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.

References.

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.

Comments

DAY 180 NO CAFFEINE - MUSCLE TWITCHING

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

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

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

DAY 179 NO CAFFEINE

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

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

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

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

Caffeine/Aspartame/Diet Soda Addiction

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

it was diet coke for me, that

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

DAY 171 NO CAFFEINE

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

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

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

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

good on you for sticking with

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

DAY 150 NO CAFFEINE - THANKS MANDY

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

DAY 139 NO CAFFEINE - DOING GOOD

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

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

DAY 129 NO CAFFEINE - DIAGNOSING SELF

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

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

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

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

My Story Quitting Caffeine 4 years Ago

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

Kikaida

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