What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?

Regular caffeine consumption reduces sensitivity to caffeine. When caffeine intake is reduced, the body becomes oversensitive to adenosine. In response to this oversensitiveness, blood pressure drops dramatically, causing an excess of blood in the head (though not necessarily on the brain), leading to a headache.

This headache, well known among coffee drinkers, usually lasts from one to five days, and can be alleviated with analgesics such as aspirin. It is also alleviated with caffeine intake (in fact several analgesics contain caffeine dosages).

Often, people who are reducing caffeine intake report being irritable, unable to work, nervous, restless, and feeling sleepy, as well as having a headache. In extreme cases, nausea and vomiting has also been reported.


Caffeine and Health. J. E. James, Academic Press, 1991. Progress in Clinical and Biological Research Volume 158. G. A. Spiller, Ed. Alan R. Liss Inc, 1984.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.