some time to yourself is the only thing I can come up with.

      Update: I think my desire for coffee is finally waning. I woke up this morning and DIDN’T WANT ANY!!!! Hurrah! I still wanted a comforting milky drink so had a grain ‘coffee’ (Whole Earth’s No-Caf – it’s very good). I’ve noticed I’ve been sleeping a lot better, too, since I’ve been cutting down even more (albeit with the odd bad day). Had about 8 hours last night – which is a record for me (since I was a teenager!) Also, just the one milky drink is sufficient – later, I either have Redbush tea or fresh ginger tea (which I’ve taken quite a liking to). Diet is very good – and really enjoying it. For the first time, I’m genuinely looking forward to the spring /summer and a caffeine -free life. It feels good to be posting, here, without caffeine in my system (only had decaf yesterday).

      Well, so glad you didn’t have any. If you need to vent on here, any time, just do it. I look most days and will reply if you need a bit of support.

      Hope everyone else is doing OK – Rob, Mandy, Sarah – and everyone. TC Jackie

      1. Thanks Jackie, time to myself

        Thanks Jackie, time to myself is a big problem at the moment, but I am angry all the time regardless of anything – I wish it would stop. I’ve got a horrible feeling that it wllll take me about 5 years to recover completely. Every time I am tempted to go back on, if I stop to remember how bad caffeine made me feel after losing my tolerance after only a week, I realise that it would be impossible to get back on the stuff now after nearly 2 years. I remember it made my throat bleed it was so sore, and the nausea was so bad I could hardly stand up…. I don’t think I really have any choice, but it helps knowing you are there for support, so thanks again,

        When Ii was tapering off my cold tea from the fridge, that’s when my fatigue began, have you noticed anything like that happening to you? And that was when the OCD stuff started for me too, I was hoping that once I was off it would stop, but no such luck yet….

        I sometimes feel that nobody believes me when I say I am still suffering after nearly 2 years, so your support is very important to me.

        1. 60YH

          Oh, dear, that sounds awful – I know what it’s like to be angry and irritable (like I’ve said) and it makes you feel horrible – you don’t want to feel that way. But maybe if you just let yourself feel that way and not try to get rid of it, it might die down on its own, sometimes. That’s what I find – and don’t feed it i.e. don’t kick the cat, metaphorically speaking. Easier said than done. I know. I think that in view of the problems you’ve had in your life, it’s understandable……so don’t beat yourself up for feeling that way. Sometimes, when something goes wrong AGAIN, the added pressure sets you off. Sometimes there’s just too much pressure.
          At least you seem set that you won’t go back on the caffeine. Remembering how it REALLY made you feel is a good way to stop you. You don’t want any setbacks. I’ve been beset with them for so long that I feel time is running out.

          One other thing I thought was that Mandy said that the caffeine addiction/withdrawal brings out other issues and I agree. Any repressed anger/ irritability/distress seems to surface. At our age, we’ve perhaps had more time to accumulate negative feelings….so it could be that, as well, and your life has been very difficult, as you’ve said. The good thing is, though, I’ve found that they do ‘drain off’ as time goes by. Hope that’s how it is for you. It must also be very difficult when you feel so physically unwell, too. How are you sleeping these days? I’m definitely sleeping better and it does help. Well, I can’t think of anything else to add – let us know bow you’re doing.

          Update for me: still having the odd bad day but didn’t want any coffee this morning (again) so that’s a good sign as I feel it’s naturally waning. I only run to it when I’m so stressed, when I just can’t take it all. I should take my own advice and let the stress ‘drain off’ lol.
          Anyway, thinking of you and sending best wishes. We’ve got snow this morning – it looks lovely.

          Hope everyone else is doing well. Jackie

          1. Jackie

            You don’t seem to have a problem with caffeine (apart from the fact that you enjoy it, and see that as a problem), if it were a problem you would definitely be feeling worse and not better at this point, but you are not experiencing any withdrawal symptoms at all, so why on earth are you giving it up????

            As for my anger it is purely and simply down to caffeine wd, and it will stop when it stops. It is impossible to describe, but it is so petty and so vast at the same time, it is nothing to do with anything big or psychological, it is just everything. My shoes irritate me, my hair irritates me, my fingernails irritate me, the way that man on the tv is going on irritates me, that mark o the carpet is driving me MAD!!! etc etc etc etc etc etc etc, it is so wearing and so B O R I N G . My backache is very tiring too, but not quite as bad as it was, and although the GI problems are unpleasant, I don’t really mind them because they signify big changes that are happening generally. If you are not experiencing any of this, I don’t think you need bother to come off caffeine because it doesn’t really affect you – lucky you.

          2. 60YH

            Well, obviously you have not been reading all of my posts as you would know that I’ve had terrible withdrawal symptoms and still do have some – like depression. anxiety, exhaustion (I feel better SOME mornings but feel terrible by pm- I woke up thus morning and felt like crap – ill, exhausted etc (and I have a full day of full-time care ahead of me), anger (but I don’t take it out on people on here), hopelessness, fear(still), aches and pains, I do sleep better some nights but still wake up 2 or 3 times in the night and can’t get back to sleep etc etc.
            When I post on here I try to support people and I try to accentuate the positive to boost myself up and make me feel that I’m getting better. In view of all the posts I’ve put on here regarding what a terrible fight I’ve had with caffeine, I found what you said to me offensive and dismissive.
            Maybe you should go to see the doctor or just accept that that’s how you feel. After all, we did it to ourselves – we drank the caffeine which made us ill, cranky and exhausted. It’s our responsibility.

          3. Jackie, I am sorry – I have

            Jackie, I am sorry – I have been going by your recent posts, and I had forgotten your earlier ones Duhhhhh , but that is caffeine wd, I find it hard to concentrate atm.
            I do accept my feelings of irritability and I think it is better to tell the truth on this blog, because I don’t find constant “positivity” helpful, and I wonder if the need to pretend that everything is fine (even too yourself) is one of the reasons you have found it so difficult to get off caffeine in the past. Just because I tell the truth on this blog does not mean that I tell anyone in the real world

            It isn’t “taking it out on” anybody to be authentic about how one is feeling on this blog. The reason I am so open about how I am feeling is because I know how much the old (truthful) posts on this blog have helped me, and in the unlikely event that anyone else who still feels crap after being off caffeine for 21 months ever reads this blog in the future, what help would it be to them if I don’t tell the truth? Knowledge is power.

            I also wake up 2 or 3 times a night, and I have found having an audio book on cd helps me back to sleep (Anthony Trollope
            is particularly soporific)

            I hope you will be able to forgive me for saying that your last post to me has been far more helpful than any one of your posts where you have accentuated the positive, the authentic Jackie is the one I really admire and prefer, so thank you so much for posting and I hope you can forgive me my mistake.

          4. ps Jackie I remember now

            ps Jackie I remember now about your terrible fear etc. I had done a long much more sympathetic reply to your last post, but I pressed the wrong key and got blocked and lost every word of it, so my last reply is much shorter and less sympathetic, but I am and was too tired to repeat it, but I want you to know that I am VERY SORRY to have offended you, and I hope you will post asap that you have forgiven me.

            My lost post took me an hour to write, sod it….

          5. 60YH

            Of course, it’s Ok, 60 YH, thanks for your apology. Haven’t got much time now so this is a quick reply – but didn’t want to leave you in the lurch. I haven’t processed everything you said but it struck me that we all deal with things differently. I find I’m better and cope better if I focus on the positive – that’s why my healthy diet is so important to me – it makes me feel like I’m doing something very positive about my health (and I know it helps). If I focus on the negative when I write here, it pulls me back down e.g. i used to endlessly stress and beat myself up about how long I’d been trying to get off of caffeine ……..now, I try not to think about the past and how long I’d been trying to wean off but focus on the future and being pro-active. That way just works better for me, now. Anyway, got to go – but will look at your post again tomorrow. TC JACKIE

          6. Thanks for letting me know, I

            Thanks for letting me know, I agree that it is better to focus on the positive and I do that myself, and I always include what I find has helped me – but I also feel that we need to be able to accept the more difficult things about our recovery, which absolutely does not mean that they are negative, they just are, and if we hide them they can go underground and run riot! So I also do everything I can to help my recovery – walking every day, diet, meditation etc etc. So when I say that I am feeling crap, it is the truth, but it is not “negative”, it is just the way it is at the moment.

            I don’t even think the fact that I was feeling that I had to go back on caffeine was negative, it was just the way it was at that moment, and if i had gone back on I would have dealt with it. It is this blog that enables me, at least, to feel that I am not alone in my struggles with caffeine, and I do hope my posts are not perceived as “negative”.

            I think we do both agree about how to get through our recovery, but our perception is different. Thanks again, and I would love to know if you try the audio book solution to insomnia, and by the way I am glad to know that you are sleeping better, because I am too, in spite of waking up 2 or 3 times a night.

  34. I used to be a really happy

    I used to be a really happy girl. Never cared too too much about my weight, working out too much. I wasnt fat or anything but i was just happy and my body wasnt on my mind much. Then my dad started bringing a bunch of diet coke home…

    I used to haaaate dieet soda. But the more I consumed it, just cause it was there, I started to notice i always got really happy when i had it. I would feel ambitious, hyper, excited.

    But since then its been about a year and im totally different. Since those times, I’ve become OCD about my bod, cant have certain parts touching, cant stand to wear clothes, hate the way my legs feel when i sleep, stare in the mirror and obsess over really…really stupid things that deep down i know arent really real, but yet i cant stop myself from caring and getting really unbearably irritable about it.

    And things like when my boyfriend is a minte late, i freak out. When he leaves town i freak out. If he says something the slightest bit weird i flip out, and he makes me feel annoyed when i know he isnt even being annoying, and it makes me sad because i love him and i dont want to be a crazy lady. I hate to hurt his feelings. I just cant control it.

    Im only 20, i should be happy. not irritable, over-emotional, ocd, wacko.

    Is this caffeine? I have about two a day. My gut tells me it is but im just wondering if anyone knows about it. I wanna get back to my old self,

  35. I copied and pasted te last

    I copied and pasted te last post “I used to be a really happy” etc. from another caffeine site, and I did it in such a hurry last night (I have been having problems with my broadband disappearing), that I didn’t make that clear with quotes around it.
    so I want to make it clear that it isn’t a recent post , it was made about 5 years ago, and I have lost the link, but I was so relieved to read that I am not the only person experiencing weird OCD symptoms (even though I have only had them since I came off caffeine, and she had them whilst she was on it), that I had to paste it somewhere, and on this site is the best place for all this info. Her description of her discomfort and mood describes me exactly at the moment.

    Apologies for any confusion.

  36. from caffeine informer posted today

    “mirandarichards75 • 15 hours ago
    I am sensitive to large amounts of caffeine in any form, but particularly from coffee, much more so than tea. I drank a strong cup of coffee before a hike last week and thought I was having a heart attack: MAJOR heart palpitations, a feeling of impending doom and anxiety, racing thoughts. Coffee also gives me a mild form of OCD: sometimes I won’t be able to stop what I’m doing or parlay into the next task. This only happens with coffee and not with tea. Also coffee causes facial numbness, and a worsening of a drooping of one side of my face (I have had an MRI, no stroke, Lyme or MS). So basically, coffee is bad news for me!”

  37. “Allergy-type addiction is

    “Allergy-type addiction is also fairly common, especially with coffee, but also with tea, chocolate, and cola. With allergy, withdrawal from the substance may lead to even worse symptoms.”


      Hmmm… I’m not sure exactly what you mean with that quote 60 Year Habit. I recently had a severe allergic reaction for the first time ever to Neosporin and Neomycin ear drops. Both contain Neomycin. I didn’t really think about a possible connection, but is this possibly connected to what you are saying? It’s kind of hard to prove in my case since I’m not experiencing caffeine withdrawal symptoms any longer. However, I’ve never really used Neosporin or Neomycin in my life until now, so it may just be a coincidence. It’s just that I’ve never been allergic to anything before until now.

  38. rob here is an answer to your query

    from yet another blog “how to go caffeine-free and beat the hellish withdrawals”

    ‘Sean, Today, I gave up. I gave up to a cup of tea because I couldn’t take it any more but after drinking the cup of tea rather strange thing happened. I had the worst experience of my life. After 2 hours of drinking I thought, I should be able to feel like I used to feel before on caffeine but this was not the case, my heart starting pumping very fast, I thought I would die on the spot and my eyes started twitching also. Both of these symptoms happens when the intake of caffeine is too much but I only drank a cup. So, overall I still feel shitty and emotionless after drinking a cup.
    You mentioned you gave in to coffee couple of times during withdrawal. Did you felt like before after drinking or you still felt the same ? Also, how far you were in withdrawal when you gave up ? Did your eyes twitched like crazy during the withdrawal. The reason I’m so paranoid because what if this is permanent.
    You’ve been of so much help.
    Thanks bud.’
    this blog states that withdrawals from caffeine usually go on for months, not days.

    hope this helps

    1. Thanks

      Thanks 60YH. I’m still drinking coffee, but not a huge amount – about 2/3 cups of strong black coffee a day. I’ve never drunk huge amounts, but even this fairly small amount doesn’t make me feel good. I guess maybe I’m allergic to it – I don’t know how I’d prove it, but after many years of using it, I think I’ve (finally) proved to myself that caffeine and I are not a good combination. I am however addicted to caffeine – if I don’t use it I feel bad, so I rationalise and find reasons to keep drinking it to avoid withdrawal. I’ve been here lots of times before (not just with caffeine) and I know the answer. I simply have to stop.

      In my experience, although tapering makes logical sense and sounds like a good way to go, I never stick with the taper plan. I start with good intentions, but once I’ve had any caffeine, I persuade myself that I may as well have a coffee and that I’ll give up tomorrow. This cycle repeats endlessly, for literally years. The only way that has ever worked for me is to just stop “cold turkey”. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, you stop doing something by stopping it. The only way out is through.

      So tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll drink coffee but then stop all caffeine from Wednesday. No coffee, no tea, no caffeinated soft drinks or chocolate. I know what is going to happen and how I’m going to feel (I’ve done it enough times before to know…) but I’m just going to have to accept it and wait for it to pass. My experience has shown that it will; while there are lingering withdrawal symptoms, I’ve found the nastiest, immediate ones only last a few days. I’ve decided to write the week off from Wednesday – I don’t care if I get nothing done, as long as I stop caffeine.

  39. DAY 306 – NO CAFFEINE

    I haven’t been on here for a while and haven’t been reading the posts. My motivation for looking at this sight everyday disappeared when my withdrawal symptoms disappeared. I’m just posting a comment to say that I’m still caffeine free. The first 6 months were hell. Months 7 and 8 were much better. Months 9 and 10 were absolutely symptom free with no relapses. I only drank coffee for 6 years, so I’m guessing that’s why I recovered quicker than 60 Year Habit. For anyone suffering through the withdrawal symptoms, I just want you to know it does get better. Hang in there and the effort is worth it.

    I recently suffered through 4 weeks of ear infections that greatly interfered in my ability to sleep much. I might have gotten 3 hours per night, but still resisted caffeine during the day. For the most part, I was able to stay awake fairly easily despite having no sleep and not drinking caffeine. I’m sure it would have been very difficult if I was still trying to break my addiction.

    Having said all of that, I do still find myself tempted occasionally to have just a little caffeine, but then remind myself of the torture of coming off of it. I feel like I’m in AA and just taking it one day at a time. It’s not as bad as that, but there is similarity.

    Hang in there everyone!!

  40. Rob (and 6 yr habit) do check

    Rob (and 6 yr habit) do check out the blog i got that “Answer” from, it is so helpful …. It will be so good when you are caffeine free and feeling well (if only, in my case too)

    There are quite a few posts from ppl who have gone back on to no avail. Get some supples in for your week off, DVD’s, good food etc etc. Thinking of you…

    6 yr habit, I just found that quote explained why I felt so much worse after I came off even though I was allergic to it when I was still ingesting it, I think the allergy makes wd even more severe.


      Now I understand 60 year habit. Thanks. I look forward to the day when I come to this website and see that you’re 100% recovered. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

      1. thank you so much, so do

        thank you so much, so do I!!!!

        How do you feel now you are better? Is it as wonderful as people have described? or perhaps you are not quite there yet, do let us know…. (a blow by blow (symptom by symptom) description please)

        So glad you are feeling better.


          I’m not sure how wonderful it is. It is very nice to not “need” caffeine to stay awake or wake up. I’m normally have no problem whatsoever going to sleep other than due to my recent ear infection. The only way that I can describe it is that I feel perfectly normal: not too much energy or too little energy. A year ago while on caffeine, my gym workouts could only last an average of 30 minutes. Now my average is between 2.5 hours and 3 hours. I guess it is “wonderful” to NOT be experiencing the fatigue, the neuropathy, the shortness of breath as I fall off to sleep, the depression, the worry of falling victim to catastrophic illnesses, etc… I just have a normal average energy level without being hyped up on caffeine. I no longer think much about how I feel being off of caffeine because it is so normal now. I’m not sure if this is what you you’re requesting. But I do love keeping a nice even energy level all day long and not be experiencing the ups and downs throughout the day driving my need for caffeine.

          1. well that sounds wonderful to

            well that sounds wonderful to me, (I am in despair thinking I will never recover from this ), so thank you for letting us know.


            Remind me how long you’ve now been off of caffeine 60 Year Habit. Seems like I remember the one book that you recommended said it would take 3 years for caffeine to completely leave our system. And it seems like you are, or were, around the 2 year mark. And even though the book said 3 years, that can not necessarily be 100% true for everyone. People’s metabolism differs from person to person. I’m sure there are other contributing factors like length of usage, weight, diet, medical history, etc. I think that I got over mine so quick (quick being relative and being 7 to 8 months) just because I was on it only 6 years. Plus I lost nearly 50 pounds during those 8 months which may or may not have sped things up. I know vitamins store in our fat cells. Just don’t be discouraged. People do overcome the after effects of caffeine all the time and I have faith that you will too!

          3. Thank you for your thoughtful

            Thank you for your thoughtful and kind message – I am feeling a lot more hopeful and I find what you say very encouraging. I have been off 24 months now.

            So glad you are feeling better and getting on with your life!

  41. Caffeine withdrawal is a bitch

    Well, I’m on day 2 of stopping caffeine cold turkey (again) and it’s hard. I’m at work but I’ve done very little for the last 2 days and can’t imagine I’ll get much done tomorrow either. I don’t mind though – I figure the increase in productivity through being able to think and focus more clearly will easily offset a couple of lost days. My head hurts, I can’t think, my leg muscles ache and keep spasming and most of all I just want to sleep. I’m getting very annoyed very easily too. Having done this a few times I know Day 2 tends to be the worst in terms of acute withdrawal – tomorrow should be more like Day 1, then from Day 4 onwards things should get progressively better (and easier).

    I hope I’ve learned my lesson this time – caffeine and I just don’t mix. I don’t know why, despite the vast majority of people seeming to be able to use it with impunity, it screws me up royally. I think I’m far better off without it, I just need to stay away, a day at a time.

  42. when you said you were going

    when you said you were going to write the week off, I thought you were going to stay off work, so I do admire your stamina, and I hope it goes as well and as quickly as it has before.

  43. End of Week 1

    I’m caffeine free for a week at the end of today : no coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate etc. I stopped cold turkey as that’s the only way that seems to work for me. It has been pretty unpleasant and sadly the unpleasantness continues. I expected the first 2-3 days to be rough but for things to be pretty much OK after that. They were rough as I expected – headaches, mental fogginess and a desire to sleep the main problems. However since the 4th day the headaches have continued (although milder) but have been joined by muscle aches, particularly my back and legs and a general anxiety. Rather than being desperate to sleep I am struggling to sleep at all. I don’t know if my reaction to caffeine is abnormal – maybe I’m allergic to it or something – and so it affects me in a way that it doesn’t affect “normal” people. For me it’s a serious drug that impacts my life in a major way, the strength of the withdrawal shows this. I gave up smoking many years ago and although time may have distorted my memory, I don’t remember it being anything like as hard as this.

    Anyway, I’ll keep plugging on a day at a time and things will hopefully improve soon. My life has to be improved by removing a substance that makes me feel like this.

    1. Rob, Have you tried MSM? I

      Rob, Have you tried MSM? I used Doctor’s Best MSM 1000mg capsules during my last “quit” and felt it was much easier. I only took one a day but I am a small woman (115lbs) so you might need more. MSM and lots of water really made a difference for me. After two days of sips of coffee I simply drank a big glass of water whenever symptoms appeared. I mostly just had headache, irritability, and sleepiness. The MSM is easy to find on line on Amazon or Iherb but I have also seen it in Publix and I think Kroger as well. Hope you see improvements soon.

  44. Day 5: No appetite and nauseated

    Hello all:

    I’m back off the caffeine wagon. But I virtually have no appetite and am scared of losing weight since I’m already underweight. Anyone can relate to having no appetite during withdrawal. I’ve read some testimonials that said that the person lost weight during withdrawal.

    Im doing cold turkey to cause there was little hope at all with cutting down. Days 1-3 were easier this time around because I have supplemented with Vitamin D which I’m deficient in. I also do a multi and vitamin B12. I also walk for 30 min a day to relieve pre diabetes and depression.

    But days 4 and 5 I’ve lost my appetite and am nauseated after I eat.

    1. I’m sorry, there should have

      I’m sorry, there should have been a “?” After, “Anyone can relate to having no appetite during withdrawal.”

    2. That is completely normal. I

      That is completely normal. I had almost all of the symptoms when I tried to get off of caffeine almost 2 years ago. It basically felt like I had the flu. I didn’t want to do anything, move, or even eat. The only thing I ate for about a week straight was eggs & rice. It was the only thing that helped settle my stomach. It is basically just like fried rice without the fried part. I make rice then put one or two scrambled eggs in it, then I put in some soy sauce and a little bit of teriyaki sauce. Another thing that really helped me was putting my feet in a hot bath and drinking some ice water with lemon in it. It really helped calm me down and helped with all of my emotions. The last thing that really helped me was reading this forum. I think I read all of the posts! I feel I should give back and help others on the site trying to get off of caffeine. It is so hard but you can do it! You will eventually get to a point to where you don’t crave caffeine anymore because you don’t like the way it makes you feel. I probably only drink it about once a month, if that, and then I wish I didn’t because I don’t like the emotions I feel and my lack of focus. I am able to do so much more than I ever thought I could! I feel like a kid again, like I can do anything I set my mind to. Other people’s opinions of me don’t effect me anymore. I actually find I am more empathetic than I used to be and I rarely gossip. It becomes increasingly more obvious to me that I am different than I used to be, it can be hard at times to relate to other people because I don’t have the problems they do. When I got off of caffeine I was just out of college working a crappy job and depressed. I got off of it and now I have ridiculous focus and amounts of energy. I am back in college, working on getting into grad school, working at a better job in my field, and training for a 5k with my spouse. Life is so much better without caffeine. If you can believe in yourself instead of caffeine, or any other drug, you will be so much freer to do whatever it is that you have been wanting to do! Good luck, I wish you the best 🙂

      1. Wow! Just what I needed

        Thank you so much! Your testimony couldn’t be more perfect. The empathy, less prone to gossip and all are right on target with where I’m at on Day 8. And I’m looking forward to the energy and focus to get back into grad school. God Bless you for this!

  45. good resources

    Allen Carr’s books on giving up smoking are very relevant.

    Also Kelly McGonigal’s insight that if you hear and observe a temptation going on inside yourself (rather than ignore/fight it), and do not construct a narrative around it (‘I am….’), much better able to succeed.

  46. Day 10: Feeling Better

    Hey all:

    It’s Day 10 and I’m feeling a lot better. I’m glad I got through that hump and have passed another milestone. Only problem is my mind is tricking me into thinking I can start again. Not just with coffee but other foods I shouldn’t have since I have pre diabetes. appetite is a little better but I could also attribute that to taking zinc supplements again. Anyhow, the best way so far that I’ve come to tackle this is to pray. Then tell myself that I have a choice when faced with temptation. I’ll be going to a luncheon in an hour so pray for me.

    Okay, I’ll check in again soon.

    And thank you for everyone who have posted here. 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend 🙂

  47. Day 20

    Day 20:
    Hi guys. So I broke down and had an iced green tea from Starbucks. I felt okay, after that. I woke up at 3:40am in the morning last night and didn’t go back to sleep. Today I felt good. Until now. I feel nauseated again like I did in the beginning. still don’t have a strong appetite. Just eat on schedule every day.


      That’s why it’s called addiction. After going cold turkey over a year ago, if I was to do it again, I would gradually work down. It’s easier because the withdraw symptoms aren’t as severe, but harder because there’s a greater temptation to backslide and drink more than what you’re used to. At least, I imagine that’s true.

      I’ve previously written that all my withdraw symptoms have disappeared after about 10 months, but I realize that’s not entirely accurate. I do have occasionally muscle “twitching” or “micro spasms”. They are much better than months ago.

      I have no more neuropathy, headaches, brain fog, pancreatic pain, or catastrophic thoughts. My energy level is sooo much higher than it ever was on caffeine. I work out about 3 hours at the gym 5 days a week. While on caffeine at the end, I was only able to workout 30 minutes at a time.

      I once brought up that maybe Vitamin D deficiency. I still think that was part of my withdraw and once I cured that, then that also took care of a lot of the symptoms. 60 Year Habit once wrote on here where he read that caffeine inhibits our Vitamin D receptors. So, it’s hard for me to separate one from the other. I’ve also read on forums about Vitamin D deficiency where some people developed caffeine sensitivity when they became Vitamin D deficient.

      I’m just throwing a bunch of information out there. Not sure how much of it helps. Keep up the good fight “Anonymous”. BTW, it would help if you create a screen name to keep track of you are when you’re posting updates. When your posts are back to back, it’s kind of obvious, but if other people start posting, then I can imagine losing track of you.

      1. Hello again 6 year habit, it

        Hello again 6 year habit, it is so useful that you keep on updating your progress, so thank you! I am at 2 years and 2 months off now, and continue to improve, I must say I was wondering if my muscle twitches and micro spasms were due to the onset of Parkinson’s disease, (still got the catastrophic thoughts LOL!!) so it was especially useful for me to read your update.

        My progress is difficult to evaluate because I continue to fluctuate, I had a very bad few months at the beginning of the year, but that stopped about 5 weeks ago. My energy levels are still nowhere near normal, and I still get lower back pain which takes any pleasure out of walking. But my BP is so much better, my doctor is amazed and says that my BP is that of an18 year old…(I am in my early 70’s), although when I googled 132/78 that is still mildly high, however it is much better than it has ever been before. I also still have a very dry mouth all the time, and can still get very irritable when under stress, although that has improved from being irritable 24/7. I still also have episodes of constipation and IBS, but that has greatly improved. I still occasionally have breathing problems and my chronic dry cough is still very much around.

        The lower back pain seems always to be centred around my hips and is dependant on how much sleep i get, how much I do etc, although even if I sleep well and do nothing it is always there.
        My sleep is still not marvellous although better than when I was on caffeine, I still get episodes of brain fog, occasional headaches, and constant anxiety/inability to deal with stress.

        I have read on other sites about people taking 5 years to recover from caffeine withdrawal, so I am not giving up hope, I cannot wait for the hip pain to go so that I can enjoy walking again.

        Thanks to this site I at least know what the problem is, or I might have given up the struggle and gone back to my tea.


          Hi 60 Year Habit,

          Likewise, I’m glad that you shared with me that you still experience the muscles twitching. Mine is worse after working out, but not limited to post workouts. I try to suppress my temptation to have those catastrophic thoughts. I worry more about MS. I never thought about Parkinson’s disease. Thanks for putting that in my head. lol.

          I agree that this sight has helped me tremendously especially your posts. I still think that the length of the addiction effects how long it takes us to recover and that’s why it’s taking you longer. I feel fortunate to find out after only 6 years.

          It is hard to tell when I have a problem if it’s related to caffeine or not, but I am much better at keeping myself calm now. The proof is that I don’t check this website a lot anymore. When I had catastrophic thoughts running wild, I was checking this website everyday.

          I sleep great these days. Very little brain fog ever. The last one that I had was in the 3rd round of a chess tournament and that might have been just being tired from thinking so much. I’ll have a little occasionally every now and then, but not often and not everyday. Most things like this effect me so marginally that I don’t pay it any attention anymore.

          It’s nice hearing from you again. 🙂

      2. Twitching

        Hi, I have been off of caffeine for what will be two years this month. I was curious what kind of twitching you have? I don’t have muscle spasms anymore, while I’m awake anyway. I am not sure but I think drinking things like juice (my new coffee) helped me with that because of the potassium. I also use Epsom salts in a bath after strenuous exercise to help muscle recovery. One thing that I do have that is related is that sometimes when I am falling asleep I will twitch suddenly and wake myself up! I also have more frequent dreams about falling, tripping, etc and I will wake myself up with my movements to stop the imaginary danger. Does anyone else do this? It seems to help if I drink something like chamomile before I go to bed but I don’t want to do that every night.


          Hi Amanda, Most of my muscles twitching is in my calves especially after long workouts. Sometimes I may have them near my eye or in my lower abdomen or even in the upper leg quads near the knee. I’m just going to have faith that this is connected to my caffeine withdraw especially since they did not start until I stopped caffeine. Seems reasonable.

          The only sleep related problem that I had was not being able to breathe as I fell asleep and then waking up gasping for air. However, that stopped entirely around the 6 month mark. To me, your dreams sound normal. Maybe you have stressful days and this is your body’s way of coping and decompressing. Through out my life I’ve had dreams like your describing where I’m trying to wake myself up and others where I feel like I’m in danger.

          You did say that you don’t have muscle spasms anymore. Does this mean that you did have them for a while during your caffeine withdraw? If so, when did they stop entirely?

          Keep up the good work of staying off of caffeine. Stay strong.

        2. are you the same Mandy

          are you the same Mandy (Amanda) that has been posting recently? Sorry to be dense, but I am still confused…

    2. Good job at getting to 20

      Good job at getting to 20 days! I would count that as a milestone and just try your best not to fall off the bandwagon again. I tapered down from coffee to black tea to green tea before I finally kicked the habit. I still have had my share of slip ups along the way though. I think the best advice I can give is just not to let yourself get back into the routine of drinking caffeine. Try to substitute it with something else you like. For me it was peppermint or chamomile tea. Just be very patient with yourself, I think caffeine is waaayyy more addicting than most people care to admit. You can do it, don’t give up 🙂

  48. Hi 6 yr habit and Amanda, I

    Hi 6 yr habit and Amanda, I thought if I replied at the top it would be easier to reply to you both at the same time. Amanda, my muscle twitching is like the one you describe as you fall asleep, except I get episodes of it,usually when I am very tired, or very stressed and it can happen at any point during the day.

    6yr habit, I hadn’t thought about MS, so thank you for putting that in my head too!!! LOL.

    I had forgotten to say that I still get muscle spasms, usually in my legs (where I also still get the most horrible cramps), but sometimes, when I cough or lift something awkwardly I get the most painful muscle spasm on the right side of my abdomen.

    Help, now I can’t remember what else i was going to say to you 6 yr habit and I can’t see your post…

    Oh well, I will have to do another reply if necessary, but if not, it is so good to hear from you and Amanda.

    Speak again soon

    60 yr habit

    1. Thanks for the replies. I’m

      Thanks for the replies. I’m going to respond to both of you, like 60 year habit did, it seems like it would be easier. I did used to get spasms in my calves, sometimes my arms, and my eyes. It does happen very rarely, now. Less so than it did when I was drinking caffeine. It happens maybe once a month, and like you both said, it is either from stress or strenuous exercise. I think it stopped after about a year of being off of caffeine. Granted, I may be younger, so it may have gone out of my system easier. I am 25. I think light exercise has helped. I walk about 30 minutes a day. I think most of the problem was nutrition deficiencies. My nails look amazing now. I don’t have to get them done because they look great and don’t break or tear like they used to. My skin is also much better. I battled with acne my entire life but my skin is less inflamed now and I don’t break out unless I’m really stressed out or have hormonal changes (sorry if that was TMI), and now less than it used to be. I looovvveee drinking pineapple juice and apple juice. Or eating fruit. It gives me lots of energy and seems to be helpful. I think the only weird thing is when I get really stressed out. I have crazy test anxiety now, but I do better in school, how does that work? Anyway, I am really resourceful now so I tend to trust myself more. But sometimes I get so stressed out it is almost like a bad dream. Like when you show up to the wrong classroom at the wrong time to take a test, etc. I guess it isn’t that weird though because my brain is the first thing to fail on me when I get really stressed out. Has anyone experienced this?

      1. It’s a relief to me that your

        It’s a relief to me that your stress symptoms are so like mine, I was beginning to think it was “just me” and I know what you mean about feeling more resourceful. I also walk every day, but it is so weird not being able to enjoy it because of the back ache and fatigue, but thanks to your (and other people’s) posts, I know that it will eventually stop.

        Regarding juice, I also love drinking juice, but having checked out the sugar content, I now only drink organic cherry juice (and not every day) because of the risk of diabetes. It is apparently better to eat apples and pineapple whole rather than to juice them. (Mercola is a good site to research all this stuff). I now drink mainly water and for hot drinks I drink fresh ginger tea, and for a hot milky drink, carob.

        Thank goodness I haven’t got any hormonal changes to cope with (being post menopausal), but I can imagine how they would be affected by all this, and I wonder now how much my PMT was caused by my caffeine intake.

        Keep in touch!

  49. Vit D and caffeine

    I wonder if anyone could help me . I gave up caffeine 4 months ago , and seemed to be getting a little better at the three month mark . I then started taking a high dose ( 5 thousand iu ) of vit D 3 and vitamin K 2 . I took it for a month but felt worse and worse with a lot of original symptoms that had gone returning . I eventually had to stop as I was so bloated , couldn’t sleep and itchy all over especially my face . I know these are all liver symptoms but was wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience ? I have read that caffeine blocks the vit D receptors so maybe this has just created another detox ? I’m five days off the Vits now and still not back to where I was .

      1. Thank you so much for getting

        Thank you so much for getting back to me, I will try to access the site. I stopped the vit D almost a week ago now but I’m still getting cramps and bloating. Did you find any supplements which helped with the withdrawal, I really like Marine Phytoplanton

      2. Hi 60 yr habit, I wondered if

        Hi 60 yr habit, I wondered if you had any problems with water retention, it’s 2 weeks since I stopped the vit D and I am struggling with bad water retention which came on after I stopped the caffeine and wonder how long it will last. How are you now. Many thanks

  50. Hi anon, well you can’t

    Hi anon, well you can’t judge yourself by me because I cannot metabolise drugs normally and it always takes me ages to get over them, it took me more than a year to get rid of the huge red hives that came up around my eyes after I had two days on “only” 2000iu of vit D3. So don’t be discouraged if I tell you that I do have bladder problems and still suffer from water retention after being off caffeine for more than 2 years. I am gradually improving though and cannot wait for it all to stop!!!!

    I remember reading on the vit d blog that there was something you could take to help eliminate the vit D, something weird, I think it was wheatgerm, but you would have to go through all the posts to get to it.

    Supplements are a big no no for me, so I can’t help you there. Hopefully you are feeling better by now anyway.

  51. I swear this is the last time….

    I don’t know why I do it, but for some time now I’ve used caffeine, felt awful, given up and then bizarrely after a few months decided one won’t hurt and started again. The experience is the same every time – first cup feels great, moderate my use for a couple of days, then I’m back at it the same as before. Needing coffee to function and feeling awful either with it or without it. Then I Google incessantly on how to give up, have dozens of “right that’s it” moments, but never actually stop.

    Well, this is the end of day 2 having finally bitten the bullet and quit again, cold turkey. It’s the only way that works for me, tapering off always sounds like a good idea, but I never get to the end of the taper. I am reminded as I write this how nasty a drug caffeine is – I’m foggy, can’t think, my muscles are twitching and most of all my head hurts.

    I swear I am off it for good this time. Never, ever again.

    1. Rob

      Hi, Rob, reading your post made me realise how strange our behaviour has been over the last few years. I have fallen back down the rabbit hole so many times and it’s the same struggle to pull yourself out. I AM getting over it, though and learned my final lesson, recently. I finally gave up on 26th May and went without coffee for 32 days! I swear I thought I’d conquered it – I was beginning to feel slightly better – the first few weeks were absolute hell but I was beginning to sleep a little better and feel more like ‘me’ again. Remember, I had been weaning for a long time and was down to 1 a day. Then something triggered it again (I’ve finally learned about my emotional triggers and how to avoid them) and BAM, I was truly down the hole again, drinking loads of coffee and eating everything in sight as well. But, in a way, that made me realise that ‘just one’ will NEVER work as it just spirals out of control and that you have to CHANGE YOUR MINDSET, TAKE CONTROL AND REPLACE THE RITUAL. I think, importantly, you have to WANT to give it up – and in the early years, I didn’t want to. These are the things that have worked for me and now e.g. I drink a lot of redbush tea (I get ‘cravings’ for that now!!) and eat breakfast and focus on my healthy meals which I really enjoy, as a kind of substitute. I KNOW my fight is over BUT you have to be vigilant.
      Take control, Rob, and just STOP – don’t waste any more time! I wasted over 3 years trying to get off it but if I can turn it around, anybody can. I was such a different person on caffeine – It’s good to be finally coming home. Good luck! And 60 year habit, hope you’re continuing to improve. Jackie

      1. Thanks Jackie

        Thanks for your words Jackie. It’s good to see you’re finally off it, although I’m a bit confused if you still are ? You said you stopped at the end of May and lasted 32 days. Did you then have a blip and have since given it up again ? I stopped on 7th July – I just felt like I was incredibly anxious and just thought I can’t do this anymore. I guess a kind of caffeine rock-bottom. Giving up hasn’t been easy, but it’s not been too difficult as (like you say) I think I’m ready to stop. I’m sick of it, how it makes me feel and mostly how it makes me act as a person.

        This is day 6 and I’m tired, but the headaches and muscle aches are mostly gone, and I’m beginning to see some benefits. I can think clearer, my sleep is better, I’ve lost a little weight (no chocolate) etc. I’ve quit before for quite a while – I’ve done a number of months a few times, the longest was 4. But then for some reason I have got in the wrong frame of mind – tired, restless – and thought a coffee would be a good idea. That first cup was great, but then I’d be back in the grind of using it to try and feel normal, actually feeling dreadful. I just need to bear that in mind and take it a day at a time.

        Good luck in your journey. I’ll try to remember to post on here once in a while to keep me honest !

    2. me too

      Honestly Rob, I could have written your post myself as I go thru the same exact process. In fact, after many false starts, I finally gave it up successfully at the end of last May (2014) and then something stressful happened in the winter (Dec 2014) and after moderating my use for a few days, I got sucked right back in to having not only one but two cups of coffee per day and have tried a few times already this past month or so to quit again, to no avail. I’m on day 7 of no coffee and my head and eyes still hurt.

      I can never taper either. However, it takes a few tries of cold turkey to fully commit. It takes a lot of perseverance though, because there are those moments when you feel good and think ‘well it would be nice to have a sweet cup of Joe right now.’

      Every day for the past 7 days, I’ve had my moments of thinking that it would nice to just have a cup of coffee – preferably, Starbucks – but I’ve resisted, because I feel the achiness in my head and the lethargy of my body and I just know I’m functioning at a very poor level, given my caffeine intake over the past few months.

      I can say it negatively impacts so many facets of my life – from my appetite, to my weight, to my skin, to my sleep, to my anxiety levels, etc. It messes with everything, and I can say that those 6-7 months I went without it, I made such great progress in my life and was feeling more at ease with everything than I have for the last 7 months I’ve been caffeinated.

      The withdrawal process is never fun, and this is probably my worst ever, since I have had up to 2-3 cups per day, but I can’t wait until my body is restored to optimum health, and as good as coffee tastes, it’s not worth the headache – literally – along with the many other pains that go right along with it.

    3. me TOO!!

      Rob, I KNOW! Me TOO! In fact today I feel so awful and so nervous that I wanted to just go to bed. I cannot believe I keep doing this to myself! It’s so SICK!! And I feel so sick physically – like I have the flu. Every time I start again it makes me feel worse. It drops my blood sugar and I’m dizzy and the anxiety starts. I keep going on and off like you. My mother is in Hospice dying & I am also moving at the same time so I feel ‘justified’. I started again a few weeks ago to stay awake so I could handle everything. But all this caffeine just makes me more nervous and after the high I am tired, wired and more exhausted. My hands are twitching on & off involuntarily. I keep thinking “today is the day I QUIT again for GOOD!” I hope I can do it soon. I hate the withdrawal…the brutal headache, the despair, the exhaustion…the whole f*cking LIST! I cry for the first week and my life feels all turned upside down like I’m going crazy and having a nervous breakdown – like I really need the extra help right now…UGH!! You are so brave and thanks for being honest. I hope to quit AGAIN soon too for the LAST time. I will post when I stop this time. Mostly in the past I just come here to read so I don’t feel so alone. Maybe sharing will keep me OFF the sh*t for GOOD!!

  52. Long time reader- first post

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

    1. Shane

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

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

      1. Hi Jackie

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

        1. Rob

          Hi, Rob, sorry you’re still struggling – I know what it’s like as I’ve been there for well over 3 years (as you know). You asked how I quit – I’m not exactly sure as I haven’t quite worked it yet myself – it’s all been a bit a a blur, tbh. I’ll have a go at working through it.
          Quick recap : Years of strong coffee drinking (6 or 7 big ones a day) and didn’t want to give it up. Started to feel terrible – knew I should stop but, again, didn’t really want to. I think that’s important – do you really WANT to give it up?? Started to wean 3 years ago last March and got it down to 1 to 2 mugs a day with the odd over-indulgence.
          In May of this year, I felt that I couldn’t really go on any longer as I felt so terrible- I knew I had to try. I went on holiday and didn’t have any for 4 days (good for me!!) but then we met up with friends from the area, went for a meal and bang – back to over-indulgence, including food (always had a bad munchie thing with coffee as it spikes the blood sugar). It was the final lesson.
          Quit again on 24th May, managed for 32 days but fell down the rabbit hole again for a few weeks when I got very stressed and angry one time. It felt like I’d never had those 32 days off – very weird. But then I realised that it really is about –

          CHANGING THE MINDSET or the way you think – you think you’re down the rabbit hole and can’t get out – but you can. You do have the power to stop if you try. I realised that EVEN IF I DID FALL OFF THE WAGON the odd time, I could get back on it again as long as I KEPT ON TRYING TO TAKE IT IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION i.e not having the damn stuff and not overeating. All my life I’ve either been over- indulging/drinking coffee etc OR dieting/eating healthily/ abstaining and that became a battle. I noticed you used the word battle – and that I said I ‘withdrew from the battle’ and I realised that that’s what I did. I stopped beating myself up, forgot about how some people can quit, just like that – and just tried to deal with it as MY addiction and stopped comparing my self to others. I stopped again on July 25th and have had 2 coffees in the 31 days. BUT THAT’S OK, AS LONG AS I KEEP TRYING TO TAKE IT IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, it doesn’t matter if I have the odd slip up. Like you, I used to think that I had to go cold turkey, or that weaning was weak or the everybody else can do so I’m a failure – well, all of that is rubbish, Everyone’s brain chemistry is different and we all create these patterns of behaviour and the more times you do something, the deeper it gets embedded as your neurological patterning and, this, coupled with the addictive nature of caffeine is a killer.

          One important thing that helped me was REPLACING THE HABIT WITH A MORE HEALTHY OPTION. I used to have just coffee for breakfast. Now I have a proper, healthy breakfast and redbush tea with almond milk. I love it! The tea is fast becoming my comfort drink. I drink about 4 a day and that is fast becoming MY NEW HABIT. Eating has been fantastically good for over a month and I don’t want to eat the crap now I’m off coffee.

          I still have a emotional pull to coffee sometimes – you know, the social, ‘we’re having a nice coffee together’ thing – which is a false god, of course, but the physical cravings are diminishing fast. I KNOW I’m beating it and that feels damn good. I’m starting to dream again and sleep better. Importantly, I’ve not been giving in when stressed or when I walk past Costa and the smell gets to you. Writing this has made me really realise how much it’s changed or, rather, that I’ve changed and that I have a new attitude and am starting to feel hopeful and excited about life again.

          Well, sorry to ramble, as usual, but I’m still foggy etc although it’s improving. I hope there’s something here that will help you. Anyway, good luck and feel free to ask me anything etc. All the best, Jackie

  53. Hello Shane, (and Jackie

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

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

    1. Book

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

      1. Hi Shane and Jackie,
        the book

        Hi Shane and Jackie,

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

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

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

        Keep on keeping on …

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

    2. 60YH

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

      1. I give up too

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

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

  54. Day 4

    After my last post I have stopped caffeine completely, cold turkey. I know tapering is probably more sensible and gentler, but I’ve found just stopping is the only way that works for me. It’s a little brutal, but it’s clean and clear – I’m either using caffeine or I’m not. I’ve done it a few times now, so knew what to expect and haven’t been disappointed. Day 1 was OK, no major problem, then days 2-3 is feeling foggy with headaches and no energy. Day 4 adds muscle aches (back and legs) and some anxiety. I’m not sure how long these symptoms will last or if there’s anything new to come.

    I don’t know if it’s just me, but caffeine really does have a profound effect, both mentally and physically. It certainly impacts very negatively on my quality of life. I’m really hoping that a day at a time I’m done with it and will get to experience how I feel with prolonged abstinence. So far the longest I’ve managed is 4 months, so a way to go yet before I’m breaking new ground….

    1. I think you are doing it the

      I think you are doing it the right way, I would not have had to taper if I had “only” had your symptoms (symptoms which I still have after more than 2 years), I tapered because the anxiety and depression I suffered after cold turkeying were so bad that I was suicidal. That was a great shock to me because I only drank one cup (or sometimes) 2 cups of tea a day, so I had not anticipated any real problems, and the whole process has been unbelievably difficult and protracted.

      I still don’t completely understand why you find it so difficult to stay off, and I conclude that perhaps your symptoms are so mild that they don’t really make your situation feel all that different when you are off the stuff. You say that it impacts negatively on your quality of life, but if it affected you as badly as it does some people (myself included), there just isn’t any choice to make, life is impossible on caffeine, so there isn’t any temptation, (other than to stop the withdrawal symptoms) to ever drink it again.

      I don’t think you have ever gone into any great detail about how badly caffeine does affect you mentally and physically, and I would appreciate it if you could speak about it in a little more detail. I don’t suppose that you will, because I expect you will interpret this post as hostile, but it is not written in a hostile spirit, I really want to understand, and I apologise if I have minimised the effects caffeine has on you (through not having enough information).

      Anyway, I wish you luck in this last attempt to get off the stuff and I hope that you get through this miserable process and recover in as short a time as possible and I am already feeling envious because I am absolutely certain that you will be fully recovered before I am and I am already over 2 years into it.

      1. PS Rob I just reread some of

        PS Rob I just reread some of your older posts, and I want to apologise for my earlier one. I think the reason you have found it difficult in the past to stay off caffeine is that it makes you feel so low and/or depressed that you forget that it it is the caffeine doing it to you, and you have some to make yourself feel better. So this time try and be aware that depression stops your brain from working normally, and try and have some reminders around that it will pass, all you have to do is to let time pass, and that if you give in, it will carry on. (Possibly have some printed reminders on the wall?).

        Anyway, I can’t delete my earlier post, but I can try and correct it here.

        1. Hi 60YH

          It’s OK, without knowing a person’s full story it may be tempting to “fill in the gaps”, perhaps as you have with me, guessing my symptoms must be mild etc. Hopefully this post will explain my situation.

          I am a recovering alcoholic, who gave up drinking when I was 25; I’m now 48. Before stopping drinking I couldn’t give two hoots about coffee/caffeine, but within 6 months of stopping drinking, my addiction was looking for a new outlet. I quickly acquired one of every kind of coffee maker and knew the location of every coffee shop in town. This was about the time coffee was becoming “cool” with trendy cafés and part of the recovery lifestyle is meeting for coffee and talking, which I embraced fully. I’m not good at moderation – I tend to either not do something at all, or go at it full throttle and that’s how it’s been with me and coffee for the last 20+ years. I have been obsessed with it, thinking about it all the time, promising myself I’ll stop but not being able to, repeating the same behaviour endlessly. There have been occasional brief periods of “sobriety” before I convince myself one cup won’t hurt and this time it’ll be different. The addict in me craves the drug effect of caffeine.

          When I use it regularly I feel awful, all the time. I feel like I’ve been poisoned, physically and mentally. My stomach aches, I have no energy, I am overweight (it makes me crave sugar) and I am sure it has contributed to significant health issues I have. My thyroid is underactive and requires medication – I’m pretty sure taking excessive quantities of a stimulant drug has played a role in that condition developing. Mentally I feel confused, foggy, tired and just generally crappy. I am anxious, stressed, tense and can be unpleasant. My self-esteem is low as a result of repeatedly letting myself down by not being able to stop and stay stopped.

          So why don’t I just stop and stay stopped ? Because I find it phenomenally difficult. I believe addicts have dopamine circuits that are over-sensitive and crave stimulation; once addicted they fight very hard to keep the stimulus and react severely to deprivation. I have a brain like that. When I stop I am unable to function for days, I become tired, depressed, anxious, I get physical symptoms and it’s just hideous. But I also know that trying to taper off slowly will just keep me hooked – that’s why I stop cold turkey. I have done it maybe 4-5 times in those 20 years. I’ve resolved to quit countless times – no exaggeration to say it’s in the hundreds – but normally I feel so bad so quickly that I barely make an hour before I’m finding a way to get some caffeine in me. On the few occasions I have managed to quit I go through horrible mental and physical craving. I need to write off about a week for the acute physical symptoms to pass. Then months of lower grade, chronic symptoms. It’s exhausting.

          So no, I wouldn’t say my situation is mild, quite the opposite. Without exaggeration, caffeine has dominated my life for the last 20-25 years and has compromised all aspects of it. Those should have been the prime years of my life, but instead I have lived sub-optimally, never meeting my potential, never being quite the person I could have been for the simple reason that I’m an addict who is unable to break the addiction. I have thrown so much away, preferring to focus on drinking a dirty brown liquid and suffer the chronic, insidious effects on my mental and physical health, than focus on the positive things I should have – family, friends, work, health. Rather than being brave and accepting a relatively short period of withdrawal and then living without it, I have lost years. Addiction is an incredibly powerful thing.

          It’s been cathartic for me to write this, so thanks for prompting me to do it. It’s such a simple answer – just stop using caffeine, but for some reason it’s been so very difficult to do.

          1. Rob

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

          2. I’m too exhausted to write

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

          3. but Rob, it’s not your

            but Rob, it’s not your “brain” that makes it difficult, it’s the fact that you have been brainwashed into accepting the “addictive personality” rubbish that so many professional “helpers” insist on dishing out. It’s complete crap… Everybody gets addicted to addictive drugs, but it’s down to your genetic make up and individual metabolism as to how badly you are affected. (I should know, I was “addicted” to prescribed drugs, mainly benzos but accompanied by every other bit of crap my GP could find to turn me into a subhuman being. This went on for 30 years, and I cold turkeyed off them over and over again,and not knowing about withdrawal symptoms, always went back on or alternatively, took an overdose of paracetomol (I believed what my GP told me, that the prescribed drugs were harmless and that I was therefore mad without the drugs, so not wanting to be mad and believing that the drugs were harmless, I took at least 3 overdoses of paracetomol, and luckily for me, somebody always found me, in the nick of time) Anyway, about 20 years ago, I finally discovered the truth, that all my problems were caused by the benzos etc. I read that if I stopped taking them, the withdrawal symptoms would be over in 6 weeks LOL. It actually has taken 20 years and I still have some residual symptoms, because I should have tapered off over 2 years or so, and cold turkeying off the amount of stuff I was prescribed could have killed me(and nearly did).

            Anyway, the reason I have told you all this is to explain why I am certain it is nothing to do with your particular personality or “brain” that is causing your difficulties with getting off caffeine, it is the concept of the addictive personality which is stopping you from tapering off (and I would recommend tapering off over at least 6 months, because I tapered off over 3 or 4 months and it was far too quick, if I had tapered off over 9 months to a year, I think I would have recovered by now.

            I am too tired to write more now (have had a v stressful day), but I do hope this info will stop you being so hard on yourself, and allow you to stop punishing yourself so that you can taper off sensibly.

          4. Addiction

            Hi 60YH. The whole nature of addiction is a fascinating one – I very much believe there are people who are more prone to addiction than others and so they need to be more careful with addictive drugs than “non-addicts” for this reason. Every drug I have ever taken I have taken to excess, regardless of the consequences and became dependent very quickly. My brother (for example) had the same parents, family, environment etc. but never had issues with alcohol or other drugs. I don’t think it’s a moral issue, a willpower problem or anything like that, I just believe my brain is wired slightly differently to his. My family also has a long history of alcoholics, so I think it’s highly likely there is a genetic element – in other words it’s an inherited characteristic. Some races (eskimos, native americans, aborigines) have colossal addiction and alcoholism rates compared to other races. For some reason they are more prone to addiction.

            That said, different classes of drugs produce dependency at different rates. It’s probably true that if anyone, regardless of their susceptibility to addiction takes some drugs for long enough they will become dependent. Addictive people will probably develop the addiction faster and to a more severe degree, but it can happen to anyone, it’s just brain chemistry. If you take a drug long enough the brain adapts to it being there and if you remove it will go into withdrawal until the drug is either present again or the brain adjusts back to life without it. Maybe an addict’s brain adjusts faster and to a more severe degree than a non-addict.

            Similarly, some people can stop using drugs far more easily than others. I know people who decided to stop smoking and just did, no hassle, no problem. I must have tried hundreds of time and every time felt like my life was coming to an end – depression and a total inability to function. Some would say it’s just “weakness” but I don’t think so. I think addiction is very real, in the same way as depression and other mental conditions. It’s not binary (you either have it or you don’t) but a spectrum – some are very mild and rarely if other become dependent on something, others become dependent much more quickly and severely. They are the people who, despite all the evidence of their chaotic lives, will drink or drug themselves through catastrophic lives into madness and death.

          5. yes, apparently some people

            yes, apparently some people can come off benzos with no problems, (although I have never met anybody, but it is a very small percentage who have permanent or extremely protracted withdrawals, (Prof Ashton says it is about 10%). I have known several who are still suffering 25 years and more after cessation.

            And the population groups you mention are all in dreadful social situations, so unhappiness on top of a genetic susceptibility will make addiction more probable. I note that far more women than men are addicted to benzos, which makes my point I feel, my generation were not in a good position for happiness and wellbeing!

          6. So I hope you will taper off

            So I hope you will taper off if it gets too difficult this time…

          7. Scary isn’t it ?

            Yes, I have a friend who’s coming off benzos now and is a few months in, with a few more months (at least) to go. He’s not finding it easy. Frightening what doctors will dish out to “help us”. Scary also that powerful drugs like caffeine are sold openly and completely un-regulated. I see children walking to school with big cans of energy drinks and long queues in Starbucks. The most ironic thing I see is adverts for coffee and tea that suggest they help you relax : if you’re having a tough day, take a seat, have a coffee and watch your stress melt away…. The truth of course is that you’re probably struggling as you’re starting to go into caffeine withdrawal, and by having a cup you’ve drugged yourself into your normal caffeinated state again. Same as cigarettes really. Life as a pavlovian dog is no fun haha.

          8. your friend may find a couple

            your friend may find a couple of places helpful (if they do not already know about them), benzo.org.uk and benzobuddies …

            in haste,

            60yr habit.

    2. Rob

      Hi, Rob, glad you decided to have another shot at kicking caffeine to the kerb. I’ll just add (and I know you know this) but please beware – you’ve been here before, probably many times. You know that in a few weeks – or a couple of months – you’ll get that mind pattern emerging again i.e. ‘it would be great/ a good idea/ I really do fancy a coffee’ etc. I would advise you (if you possibly can) to nip that in the bud and immediately do something different to break the pattern: eat and/or drink something else, buy yourself something, go to the gym, ANYTHING! From my experience (and I know everyone’s is different), one of the major hindrances to stopping is the habit. We work on automatic a lot (especially under the influence of caffeine related brain fog) and drinking coffee is a habit BUT then there are the habitual thought patterns which also control us. I found that I really did have to change my mindset or the way I thought about coffee. That is, I don’t want to give it up and I can’t do it – to, oh boy, I sure do want to give it up to I CAN do it. So the key for me really was changing not only what I did but also how I thought. It was not too long before redbush tea became my new habit and. amazingly, my taste buds adjusted to it and I really do love it now (with almond milk, especially) and I no longer wake up wanting coffee, at all – and this from the person that used to be waiting for the newsagent to open at 6.00am so I could buy yet another jar! I think I’ve said it took about just over 30 days to establish the new pattern.
      I’ve had 2 coffees since July 25th and none at all since August 10th – but I’m still counting myself as caffeine-free for 37 days. It’s a bloody miracle lol. The longer I go without, the easier it gets. There have been some times of temptation but it’s easier to ride through. I still feel very tired but my depression is improving on some days. Dreaming all the time – I’d forgotten what’s it’s like. Felling generally more positive and I think that’s because I KNOW I’ve beaten it, at last, and, importantly, I know it will keep getting better. There will be a test coming up for me this week as I’m going on holiday to Lyme Regis. But I’m confident that I will be able to walk on by – and there’s a lovely cafe there which sells redbush tea and gorgeous organic, dairy-free cakes etc so I can have a treat, if I want.
      Anyway, good luck, Rob, and hope things worked out with your lady.
      60YH – keep going and try to remember the improvements you’ve already experienced.
      All the best to everyone and thanks very much for all your support and advice. Jackie

  55. I forgot to remind anyone who

    I forgot to remind anyone who is trying to get off caffeine, that the more times they attempt unsuccessfully to get off it, the worse the symptoms get the next time you try to get off it because of “kindling” as I know only too well, in fact if I had not had the opportunity to speak to Prof Ashton, (the PM thanked her last year for her services to people coming off benzos), I would not have known that protracted withdrawal from benzos could go on for so long or become permanent in some cases, and would have believed my GP and gone back on the stuff, anyway to get back to kindling …

    “Kindling due to substance withdrawal, refers to the neurological condition which results from repeated withdrawal episodes from sedative-hypnotic drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. Each withdrawal leads to more severe withdrawal symptoms than the previous withdrawal syndrome. Individuals who have had more withdrawal episodes are at an increased risk of very severe withdrawal symptoms, up to and including seizures. Withdrawal from GABAergic acting sedative-hypnotic drugs causes acute GABA-under-activity as well as glutamate over-activity which can lead to sensitization and hyper-excitability of the central nervous system, excito-neurotoxicity and increasingly profound neuroadaptions.”

  56. Just wanted to give a little hope!

    Hi all. I have been a pretty heavy drinker for about 25 years. Last year I tapered down to about 2 cups of coffee a day (from about 5-6), I did it kind of slowly and although I felt tired, achy, it was not unbearable. Then about 6-7 weeks ago I got pretty sick with a gastro bug and decided to try and get off it completely. The first few weeks were awful with headache, depression, anxiety, body aches, extreme fatigue, etc. I should mention I have a history of depression but haven’t felt this bad in years, I take a low dose of AD and am usually ok. Then a few weeks ago it started lifting a little and now I’m feeling dramatically better. I know when I’m in the thick of things it seems like it will last forever so I thought someone might appreciate reading a positive story. I hope to continue to feel better, but honestly I already have a lot of relief. Much less headache, body aches, dramatically improved depression, energy throughout the day, much less anxiety, sleeping like a rock. I can’t believe how bad caffeine is for you and how hard it is to kick. I am going to take it one day at a time, but just wanted to throw this out there. Good luck to all!! You can do it.

    1. well I can’t wait, but

      well I can’t wait, but unfortunately I have to. I only wish I had known what I was doing to myself when I was given my first cup of tea at age 5 or 6. I am still feeling really crap most of the time, but it is good to know that one day I will feel well again (if I live long enough LOL)

      1. Are you sure it’s caffeine ?

        I don’t want this to appear hostile in any way, but I remember you wrote you didn’t use much caffeine only 1-2 cups of tea a day. That’s a very low dose, well under the commonly accepted “safe” limit of 300mg a day. I’m not saying you don’t have health issues, but I wonder how you can be sure you can attribute them to caffeine ? If they are still continuing a couple of years after you’ve quit, then wouldn’t that also suggest there may be another cause and that caffeine isn’t a factor ? If they were caused by caffeine, then after a couple of years of being off a low dose, you’d expect them to have gone.

        As I said, I mean this in good faith – I just wonder if you’ve drawn a conclusion that may be wrong. Maybe there is something else causing your health issues that you should be looking to find rather than assume it’s caffeine ? Of course it may be me that’s wrong ! I don’t know the ins and outs of your health, just thinking out loud and trying to help.

    2. This is exactly how I got off

      This is exactly how I got off of it too. I kept trying to kick it for months and I would go a few days or 1-3 weeks and was back to where I started. I finally stopped August 9, 2015, when I was very very sick. I was determined not to go to the doctor’s to get a z-pack as I rarely get sick and I’d gotten sick once this year already and needed the z-pack.

      I felt it was the right time to quit because I felt like absolute crap and I knew the caffeine was just dehydrating me further and exacerbating my insomnia and anxiety, which was compounding matters.

      My anxiety and depression got worse at first also, and it wasn’t until about the last week or two that I have started to feel the fog lift. I’m starting to feel much more peaceful and energized. Like you, also having much less anxiety and sleeping like a baby.

      Best piece of advice for those who are a month or two in and feel like ‘what’s the point?’ Do NOT let this thought discourage you or trick you into falling back into the old habit. It’s a ruse. It does get better.

      One thing I’ve learned is not to listen to the addict voice telling me softly that maybe it’s good for my health and I actually need it, or that I can’t possibly give it up forever. It’s that voice that has gotten me to falter every time. No more. I listen, but I don’t act without thinking of the consequences — which would be: foul mood, irritability, anger, depression, insomnia, etc.

  57. Caffeine and emotions

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

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

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

    1. Robert

      Absolutely, Robert. I was a complete zombie and, not only were my positive emotions and feelings of connection to family and friends or pleasure in the things I enjoy cut off, my cognitive and memory functions were sometimes almost zero. It was really worrying, at times. However, I found that, although I could hardly feel anything positive, all my negative fear, anger, irritability, impatience etc etc sure were in full flow. I became the worst version of myself. This has all eased now quite a lot and I feel I am returning to my self, more in balance. The dopamine rush also sends you into full-on pleasure seeking mode so you want to drink even more coffee, go shopping (a lot!) and spend too much money but you never feel satisfied because dopamine only sends you on the mission to find pleasure (it doesn’t give you pleasure, as such) – so you’re constantly craving and searching. Horrible. Thanks for posting and good luck with your tapering. How is it going so far? Jackie

      1. Jackie

        Hello Jackie and thanks for your reply. You are really good at describing the effect that caffeine has had on you and I enjoy reading all of your thoughtful and perceptive comments.
        I don’t feel like I’ve made any major strides in reducing my caffeine intake, but I guess I have. As a 40+ year, 5-8 cup per day user, sometimes more, I have managed to reduce my intake to 3-14 oz. cups of instant half-caff per day for about a week now. It still seems like a lot though, doesn’t it? I work nights, and now have my last coffee at my 2 am break, and am in bed around 10 am, don’t have my next coffee until 7 pm-ish when I wake up. Already, I can feel the slight headache and tiredness/brain fog.
        Yet also, in these prolonged (for me anyway, probably some of the longest stretches without caffeine in my adult life) stretches, I already feel WAY less stress, practically no muscle tension, which has plagued me since school days, especially in the neck area), I fall asleep within ten minutes of hitting the pillow, I don’t have a thousand thoughts racing through my head and I feel less depressed. I think I’m getting glimpses of what it feels like on the other side already, and it gives me hope.
        My memory is terrible though, has been for years, so would you mind recapping your caffeine story and the point you’re at now?
        Thanks for listening. It’s good to have someone who understands and shares the battle we are going through. If I were to tell all this to the people I know and/or work with, they’d probably think I was crazy. But they are all caffeine-crazed sleepwalkers and have no idea how they are being ravaged by this poison.

        1. Robert

          Thanks for your comments. Robert. First, I actually think you’re doing really well. To go from 5-8 cups a day to 3 half-caff IS a major stride to me……..and the fact that you’re already experiencing less symptoms is very encouraging. It looks like it might be an easier ride for you than most. Basically, keep it up and you will get there!

          You asked me to re-cap – but you might regret that as my ‘journey’ has been a 50 year roller coaster ride of madness! I’ll try to be as brief as I can. I started drinking coffee when I was about 14 (I’m 64) and by the time I started work (at 16), I was regularly having 5-7 cups a day. This carried on until I did stop for a couple of years about 10 – 11 years ago (all dates approximate due to memory problems). I started drinking coffee again (BIG regret) as a way of relieving stress and making myself feel ‘better’ due to an overwhelming array of family illness (on-going), relationship problems, financial problems and many other problems at that time. I lost all my personal life, sense of self and life and it sometimes felt like the lift I got from coffee was all I had to make me feel ‘good’. Of course, the ‘feeling good’ is a lie and so, about three and a half years ago, I realised just how ill, exhausted and vile the caffeine was making me feel, with all the terrible symptoms of anxiety, fear, irritability, anger, cognitive problems, sleeplessness, zombie brain etc etc etc – and that I had to do something about it. Enter the weaning phase. I could never ever do cold turkey – the physical and psychological craving was too strong and I didn’t really want to give it up, if truth be told. Tbh, it’s all a bit of a blur now (you’d have to read my coffee-fulled posts to properly get a sense of how it went) but, basically, I did wean down from 5-7 mugs a day to 2 (which I got stuck on for AGES) and then eventually down to just 1 in the morning, always with lapses and the odd major eating binges. I’ve always had a problem with eating, fulled by the sugar spikes which coffee gives you – I used to weigh 13 and half stones about 16 – 17 years ago but am now under eight stones so I’ve at least got that under control – and I’m a vegan and eat really healthily. I love my food.

          This (2015) was the year I made bigger strides on stopping for periods of eg 25 days, 42 days etc (can’t quite remember exactly) and I’ve felt that I am digging myself out of the pit. BUT and here’s the BUT – for me, at least, I have to be vigilant. The strong neurological ‘tapes’ or habits I’ve created are deeply ingrained in my psyche and have become such a part of me that things like environmental triggers, emotional triggers and lack of willpower, due to the effects of the caffeine (as explained in The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal) sometimes completely override my desire to stop – and then there’s always the false promise of the ‘feel good’ cup of coffee, both socially and physically. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I went on holiday and I fell back into my old ways, for a while. I was astounded that that could have happened when I’d been doing so well. BUT, again, it’s taught me that even 1 cup can re-wire my brain to its old ways and throw me back down into the pit again.. Sam Carpenter (who has written about coffee addiction online) said to me that you have to treat yourself as an alcoholic – because just 1 ‘drink’ can put you back down the rabbit hole again and it feels like all your hard work and gone down the drain.

          ANYWAY, cathartic writing here for me and I do apologise. I think I finally see how I’ve gone wrong and know what I need to do to change it. That is, keep making NEW tapes, keep taking it down the right road, eat as healthily as you can, drink plenty of water, change your mindset – or the way you think about coffee – it is NOT a feel-good drink, it is poison – and robs you of your health, mind, memory, emotions and happiness, not to mention all your money!

          One thing I will add (for anyone reading this, wanting to get off it) is that everyone reacts to caffeine in different ways – we are all different – and that one person’s withdrawal and experience of coffee may be completely different to yours so I would say do not compare yourself to others and do it your way. Nobody else knows how you feel or how the caffeine affects you – and length of usage/health history also play a major role -so just get off it your way and ignore people who say you can’t be feeling this or that or you ought to do this or that. At the end of the day, ONLY YOU can find the way out – but, know this, it CAN be done. Just never give up.

          Well, Robert, I said you’d be sorry! Major apologies – I think I needed to write this to get it off my chest – hopefully, it might help someone who is struggling.

          Let me know how you’re doing, Robert, and good luck.

          1. Jackie I have only just read

            Jackie I have only just read this post, it is so good to be able to read your history in such a concisely written account. I had not appreciated how long your struggle with caffeine has been going on, but believe me, I understand only too well. (Mine was another addiction which we have discussed in the past), I hope this caffeine withdrawal won’t take as long as the other one did!!!

            But it is so encouraging for me to read your post, particularly the paragraph about the importance of not comparing oneself with others, so thank you very very much.

            I would also find it helpful if you could tell me what symptoms you have experienced in your withdrawal period, eg fatigue, muscle weakness, hip pain, IBS, irritability, cog fog, memory problems, depression etc. I know that you experienced a lot of them whilst you were on caffeine, but did some of them get worse (as they have for me) during withdrawal. Thanks again for all the encouragement you have given me, now and in the past.

          2. 60YH

            Thanks, yes, it’s been a long road, as you well know. Little did we know that when we were throwing all that coffee down our necks, we were setting up this destructive pattern which would plague us for all of our lives. It’s funny when I look back, as I always thought it was my eating problem that was always the biggest bugbear of my life but I now realise that it was the damn coffee which was spiking my blood sugar and making me eat, eat, eat. And I’ll say it again, the longer you do something, the more deeply it becomes ingrained in your psyche. It becomes who you ARE and it’s like you lose your ‘real’ self to it.

            Yes, I think it’s important not to compare. I used to and felt such a failure etc for not being able to just do it but, now, I feel, well, it’s nothing to do with anyone else. It’s my problem and I’ll deal with it my way. I think when we come on here, we think we’ll find ‘the answer’. Well, there is A LOT of advice and support BUT at the end of the day, you have to stop drinking it yourself, deal with your WS and get on with your life, as best you can, regardless. For some people, it’s easy, for some, it’s really hard.

            My symptoms are as you describe – all the usual ones. Remember, 60YH, that I am not completely off of caffeine yet. I’ve still had the odd lapse (as described elsewhere) so my symptoms will not be clearing up as quickly as they should. I’m really struggling with depression and lack of motivation (also elsewhere). My sleeping is not too bad, though, but I do still feel very fatigued, especially from lunch time onwards. At 7.00, I feel like I could just fall asleep. One thing that has worried me is my memory. I really struggle to remember things now and. sometimes e.g. forget how to spell words. I used to be an English teacher so this is not good! I also don’t remember e.g. the plot of books or films, too well. I am positive that the caffeine has contributed to this cognitive decline – my neurons aren’t firing properly or whatever the correct science is. I have arthritis on my right side, anyway, hip, knee, shoulder – but it’s always worse when I have caffeine. I kn ow that sugar makes my arthritis worse. I’ve been taking turmeric powder for a good few months now and that does help. I don’t have IBS , as such, but coffee acts as a laxative and I eat so much fruit and veg, anyway. I’m better when I’m off it, obviously. Well, rambling here, as usual – another symptom for me – I come on here and ramble. Well, take heart, and ever onward. TC Jackie

          3. Thanks again for all that

            Thanks again for all that extremely useful “rambling” Jackie, it gives me hope that it is all down to caffeine wd. and do you remember Jayson? He went on about the memory stuff (which I have too) – I kept a copy of his replies to my posts – will post them here in a bit.

            so tired and aching today!!!

            back soon…

    2. Yes, it made me feel

      Yes, it made me feel disconnected from my emotions. Like, I was hyped up and feeling high, but not truly present. Basically, to me, caffeine is a drug and alters you, as other drugs do.

      I am 2.5 months clean. Yes I relapsed 3x with 1/4-1/2 cup of coffee those three times and some chocolate, but this is HUGE progress for me. I’m pretty much completely clean and my life is changing very much.

      I’m much more tired and lack the energy I had when I was consuming caffeine, but it’s more of a stable tired. Like, I feel present-in-my-body tired, and not tired-but-can’t-settle-down. I was so whacked out on caffeine. I felt so restless, depressed, irritable, angry, annoyed… so many negative emotions… and my fuse was so short it was unbelievable.

      Now that I’m off caffeine, I am able to weigh the impact of my actions and really soak in what is happening in the moment.

      I find I get very tired and take naps, which was impossible when I was on caffeine. I’d try to nap, but I’d be flooded with so much anxiety that I couldn’t relax enough to nap. Now, I am shocked by how I can nap for hours. I feel much more well rested. Also, when I sleep at night, I dream almost every night. When I was on caffeine, I would awaken in the middle of the night and in the early morning. Way early. I would have to jolt out of bed because I’d feel so restless. Now, I feel so peaceful and sleepy when my alarm goes off, and I don’t want to get out of bed, but at the same time, I have the energy to get out of bed.

      My focus is better, my productivity and desire to achieve has increased. My mood is MUCH more stable. I feel at peace and not so frenzied and like I have so much energy and where do I put it? I remember in August feeling like I would never ever get here, because I kept trying and trying to quit, but it just wouldn’t take.

      I’m still a work in progress, but I’m almost to the point where I made it last yr. Last yr I was off caffeine 4.5 months. I’m halfway there at this point. It’s exciting.

      I still feel the urge strike and I still think of coffee, and of course I see it everywhere, on billboards, online ads, commercials, etc. However, I can’t help but feel so thankful I don’t feel how I did when I was on it. It made my life a mess. It screwed with my emotional well being. I couldn’t sleep. It screwed with my appetite, skin, mood, relationships.

      Caffeine…while it tastes good, does not benefit me, and actually detracts from my life, and just keeping in mind the detrimental effect it has when I consume it, gives me enough strength to keep my distance.

      It’s a hard road to stick to being completely caffeine free, but it’s so worth it. I have a long way to go still, but God willing, I will make it to my goal of 9 months and beyond. It will be interesting to see the outcome after all the dust settles.

      One word of advice to those in the early days, don’t give up! It takes longer than a few weeks to start to normalize. At 2.5 months, I’m still not there, but just knowing how much I have progressed from even 2 wks ago, gives me faith that I’m headed in the right direction.

  58. Insomnia

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

    1. Yes I also have tried the

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

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

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

      1. Amanda and 60YH

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

  59. I’ve been drinking coffee/tea

    I’ve been drinking coffee/tea on a daily basis for about 12 years straight. I started drinking black tea when I was 17 years old. Then I started a daily coffee habit of about 2-3 cups a day when I was about 21 yo while still having black tea daily (usually about 1 cup a day). I loved coffee! I loved everything from the emotional pick me up, the alertness, which helped me get through the daily grind of a stressful job and relationship. I especially loved cafe coffees,the aroma, the visual pleasure I would get at seeing that nicely made latte, the whole cafe experience. However, about two years ago while I was trying to get through studying at university, I started making really strong stove-top coffees and was still drinking about 3 cups a day. One day it got to the point where I had just made a coffee and took two sips and almost vomited – I was done with coffee! So I gave up, it was driving me mentally and physically into an emotional, anxious, strung out mess. Since that time I have had two cups of coffee over a 2 year period but have continued to drink black tea. I tried to get it down to 1-2 cups a day and thought nothing of it as I knew black tea had about half the caffeine as coffee and I viewed coffee as the enemy (when really it’s just anything with caffeine in it that’s the problem). So I continued on for two years, until now, drinking my 1-2 cups of tea a day, which over the past year has increased to 4 cups a day. 1 week ago I decided I’d had enough, I was at the point where I wasn’t getting anything done during the day, my day was being consumed with thoughts of when I was going to have my next cup of tea to make me feel good, I was irritable a lot of the time especially at night when I was not having as much tea (but then I started drinking tea at night as well!), anxious and I’ve developed a moderate-severe OCD issue. I worked out that I have been using caffeine/tea as an emotional crutch to escape from any relationship and emotional/life issues. I used to view caffeine as just a simple ‘pick me up’ but after further research have found that it totally messes with your brain and emotions and leaves you in a messed up state. So I finally realised that I had to have some determination to get off this drug and try and pull through. At first I though I would try the gradual method, so about a week and a half ago I had 1 cup of tea each day for 2 days. After the second day I realised this was not going to work, I was feeling very anxious and it just made me feel worse having 1 cup, so I decided to go ‘cold turkey’. The first couple of days were what I had expected – foggy mind, headaches, irritable, hungry more often. I was fine with that and I managed to get through it. However, the last couple of days have been a mixture of good and bad and not what I had expected. My head feels clearer and I feel like the majority of my anxiety had vanished, so I feel different in a way that I haven’t felt in a long long time, but at the same time I’m having major cravings to have tea and it’s not for the taste, it’s like my mind is actually wanting a ‘happiness’/serotonin hit off this drug and I’m struggling to get past it – I feel like a crack addict or something lol. I actually just really want a cup of tea so bad that it almost feels ‘naughty’ or ‘wrong’. It’s weird. However I know it’s not going to do me any good and I feel like I have been making small progress off the caffeine. So I’m trying to reason with my mind that it’s just not the right thing to do – it’s feels like a bit of a struggle though and the heavy depression is started to creep in… arghh

    1. Mandy

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

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

      1. Thanks JSL, yep I feel like

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

        1. Mandy

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


    2. I found this today,hope it

      I found this today,hope it helps:

      How To Increase Dopamine Levels

      There are many ways in which you can increase dopamine levels. Obviously if you have an extreme neurological disorder like Parkinson’s, you’ll probably want to go the pharmaceutical route due to the fact that the pharmaceuticals are more potent and will allow you to function. On the other hand, if you have low dopamine as a result of abusing psychostimulants, you’ll want to put forth the hard work of increasing your dopamine levels naturally.


      Most people will want to focus on increasing dopamine levels with natural methods. Keep in mind that a bulk of natural methods require consistent effort and time before you see results. Your dopamine levels will not go “0 to 100” overnight, but they will gradually increase overtime. The natural route is best for those who don’t want to “crash and burn” with months of post-acute withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing a potent psychostimulant.

      Brain waves: There is some speculation that certain brain waves may be associated with the increase and release of dopamine. One method that doesn’t have much science behind it that may prove to be beneficial is that of increasing faster-paced brain waves. When the brain’s electrical activity (brain waves) speed up, different neurotransmitters are likely released than when activity is slower.

      An experiment with mice involving chambers with light-pulses revealed that mice exposed to higher frequency light pulses resulted in stronger reward learning. This suggests that a higher frequency likely gave rise to faster firing of brain rhythms which increased firing of dopaminergic neurons. Lower frequency rhythms were significantly less effective than the high frequency bursts.

      Therefore it would make logical sense to increase the dominance of beta waves, and perhaps gamma waves to determine whether any effect can be obtained. Both beta and gamma are fast waves that can be increased with brainwave entrainment. Another effective method that may increase beta waves is that of neurofeedback, which involves putting electrodes on your scalp and training yourself to consciously increase faster wave activity.

      Caloric restriction: It is known that caloric restriction is associated with longevity and an increased lifespan. Restricting the number of calories you consume may also have an effect on neurotransmitter levels and dopamine neurons. Researchers discovered that chronic “mild” caloric restriction resulted in significantly different neurological activity compared to non-food restricted mice.

      Mice that are restricted from excessive food consumption had increased bursts of activity from dopaminergic neurons and the effects of a psychostimulant (cocaine) were enhanced. Researchers postulated that these effects may be similar in humans and that the efficacy of psychostimulant drugs may be enhanced via chronic caloric restriction. In addition to increasing dopamine concentrations, you may end up living longer from restricting calories.

      Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23966705
      Dietary intake: Another natural way to increase dopamine levels is that of altering your diet. The goal should be to eat foods that increase dopamine, or more specifically, foods high in L-Tyrosine – an amino acid precursor that crosses the blood-brain barrier and converts to dopamine. If you have been shoveling down loads of carbs, but aren’t eating much protein, you’re probably deficient in L-Tyrosine, which inevitably results in lower than optimal dopamine.

      You may want to consider eating more meats, nuts, poultry, and fatty fish (for omega-3s). Keep in mind that eating the optimal amount of healthy protein such as: whey isolate, pasteurized eggs, seaweed, grass-fed beef, and fatty fish has potential to increase L-Tyrosine, and thus dopamine.

      Goal setting/achievement: When we achieve goal that we worked hard towards and get the reward associated with achievement, dopamine is released. The brain is naturally wired to seek out more reward because the dopamine rush associated with achievement feels pleasurable. If you’re willing to put forth some effort to increase your dopamine, you should set a goal.

      Even achieving a small goal will result in a positive feedback loop, fostered by dopamine release. A bigger goal will be tougher, but the dopamine rush associated with its accomplishment may be more profound than achieving a smaller goal. If you are struggling with low dopamine, you may currently be apathetic to accomplishing any goal – it may seem pointless.

      To get over this hump, start by setting a very tiny goal – such as cleaning your room, doing the dishes, or vacuuming the living room. This will train your brain to embrace the hard work so that it can “earn” the dopamine release. Set a goal to lose 5 lbs. in 2 weeks or to read a book in 3 weeks. Think of the reward that you’ll get for achieving that goal (e.g. you’ll be smarter, healthier, etc.).

      Obviously you’ll want to come up with something that fits your personality. If you have set a complex goal, break it up into smaller tasks so that you get some sense of achievement / reward along the way. While goal setting may be tough at first, achieving goals is the ultimate healthy dopamine rush and creates a positive feedback loop.

      Meditation: There is significant evidence that various types of meditation can increase concentrations of dopamine in the cortex. This means that if you learn how to properly meditate, and commit to a daily practice, you will alter concentrations of various neurotransmitters, including dopamine. There is evidence in particular that mindfulness meditation is capable of increasing signaling in areas of the brain involved in emotional regulation and control of attention.

      It is the increased activity in these regions that has been found to increase the release of dopamine. While meditation may not be an ideal strategy for everyone, and requires consistent effort over a substantial term to achieve the dopaminergic boost, smartphone apps like Headspace can help you start. There’s a reason I consider meditation among the best Adderall alternatives; it works if you put in the work.

      Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3044190/
      Massage therapy: It has long been suggested that one way to keep dopamine levels high is to avoid stress, and engage in relaxing activities. One such relaxing activity that has some scientific support for increasing dopamine levels (and serotonin) is that of massage therapy. Researchers reviewed studies that analyzed cortisol levels (via saliva or urine) and found that cortisol decreased by over 30% after massage therapy.

      In addition to the cortisol reduction, it was found that both dopamine and serotonin levels increased on average by nearly 30%; these were measured by urine. Based on the results of this study, it may be logical to think that dopamine concentrations may increase to the approximate extent that cortisol levels decrease following massage therapy. If you think your dopamine may be low, you may want to consider getting a regular massage.

      Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16162447
      Physical exercise: Although certain studies demonstrate that aerobic exercise for 30 minutes won’t increase synaptic concentrations of dopamine in the human brain, most of these studies are extremely small scale and need to be replicated with larger sample sizes to confirm preliminary findings. Despite these findings, many experts believe that physical exercise may increase dopamine receptors, enhance dopaminergic activity, and boost levels of dopamine in certain regions.

      It may take more than just one 30 minute aerobic activity to increase the dopamine concentrations. Many speculate that one exercise session is unlikely to significantly alter concentrations of neurotransmitters, but consistent exercise over a long-term may boost dopamine levels. There are many psychological benefits of exercise including growth of new brain cells and increasing BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor).

      In rodent studies, voluntary exercise is associated with a neuroprotective effect, which leads to improvements in motor control and muscle functioning. There is also evidence that consistent exercise may inhibit the development of Parkinson’s disease – a condition characterized by low dopamine. Exercise is thought to alter dopamine uptake in the brain for improved functioning.

      Even if exercise doesn’t have a direct effect on dopamine concentrations, it may have an indirect one. The fact that exercise acts as a neuroprotective agent means that it may protect against free radical damage that may occur as a result of stress. Exercise may also influence dopamine activity due to the fact that endogenous dopamine production is closely tied to the regions responsible for endorphin release from exercise.

      Animal research clearly demonstrates that exercise increases dopamine synthesis by elevating serum calcium levels. Many disorders characterized by low dopamine tend to improve in animal models with frequent exercise. Part of this improvement may be a result of enhanced dopaminergic activity in response to exercise.

      Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12758062
      Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18274707
      Sleep: To ensure that your brain increases dopamine naturally, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep has been shown to reduce concentrations of neurotransmitters and their receptors. While a reduced receptor count doesn’t necessarily mean that the neurotransmitters themselves are reduced, it’s generally not a good sign to have insufficient receptors to respond to the dopamine.

      Therefore you should always strive to focus on both sleep duration and quality. You should wake up feeling rested and recovered. You shouldn’t be waking up in the middle of the night multiple times as this destroys sleep quality. If you’re physically active, strive to get more sleep than if you don’t exercise much.

      Oddly enough, pulling an all-nighter for just one night actually increases dopamine concentrations in the brain. That said, prolonged sleep deprivation will likely reduce dopamine and will burn out the receptors. Additionally lack of sleep is associated with increased cortisol and free radicals – leading to less overall dopamine.

      Sunlight exposure: There is evidence that ties sunlight exposure in humans to dopamine receptor count. It is known that sunlight can affect serotonin levels, but the amount of light exposure may also influence dopamine. An older study from 1983 discovered that animals frequently exposed to bright lights had increased concentrations of dopamine near the eyes.

      Some hypothesize that it takes at least 30 to 60 minutes per day to achieve the dopamine boost from bright light. Humans evolved being outside, exposed to the sun on a daily basis. Lack of sunlight may trigger a cascade of neurotransmitter and vitamin deficits, all of which likely have a symbiotic relationship. Do yourself a favor and get enough sunlight each day to keep your dopamine level and receptor

      1. 60YH

        Thanks for this 60YH – I’m struggling with depression and lack of motivation atm and because I’m so busy looking after everyone (as you know), the house and garden have been in a bad state for ages – and it seems like too big a mountain to climb. But I’ll set small goals and try to get some motivation going, as you describe. I’ve felt such a need to get out into nature, too, so maybe that’s trying to tell me something. I’ll have another read, too, to see if there’s other things I could apply. Thanks, again.

        1. I know exactly how you feel,

          I know exactly how you feel, my flat is in a dreadful state, (so depressing) and I cannot even do the ironing because of lack of energy so that is piling up as is everything else, and there is no improvement in the stress levels from my caring problem, in fact they are getting worse. Everything seems too much !!!

          I have to fight all the things that need doing to give myself time to meditate, but that is so important, I try to do it.
          If only I could get better quickly….

  60. PS My BP has gone down to

    PS My BP has gone down to 121/75 which my GP (and I) found almost unbelievable a few weeks ago, Instead of having hypertension, which I have had all my life, I now have the BP of an 18 year old athlete(according to my GP), It’s a shame the fatigue etc makes me look and feel like a 90 year old saddo.

  61. Extreme Constipation

    Hi there,

    I haven’t been on here for a while. I quit caffeine back in 2010 and was off of it for a while. For the past 6 months, I was drinking caffeine again like two 44 oz of brewed iced teas per day which is only about 1/4 of what I use to drink. I noticed I started having symptoms again mainly raise in blood pressure, and severe constipation. I am so mad at myself for slipping again after being off of caffeine for a while. So I quit cold turkey again two weeks ago. I know this is TMI but as a result of drinking too much caffeine, I had severe constipation which severely impacted me which caused anal fissures. I don’t know if anyone of you had to deal with this before, but I blame the caffeine. I know when I wasn’t on the caffeine, I had no digestive issues. This is a vicious cycle that never ends. I am scared about what caffeine does to my body and how addictive it is and how easy it is to relapse. Btw has anyone developed any health issues as a result of drinking too much caffeine. Your comments are welcome.

    1. kikaida

      Hi, I remember you and was sorry to hear you’d gone back on caffeine. After being off of it for so many years, may I please ask why oh why did you go back? I do know the feeling of being mad at yourself, though, after weeks and weeks of being clean (good for me), I’ve had lapses and all the good work seemed to be undone.
      Well, first, caffeine usually acts as a laxative so I was surprised about your problem – although that’s for coffee, maybe. for tea, it’s different? One thing I did wonder, are you taking any medication for your blood pressure or any other meds because they can sometimes cause constipation? My sister suffers with it terribly but she’s on many different meds.

      I’ve just re-read your post and this sprang out. “This is a vicious cycle that never ends. I am scared about what caffeine does to my body and how addictive it is AND HOW EASY IT IS TO RELAPSE.” Oh, yes, I so agree – thanks for saying that, kikaida. I’m glad it’s not just me. I can be doing so well and then, bang, it’s like I’m back to square 1. How on earth do we get clean and STAY fully clean?? Please share any worries or thoughts on here.
      One other thought about your constipation, sounds obvious, but are you drinking enough water and eating enough fruit/veg/fiber? Chia seeds (you have to soak them overnight to work) act as the best natural laxative, I know. Don’t be too far from a toilet, though!

      Keep in touch. All the best. Jackie

    2. yes constipation, severe and

      yes constipation, severe and painful has been one of the joys of (coming off) caffeine in my case.

  62. Here’s a little bit of

    Here’s a little bit of Jayson’s posts (if I can post it):

    Jayson thanks for coming back
    Jayson thanks for coming back with your good news. Could you tell me if muscle weakness and fatigue were part of your caffeine withdrawal – I am 9 months off caffeine (a 60 year habit) and am still having these symptoms, along with body aches, gut problems,memory problems etc. They have all improved but I am still not functional, and my horrible mood (anger at the slightest thing) is driving me mad.
    I’d be grateful to know if you had any similar symptoms……….
    • reply
    Sat, 2013-12-21 22:44 — Jayson (not verified)
    YES! Although I was more
    YES! Although I was more concern about my mental health at the time. I had short-term memory loss and it was pretty bizarre. I literally would be in the living room working on my term paper and I would think about getting a snack, so I would stand up and walk to the kitchen. Moments later, by the time I get to the kitchen, I’m dumbfounded. I’d forgotten what it was that I came to the kitchen for. It happened frequently. Additionally, fatigue and muscle weakness was tremendous, but I wasn’t working at the time so I stayed home and remained unmotivated. Mood swings were present as well. I had falling outs with a lot of my friends. I was also experiencing a sensation where I would wake up in the middle of the night and wouldn’t be able to move a single muscle for a good minute or two. It only ever lasted for a couple of minutes, but still terrifying nonetheless. I never had stomach problems though.

    1. 60YH

      Thanks for this. I’ve been thinking about my memory/cognitive problems and how caffeine has affected me. You get the initial surge of dopamine and all your energy seems to go to your head, your brain is firing off rapidly and you feel very animated………….but then, later, you get the opposite (when the adenosine overcompensates?) and your brain goes to sleep. You feel exhausted, zombie-like and it’s as if your brain won’t work at all. When I was drinking a lot, it sometimes felt as if I couldn’t even form thoughts in my head. All that was there was a kind of low-level awareness. Horrible. Having had periods off of the caffeine, I noticed that my whole system was starting to change – thoughts, emotions, feelings, memories were more naturally arising and I was starting to feel more like a ‘whole’ person (not sure if that makes sense). Maybe, when I get off it completely, my memory can improve. However, I do know that caffeine can cause long-term and irreversible damage to the brain so I’d better do it pretty damn quickly.
      I also wanted to note here about how the addictive effects of caffeine can ‘fool’ you into wanting it. I woke up this morning and my brain is still telling me that I want that ‘soothing, comforting uplifting cup of coffee’. It’s a chemical thing, I know, but it feels so real and so difficult to get through. Anyway, I’ve been writing a lot recently as I feel very bottled up with everything. Sorry.

      And 60YH, I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with your caring responsibilities, too. Can you get any help, at all? It really is hard, especially when you have problems yourself, I know.

      Anyway, you have my support and understanding, even if I can’t actually do anything. Btw, would you tell me your first name, at all. I feel like I know you so well but don’t even know your name. Or, if you don’t want to tell your real name, event one ! TC Jackie

      1. Hello Jackie,
        my real name is

        Hello Jackie,

        my real name is Viv(ienne) . I have just (NOT) slept on an earthing mat for the first time and I feel so ILL!! I do hope it wears off. If anyone else has tried this and had a similar experience I ‘d be v grateful to know. I can’t think straight so will leave it at that for now.

        what a pain!

        PS I will go back and try and find your email address that you once posted, if I can find it, will email you. but not today, i feel so nauseous and ill.

        1. i rang the supplier of the

          i rang the supplier of the earthing mat and he pointed me to this info on their website, which has reassured me:

          “● I just started sleeping grounded and feel a bit strange. What could that be from?

          Initially, some people may feel some temporary discomfort or even flu-like symptoms, pain or achiness. We believe it is the result of a systemic healing process and normalization of the body’s “electrical system.” As the process gets underway, the body’s ability to release accumulated toxicity may improve and you could somewhat uncomfortable. Typically, after some initial adjustment, you start feeling better and more energized. The odd feeling might last a few days at the most but it usually fades away. If you are uncomfortable, stop grounding yourself for several days and then begin again, starting with shorter exposure. Gradually increase your exposure. In the majority of cases, no discomfort is felt at the beginning. For more information, please refer to our article on”

          He also told me that if you have a high toxic load, then you have to start with only 10 minutes a day!

          1. a little more on

            a little more on earthing:

            “For some people, the energy from the Earth can feel unusual in the very beginning. There may be some tingling in the body, as is sometimes experienced when strolling barefoot along the wet sand at the beach or on a dew-moistened plot of grass in the morning. The tingling usually disappears within a few days.

            For some, the Earthing start-up may generate some flu-like symptoms that include malaise, achiness, headache, a foggy mind, and tiredness. There might be some muscle cramps. Our observations suggest that a healing, normalization process is underway because of Earthing’s ability to improve blood flow and oxygenation of the tissues as well as restore a natural electrical state in the body. Systemically, more efficient cell repair and function may be taking place and promoting a clearance of wastes and toxins. Such clear-out could manifest as flu-like symptoms, and nerve fibers may function better, resulting in unaccustomed sensations. Earthing has given the body additional resources to clean up and try to return to normal. Energy is expended in this process, so people sometimes feel initial fatigue before feeling increased energy.”

        2. Viv!

          Hi, Viv, nice to ‘meet’ you 🙂 I’ve never heard of an earthing mat – I’ll look it up. What are they specifically designed for? Hopefully, as the blurb says, those initial effects will wear off and you’ll get the benefits (whatever they are?)
          Btw, I forgot to say in one of my earlier replies that your meditation times, walks etc are absolute priority. As you know, I’ve been a full-time carer for my daughter for the last 17 years – and for her boyfriend, when he’s here – for the last 3 years. (They do try to help me, when up to it), I’ve been helping my sister for the last 2-3 years as she is housebound with terrible arthritis (she’s just had a hip replacement), my other daughter has 2 gorgeous girls and one is special needs so she needs extra help, too, with the baby and she’s always at the hospital etc. Then I used to spend all my waking hours doing that and trying to keep up with the house-cleaning/garden etc and it about killed me and aggravated MY arthritis to the point of nearly being bedbound. Now, I don’t know if I had some kind of over-zealous work ethic but I suddenly realised that it needed to look after myself, especially as the coffee was having such a detrimental effect. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is don’t worry about the housework, do what you can but put your health first. TMI here, I know, sorry but it’s actually made me feel that’s it’s OK not to be superwoman – and you should feel like that, too. TC Jackie

          1. well it sounds to me as if

            well it sounds to me as if you ARE a superwoman, I don’t know how you cope, and it makes my “problems” fade into the background, I am so glad that at last you are giving yourself some TLC!!!!

            Too tired to explain about the earthing mat, but theres a lot about it on the Mercola site…

            stumbling off to bed now…

  63. I wish i had not read this

    I wish i had not read this post:

    I’ve had a caffeine allergy for 16 years now, starting at 17 years old. I didn’t know what it was for the first four years. I had severe joint pain and would break out in hives each day.

    Finally, when I realized it was caffeine, I began taking a benadryl each morning so I could still have caffeine.

    When I got pregnant 11 years ago I stopped the caffeine and benadryl completely. The hives and joint pain were gone, but instead I’ve struggled with extreme fatigue almost every day for years. I started drinking green tea and then progressed to coffee about 2 years ago because I could handle the fatigue anymore. The joint pain came back with a vengence and my knee swelled up with fluid.

    Whenever I have caffeine from any source, I still get hives each day, and now I also get panic attacks and rapid heartbeat if I am in an enviroment that would make me nervous.

    The problem is, if I don’t drink something with caffeine, I am so tired I get nothing done and the whole day feels wasted. For increasing my energy without caffeine, I’ve tried about everything. I eat healthy with protein for breakfast everyday. I eat complex carbs and I’m not overweight. I get enough sleep and exercise. I take a good multivitamin. I really just need caffeine to stay awake and be productive in the daytime and I don’t know what to do since I can’t have caffeine. It’s very frustrating.

    1. a different allergy?

      Maybe you are suffering from another allergy from something you eat? I have a friend who gave up caffeine and went thru months of fatigue and all the withdrawals mentioned here, only to find out later she was also allergic to dairy products. Once she got off dairy, her fatigue started disappearing within days. Just a thought…

      1. That is interesting about the

        That is interesting about the caffeine allergy. A few years before I quit caffeine, I would show allergy symptoms after drinking my morning coffee. I would start to sneeze and my throat would be covered in mucus. I don’t know if this is related, but I have recently become lactose intolerant. This summer I was very lactose intolerant (I would have diarrhea soon after eating any dairy) but now I can have small amounts of lactose without much gastrointestinal stress. Sometimes I wonder if I may have had an allergy to lactose but caffeine covered it up. I find it funny that my digestive system works better now than it has in the past, but I feel more aware of how easily digestion can stress our systems. It seems like in the past bad digestion made me a more irritable person. Sometimes I think that what I thought was emotion was actually just tension or gas in my gut. It’s kind of funny but sad.

  64. burning in sinuses

    Hi all. I have been having sinus pain for about a year. (mostly gone over summer) but back now. However, I recently cut out caffeine, as it seemed my whole pot of green tea was aggravating it. ( I had to cut coffee out months ago due to the pain it caused). My question is since I cut out caffeine, the pain has changed to burning rather than dull and is soothed by cold, rather than heat. I am really hoping this is a good thing?! That it is a least changing? I am wondering if the burning could be caused by caffeine withdrawal?? I have read sometimes sinus pain is really a headache felt in sinuses. (as my pain was never helped by sinus infection traditional medications). Any thoughts? Trying to figure this all out!

  65. Hopefully my final quit…

    Well here I am quitting again. Today is day 5 and I’m surprised at how much I’m still feeling withdrawal. I think I’ve quit 3 or 4 times before for various lengths of time, but don’t remember it being this tough. My head is getting better in terms of headaches, but my leg and back muscles are twitching and in spasm, and I’m feeling tired and anxious. Caffeine really is a bitch of a drug and I find it really affects me badly, both when I’m using it and when I’m trying to get off it.

    I really hope I’m done with it for good now. Previously I’ve been lax and used chocolate and other sources of caffeine, while initially staying away from coffee (my main source). This seems to have led to me deciding that “just one won’t hurt” and I find myself back at it full time. From now on I will take a harder line and remove all sources of caffeine from my diet.

    For anyone thinking of quitting, my personal approach has been to just stop rather than tapering. I know it’s probably less traumatic to taper, but it doesn’t seem to work for me. I find just quitting is clean and simple – you’re either doing something or you’re not. This time I picked a Friday to start and had my last coffee at 9am, then no more. That meant I could function OK at work, and it was afternoon/early evening by the time withdrawal started. I was just feeling it when it was time to go to bed, which meant I could sleep through some of it and wake up with only a short time to complete my first 24 hours clean. Then I had a lazy, free weekend planned to slouch around and whimper gently. Monday was bearable and now on Tuesday things are still a little rough, but improving. So for now it’s just a day at a time, hoping to feel better and seeing what happens.

    1. Keep it up!

      Good job on kicking the bean again! It was hard enough for me just doing it once! I think I remember reading your posts in the past when I was trying to get off of caffeine. I think I pretty much read every post on this forum lol.
      I’ve been off of caffeine for 2 years (other than small slip ups here and there) and I think what helped me most was replacing the habit. At first I tapered down from coffee to green tea (which I realize doesn’t work for everyone) and then I started drinking very strong red tea (no caffeine) for a couple of weeks at least. It gave me that astringent taste I had been craving, and of course a warm cup of something in my hands 🙂 I also drank other herbal teas such as camomile, peppermint and red raspberry leaf. I still drink red raspberry leaf now if I ever get a craving for tea because it tastes so much like black tea that there isn’t much of a difference. But for the most part, I don’t really crave or want caffeine anymore which is really strange to write. My last slip up was probably 6 months ago and I realized I hated the way caffeine made me feel and act. I realized that it isn’t me and I like being myself now 🙂 I hope this was at least somewhat helpful/inspirational. Best of luck to you!

      1. great comment Amanda; ” I

        great comment Amanda; ” I realized that it isn’t me and I like being myself now 🙂 I hope this was at least somewhat helpful/inspirational. ”

        go Rob! – how is it going now?

    1. ps I can’t remember where

      ps I can’t remember where that post is, but kindling is what happens when you quit a drug more than once, it gets more and more hard the more times you quit. So hopefully that might help you know why it is more difficult this time, anyway, hope you stick with it this time, it’s such a miserable process.

  66. Effects on the brain

    It seems like for a long time after quitting caffeine my brain was slower than I thought it should be. It was like some information was just missing and sometimes to figure out what I wanted to say I would have to make gestures to find the words or I would talk about something and then remember something relevant later. Has anyone experienced this? I wonder if it was that the two halves of my brain weren’t working together. I feel somewhat awkward socially. I don’t know if that is just my brain or my behavior. Now I don’t want to gossip or complain as much.. It just seems so pointless and petty. All I want to do is concentrate on whatever I’m interesting in/working on at the moment. So I feel like I have nothing to talk about unless it relates to something someone is saying or the task at hand. Kind of frustrating. Anyone else have problems with this?

    1. Amanda

      Hi, Amanda, I’ve had really terrible problems with brain fog and poor memory. I often cannot remember words or people’s names. It sometimes feels like my brain has gone to sleep and there’s just this low level awareness instead of a thinking process. Emotions and responses are also lacking – in fact, you sometimes feel like you really are a zombie. From what I’ve read, the brain chemistry can get back to n ormal but it takes time. Good luck with everything. Jackie

  67. Digestive and sleep problems

    I quit caffeine again about two months ago and after I quit I have been having digestive and sleep issues. My stomach has a slight ache with some flatulence and my bowels are all out of wack. I had to drink prune juice to help things but even that made my tummy hurt. Also my sleep pattern is bad. I wake up throughout the night and can’t get a good nights sleep. Can this still be caffeine withdrawals? If so, how long more can it last???

    1. kikaida

      Waking in the early hours is a classic symptom of withdrawal, as you’re probably aware. How long it lasts depends on how long you were drinking coffee, how much and general sleep patterns, anyway. People seem to vary so much in how they react to stopping caffeine – so it could be weeks or months. I’d say, stay in bed, though. I got into the habit of getting up (I couldn’t bear how it felt) but that set up a new pattern. I started to stay in bed and eventually did get back to sleep.
      Caffeine acts as a bowel stimulant so, if you stop, you might have problems. Drink plenty of water, sufficient fiber in your diet and let it get back to ‘normal’. Good luck. Jackie

      1. hi Jsl, I think that is a

        hi Jsl, I think that is a good idea, to try and stay in bed, funnily enough, I am starting to do that too, because, as you say, a new pattern started up of me having to get up at 2 or 3 am and do things for hours, resulting in even worse fatigue. I am having a sudden rise in anxiety and depression as well, which is very strange, considering the time that I have been off. I would love to know if anyone else has been hit with new symptoms after being off caffeine for ages and ages.

        Good luck to everyone trying to get off or recover from caffeine addiction

        1. Viv and everyone

          I am genuinely astounded by how patterns of behaviour, linked to psychological and neurological processes can become completely imprinted on the brain. We truly are creatures of habit and I think I finally understand the root of saying. I always used to think it was a throw-a-way line but it is oh so surely not. When a powerful drug which creates a biological urge to seek a remedy for a brain which is screaming out for relief is added to to mix, an addict is born and the rest is like swimming in Dante’s Hell. For me, this has been no exaggeration, as all my demons, fears and angers etc emerged in withdrawal and whilst weaning.
          So for people, such as you and me, a lifetime of drinking such a drug brings many, many problems and the massive task of re-wiring all of those responses. Coupled with the problems of aging, in general, and the pressures of a full-time caring role, this can reap havoc with our lives and our health. I think I just needed to say that.
          But the good news is that re-wiring is possible and new habits can be created. It takes a lot of energy and determination, though, and I am sad to say that I went back to caffeine when I fell back into one of those old habits and responses. We found out that my wonderful, beautiful 3 year old granddaughter is autistic. Now in itself, that is not the end of the world. We can get a lot of help and help her to grow and develop as much as she can to have happy and fruitful life. She is surrounded by love and people who care. But, on top of everything that’s happened to my family in the last 20 years, it all seemed too much to bear and I felt heartbroken. The only thing to stop me feeling that pain was caffeine. It was SO easy to slip back down the rabbit hole and was like I’d never been away. Lesson learned again.
          But, fighting the good fight, as they say, and never giving up, I’m back to weaning and am currently back to 1 in the morning. I physically feel so ill, exhausted and depressed, you would not believe (well, actually, you all would because most of you know what it can be like).
          The one thing that seems to have changed in me, though, is that THIS time, I see my weaning as a ‘scientific’ re-processing of my neurotransmitters, rather than as a way of just wanting and hanging on to drinking the damn stuff, if that makes sense.

          I apologise for unloading here – but there’s nowhere else to do it.

          And, Viv, I really am sorry you are still struggling. I know how difficult it must be for you. You must have been very strong to get off and stay off of the caffeine. Staying in bed does help and then when you DO start to fall back to sleep (even if it’s only half and hour), you start to BELIEVE that you can and THAT is a big, big help. TC. Jackie

          1. don’t apologise for

            don’t apologise for unloading, it really helps other people to read how you are getting on, I am sorry that it is so difficult for you too. I don’t feel strong at all, but thank you for saying that I must be. I think that I don’t crave caffeine any more because it made me feel so dreadful when I tried to get back on it after my ct. It made my throat so sore that it bled, and irritated by stomach so badly that i was producing blood in my stools (v frightening), plus it made me so nauseous and dizzy that i couldn’t stand up. So there has been no choice about it for me.

            I have been researching the Gupta programme for retraining the brain and it makes sense, I may do it.

            if you google Gupta programme you can get a free introductory series of videos, and his theory makes a lot of sense to me, It is a programme ostensibly for CFS, but works for loads of other conditions.

            I’d like to know what you think about it, if you have time to check it out. It works on the theory that your body doesn’t detox properly because your brain is always revving up your immune system and you can calm it down by retraining it. (Meditation plus other methods)

            thanks for all your help,


          2. Viv

            Thanks for your support and I can see why you just had to stop having it – that must have been pretty scary. I went in to the Gupta site but couldn’t see how to get in to any information. I’ll have another look when I’ve got a bit more time. I hope you’re doing awap and don’t feel too bad on this rainy, cold Sunday. TC Jackie

          3. thanks Jackie, I am down in

            thanks Jackie, I am down in Somerset today which is incredibly stormy and windy, makes a change from City life!
            I know you WILL get off the caffeine when you are ready to …


            the above link will take you to the video (with a bit of luck)
            TC viv

    2. Sounds like what happened to me

      Withdrawal from caffeine is not pleasant in my experience. The main symptoms I had were headache and tiredness/inability to concentrate in the first couple of days. It was extreme, I just wanted to put my head in my hands and sob, or put my head on the desk and sleep. My stomach was very upset from drinking coffee, although this lessened the longer I was off it. I always drank strong black filter coffee, which is pretty acidic.

      After a few days I started getting muscle aches and spasms. My back muscles got very tight and tense, like I was under terrific stress, and my leg muscles would spasm and ache. One night it was so bad I was awake all night as I didn’t have any painkillers. After that I took a combination of paracetamol and ibuprofen at night for about a week so I could sleep.

      That said, one of the other big effects I noticed was feeling exhausted but not being able to get to sleep. Then when I did I would wake up early like you. I would be awake at 5 (sometimes earlier) and spend the next few hours trying to doze before I had to get up for work.

      It is a powerful drug. I know I’ve said it before, but I really hope I’m done with it this time. The challenge for me is when I forget how bad the withdrawal is, get tired and think “aha ! I know what would perk me up…”. I think I need to regularly visit this site to remember just how nasty addiction is and how important recovery is.

      1. Rob

        I do feel for you, going through this when you have to get up for work. It adds extra stress when you know you have to get up. I’d take painkillers, for sure, at least you know that’s a fairly short term thing.
        How long have you been caffeine free now? I hope things improve for you soon. I fell back down the rabbit hole again – I’ve explained it in my post ‘Viv and everyone’ – but I am determined to get it under control, again, and am back to weaning 1 a day. Good luck and let us know how you’re doing, Rob. Jackie

        1. I know about rabbit holes…

          Hi Jackie. I’ve been off it for all of a week now ! I gave up for 2 weeks, then decided just one would be a good idea and spent a horrible week back on it again. I’m training for a half marathon and ran 12 miles – as a result I was feeling so good about myself that I decided a coffee would be a good idea. Where’s the logic in that ? My head was a mess, stomach ached, I couldn’t think etc. All the usual madness.

          Addiction is a very powerful thing and while we can rationally express how caffeine (and other drugs) are harming us, one of the main issues with it is that part of us likes the drug and the effect it has on us. In your situation for example, when something bad happened you sought comfort in caffeine. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a recovering alcoholic and have seen hundreds of people who literally destroy themselves through addiction. You’d think it was obvious what the cause of their misery is and what they need to do to end it, but at some level they still see alcohol as their friend. “If your life was this bad you’d drink too”. It really is insanity and a big part of recovery is seeing the truth about the drug – it isn’t an answer, it’s the problem. A Trojan horse – your worst enemy masquerading as your best friend.

          I hope I’m done with it now. I’m just trying to keep it simple and take it a day at a time. My job is to get my head on the pillow tonight without drinking any caffeine. I’ll worry about tomorrow when it comes.

          1. Rob

            Hi Rob, thanks for your reply. Great, insightful post and your comments really struck a chord with me. When you’re through this, I think you could really help people with addictions as you have such a grasp and an deep understanding of what is happening……and I can perfectly understand why you went back to it again. And you’re right about the failure of rationality because I recognised the truth of ‘part of us likes the drug and the effect it has on us.’ So true as, for a while, it makes you feel more than OK, it makes you feel connected to yourself and to other people again; it takes you out of your zombie-like state and gives you back your humanity, hopes, dreams and motivation. That sounds like an exaggeration – but that’s how it is for me as I have become so sensitive to it, I think. But, of course, it is a false, drug induced state and the follow up, later in the day, is the slump and all that brings with it. So it is not a real life and you realise that it really is ‘your worst enemy masquerading as your best friend’, as you said. So true. Seeing and experiencing the truth is crucial but, still this morning, I woke up craving that short lived way to feel better. I’d already put out a lower dose as I’d already decided that the only way out was to make my coffee so that I DIDN’T enjoy it or get that lift, as much. Aversion therapy, so to speak. I had half caf/half decaf and inadvertently made it with coconut milk – and it wasn’t a quarter as enjoyable and, of course, less caffeine meant hardly any lift. I will carry on doing this until I really don’t want the damn stuff. Again, this isn’t coming out very well (brain fog), but your words really struck home – ‘it isn’t an answer, it’s a problem’. That really needs to be my mantra and I need to spray paint it on every wall in my house! Rationality demands that we see the truth of the chemical cravings and false notions of what the drug really is about. Thanks a lot, Rob, and best of luck to you in seeing past your own Trojan horse. G

  68. Stomach Problems

    Hi Again,

    Since I have been off caffeine for about two months I have been having this mild burning sensation in my stomach and slight heartburn. I had this before when I quit caffeine addiction of 19 years back in 2011 and that lasted for about 5 months. Like I wrote in my previous post, I started drinking caffeine again for a few months and quit again about 2 month ago. But I don’t know why my stomach burns every time I quit. It will last for a while then slowly subside. I do know when I did quit before and saw a gastro doctor he did an endoscopy and found that I had mild gastritis and acid reflux. The problem is that I can’t take any prescription medication for acid reflux because it makes my symptoms worse. I do have a feeling that the constant abuse of caffeine probably caused these stomach related problems. But this only seems to happen after I stop drinking caffeine. Have any of you had this as a withdrawal symptom? I am getting so tired of having to deal with this. I do think this will be my last relapse. I can’t deal with this again. It’s physically and emotionally draining.

    1. Stomach problems after quitting coffee

      Yes, Yes, Yes, I’m soooo glad someone else is getting stomach/gastrointestinal hell after quitting coffee. I went looking on the Internet hoping someone else was having the same problems I have been having. Was off coffee for 4 days and the stomach issues kicked my butt so bad I had to go back on as I felt like I was gonna die from the nausea, gas, cramping, lethargy, joint pain and general outlook that the world is a horrible place. I’m 58 but felt like I was 100 years old and one foot in the grave. One cup and all is good, but I know what is down the road, which is more of the same issues I’ve had with coffee for decades. I’m very sensitive to it and get hooked immediately, then after a few days the high turns into a more “wired” feeling, can’t think deeply on any one subject, can’t sleep and just a general feeling I’m loosing it mentally and physically. I become more reactive and people generally just piss me off….all this after just 3 to 5 days drinking 1 to 2 cups of coffee. Some encourage ment to try again would be much appreciated, and anyone else that has gastrointestinal issue after stopping please say so and how long all that lasted to give me some hope it will finally go away. Thanks….

      1. upallnight

        Hi, I’m 64 and having been having problems with caffeine (coffee) for 50 years (apart from a 2 year gap). I can identify with absolutely everything you said – except my stomach problems are not too bad, strangely – so I do get how difficult it is. Re your stomach problems, I do know that coffee is very acidic and that this plays havoc with the whole digestive system so, as you are aware, your stomach won’t get better till you stop having it (easier said than done, I know – I’ve been struggling for over 3 years to wean/stop). You could try having more alkaline foods to help with the acidity. I would guess that how long it takes to improve, after stopping caffeine, would depend on how long you’ve been drinking it and the state of your digestive system – all people are different so I don’t think there’s a set time. I mean you see that some people feel better, generally, in a couple of weeks but, for some, it takes months and months. Anyway, one thing I do know is that it’s possible to feel better, physically, and regain better brain function/ mood. Good luck and hope someone with more experience can help you. Jackie

    2. For how long?

      What was the longest that any of you had to deal with gastro related problems from caffeine withdrawals? For me back in 2011 it was about 5 months. This time around since I had the relapse two months ago, I will have to wait and see.

  69. i am only just beginning to

    i am only just beginning to feel that my gastro problems are almost better and I have been off caffeine for 32 months, my sleep has suddenly improved as well, but the fatigue and back ache and mind fog, although improving are still pretty awful. I hope that the improvements are permanent, but they may just be another “better Patch” so I am prepared for them to deteriorate again.

    My mood has also greatly improved, and the better sleep makes everything feel a whole lot easier. So keep going, I hope you will find this post encouraging – I know I have taken ages, but I had been drinking the stuff for so long…… so don’t be put off by my story, it is unlikely that it will take as long for anybody else.

    I have found that meditating for 40 minutes at least twice a day really helps : stress apparently stoops the body fro detoxing properly, so anything that reduces stress will help your recovery.

    1. Viv

      Glad to hear you’re experiencing some improvement – at least in some areas – after going through such a long,grueling withdrawal period. I’ve said it to you before but you are strong and brave to be going through this while you are so busy and your life is so demanding. I really hope things continue to improve.


      After falling back down the rabbit hole again after hearing the sad news about my granddaughter, I finally realise that it doesn’t matter about intention or willpower or how many times I’ve come off it (how could I have been 42 days virtually caffeine -free in the summer – it seems impossible now?), the bottom line is that if you start drinking it again, the effects of the caffeine on your brain put you back where you were. Full stop. It’s the science. I have truly learned that, for me, because I have been drinking it for 50 years (with a 2 year abstinence 13 years ago), the automatic, neurological and chemical signals just do not allow me to go ‘cold turkey’. I just cannot do it. I am a caffeine addict and there is not enough willpower or sense of self left to over-ride the chemical urges. I feel so vile and so ill (arthritis has been terrible). So I have realised that the only way is to PROPERLY WEAN, in a very measured and scientific way, in order to reduce the effects of the caffeine on my brain and responses. Viv, I remember that you had some advice about this, if I remember correctly? Any advice about weaning would be welcome from anyone about I think it must be a measured and long-term wean to do it properly. By ‘properly’, I mean this. As you know, I had a bender after receiving the news about my granddaughter (with bad food as well, even chocolate which makes me feel angry and just vile) and so I felt so awful the next day that I had coffee at home (reduced amount) but it didn’t touch how I felt so I went to Costa and had 2 to make me feel ‘normal’ again – that’s how desperate I was – I really did feel like a junkie. I must have had at least 300 mgs of caffeine that day – which doesn’t sound like a lot but, for me, it is. Anyway, but then this morning, for example, I had a measured, slightly rounded teaspoon, and that was enough to make me feel ‘OK’ but not wanting to run out to Costa. I think I need to keep to that for maybe a week and then reduce by maybe a quarter. I think I always try to reduce too soon or by too much. I also need to try to get on with things and try to find some positivity while going through this. I feel that I’m losing my life to this addiction and yet can’t seem to escape. I know it’s in my hands but the longer it goes on, the lower my expectations are. Anyway, it’s up to me , I know.
      Also, was it you who wrote about ‘kindling’ ? Something about when you stop and start coffee several times?
      What do you think, Viv, from your experience and knowledge??
      Anyway, I hope you’re OK and still feeling a little better.

      Rob, how are you doing?

      Good luck to everyone. JACKIE

      1. Jackie,
        I wish I had read

        I wish I had read this before I started thinking about coming off caffeine, I might have recovered by now. So Jackie, I do hope you will read it and follow the advice (which I have not copied, but if you google “Dr Peter Breggin’s 10% taper” you should get to it) I would also ditch the idea of being an “Addict” because it isn’t about psychology in my opinion, it is simply about your individual metabolism which dictates a physical process that one has to treat logically.

        Anyway, here is an excerpt from the article which I hope will help you. I haven’t got the time to go into it in an more detail atm, but will be back asap. If you have any more questions that u think i might be able to help with, if you post them, I will have more time in a few days time. I do hope I can help u Jackie, you have helped me SO MUCH already!!!

        Gradual Withdrawal Is Its Own Protection
        When people take psychiatric drugs, their decision-making faculties may function less effectively. Their feelings are numbed. At these times, if their thinking were expressed in words, it would likely communicate indecision, apathy, or confusion. Or they may experience different feelings in rapid succession, almost as if they were out of control. Because people generally want to think more clearly, to “feel fully” again, and to be more in control of themselves, they are motivated to stop taking psychiatric drugs.

        Coming off drugs gradually helps to “contain” the emotional and intellectual roller-coaster that sometimes accompanies withdrawal. Indeed, a slow, gradual tapering serves as a discipline upon the withdrawal process. This discipline is backed by available knowledge and sound clinical experience. In the absence of a trusted friend or ally to provide feedback on your progress, in the absence of a support network, gradual withdrawal is likely to be the wisest strategy—especially if you are unsure as to how quickly you should proceed. Even if a medical doctor or other health professional is assisting you or monitoring your withdrawal, a gradual taper is usually the safest strategy.

        Why Gradual Withdrawal Is Better Than Sudden Withdrawal
        The minute a psychiatric drug enters your bloodstream, your brain activates mechanisms to compensate for the drug’s impact.1 These compensatory mechanisms become entrenched after operating continuously in response to the drug. If the drug is rapidly removed, they do not suddenly disappear. On the contrary, they have free rein for some time. Typically, these compensatory mechanisms cause physical, cognitive, and emotional disturbances—which are collectively referred to as the withdrawal syndrome.

        The simplest way to reduce the intensity of withdrawal reactions is to taper doses gradually, in small increments. This way, you are giving your brain appropriate “time” and “space” to regain normal functioning. Unless it is clearly established that you are suffering an acute, dangerous drug-induced toxic reaction, you should proceed with a slow, gradual withdrawal. The longer the withdrawal period, the more chances you have to minimize the intensity of the expected withdrawal reactions.

        Interestingly, there is some evidence that “gradual discontinuation tends to shorten the course of any withdrawal syndrome.”2 In other words, the actual duration of all expected symptoms from drug withdrawal is likely to be shorter if you withdraw slowly than if you withdraw abruptly.

        In one early study of withdrawal from tricyclic antidepressants, 62 percent of those withdrawn in less than two weeks experienced withdrawal reactions, compared to only 17 percent of those withdrawn over a longer period.3 Because unpleasant withdrawal reactions are one of the main reasons you might be tempted to abort your withdrawal, a gradual taper increases your chances of succeeding and remaining drug-free.

        In addition, it appears that people who gradually reduce their drug intake find a renewed vigor and energy that they now can learn to reinvest. In contrast to a sudden, unplanned cessation, a gradual withdrawal allows them to find constructive ways to use this energy, to appreciate the new confidence in their abilities that they will develop, and to consoli¬date the new emotional and behavioral patterns that will be learned in the process.

        One published account describes the case of a woman who wanted to stop Paxil after taking 20 mg daily for six months. Her doctor abruptly cut this dose in half, to 10 mg daily, and gave her the new dose for one month. Then, during the following two weeks, he gave her 10 mg every other day. On alternate, nondrug days, the woman experienced severe headaches, severe nausea, dizziness and vertigo, dry mouth, and lethargy. The dose was reduced to 5 mg daily but, convinced that this only prolonged her agony, she stopped abruptly. She is reported to have experienced two weeks of various withdrawal symptoms and then to have fully recovered.4

        A more gradual taper, rather than an abrupt 50 percent reduction at the start, might have reduced the severity of this woman’s overall withdrawal reactions. Granted, many users of psychiatric drugs do cease them suddenly, without experiencing any significant withdrawal pains. Our experience, however, suggests to us that abrupt withdrawal is chosen by people who are not properly informed or supervised, who cannot tolerate their drug-induced dysfunctions any longer, or who act impulsively because they perceive that no one is listening to them or understanding their suffering.

        There is a lot more on this in the article, but I think this bit is helpful in explaining why a taper is better.

        best wishes and good luck to everyone trying to get off caffeine and recover!

  70. Viv

    Thank you SO much for your reply and your support, Viv – and for taking the time to type out all of that. I really appreciate it. I think this is definitely the way to go for me – and I mean GENUINELY. I’ve proved that I can’t fight the chemistry so, like you say, must approach it systematically and logically. I found that this approach made absolute sense and I spent the whole of yesterday morning reading up and also googled 10 % caffeine/coffee taper. This brought up a whole array of articles and information and I know this is my way out. I’m always tempted to try to reduce too soon or think (when I think I’m feeling strong) I can go cold turkey. But the next morning when I’m feeling like absolute hell, I cannot function without it. So……I will taper and hope with all my heart that the gradual reduction will work and I will slowly improve. One day at a time. It will be 4 years next March since I realised that I had to get off of the bean. Back then, I was drinking 6-8 strong (sometimes Costa) coffees a day so I’m taking heart that I HAVE still weaned down to mostly just 1 in the morning……..and that my diet is 100% good when not affected by caffeine induced blood sugar spikes (I now find cakes etc too sweet and prefer my no sugar flapjacks). So, unless I have a bad day, I HAVE done a lot of weaning already – that’s positive, at least.Well, I started a fresh post so can’t remember if you had anything to report about yourself – so sorry if I’ve missed anything.

    Thank you for your help – means a lot. Jackie

    1. Be strong Jackie !

      Hi Jackie, sorry to hear you’re suffering. I don’t think it really matters how you get off caffeine, but the important thing is you have to get off it !

      Draw up a plan that’s a little bit challenging, commit to it and do it. Expect it to be a bit difficult ! The risk of tapering is that it never actually finishes – we try to avoid all pain so draw the taper out over an extended period, with tiny reductions in dose. This may be appropriate for some drugs (I have a friend coming off benzos at the moment who is taking a couple of years) but caffeine is not in that class of drug. We need to be brave and get on with it, otherwise we never make progress. I know people talk about trauma from caffeine years after ingesting relatively small doses, but in reality it’s highly unlikely to be related to caffeine withdrawal. I agree caffeine is more powerful than some think, but it’s not that powerful. I would suggest that if your taper lasts longer than a few weeks, you’re not really serious about getting off it.

      The other issue is that coming off a drug is only partly about removing the chemical dependence. As you said, when you were faced with family issues you ran to caffeine to make you feel “normal”. Unless you address the behaviours and thinking behind this, then it’s likely you’ll run to it again in future. I’d also say this is a risk related to long term tapering – if you’re tapering by still drinking coffee then you’ve got all the equipment you need to go back to your previous level of caffeine use already in your house. A better option may be to taper using a different caffeine source to help break the associations and behaviours at the same time. Caffeine pills may be an option – they come in a precise dose and so reductions are easy to manage.

      If you’re serious about quitting, then draw up a plan, commit to it and do it. And I don’t mean a “scientific” taper than lasts 6 months. You’re coming off caffeine, not heroin. If you’re on 300mg a day, then take 100mg as two 50mg tablets three times a day, spaced out about 4 hours between each dose (8am, 12pm, 4pm or similar). Every other day, drop one pill – i.e. 50mg. So on the third day have 2 at 8am, 2 at 12pm and 1 at 4pm. 2 days later take 2 at 8am, 1 at 12pm and 1 at 4pm and so on. Drink lots of water (at least a litre) between doses and change your behaviours. At times you’d normally drink coffee, do something else. Learn new habits.

      I don’t mean to be harsh on you or anyone else, but part of the nature of addiction is that it protects itself. We rationalise and over think what is essentially a very simple situation. The reason is that in some senses we use caffeine because we like it – the effect and the behaviours that go with it. So there’s a part of us that will try and protect that and find reasons why we should keep doing it and often this leads to rationalisation and denial. You know you can do it because you’ve done it before. The fear of quitting is far worse than the reality and as you also know, it’s so much better on the other side.

      1. Sorry Jackie

        Jackie – I just wanted to say sorry for ranting, for some reason I went off on one ! I’m not qualified to tell anyone else what to do. I think the answer is to be honest with yourself and do what you feel is right for you, whatever that may be. My experience has been that just stopping works best for me, but that’s just me.

        1. Rob

          Thanks, Rob, it’s fine – I understand – it’s probably your own frustration? But it’s good as you made me think a lot – in fact, Viv’s post and the 2 anon posts all made me think a lot as they all struck chords of what I shouldn’t or should do and what is right (and not right) for me. So thanks to all of you – it was a big wake up call. I know now that I do need to get off of it as quickly as possible and stop wasting any more time. When I look back, I can’t really understand myself, at all. But no looking back – I’m going to look forward.
          I hope you’re doing OK? Don’t lose heart. All the best and thanks again for all of your support in the past. Jackie

          1. I’m OK(ish)

            Yes, I’m doing OK thanks. And you’re right, I think when I post here it’s as much to (and for) myself as anyone else. The frustration of the years I’ve spent addicted to caffeine gets to me sometimes…

            I’m back drinking coffee again after listening to the voice in my head that says one won’t hurt. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I feel tired, depressed and annoyed with myself.

            Once again I know what I need to do, it’s just building up that head of steam to quit again. I really don’t think it matters too much how you quit, my point before was that tapering and avoiding pain sound appealing, but my experience is that I keep drinking coffee and never reach the end and actually give up. I did do it once, but I had to make sure I wrote down a clear plan with dates and stuck to it. I’ve tried it since, but in a more vague way and I found I just drifted and never actually reached the point of stopping.

            Personally I’ve found just stopping to be the most effective way for me. That said, I hope I haven’t made it sound easy when I’ve posted before, it isn’t. In fact it’s horrible, but it is simple and effective. In a way the fact that it’s horrible is good – it reminds me that caffeine is very bad for me. And as the anonymous poster said, in a sense whichever way you quit you have to go cold turkey at the end – i.e. you have to stop, whatever level you tapered down to.

            The way that has worked well for me the last couple of times is to have my last coffee early in the morning on a Friday – normally 8am. This means I can function for the day, with withdrawal starting to kick in later in the afternoon. As it’s a Friday afternoon I can go home, have a lazy evening and an early night. By the time I get up on Saturday I’ll have 24 hours in the bag, which gives me a psychological boost. Normally the second day (Saturday) is pretty hellish and Sunday is similar or a little better. By 8am Monday it’s 3 full days which I find is when things start to slowly improve.

            Anyway, good luck with whatever you plan to do.

    2. jackie

      I am so glad that you found my post helpful, I only wish that I had followed the advice, because if I had, I am certain that I would have recovered months and months ago, I did try and and started off well, but after a couple of months I got impatient and made the mistake of thinking to myself “this is only caffeine – nothing like benzos, or other drugs”, which is just not true, caffeine is a drug which affects our brains and like benzos (which I cold turkeyed off, making myself ill for years and years), soMe people can come off quickly with no ill effects but others simply HAVE to taper. It all depends on out genes.

      First it is vey important to stabilise on a definite amount and stay on that for a few weeks. The you can start cutting down. You can see that he recommends a fairly slow taper for people who have been on the drug for only 6 months, i think I should have tapered off over at least a year, and I would probably have only had a few weeks or months after that to FULLY recover. I don’t know how i could have been so stupid after my previous experience with coming off benzos after being on them for 30 years.

      Anyway I hope you can profit from my mistakes.

      Keep us posted

      very best


      1. For goodness sake….

        The poster said she’s drinking one cup of coffee a day. How on earth can it take a year to taper off that amount ? Just stop drinking it for god’s sake. If you really must, have a half cup for a couple of days then quit.

        1. Agree!

          Unfortunately, this is precisely why these same posters are still posting here year after year after year, God bless them. Tapering or weaning or whatever its called is still putting caffeine into your body.. If it makes you sick you have to love yourself enuf to leave it alone forever or just allow yourself to enjoy it without guilt. And what will happen once they’re at the end of their wean? They’ll still have to QUIT.. Then that will be the new drama. Just quit cold turkey – live through some unpleasantness and be done!! Love yourself!!

  71. Caffeine is causing ‘untimely

    Caffeine is causing ‘untimely deaths’ and its ‘lethality’ is being underestimated, a leading expert has warned
    Caffeine is so dangerous and is being consumed in such high quantities that it should now be regulated, a leading expert claims.
    Dr Jack James says that the stimulant is causing ‘untimely deaths’ and that its ‘lethality’ is being underestimated.
    Dr James, editor in chief of the Journal of Caffeine Research, and head of the department of psychology at Reykjavik University, Iceland, says he is concerned that the substance is increasingly being added to products such as energy drinks, alcoholic drinks and medicines.
    As a result, many of us are unwittingly consuming way more than we think – with worrying implications for our health and society as a whole
    Dr James believes the risks caffeine poses to our health are so great that products that contain it should be taxed and restricted like cigarettes and alcohol. Sales to children in particular should be restricted.
    He says that as well as tea and coffee, caffeine is found in fizzy drinks, energy drinks, bottled water, alcoholic drinks (such as Tia Maria), cookies, chewing gum, yogurt and flavoured milk.
    It is also commonly found in cold and flu remedies, weight loss pills, mints, cosmetics, soaps and even tights to aid slimming.
    Even more worrying, he says that caffeine is also frequently used as a diluent (cutting agent) in illicit drugs.
    He notes that while some countries in Europe and Scandinavia have begun to take regulatory action, including sales restrictions and product labelling, most countries including the UK and the U.S. have a ‘regulatory vacuum’.

    In his provocative editorial ‘Death by Caffeine: How Many Caffeine-related Fatalities and Near-misses Must There Be before We Regulate?’, he argues that the trend of children downing energy drinks is exacerbating the problem.
    He says that in order to highlight the risks of caffeine, products should be labelled with the amount they contain and sales to children in particular should be restrict

    Caffeine: Table shows a range of drinks in order of caffeine content and their relation to daily allowances

    The U.S. Food and Drug administration announced last year that it is investigating reports of five deaths being linked to Monster Energy drinks. The company has denied any link.
    And in 2009, a father from Bolton said his 11-year-old son hanged himself after energy drinks changed his behaviour. Lee Johns said his son Tyler was a happy-go-lucky child until he started downing the drinks to make himself feel grown up.
    Tyler went from thriving at school and impressing neighbours with his good behaviour to becoming ‘hyper and disruptive’ in the months leading to his death last year.
    A one-litre caffeine drink was lying near Tyler’s body when his mother found him hanging in his bedroom.
    Dr James is also concerned that sporty teenagers who drink lots of caffeine are putting their hearts under a great deal of strain.
    He adds that although caffeine has been widely considered to be harmless, ‘awareness is increasing that its consumption is associated with substantial harm, including fatalities and near-fatalities’.
    He says that caffeine was named as a contributing factor in 6,309 cases that the American National Poison Data System was notified of in 2011.
    Lethal: Dr Jack James (left) says caffeine is causing ‘untimely deaths’ . In 2009, 11-year old Tyler Johns (right) was found hanged after downing energy drinks
    And the annual number of emergency room visits in the U.S. associated with energy drinks jumped 36 per cent to 20,000 in 2011 compared to the previous year, according to a report released by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.
    In just one year, the substance killed four people in Sweden, adds Dr James.
    He says that caffeine – in the form of energy drinks – also offsets the sedating effects of alcohol and encourages people to drink more.
    Furthermore, there is a ‘growing body of evidence’ which indicates that compared to alcohol alone, adding caffeine increases the risk of having unprotected sex, experiencing or committing sexual assault, drink driving and being violent.

    There is also evidence that children who drink caffeine are more likely to use alcohol, drugs and smoke in the future
    There is also evidence that caffeine consumption by children may also make them more likely to use alcohol, drugs and smoke in the future.
    According to the Food Standards Agency, there is no recommended daily limit on caffeine because the amount people can tolerate varies hugely depending on a number of factors, such as age, weight and average caffeine consumption.
    A study by the government regulatory agency Health Canada concluded that the average person can have up to 400mg of caffeine a day without experiencing negative affect, such as anxiety or heart problems.
    Indeed, we can become used to caffeine over time. The only exception is for pregnant women, who are advised to consume no more than 200mg of caffeine a day, as it can have adverse effects on birth weight and pregnancy outcome.
    Children should have no more than 75mg.
    An 8oz can of Monster Energy has 92mg, while an 8oz Red Bull can has 83mg. A bottle of Coca-Cola contains 58mg of caffeine, while a an 8oz cup of decaf coffee has 5mg and hot chocolate has 9mg.
    Caffeine intoxication is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a medical condition. Symptoms include nervousness, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, stomach upset, tremors and rapid heartbeat.
    Two known triggers of the heart rhythm disorder supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) are caffeine and alcohol, so the risk increases if they are taken at the same time. SVTs can make your heart beat very quickly – up to 160 beats per minute.
    The result can be terrifying palpitations, chest pain, dizziness and feeling out of breath.

    1. Re Caffeine is causing…..

      Thank you for posting this. I totally agree as I am reaping the terrible effects of 50 years usage. You can get away with it when you’re young but the damaging effects mount up. I think that many people do not take the toxic and harmful effects of this legal drug seriously – and they are derisory, judgmental and scornful of others’ difficulties in dealing with this drug. So be warned, people, the toxic and damaging effects DO catch up with you, eventually……and it is seriously worrying to see youngsters drinking so much coke and so many energy drinks etc. I think one of the main problems is attitude; caffeine, particularly in the forms of coffee, coke and monster drinks, is not only socially acceptable, it is also seen as ‘cool’ (much like smoking used to be many, many years ago). So people view it as ‘only coffee/tea/whatever’ – and make fun of people who are struggling to deal with a genuine drug problem. Also, as your post points out, caffeine is everywhere (in coffee houses which are EVERYWHERE), it’s in food, drinks, medicine etc etc – and it’s legal. The evidence for the damaging effects of prolonged caffeine usage on the brain and body is irrefutable and science links it in with other class A drug usage (for prolonged usage). Thank you for taking it seriously and, again, for posting this.

      1. Hi Jackie,
        I posted it in a

        Hi Jackie,

        I posted it in a tearing hurry last night, and should have added that it was from a 2013 article in the Daily Mail or Daily Express. There is so much unpublished research on caffeine it seems, I only wish that I had had access to the web all those years ago!!

        I do hope you haven’t been discouraged from tapering off caffeine by the hostile reception that the idea received on this site. I don’t think that people find it easy to believe that tapering actually REDUCES recovery time, but I am here to tell you that it can and does, and that if I had taken my own advice, I would have recovered by now.

        However, I AM recovering, albeit slowly, my fatigue is so much better at the moment, and the muscle tension(back ache etc) is not completely due to the caffeine, although mostly it is. Because I was on benzos for half my life (benzos are muscle relaxants on top of everything else), after I cold turkeyed off benzos my muscles were completely seized up for years (it was agony), (I couldn’t turn my head in either direction for 6years) and they still had not completely recovered when I stopped drinking caffeine, so there’s a combination of causes for the long duration of these symptoms in my case.

        Please do what YOU feel YOU need to do in terms of tapering off, at least I have been enabled to STAY off , unlike a lot of cold turkey promoters on this site. It’s NOT a COMPETITION!!

      2. Hi Jackie,
        I posted it in a

        Hi Jackie,

        I posted it in a tearing hurry last night, and should have added that it was from a 2013 article in the Daily Mail or Daily Express. There is so much unpublished research on caffeine it seems, I only wish that I had had access to the web all those years ago!!

        I do hope you haven’t been discouraged from tapering off caffeine by the hostile reception that the idea received on this site. I don’t think that people find it easy to believe that tapering actually REDUCES recovery time, but I am here to tell you that it can and does, and that if I had taken my own advice, I would have recovered by now.

        However, I AM recovering, albeit slowly, my fatigue is so much better at the moment, and the muscle tension(back ache etc) is not completely due to the caffeine, although mostly it is. Because I was on benzos for half my life (benzos are muscle relaxants on top of everything else), after I cold turkeyed off benzos my muscles were completely seized up for years (it was agony), (I couldn’t turn my head in either direction for 6years) and they still had not completely recovered when I stopped drinking caffeine, so there’s a combination of causes for the long duration of these symptoms in my case.

        Please do what YOU feel YOU need to do in terms of tapering off, at least I have been enabled to STAY off , unlike a lot of cold turkey promoters on this site. It’s NOT a COMPETITION!!

        1. Viv

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

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

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

          TC Jackie

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

          1. I’m good thanks

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

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

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

          2. Rob

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

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

          3. Wow Jackie – that is a huge

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

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

          4. Congratulations

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

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

          1. Thought so too. You just

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

        2. Viv, I am kind of in the

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

          1. Good to hear from you

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

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

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

          2. Robert

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

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

  72. Rob Viv and Robert

    Hello, I was going to reply to Viv and Robert and answer the q about my weight loss (thanks!) but my net is being very temperamental so will have to reply another time

  73. more info for Robert

    Tranquilizer Detox Withdrawal Can Last Years -ABC News

    Americans take a lot of “benzos,” even if they don’t know exactly what “benzos” are.

    In 2007, U.S. doctors wrote more than 82 million prescriptions for a type of tranquilizer called benzodiazepines, often called “benzos,” which includes Valium, Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin.

    The positive effects of benzos are widely discussed in blogs, and in the media. But the much appreciated “mother’s little helper” drugs can have dangerous side effects that last for years. Some of the worst problems actually start once someone tries to stop taking them.

    Negative symptoms began “probably the day after I stopped taking it [clonazepam] completely,” said Colin Moran, 41, co-founder of benzobuddies.org, an emotional support site with practical advice to help people safely stop taking benzodiazepines.

    “I woke up and I thought I had a stroke,” he said. “My scalp, down the middle of my body — everywhere on the left was numb, and I could barely move on that side of the body.

    “Even though I thought I had a stroke, I was in such a confused state that I didn’t even feel inclined to do anything about it,” said Moran.

    Moran had taken clonazepam (a benzodiazepine often called Rivotril or Klonopin) for nearly two years before deciding to take a break. He even tried to “safely” taper off the dose over six weeks.

    Finally, a friend forced him to call a neurologist, who informed him that he had not had a stroke but that he was experiencing withdrawal from the clonazepam.

    The numbness was only the beginning. Moran later experienced nightmares, anxiety, night sweats and a bewildering mental fog.

    Moran said he had never had such symptoms before he was prescribed clonazepam for a seizure problem, called brainstem myoclonus, which was characterized by spontaneous jerks in the body, trunk and limbs.

    “Now I had to keep on this small dose, just so I could move,” he said.

    Eventually Moran would join a minority of people who suffer from protracted withdrawal syndrome after stopping benzodiazepines.

    “The two most dangerous drugs to detox off of are benzos and alcohol,” said Dr. Harris Stratyner, vice chairman of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

    “A lot of insurance companies want you in the hospital if you’re coming off of alcohol or benzos,” said Stratyner, who is also a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, and vice president of the Caron Treatment Center in New York.

    Withdrawal Can Strike At Random

    Not only do benzos create a physical addiction, Stratyner said the drugs can alter how the brain processes neurotransmitters that calm a person down.

    In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends short-term use of benzodiazepines for that very reason, warning that quitting benzodiazepines abruptly can result in more than 40 withdrawal side effects, including headache, anxiety, tension, depression, insomnia, confusion, dizziness, derealization and short-term memory loss.

    However, for Moran, side effects of benzos extended to the time he was taking the drugs, as well.

    Since clonazepam was the only drug available to treat his condition, Moran tried for years to take the drug, then to taper off for three months before he built up too much of a tolerance, and then to start again.

    “I was a complete mess on benzos — confused, irrational and unemotional,” he said.

    Two years after he started the new drugs, Moran decided to end his six-year romantic relationship.

    “It just felt wrong. When I told her it was over, she told me that the medication had changed me,” said Moran. “I thought it was just a reaction to the breakup.”

    But six weeks after his last dose, Moran said a he felt a flood of feelings he hadn’t felt in years.

    “I think it was just normal emotions, but it had been years since I experienced them and so, I wasn’t used to coping with them,” he said.

    Moran said he then realized his ex-girlfriend was right.

    “I tried to repair the damage I had done to my personal life, but it was way too late,” he said.

    To this day, Moran walks with a limp on his left side. He said he sees himself as an extreme case of common withdrawal symptoms.

    Stratyner said 10 percent of people who quit abruptly may experience a “syndrome” of withdrawal symptoms that extend long after the drugs leave their bodies. This change can reverse, but for a small proportion of people, it can take months or years to recover.

    “If you suddenly stop taking Klonopin (clonazepam) rapidly, you usually get cramping, you can have convulsions, you can have auditory hallucinations, nightmares,” said Stratytner. “It’s not unusual at all.”

    But no one told that to Geraldine Burns, 53, the first time she decided to stop taking a benzo called Ativan (lorazepam).

    “I never had a panic attack before I stopped taking Ativan,” said Burns, who remembers she was driving down a busy artery in Boston with her infant daughter and young son in the back seat when she suddenly felt like she couldn’t breathe.

    “It was like you’re just coming out of your skin,” she said.

    A psychiatrist prescribed Ativan for Burns at age 33, shortly after she gave birth to her daughter. She said she felt physically off at the time, like she weighed 1,000 pounds, but that her doctors thought it was a post-partum depression.

    “I was handed Ativan in the hospital and told to go see a psychiatrist,” she said.

    A year later, after receiving a prescription for Ativan, Burns said she still felt off.

    “Then I read an article about how women could feel just how I felt, and it was an infection of the womb, and you don’t necessarily have to have a fever,” she said.

    Burns said she called another doctor — an internist — about the article and he prescribed her antibiotics. Within five days of taking the antibiotics, Burns said she felt much better.

    “So I stopped taking Ativan,” said Burns. “I didn’t know that you couldn’t just stop.”

    The Danger of Going Cold Turkey
    After the first panic attacks, Burns called her psychiatrist who, according to Burns, told her she shouldn’t have stopped the pills and that she needed to take Ativan “for the rest of my life.”

    Burns continued to take Ativan and antidepressants for nine years; meanwhile, her anxiety and agoraphobia only increased. During that time, her body developed a tolerance for the drug, making coming off of it all the more risky.

    Then, one day, at age 42, Burns went to a new gynecologist who informed her that benzodiazepines were extremely addictive. Burns decided to try and stop, then sue her psychiatrist.

    “I was OK for about six months, and then I went into protracted withdrawal,” she said.

    Burns experienced ringing in her ears, twitching on her face and hallucinations that bugs were crawling all over her scalp.

    Ten years later, many of her symptoms have calmed down. But Burns decided she would spend her time helping others through benzosupport.org and Benzobookreview.com.

    Cindy, who asked ABCNews.com not to use her last name, found help through Burns and her Web site last year. Like many people with benzo withdrawal symptoms, Cindy said the only sign that she wasn’t crazy were others on the Internet with similar symptoms.

    “Three years ago, I was a very, very healthy 49-year-old,” said Cindy, of Rhode Island. “I never had a psychiatric history; I never was on any psychiatric drugs. Never on any drugs, really.”

    Cindy’s gynecologist first prescribed her Valium after she hit a bout of insomnia with menopause. It worked, but eight months later, she began to feel depressed and have rashes. Cindy said her doctor told her she could quit taking the drug if she liked, so she did.

    Three weeks later, Cindy said she couldn’t stand or walk without holding on to a wall, and she had inexplicable feelings of physical fear. Eventually, her two college-aged children found her unresponsive on the floor. They wrapped her up in a blanket and took her back to the gynecologist.

    “I said, ‘I need to go to the hospital,'” said Cindy. “She told me to go home.”

    Cindy said she has recovered slightly but is still so disoriented that she has trouble reading and writing. Eventually, she had to quit her job as a social worker.

    “It took four months. I literally lost my mind,” she said.

    Withdrawal Can Lead to ‘Derealization’

    In addition to the fear, Cindy said she went through a “depersonalization,” where people and objects appeared unreal and untrustworthy to her, as if she was in a dream world.

    “Nothing was right,” she said.

    Now, Cindy said, she mistrusts doctors, and will absolutely refuse to take another drug again. Instead, she relies on emotional support from Burns while her body slowly recovers.

    Burns and Moran admit their online support groups have stirred mild controversy with people’s doctors for the medical advice about tapering doses of drugs. However, they said all agree their sites can provide initial emotional support to people struggling with withdrawal.

    “Don’t let the horror stories get to you,” said Burns. “We’ve got lots of people who get better.”

    Alison Kellagher is one such person. She took benzodiazepines for 17 years, originally just to treat a couple of panic attacks she had in a new job.

    “I went to a psychiatrist and he just immediately prescribed a Xanax, and it was to take every day,” said Kellagher. “It helped for a number of years, but as the dose got higher, the side effect of depression became stronger.”

    Kellagher eventually decided to stop, and even went to a detox program to help her slowly taper off the drugs. Yet, the years had taken their toll and she experienced withdrawal.

    “Then, I was in a profoundly alerted consciousness, immediately after stopping,” said Kellagher. “It was the feeling of being in terror, but it was just a physiological state of terror.”

    Kellagher said she thinks she’s lucky because it only lasted several months.

    “The first three months was 24-7. Then, it started to let up a little bit by three to six months. By a year, I was pretty comfortable,” she said. “I wasn’t 100 percent, but I was functioning and feeling almost normal.”

    The experience motivated Kellagher, who worked in the bicycle clothing industry, to get a master’s degree for counseling. Now, she coaches people through protracted benzodiazepine withdrawal over the phone.

    “People usually need some help keeping hope alive,” said Kellagher, who runs the site stoppingbenzos.com. “It’s hard not to get bogged down in depression, because it’s a long process.”

  74. Stomach Problems

    After quitting caffeine for the third time about 3 months ago, I have been having digestive issues for for about 2-1/2 months. I have a mild to moderate burning sensation in my stomach and chest. Its a combination of gastritis and acid reflux. What was the longest any of you had digestive issues from caffeine withdrawals?

  75. How come?

    How come when I quit caffeine after a relapse I get stomach issues like acid reflux and heartburns for several months and if I drink again it goes away? To me that’s weird. To me it should be the other way around when you drink it then you have the digestive issues. Can someone explain to me why this happens?

  76. Thanks Viv!

    Thank you Viv, that was very nice of you to post the benzo article.
    I have actually been to benzobuddies many times so I am aware of the dangers.
    I’m thinking that if I get off the caffeine first, then I won’t have the constant anxiety that keeps me running back to the benzos. Anxiety and extreme muscle tension that makes me shake has been a lifelong problem for me, but , now that I think about it, it pretty much started when I started drinking coffee all those years ago.
    How long were you on the benzos and how long did it take you to get off of them?

    Also, thanks Rob, for your welcome and reply. I hope you are doing well with your battle.
    I will keep that mantra in my head: “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”

  77. 2 1/2 months still having stomach problems

    Its been 2 1/2 months since I quit caffeine again and I am still having stomach problems. Anyone can shed some light on this matter?

  78. Tummy Pain

    I’m new to this site. Been drinking caffeinated beverages for about 10 years and I recently quit about a month ago. I had headaches for about a week and then that went away. Now I have this burning like pain in my abdomen for about five weeks. Can that be a withdrawal symptom? How long does it take to go away? I have read a few people’s post but haven’t seen much replies.

    1. Thanks 60YH

      And a happy caffeine free year to you too. I’ve made a promise to my girlfriend on Christmas Eve that I wouldn’t drink caffeine for a year, so I guess I have to do it now ! So far so good….


    I’m just dropping in to update that I’m still off of caffeine after 22 months and still doing fine. No pains in the back. No more catastrophic thoughts of fatal diseases. I do occasionally have a desire for coffee, but then I remember how painful and scary it was breaking the addiction especially the neuropathy and the psychological aspect.

    I have many people amazed that I am now off of caffeine and asked how to do it. SMH. I tell them to just stop, but it took me 8 or 9 months to completely recover. Their jaws practically drops and they dismiss the idea of quitting.

    I am still very grateful to be off of caffeine and have every intention of remaining off of it!!! I have the feeling if I remained on caffeine for too much longer then my health would have paid the price.

    I wish everyone the best at remaining off of caffeine or getting off of caffeine!!

  80. Thanks for coming back, and

    Thanks for coming back, and have you noticed any more improvements? Here am I at nearly 3 years off and after having a long period of feeling a whole lot better, I ave almost gone back to square one for the last 3 weeks, it is so frustrating….


      As far as I can tell, I’m back to my normal self with no more withdrawal symptoms. I have no neuropathy, no more catastrophic thoughts about my health, no fatigue even with me working out 3 hours almost everyday, no back pain, and no more headaches period for any reason. I sleep fine. I do occasionally get a little sleepy at work sitting at a desk all day, but I just get up and move around.

      I hope this is encouraging news for you and not discouraging.

      I seem to remember that you have been to so many doctors and had many tests done, so it’s hard to imagine that you might have something else going on in addition to recovering from having no caffeine. Considering I was on caffeine for 6 years compared to your 60 years, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say it will take you longer to totally recover.

      The news being good or bad depends on what you focus on. About you, I’m focused on the fact that you felt better for a long period of time before having a set back. To me, that means that there’s a good chance that the long stretch will happen again and hopefully be even longer again. Hang in there!

      1. No, that’s not discouraging,

        No, that’s not discouraging, and thanks again for your encouragement. I am starting to feel better, (after about a month of feeling terrible), so that’s good news. I am having physio for the incredible muscle weakness, which will eventually help with the back ache etc. I had expected that time would heal the muscle weakness, but it has been going on for so long now, that it has almost become permanent. anyway, I have only been doing the exercises for a couple of weeks, and I have already noticed some improvement. My sleep which deteriorated for the last month is also improving again – and that makes such a huge difference to how I feel. Please keep in touch, it is so helpful to hear your news….

        1. Other reasons ?

          60YH, I don’t mean to be offensive, but if you’ve got health issues after 3 years off caffeine, how do you know it’s the caffeine that is causing them ? Wouldn’t it make sense to look for other reasons ? And (I really don’t mean to be offensive here), but if you had a 60 year habit, I presume you’re now in your mid-70s, so isn’t it possible age could be a factor ?

          1. I have answered this question

            I have answered this question so many times in the past, I cannot be bothered to answer it again…
            I have also posted loads of info about how it can take 5 years for younger people to recover from caffeine on this site.

            Sorry, I know you are trying to help.

    2. this used to be a great forum

      this used to be a great forum for anybody going through caffeine withdrawal, but it has died recently.I have heard that the Facebook caffeine group is a waste of time , and I am not a member of facebook and don’t want to be, but I do want this forum to work, so please,, if there is anybody out there, please come back.

      1. I agree! There hasn’t been a

        I agree! There hasn’t been a post on here in months until 1 or 2 above a few days ago. And YES, the Facebook Group was a total joke!! I dropped out of that after only a week! I continue to struggle with caffeine and recently I am feeling really sick from it and it is causing me much anxiety. I just can’t get past the withdrawals once the despair starts (2 days later). I kept coming back here hoping this would help me, but it seems to have died out 🙁

        1. have you tried weaning

          have you tried weaning ourself off more slowly? I couldn’t get past the despair either and went back on and weaned myself off over about 3 months.

          1. Quitting again

            I’ve been on this caffeine roller-coaster for many years. I have learned that (without a shadow of doubt) caffeine is a very powerful drug and it’s a bitch to get off it. I’ve done it a few times, always cold turkey, but after a while (the longest was 4 months) a little voice in my head starts whispering that a coffee would be a good idea and I’m back on it. Pretty much immediately I feel sick – upset stomach, anxiety, generally toxic – and I can’t believe I’ve done it again. Building up to the next quit can take weeks/months and is always painful : headaches, lethargy, depression, muscle spasms and body aches. The whole junkie detox thing.

            The hardest part is the despair. Not just the depressive state that comes with withdrawal, but the feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness that comes from repeating the same behaviours despite knowing they’re bad for you. I start to loathe myself for being so weak, for giving in again and for not being “man enough” to just stay stopped. It’s a really bleak place to be.

            Anyway, I’m building up to quitting again ! I think I’ll go for it this weekend, but may take a different approach. I’ve recently done some research and all those that have any scientific background seem to suggest tapering off is a more intelligent approach, with a greater chance of success. Cold turkey may appeal to my ego, but it’s not the best approach when you understand what’s happening biologically – my body has adapted to the presence of caffeine, so it makes sense to be kind to it and allow it to adapt slowly to the removal of caffeine rather than shock it and put it into a state of crisis.

          2. Rob

            I completely understand, Rob, same here (mostly). It’s nothing at all to do with manning up – it’s about altered brain chemistry. The repetition of behaviours, thoughts and feelings create neurological patterns in the brain (that’s why we can drive ‘on auto’) and if they are repeated and repeated, it becomes an active, embedded part of the brain. There are many scientific studies which have identified this, in relation to the use of addictive drugs, including caffeine. The patterns can be changed but it takes time – and you have to be vigilant, even when you think you’ve beaten it. I had been off it for 40 days (the longest ever) – and I really thought I’d cracked it. A major trigger incident occurred – and I reacted – opening up that pathway/part of my psyche yet again. The voice in your head seems to be your trigger – and you’ve repeated the pattern again and again (like I have) so the roller coaster ride continues. I remember when I stopped for 40 days, I HAD retrained my brain and just did not want the caffeine any more. Simply that.
            But I won’t beat myself up – I know how to stop so will do it again. I totally agree with your last statement as it’s the attitude we need to foster. And btw, just don’t listen to anyone if they try to tell you to ‘man up’ – they have no idea what they’re talking about! All the best. Jackie

          3. Hi Jackie

            Thanks Jackie, good to hear from you and to see that you’re still fighting the good fight.

            Another point I didn’t mention is that I am starting to wonder if there is an element of self-medication in my caffeine addiction. My partner’s daughter has been diagnosed as ADD and prescribed a strong stimulant (maybe Ritalin, not sure) to treat it. When they saw the doctor to discuss medication, he apparently talked about caffeine as being in the same class of drugs and felt that if it were discovered today it would be categorised and managed in a similar way.

            I wonder if one of the reasons it’s so hard to quit is that (for some of us at least) it’s so much more than “just a cup of coffee”. In other words it’s not just that the caffeine has adjusted our brain chemistry, but that the brain chemistry was never right in the first place. In a sense the caffeine is a medication or treatment and when you take it away, you’re left with the problem ?

            There’s probably no way of proving it, but I do wonder….

          4. Rob

            Well, I think we self-medicate all the time whether it’s caffeine, alcohol, food (especially sugar, salt/fat) etc… but I know what you mean. I’ve been trying to remember and I think it’s helpful. I did start to drink (alcohol) when I was 14, in the pubs/dancehalls where I used to go dancing and to see the live bands (this was the 60s). I wasn’t drinking that much coffee back then but I was given tea at home from a very early age so my brain chemistry was being messed up even then. Being honest, all through my teens, we all used to get drunk although I never took drugs, as such. I used to smoke until I had my children, as well, but never got addicted to that, at least. I remember feeling that I couldn’t enjoy myself unless I was drinking back then – and I used to go out all weekend and 2-3 times through the week, drinking. I remember feeling empty and flat and only looked forward to going out at the weekend – obviously affected by the booze. I hated school and couldn’t wait to start work. At 16, I started drinking coffee more at work and the rest is history, as they say.
            At a deeper level, the materialistic world in which we live promotes an unsatisfying lifestyle – consumerism rules and we think we’ll be happy if we get more money, have more holidays, get a better job, a bigger house etc. With advancing technology, it’s all the latest gadgets and media stuff etc. The amount of money you can spend a a bloody phone is ridiculous, when you think about it – just so you can post of fb or twitter lol……. and legal stimulants which stimulate the pleasure seeking chemical just makes us buy even more stuff! But we are never satisfied or comfortable in ourselves (to put it mildly). I saw a video on fb a couple of months ago which struck a chord. It was an actress/model, Amber (can’t remember the surname) and she’d come out as being a former drug addict (cocaine etc). She talked about how we are all trying to ‘get out of ourselves’ and other pertinent observations. Trouble is, you can know all of this with a rational mind but it still doesn’t fix your fecked up brain!
            Btw, Rob, I wanted to say, very strongly, do not ‘loathe’ yourself, as you said. Realise that it IS your brain chemistry that is messed up and have some compassion for yourself. God, if it was ‘easy’ or simple to just stop, we would have done it years ago. No-one would CHOSE to feel as ill,as in despair or as exhausted as this. I used to feel lacking or weak or whatever – and some people’s nasty comments used to affect me – but not now. They don’t know what they’re talking about and just don’t affect me in any more. Their comments say more about how they feel about themselves. In some ways, I’ve grown a lot in the last 4 years and have finally taken responsibility for my current situation. OK, I might have been given caffeine at a young age etc but I can’t change that – I can only change what I drink now.
            Well, this has been very cathartic and helpful as it HAS made me realise how much I’ve changed – I was insane on here when I first started posting lol. So…….it’s one day at a time and no agonising over the past for me. Good luck and keep us posted. Jackie

          5. You seem like a very caring

            You seem like a very caring and wonderful lady. But you arent very tolerant to opinions that disagree with yours. Personally I myself have never read ‘nasty comments’ on this board and even tho you might not like when another reader says something you dont like such as to ‘man up’ —- everyone is entitled to their opinions and suggestions. Some readers are VERY realistic —– the only way to be off of the drug is to QUIT taking it. You might choose to taper or wean for years, but at the very end you still have to STOP and never go back! It sucks no matter how you do it. 🙂 So please dont judge others or say “they have no idea what theyre talking about”. They just might! All the best to everyone. 🙂

          6. On manning up……..

            Thanks for your input and for saying that I am a caring person. I do try to offer as much support as I can. However, telling people to ‘man up’ isn’t supportive – it has a judgemental tone and explicitly infers that the person is lacking and weak. That isn’t encouraging and supportive. You tell me not to judge but that is exactly what you are doing – you are judging me. People come on here and talk about how their lives have been devastated, how they are ill, in despair and exhausted, how they have to negotiate lives that are very demanding due to other circumstances, such as being full-time carers – and instead of offering support, despite your veiled tone, you criticise. You also say that everyone is entitled to their opinion and suggestions. – well, so am I. I know that Rob struggles with the idea of ‘manning up’ – he said this himself and someone said it to him on here a while back – maybe it was you. So I said that to try to help him not to feel bad about himself. We beat ourselves up enough without anyone else joining in! You are right in that you say I have to be more realistic. I used to think there was a magic, quick fix for my addiction but have learned, the hard way, that that is fantasy land. I know I am the only one that can stop and I know it sucks. But I keep trying and won’t give up.
            It makes me wonder why you only bother to make posts like this instead of offering true support and encouragement. If you had said to me – ‘Jackie, you did it for 40 days, you can do it again!’ – now THAT would have been supportive. But you chose to tell me not to be judgemental etc etc. We ALL make choices that maybe aren’t the best. You have no personal connection to me and never offer general support on this forum (none that I have seen) which makes me think it just irritates you that we don’t just stop. That says more about you than it does about us. But that is just my opinion, of course. Well, thanks, again – and maybe you could give us your story about getting off of caffeine, assuming that you did? Jackie

          7. Thank you Rob! I thought I

            Thank you Rob! I thought I left my name on my post but it seems I didn’t…with the “no I’m not a robot approach” to post here I must have overlooked it when I edited my post. Yes the despair is so hard to get past and the beating myself up part never helps! I know I’m not alone but it feels like it and I kept coming back here and no one had posted in a long time so I just re-read some old posts which only soothed my anxiety but gave me no incentive to quit again. I had no caffeine yesterday and tonight I am wide awake. The exhaustion will set in within a day or so and then all I do is sleep (thankfully I am retired now!). The brutal headache doesn’t start for 3 days for some weird reason. At least this time my caffeine intake was less than it has been in the past when I tried quitting. I’ll see how it goes. I tapered with tea this time…from coffee & coke/pepsi. My longest was 1 year (2011) but then my father got disabled and died less than a year later @ 91, followed by about a 3 year failure and death of my mother right after his death so I gave up trying to quit. After she died I was grieving them both. But now, I have no excuse…

          8. Betsy

            Betsy, my heart went out to you – losing your parents so close together must have been beyond awful. I do understand about the despair, feeling bleak. Despite my bravado in my recent posts, I woke up this morning with that emptiness and desolation that only caffeine will fix – and I know I’ll feel it again tomorrow – this, despite having stopped for 40 days, recently. I now understand why alcoholics cannot have even one drink, as it sends them back into the chemical dependence. As Rob has said you have to haul yourself back up from down the rabbit hole.
            I’m very glad you posted as I have felt very alone (apart from Rob) in my inability to completely stop. I started weaning four and a half years ago and have been beating myself for most of that time. But I won’t do that any more. That’s one thing I’ve learned. I still can’t quite believe I’m here again after stopping for 40 days.
            I wanted to ask you how much you weaned down to? I, too, am retired but am a full-time carer for my daughter who has a long-term illness so life is demanding. Would it help you to tell us a little more about your life? Anyway, keep us posted. All the best. Jackie

          9. Brief History

            Jackie, to begin with I have become extremely sensitive to caffeine. I could never drink it for years. Mostly coffee gave me instant reflux and shakiness so I just didn’t do it. Except for an ocassional Pepsi or Coke with lunch, caffeine just wasn’t part of my life. Now I am nearly 65. I had just taken a promotion that moved me back to the area near my parents where I was born & raised. So my addiction started late in 1999 when I found a coffee shop that had great bagels. One morning I was really tired from no sleep for a few nights so I tried a small cup with my bagel. The way they brew their coffee is different. They flavor their beans overnight and then grind them fresh every morning instead of pouring that liquid flavor junk in a cup before pouring some coffee overtop. That cup of coffee gave me a very slow, mildly alert wake-up that hooked me. I made me feel ‘normal’ and social. A couple of years later after developing stomach problems, I had to give it up. That withdrawal period was brutal, but at the time I never connected it to addiction. I thought I was just sick and crazy from work stuff! Over the years after that, I have been on again-off again…each time becoming more sensitive so I need less. I rarely drink more than 1 coffee in a day but I might add a Pepsi. So when I said I tapered using tea, I sip 1 bottle of brand name iced tea over the course of the day, then I keep cutting it back over a few days until I quit again. It always seems like I could not possibly have had enough caffeine to produce such withdrawal symptoms, but they are there and the cravings are too. I crave the feeling, not the taste…but I have to admit that this time of year I do love that pumpkin spice coffee and I savor each swallow

          10. Betsy

            First, I absolutely know that, when you’ve been consuming even 1 cup of coffee over a long weaning period, the withdrawal symptoms can still be very extreme. I weaned down to mostly 1 cup of coffee (instant, mostly, so weaker) in the morning and the effects were still awful. But that’s the result of decades of drinking it – and I believe that, because I started having Starbucks/Costa coffee in the run-up to trying to quit, the heavier caffeine content made those symptoms worse.
            If you’ve altered your brain chemistry over a long period, it’s going to take longer to balance out again. You’ve already done a lot of work by tapering down. I found I just had to try to keep moving it in the right direction and to be very wary of my triggers.
            One thing that helped me was that I tried to focus away from coffee. When I was still heavily into weaning, I still WANTED it so much. I came on here endlessly, read endless articles about weaning, how caffeine affected the brain, posted on other forums, thought about it all the time etc etc. In a way, that kept me in it. Someone said to me on here years ago, “you’ll stop when you want to”. Looking back to a couple of years ago, I DIDN’T want to. Now I DO want to stop and get my life and health back – and I try to focus away. When I stopped for 40 days (a long time for me), I just wasn’t thinking out it. With my lapse, I’m trying to go down that same path. I get in the garden (I’m planting out for winter atm). I have arthritis (I’m 65) but have someone to do the heavy weeding etc and so I get to do the enjoyable part. I love being outside – it makes you feel so much better, even in winter. I eat a very healthy diet and that does help (and I’m never hungry). I used to be VERY overweight but have now lost nearly 6 stones. I look after my family as best I can. Do you have family?
            I guess I’m trying to say, there is a life beyond/without coffee – a much better life. Everyone documents how much better they feel when through the awful withdrawal period. Well, I hope this helps. Jackie

        2. Despair

          Sorry to hear you’re still struggling. I’ve had a long battle and even though I have periods off it, I have slipped back again and again. I was off for a full 40 days and am now back to where I started – or so it seems. I can hardly believe it, myself. I now understand that the only way is to wean and to keep moving in the right direction – and, sometimes, to pass through the feelings and allow the brain to heal. Harder said than done, I know. When I had been off it for over 30 days, I really thought I’d cracked it. But it is so easy to slip back into a 50 year habit and so hard to keep trying to make new ones. But you have to keep trying. The alternative is not pretty.
          Good luck to all – and I hope people will come back. Let’s ignore any negative comments and support each other, I say.

    1. hip pain after quitting coffee

      I quit coffee four days ago, but I did go off slowly over a week. I developed a severe back ache that radiated down my legs and through my hips. It is awful. I have been taking Tylenol, but it doesn’t help when I want to sleep at night. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in days. I can say that it’s getting better every day, but it has been so very, very painful. I’m icing and using heat, which is helping.

      I didn’t develop the usual headache. I think there might be a connection to water retention. I began swelling, which is very uncommon for me. I cut way down on salt and increased my water. All I can say is that it’s been absolutely awful. I’ve had coffee every day for 30 years, so this is a huge challenge. I don’t crave it at all, nor do I ever want to go back. Aside from the back/hip pain, I’m seeing other positive stuff.

      1. I don’t crave it either, but

        I don’t crave it either, but the pain in my hips is dreadful, especially first thing in the morning. And i have got a chronically swollen ankle. have had it for years, which I think may be linked to my caffeine intolerance which started years ago… time will tell

        1. Hip Pain

          I found that I was swelling so much off the coffee (it’s a diuretic), causing all sorts of trouble, that I needed to go back on a cup a day. I drank one cup today and my anxiety shot through the roof. Ugh. It’s so difficult to figure out what makes things worse. I hope your pain improves. It is so difficult. I guess we need just keep trying to adjust things until we feel better.

  81. Re pain

    After being on and off caffeine for a long time, I realised that caffeine was masking my joint pain. Whenever I managed to stop for a period, I felt it all the time. The good news is that with healthy eating, it did improve. That meant no sugar, wheat and all the things that contribute to inflammation. I also ate/drank lots of anti-inflammatory foods/drinks- redbush tea with almond milk is my comfort drink now – and that really did help, as well. Good luck and hope this helps.

  82. Hello Rob and Jackie,

    Hello Rob and Jackie,

    I wondered if it was yo Jackie in the post where you first mentioned the ’50 year habit” and I am so glad to hear from you and Rob, especially as you are both in the same boat so that you can encourage each other. I haven’t posted under my ’60 year habit” label until now because I didn’t want to frighten people, but I know that you and Rob can take it…

    The fact is that I am still off the caffeine, but feeling very discouraged because although I am definitely slowly improving, at 3and a half years off, although I fully expected it to take at least 5 years (given my history) to recover, the process is wearing me out, I can almost walk with a straight back now, but there is still no pleasure in walking, because after about ten minutes the back ache starts to become unbearable and the fatigue kicks in. These things have all definitely improved,but the pain is still enough to make it impossible to feel comfortable in any position, and when I wake up over and over again the pain seems unbearable.

    I am sure that if I could go back to how bad I felt for the first year, I would be amazed at how much i have improved, but it is difficult to remain hopeful some times. I don’t talk about it to anyone either, because i know that nobody would believe me. so I have missed your presence here a great deal.

    I see a physiotherapist regularly, and have been doing some mobility and strengthening exercises for the last year and they have helped a bit, but the muscle weakness and fatigue will take however long they take, because they are still affected by the caffeine’s effects upon my brain, so I try not to expect too much but my patience is wearing very thin!

    I wish that I felt less discouraged and I hope that it won’t discourage anybody else to read about my discouragement, I am just so worn out by this endless process. You are at least lucky in that it won’t take as long for you, my genetic inheritance is the problem here…

    1. Viv

      Hi, Viv, I really was sorry to hear you’re still struggling – where has all the time gone for us? I can truly understand how discouraged you feel – and I know your life is very demanding so you must feel worn out both physically and mentally. Of all the people who have posted on here, you have had the longest PAWS to deal with. I hope posting was cathartic for you – I don’t talk to anyone, either, so I know that it is helpful to be able to be honest here. I think, if you can, take heart by how far you’ve come but, also, I think that we have to sometimes accept how we feel and try to move through it – and look after ourselves as best we can. There is no magic fix (as I used to think).
      You are a very strong person to have kept going, no matter what. If you need something to hang on to, remember that you have improved and are still improving. All the best.Jackie

      1. Jackie, Rob, and Betsy

        Thanks for the encouragement Jackie, I know what you mean about acceptance, but it is so hard… especially coming on top of a 25 year period of hell recovering from prescription drugs.

        I have caught up with all your posts now, and it is a great relief to read that Rob is going to stop being so hard on himself and is going to try to taper, I wish I had somebody similar to me in my caffeine wd story, I am sure that you can help each other to taper off and stay off this time. and Betsy, I am caffeine sensitive too, and only drank two cups of tea a day, (unfortunately for at least 60 years of my life), so the length of time I had been drinking it has made my recovery period incredibly long, which makes me hopeful that your recovery will be short as you haven’t been on the stuff for very long (comparatively).

        Anyway, I wish you all a speedy recovery….

        1. Viv

          You’re welcome…..and I do have partial understanding. The on-going effects of long-term prescription drugs/caffeine usage must be brutal. . I remember Lisa – who was coming off benzos and caffeine – do you know what happened to her?
          Thanks, also, for your continued support and patience. It’s been a long road – but I feel we are getting there. I’ve found it does change you as a person. I had to learn to stop looking for quick fixes and to stop looking for answers ‘out there’. You can read a million articles on cold turkey, weaning, brain chemistry etc etc but, in the end, you have to apply the methods and get through it. I have also learned to stop beating myself up and wasting energy on why I haven’t done it before. Need to keep focussed on the future and getting better. In short, I feel like I’m finding some inner strength at last.
          Well, I hope life is a little less demanding for you and, as ever, that things improve. All the best. Jackie

          1. Thanks again for your support

            Thanks again for your support Jackie, my symptoms have changed over the last year, all the pain has moved up from my hips and legs to my shoulders and neck, it is impossible to get comfortable in bed, I have tried every type of neck support pillow and none of them help, so my sleep has deteriorated because of the pain. i can’t think of anything else to say at the moment, but the minute I close my computer, I expect I’ll think of hundreds of things I wanted to say…

            i look forward to your next post!

          2. I’m not the only one who is

            I’m not the only one who is taking more than 3 years to recover!!!

            i just read this on another caffeine forum:

            Steven September 19, 2016, 10:51 am
            Same here Jennifer, you’re not alone! I wanted to quit smoking, and every time I tried I didn’t feel like drinking coffee any longer… so I quit that too. Although…I kept failing at trying to quit both, so I tried just the coffee first. This led to extreme panic attacks, the… I’m dying right now variety. Those were the absolute worst experiences of my life.

            The initial episode lasted about three months. This experience was in 2013 and I’m still dealing with some residual anxiety. Finally, sought some help recently and doing a little better. One thing I know for sure… you could NEVER get me to touch anything with caffeine in it again. Best Regards, Steven

          3. Cause and effect ?

            Interesting comments on prolonged withdrawal and symptoms lasting a number of years.

            They’ve got me wondering about my latest pet theory ! People seem to be saying that they quit caffeine and many years later are still suffering from withdrawal, and are therefore drawing the conclusion that caffeine must be causing the symptoms. I wonder if this is true ?

            My theory has me wondering about the hypothesis that the symptoms were there all along, but that we used caffeine to “treat” them, or that the caffeine masked them. In other words, we were unwittingly using caffeine as some kind of (flawed) “medicine”.

            Maybe it’s true more for psychological issues than for physical ones – for example, my girlfriend’s daughter has ADD for which she is prescribed a strong stimulant that calms her down. I don’t know why it would calm her down, but it does. I wonder if some of us have inadvertently found that caffeine does the same thing ?

            As I say, just my little pet theory I’m working on….

          4. Rob

            Hi, Rob, how’s it going – did you stop at the weekend?

            I think you’re right…..see my reply to you on page 4. Also, I’ll add that I think we are ‘taught’ to self-medicate from a very early age. Kids (even under 1) are given sweets/chocolate/sugar to placate them or as a reward/treat etc and we learn that sugar calms us down and makes us feel happy – and if you eat A LOT of sugar/carbs, oh boy, do you feel calm and sleepy. The traditional British diet is awash with sugar/salt/bad fats/high glycemic carbs and they play havoc with our blood pressure/blood sugar etc. Then you’ve got the caffeine playing havoc with your cortisol levels etc etc. With the advent of Starbucks/Costa in the U.K., going to the coffee house was seen as cool (did Friends start it off?) and it became an integral part of many people’s social life. Then if you add on the stress of growing up/school/peer pressure/ university/trying to find a job/the work place- the rat race lifestyle …no wonder we all try to ‘self-medicate’. It’s my belief that it’s not just culturally shaped, either. We don’t come into the world as an ’empty vessel’. Kids are born with their own personalities and have their own innate stresses/fears/worries etc. So add on the biscuit tin etc to all that and some of us spend our lives trying to make ourselves feel a better. Well, any more thoughts? Do let us know how you’re getting on – all the best.

  83. I wonder how Shane is doing,

    I wonder how Shane is doing, if you ever read this post I hope you will come back and update us. Here is your post from August 2015, which is so close to my progress that it could have been written by me!

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

  84. Anxiety…suddenly?

    Hi everyone. I’m very glad I found this website, as I have what I believe to caffeine withdrawal symptoms. The more I read the threads here, the more I seem to find my myriad of problems lining up perfectly with everyone else’s. Before I go into this, I’d just like to add that I am 31 years old, male, and have been drinking between 400-600mg of caffeine for the previous 7 years, every day.

    On July 1st of ’16, I went to the ER with what I thought was a neck injury. A week before this happened, I was standing by my front door waiting for my family to go to Waffle House when I felt an immensely weird twinge in my neck. Almost instantly, I had ridiculous anxiety and almost near panic attack. After a few hours, I calmed down and figured it was just an odd sensation. A week later, after my neck was still feeling sore, I got horribly numb sensations and weird palpitations. Figuring I screwed up my spine, I went to the ER where they took a CT scan and ran all sorts of blood tests. Everything was fine, the CT of my head and neck was completely normal, said I had a panic attack (the first in my life) and that I should talk to my doctor about anxiety.

    Before this day, I’ve NEVER in my entire life had anxiety, even while drinking coffee. Yes, here and there I’ve been a hypochondriac, but never felt anxiety. I guess the panic attack was indicative of this, though, so I went to the doctor and he gave me Citalopram to take for “situation anxiety”? Took it for 3 days and wanted to kill myself, so I stopped completely. Bear in mind, at this point I’m having panic attacks DAILY, sometimes a few times a day. Why? What in the world happened to my perfectly carefree life that this had to now happen nearly 24/7?

    As luck would have it, I completely stopped drinking coffee and all caffeine the night after the ER trip. It has now been nearly 3 months, and I’m STILL having these ridiculous sensations and symptoms, which are: Tingling in hands and feet, weird crawling sensations on my head and face, hot flashes right before panic attacks that instantly give me gas or BM, and a steady anxiety that soon turned to agoraphobia (from the fear of panic attacks, which I apparently had to just live with now, for no reason). Also weird jittery inner feelings I like to call the “Jangles” lol, as well as nervousness and sometimes ridiculous derealization/depersonalization.

    Throughout all of this, I tried and went back to coffee 4 different times (in 3 months). This time, at 4 weeks and 2 days caffeine-free, the panic attacks have finally stopped (the last one was 8 days ago). I still have the tingling and face sensations and occasional head crawls, but the headaches stopped a long time ago. Really, the worst of it is the anxiety. I just feel scared and weirdly paranoid for absolutely no reason. Open spaces like malls and grocery stores make me really dizzy and pressure-ridden in my head. When I was having the panic attacks, they started as full blown in July, weirdly abdominal and hot flashy in August, to nearly non-existent in September. Like I said before, this 4th cycle off coffee has been the longest, and coincidently the best I’ve been with the panic episodes. If I have them now, it’s only very mild sensations that last for 5-10 seconds throughout the day. Maybe a few times every couple of hours. The full-blown palpitation attacks have nearly been non-existent, though (thank goodness).

    Sorry for the book here, but of course like you all, thought I could go back to caffeine after feeling sorta/kinda better. Yesterday, I bought some decaf, and drank a cup last night and this morning. Bad idea. I went right back to the weird stomach sensations and feelings of “dread/doom”, if you know what I mean. I’ve seen my doctor three times during this 3-month ordeal, and each time he tries to tell me it’s a different type of anxiety, then gives SSRI’s for it. I never take them, and I don’t want to.

    Is this ALL from caffeine withdrawal? I hate that my weird neck episode lines up so closely to when I stopped my regular caffeine regime, but the CT scan can’t lie and my neck feels much better since the end of July (only spasms and dull pain now, but that’s to be expected with caffeine withdrawal). Would love to have anyone comment and share their stories. Thanks for listening.

    1. TwoTrees

      Hi, sounds like you’ve had a rough ride with the anxiety and panic attacks……and to answer your last question, I would say from my understanding and experience and other people’s testimonials that, yes, your symptoms ARE coming from caffeine withdrawal. If you google Smithsonian:This Is How Your Brain Becomes Addicted to Caffeine, this article explains the science behind it. However, in some people’s experiences, it can take a lot longer to reset the brain’s chemistry and feel ‘normal’ again. You were having a fairly high amount of caffeine every day for 7 years – so it’s going to take a while to reset and recover. Regarding the panic attacks (that must have been scary for you), if you google caffeineinformer:panic attacks, this article explains about anxiety/panic. Caffeine informer is a pretty good site, in general, with lots of info. I find it helps to understand the science behind how I’m feeling – I’m not sure if this would help you, of course. It does sound like you’ve become sensitive to caffeine but the good news is that you’re already on your way to detoxing and recovery as your panic attacks are decreasing, already. Btw, as you perhaps know, decaf still contains about 4% caffeine and contains other stimulants – so bad news!
      Well, good luck and keep us informed. Jackie

      1. Jackie

        Thanks Jackie. It’s been 6 days now since I had that last decaf, and I’ve just today started to feel a little bit better. It’s very weird, before my first panic attack in July, I never had any issue with the amounts of coffee I was intaking. Ever since, and ever since I started the withdrawal process, I still get these ridiculous 5-10 second instances throughout the day where it feels like complete dread/panic, only to have them flutter away without a consequence. I never had these before. Are they mini-panic attacks? Like I said in my initial post, the severity of the panic attacks have gone down drastically. Last week before that decaf experiment and the week before that, I was feeling awesome (roughly 4 weeks into no caffeine). Ever since the decaf last Friday, though, it’s like that space between the bottom of my ribs is constantly tickled and tight with panic/anxiety. I drank Holy Basil tea on occasion to see if it would bring down my anxiety and panic, which it did, but always gave me headaches a few days after daily brewing (I’ve always gotten headaches with ANY tea, must be the tannins or something). It’s like a surge of unrooted fear and doom, multiple times a day, for a few seconds each time, and then nothing. All of my other symptoms of “standard” withdrawal have gone away (headaches, lethargy, brain fog, sore joints and neck pain). The only thing that remained is this anxiety from absolutely nothing. I’ve been trying to read more on neurotransmitters to see how long those things take to rebalance after long-term caffeine usage, and it seems like my GABA is still out of sync. How did I figure this? Well, about a month ago I drank some Valerian Tea for insomnia (I’m assuming from the caffeine withdrawal), and noticed the following days after taking the Valerian I had NO anxiety/panic issues/weird 5-10 attacks WHATSOEVER. Valerian apparently binds to the GABA-A receptors, so maybe this is why I felt normal those two days (albeit incredibly tired lol). Anyway, maybe it’s post acute withdrawal syndrome. With PAWS, it can take anywhere from 3-6 months, even up to a year for the neurological symptoms to improve. Such a struggle! Hah! Dealing with an off week from withdrawal currently, I’ve read caffeine cessation can cause cyclic withdrawals with up and downs where you’ll think you’re better, then back down again with the anxiety and panic the next week. Started going gluten free as well, to see if maybe I’ve suddenly developed a what allergy and that could be cause for the panic/anxiety episodes. If these 5-10 second bouts of out-of-nowhere fear would just go away, I’d be perfectly back to normal. Cheers to the ongoing struggle!

    2. Anxiety

      I’m not a doctor Of any kind but your issues with anxiety sound very similar to that of someone who has low magnesium levels. Having a regular blood test will not indicate wether or not you have a magnesium deficiency. You would have to ask your doctor for a specific test to determine your body’s magnesium level.

      What I would do is take myself to Sprouts or any health food store that sells vitamins and find a powder called CALM. You mix it in water per instructions and I would be surprised if that did not help you.

      Good lucj

  85. I am feeling so dreadful, if

    I am feeling so dreadful, if there was a way of giving up that didn’t make me feel worse, I would give up at this point.

  86. Coffee withdrawals

    I was only able to quite coffee for a week hoping to regrow hair on my top of my head, which it started to do. However not drinking coffee caused severe stress/anxiety/headache/nausea so the hair on back of my head fell (allopecia Areata) and continued to fall so I had to start drinking coffee. After a week it started to regrow again, but still not fully.

  87. Just wanted to thank for the stories and info that made me understand the effects of caffeine to human brains. The info from JSL and others has been a lot more knowledgeable than all of this stuff in the internet that says “you can dink x much of coffee without negative effects”. From my experience and understanding now; to people like me the safe amount is zero caffeine at all. I´m 35 years old male and started drinking coffee about 5 years ago, and reached my limits during the years, I got sleeping problems, panic attacks, depression, anxiety, and my use of coffee was slowly increasing. If I would´ve been able to use less, in some day I would have still been in the same situation. I stopped 2 days ago and this is my second caffeine free day since quitting. I weaned off gradually the last 2 weeks, from 6-10 cups per day to 4,5 cups for a week and 3 cups/day in the last week. 2 days ago I drank only 2 cups in the morning and that was it. I had planned to continue the gradual weaning longer, but 2 days ago I just got enough of it, I was struggling to keep on track and wanted to stop as fast as I can – so I just stopped. Yesterday I had some headaches which were surprisingly mild, and last night I woke to the bathroom at 1am and felt quite terrible, but still caught sleep until I had to go to urinate again (usually never happens) at 3.50am…got almost 7 hours of sleep though, I went to bed early.

    To put my 2 cents in, to get rid of caffeine successfully, the most important thing is your mind. You have to be determined and KNOW why you have to stop, and understand why you never cannot go back to it again. This forum has increased my understanding on the subject greatly. Luckily I drank coffee “only” 5 years and was 30+ years old when started, so I know that I can live without it, and now I know that I can´t live with it.

    1. Hi, Matt, I am genuinely pleased that you’ve managed to stop drinking coffee and I hope you’re still managing to stay off. How are your withdrawal symptoms? As you may have gathered, I found caffeine to be very damaging drug (confirmed by many studies) to both body, mind and brain – and I believe it should be illegal. It is a vast money making business, though, and the pleasure-seeking effects of the drug create even more spending so, not much chance of that! Oh, and I agree with you in that the mind and having the right attitude are the tools for stopping. Good luck and let me know how you’re doing. Hope everyone is OK. Jackie (JSL)

      1. Hi Jackie! Thank´s for asking, everything is okay! That means that I haven´t have caffeine since quitting.. My mood is now a bit better although I have the mood swings still. Today I haven´t have any headaches at all, I´ve had mild headaches from time to time throughout the first week without caffeine. I stopped last week on thursday morning, so it´s now 8 full days without caffeine. But as expected, my head is numb, no motivation to do anything etc. But it´s getting better. Yesterday morning was very crappy, but today it was a lot better, still quite far away from normal though. But I know that my body will get used to this. I´ve jogged and walked when I have felt really bad. I sleep okay in some nights although it varies, and the sleep is shorter.

        You´re right about caffeine. I have had panic attacks, anxiety, heart rhythm problems, worsening depression, and sleeping problems thanks to it. Now I just need to go day by day to heal and get rid of the habit. I´m looking forward our coming family weekend vacation next week. It´s then 2+ weeks without caffeine, and hopefully I feel better then. But I realise that it´s a long road to be at 100%. I just have to stay strong and keep in mind that the recovery is not linear. I am a scandinavian by the way, so my writing is quite slow and I have rather small vocabulary (found that word from a dictionary:).

        I wish the best all of you! I´ll be back…

        1. Great news, Matt! You seem to have the determination to stay caffeine free, despite the withdrawal symptoms and, as you said, that is exactly what you need! It will definitely get better as time goes by, even if you have the odd bad day so I hope you can keep your mind going in the right direction. Everything will gradually improve, as I’m sure you know. 🙂 I hope you enjoy your holiday and, by the way, I thought your English was very good! Good luck. Jackie

          1. Thank you Jackie! Today has been much better day than the days before, tomorrow it`s
            10 days since quitting. All well,


      2. Jackie, how is your withdrawal process going? Mine is slowly carrying on, but I still (at 4yrs to the day) feel really crappy. I can almost walk with a straight back at last… But all the other symptoms, bad mood, aches and pains are still an everyday problem. stomach issues have almost gone… if I had known what was ahead I would have tapered off over 2 years not 4 months…

        1. Hi Viv!

          That sounds terrible, and not at all like caffeine withdrawal. You should get checked out by a doctor for something else that may be causing that. Coffee itself has a number of health-enhancing properties that may have been keeping some more serious issues at bay, and stopping with drinking it may have triggered a flare up in other conditions.

  88. Just a quick update, it´s now 15 days since quitting and at the moment; I feel great. But just yesterday I was in deep depression and my brains wanted to get some (a lot of…) caffeine. Remember people who are in doubt, when the bad wave comes, do not think too far away, just concentrate and fight. It will pass.

    1. I reread my last post and I want to add that I didn´t have coffee in that situation (when wanted caffeine desperately), if I was unclear…

      It´s now 3 weeks since quitting caffeine. The symptoms are mostly away, only my mind is a bit numb still. I haven´t have such strong desire to get caffeine, that I had a week ago. I have exercised almost daily and that makes me feel much better, and I´m getting fitter. I hope that will speed up the healing process too. But I just have to be patient and remember that it can take up to 90 days or so to really start to get better. I go through a benzo (klonopin) w/d too, I´ve dropped from 2mg a day since january 15th to 0,75mg on the last two days. A benzo w/d isn´t a walk in the park either, it´s much slower process to wean off than caffeine. What goes up, must come down.

      All well,

      1. My energy levels are great, 9 weeks today since quitting. This is now easy, I don´t even think of it (coffee) anymore. I wonder why it took so long to quit. But when looking back, the first weeks were like crap, and at least in the first month coffee was in my mind every day. Now it´s a totally different situation. So all well,

        1. Great for you! I’m just restarting my no caffeine journey but cutting caffeine by half to start with the hopes that I’ll be completely back off of caffeine in 2-3 weeks. Encouraging to think about how good I’ll (eventually) feel.

    1. Yes – though the anxiety would be primarily caused by the effects of caffeine on the nervous system rather than the circulatory system, the increased blood pressure may make it worse.

  89. Looking for some help/encouragement here. I’m at day 120 of a 7 year habit.

    I’ve experienced much of what others said here but for the past 4-5 weeks, I’ve had this bizarre muscular reaction… all of my back/neck muscles are incredibly tight/stiff/painful. It seems very migratory as it moves around from muscle to muscle… example: yesterday, my neck was so tight I could hardly turn my head and today, my shoulder blades are killing me.

    It is very painful and very frustrating and I’m hoping this is just a stage in withdrawal as I don’t know what else it could be.


    1. Hey Paul!

      Muscle tightness is typically more related to posture and tension (anxiety), which could be related to stopping the caffeine habit. Physical symptoms typically peak at 7-10 days and resolve within 3-4 weeks – longer than that, and I’d start looking at other causes.

      The posture could be related to a change in habits – not getting up as much to grab a cup of coffee and sitting for longer periods in the same position (eg. no reaching over to grab a cup, adjusting yourself in your seat, taking a moment to relax while you sip). As for the anxiety, just spend some time physically relaxing yourself and stretching, set a timer to do this once an hour for 5 minutes if you need to.

      You can’t just stop habits altogether – they need to be replaced with new (healthy) habits.

      1. Thanks, but I don’t feel this is true as I’m still having headaches, trouble sleeping and finally, after nearly four months, have my bowels been returning to normal. In other words, physical symptoms can last much longer than the “norm/average” stated on the web.

        1. I completely understand that you “feel” a certain way, but medical literature says otherwise.


          The headaches started on the first or second day that the subjects took decaffeinated coffee and lasted for one to six days, with a mean duration of 2-3 days.


          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

          It’s impossible to say that caffeine consumption was the only thing that changed in the 4 months (120 days) since you say you quit. Here’s your timeline:
          – Quit 16 weeks ago
          – Standard withdrawal 1-2 weeks – lets say you’re special and needed 3-4 weeks
          – Nothing happens for 8 weeks
          – New symptoms 4 weeks ago

          That’s just not how withdrawal works – it gets severe within days and your body re-regulates and gradually improves as time goes on, not spontaneously gets worse. It’s more likely that these are entirely unrelated to caffeine.

          Coffee actually has a number of health-beneficial properties, which may have been keeping you healthier for those 7 years. Now that you’ve stopped consuming anti-oxidants and other compounds, perhaps your body isn’t getting the protection it requires, as is more susceptible to other problems.

          But as you pointed out, this is “the web”, and you should consult a doctor for your specific case.

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