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Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last? Average Timeline Varies.

Caffeine is the most universally consumed stimulant of the central nervous system. It works primarily as an adenosine antagonist. Adenosine itself works as an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps suppress activity in the central nervous system. Since caffeine is an antagonist for the adenosine receptors, it tends to speed up nervous system activity in a dose-related manner.

As a natural consequence of blocking the adenosine receptors, it can also influence the effects of other major neurotransmitters including acetylcholine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. It also has a smaller influence on cortisol, epinephrine, and glutamate production.  It has been shown to improve learning, memory, coordination, and overall cognitive performance. Most people consume caffeine to help them fully wake up and feel stimulated before the work day.

However, not everyone likes relying on a drug to help them get through the day. Although caffeine is one of the safest ways to “perk up” in the morning, some note that it can lead to long term dependency. For this reason, many people prefer to withdraw and take on life naturally – without the influence of drugs.

Factors that influence caffeine withdrawal include:

1. Individual physiology

Various physiological factors may impact your ability to withdraw from caffeine. For example someone that is naturally more mentally aroused may have an easier time withdrawing from caffeine than someone who is naturally underaroused. Additionally some people may not notice any withdrawal symptoms whereas others may notice many.

2. Frequency of use

How often do you drink caffeine can play a big role in determining the severity of your withdrawal. Do you drink caffeine on a daily basis? Do you drink it multiple times a day? Do you drink it all day every day? Obviously the more times you use caffeine throughout the day, the tougher it will be to withdraw from.

3. Amount of caffeine you drink

Caffeine amounts typically range from 16 mg to 160 mg. Coffee typically has about 135 mg of caffeine, whereas an energy drink may have up to 160 mg. Various types of tea typically have between 15 mg and 40 mg of caffeine. If you are pounding energy drinks on a daily basis, your body has likely become accustomed to high levels of caffeine.

This will make withdrawal more difficult as opposed to someone who only drinks white tea daily. In fact the person drinking white tea may not even note any withdrawal symptoms.

4. Dependency

Believe it or not, some people actually become dependent on caffeine for everyday functioning. Although it is a safe substance, the fact is that people use it for a mental crutch. It improves cognitive function and acts as a mental stimulant. Most people also notice improvement in energy levels and mood following ingestion of caffeine.

If you are dependent on caffeine for functioning in the workplace and/or it has become a staple towards helping you stay productive, withdrawal may be pretty difficult.

Common Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Below are just some of the symptoms that you may experience while withdrawing from caffeine. Not everyone is going to experience all of these symptoms. You may only have a minor headache and feel a little sluggish before you bounce back to 100%. However, others may have a variety of symptoms that may make life difficult to deal with for a couple of weeks.

  • Anxiety: Although anxiety can be a response to drinking too much caffeine, some people can feel anxious while withdrawing. This has to do with the fact that the caffeine may have perked up their brain in social and performance-based situations. Now that they are coming off of the caffeine they feel anxious because they are not at the same level of performance as they were with caffeine.
  • Cravings: Many people experience cravings for caffeine. Although the addiction and abuse potential is low, some people have a difficult time kicking their coffee habit. It is common for you to physically and psychologically crave caffeine for a couple weeks into withdrawal. The craving alone should show you how certain people can become dependent on this substance for functioning.
  • Constipation: Since caffeine tends to stimulate bowel activity and movements, withdrawal may result in constipation. This tends to last a few days at the maximum and will eventually subside. Try to stay active and eat healthy to encourage normal bowels.
  • Depression: Since caffeine can produce a mood boost for some people, a natural consequence of withdrawal is a mild depression. You likely aren’t going to feel severely depressed, but you may notice that you feel sluggish, moody, and don’t feel like doing anything – this is normal and will subside.
  • Diarrhea: Some people note that they experience diarrhea when stopping caffeine – this is less common than constipation, but can be annoying to deal with.
  • Dizziness: It is common to feel somewhat dizzy when withdrawing from the consistent ingestion of high amounts of caffeine.
  • Flu-like symptoms: Some people report headaches, muscle pain, as well as vomiting. Obviously these can be minimized with gradual tapering of caffeine as opposed to “cold turkey” quitting. Typically only people that have become extremely dependent on caffeine will exhibit flu like symptoms.
  • Grogginess: Anyone that drinks caffeine can experience a “crash” and feel groggy. This will eventually go away as your body and brain recalibrate to life without caffeine.
  • Headache: Some people report standard headaches for the first few days of withdrawal, while others report experiencing migraines. This is your brain undergoing an adjustment – eventually this will go away. In the meantime take some Tylenol and wait a few days – the headaches will subside.
  • Insomnia: Although it is more likely that you will experience insomnia if you drink caffeine too close to bedtime, some people actually experience insomnia during withdrawal. I know this is counterintuitive, but withdrawing affects everyone differently.
  • Irritability: If caffeine gave you a slight mood boost or subtle feelings of happiness or perk, it is common to be irritable when withdrawing.
  • Lack of motivation: If you relied on caffeine to provide you with motivation, it’s going to be difficult getting through a few days or weeks in which you have zero motivation.
  • Lethargy: Most people end up feeling vey lethargic for a few days after quitting the use of caffeine. Some would say that this feeling is like a minor hangover.
  • Mood swings: Some people experience minor mood swings during their withdrawal period.
  • Muscle rigidity: You may notice that your muscles become tense and/or rigid. Again, this is another counterintuitive response that people have reported.
  • Nervousness: If caffeine helped perk you up to function in social situations, you may feel nervous as a result of slowed cognitive function.
  • Poor concentration: The inability to concentrate is very common. Caffeine is well known to enhance cognitive functioning so stopping it can negatively affect cognitive performance.
  • Shakiness: Some people get the shakes or feel shaky when stopping.
  • Sleepiness: The tiredness and sleepiness may be difficult to cope with, but it will eventually subside.
  • Slow thinking: Since caffeine acts as a stimulant and speeds up brain activity and functioning, not using it can result in slowed thinking. Eventually your brain will recover to its natural, homeostatic state. Fortunately the slow thinking here isn’t typically as severe as it would be during an Adderall crash.
  • Sluggish: It is very common to feel like a total slug for a few days when quitting caffeine.
  • Sweating: Some people may experience light sweats or even sweat profusely as their body gets reacclimated to functioning without caffeine.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22341956

Note: After ceasing ingestion, the caffeine stays in your system for around 1.15 days after your last dose.  As a result, some people notice most symptoms emerge within 1-3 days of stopping.

How long do caffeine withdrawal symptoms last? Timeline can vary.

Most people suggest that the brunt of the physical symptoms such as bad headaches and constipation will go away within the first 48 hours of withdrawal. In other words, once a couple days have passed since you’ve ingested your last dose of caffeine, most of the physical symptoms should subside. However, if you were a chronic caffeine drinker, it is certainly plausible that they would last longer. In general, withdrawal for most people lasts between 7 and 14 days to fully recover.

It should be noted though that any substance that your body becomes dependent upon for everyday functioning may have an even longer withdrawal. There are cases of people experiencing withdrawal symptoms well after 2 weeks. Much of how severe your withdrawal will be depends on your individual physiology as well as other psychosocial factors. It also depends on whether you withdrew “cold turkey” or with a standard tapering method (e.g. gradually weaning off of it).

Although it may seem as though you are going crazy during withdrawal, you’re not. Caffeine withdrawal is extremely common. It may be an unpleasant experience, but it typically isn’t nearly as severe as other drugs or withdrawal from alcohol. Caffeine has a relatively low abuse potential and is considered a pretty safe substance. While you withdraw from caffeine, plan a few days to overcome the major symptoms such as on a weekend or vacation break so that most of them are not plaguing you the following week at work.

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{ 183 comments… add one }
  • Rachel January 26, 2017, 10:06 pm

    Hey guys :-) Just a little back story: I was prescribed Luvox for my OCD back in May. In August I had my wisdom teeth pulled so I had to take 600mg of Ibuprofen daily for nerve pain lasting longer than 6 weeks! In addition to that around that same time I started consuming huge amounts of caffeine to deal with my workload. A little over a week ago I woke up to a full-blown anxiety attack! Since then I stopped the caffeine. I. Feel. Awful! Brain fog, anxiety, can’t think, incredibly tired, unmotivated. I am so scared right now. Any words of wisdom would help right about now.

  • Nicole January 8, 2017, 8:07 pm

    I had my gallbladder removed on Tuesday & decided since I was going to be able to get lots of rest & have painkillers handy this would be a good time to kick my 2-3 energy drinks a day (plus a couple cans of Pepsi) habit. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday I was fine. Friday night around 8pm I could feel a migraine starting. I took a pain killer around 8:30pm & started vomiting right after.

    I vomited a few more times (5 or 6) & had completely emptied my stomach (I was vomiting bile). Around midnight I called my doctor to ask if it was normal for me to be vomiting he told me it wasn’t if I hadn’t been vomiting for 3 days & then suddenly started, he told me to try to sleep & if I wake up still vomiting to go to the ER. I also have an anti-nausea med from my gallbladder attacks & took one with the smallest sip of water, which I immediately threw up.

    After that I just stayed in bed & tried my hardest to sleep. I woke up a few times with my migraine hurting so incredibly bad, but I was able to fall back asleep. I finally woke up around 8am, I was still very sick to my stomach & had a terrible migraine. I was able to fall back asleep & woke up again around noon. I felt so much better!

    I ate a piece of bread & took the anti-nausea med & drank some tea & took the pain killers. I was fine most of the day. Around 8pm the migraines started again along with the nausea. I immediately decided not to eat or drink anything from that point on. I still ended up vomiting (3 times) & then decided to go to the ER. They did a CT scan on my head & a urine test & checked all my incisions from surgery & said I just had a migraine.

    They gave me the anti-nausea med but through an IV & gave me a painkiller. I’m at such a loss as to what to do now. I woke up today & have been able to eat & drink without vomiting & I don’t have a migraine. My problem is I have to go back home today & care for my 7 children from here on out. (I was staying at my mothers while my husband was off of work for my surgery so I could actually recover).

    I cannot live with these migraines for any longer, I am unable to function, my sensitivity to light is extreme & there’s no way I would get behind the wheel of a car. I don’t know if I should just get an energy drink today & only drink one & see if that helps with the migraines or I’m wondering if the migraines have nothing to do with my lack of caffeine & I’d hate to start the habit back up. (It’s very expensive & I’m very irritable & mean if I don’t have the right amount of caffeine).

    I haven’t had any other symptoms that anyone else had talked about. Part of me wants to wait until later tonight & see if I feel sick again, but at the same time I’m worried by then it will be too late. The ER doctor also told me that if I get migraines again accompanied by continuous vomiting I should come back to the ER. Has anyone experienced withdrawals of just migraines & vomiting? Is there anything I can do to prevent the migraines & vomiting?

  • Mels December 16, 2016, 4:46 pm

    I could not deal with the cold turkey coffee withdrawal headaches, (I’ve tried quitting before); so I started by cutting decaf coffee into regular coffee grounds, starting at 50% / 50%, and by greater and greater percentages over a few weeks, until I was at 100% decaf, and THEN quitting cold turkey from there. No withdrawal headaches at all, no lethargy, no noticeable side effects at all. Coffee is not my friend. I would get the worst neck tension and anxiety from regular coffee, but I couldn’t function at work without it. I miss it, but the benefits of not being coffee-caffeinated, are noticeable to me as well.

  • Rick November 17, 2016, 1:16 am

    First of all, it feels great having a place to share my caffeine withdrawal story with all of you. And I hope every single one of us will be successful in reaching the goals we have set to better our lives. I have gone through a hell hole the last 6 weeks and experienced pretty much every single symptom listed. Over the last five years I have consumed about 6 cups of coffee a day.

    I also used to drink a lot of rum and cokes while going out a good 3 evenings a week. Once I graduate from my Master’a degree, I decided to give up alcohol. I cut down and about 6 weeks ago I got a massive anxiety attack after drinking just one cup of coffee in the morning. It ended me in the hospital because my heart felt like it was about to explode out of my chest. Once I got to the E.R., I started feeling better, though ever since my anxiety went through the roof and panic attacks kept coming.

    This was also due to the quitting of alcohol, sugar and fast food besides the caffeine. A flood of emotions came out. Emotions that I never thought I was still struggling with. I was emotional about pretty every single thing I’d ever experienced that I simply cropped away with more caffeine, work, going out and bad food. Anything to increase those dopamine and serotonin levels. Thank god I’ve never used drugs in my life.

    So, I pretty much coasted through the first couple days of giving up coffee. Till the major withdrawal symptoms hit me. Major nightmares, insomnia, nausea and headaches that felt like my head was about to explode. My scalp felt like I had the flu, I was constantly cold and warm, and got severe feelings of depression. I directly went to my primary care physician who told me what was happening.

    Though because of my anxiety and feelings of depression, I was also referred to a psychologist. Which I gladly accepted because I’d never experienced symptoms this intense before. I’d get anxiety attacks every now and then but never this intense. It was a constant cycle and I felt like I was about to go bananas. Till the moment that I took a sip of coke, instantly I calmed down and my head felt normal again.

    Of course I don’t recommend relapsing but in the hell hole I was in, I gladly accepted any relieve. I was able to control my intake with just a few sips of coffee in the morning and some coke in the evening. Over the next few weeks, the most symptoms wore off and I was gradually doing better, though still going through withdrawal. Now, today, I have again given up the rest of the sips of coffee and soda I took. I felt the anxiety and headaches come back directly.

    But this time I’m more trained to control it with the help of my experience before. I’m not giving up because that would mean I’d have to go through this again. And also that my anxiety would come back because that’s what coffee causes me to have. I need to make sure that I’ve quit everything and know how I feel without it. All I can say to anyone out here, going through this is not fun.

    The sleepless nights are the worst, but with the help of some light melatonin on recommendation of your doctor, I was able to keep my mind sane. Sometimes I’d get heart palpitations and the anxiety attacks would make me feel like I was choking or not getting enough air. All of this confirmed by my medical specialists as part of the anxiety. It’s been a very scary time. A time I’d never wish upon anyone.

    But one thing I keep in mind is that I’m strong and I can do this, and so can all of us. Our mind is stronger than our body and we can control our own thoughts. We just have to keep reminding ourselves of it. Till we feel better. So that was most of my story. If I could advise anything it’s drink tons of chamomile tea to beat the anxiety and keep the mind relaxed to control the cravings and our thoughts. Get many sleep. Read books and skip on the TV at least an hour before bedtime.

    Leave out the sugar because it makes you crave more. Eat some healthy snacks instead. Yoga and exercise, especially swimming and the hot tub have been great to reduce stress levels. Also calm happy music helps a lot. You might not notice it directly but mentally it definitely has its effects after a couple weeks.

    Good luck to all of you, and keep in mind why you’re doing this. You had a reason and don’t give up that. Even though the cravings will tell you to do so. F the cravings, we’re stronger than that.

  • ronen November 4, 2016, 5:10 pm

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention, reduced sex drive. I recently stopped consuming caffeine (I used to drink Matcha Tea) and I experienced a very sharp decline in my libido. And I don’t use any drugs… In fact I take care of myself by eating a healthy diet and performing exercises.

  • Srbijabgd November 3, 2016, 3:19 pm

    Month and about 10 days WITHOUT coffee and my head sometimes hurt without caffeine and body cravings are still there. This is incredible addiction in my case. Beware when you quit: AVOID Ness no matter what as this coffee have something inside that makes you deeply addicted (no joke!). If you wanna quit coffee, drink at least on month normal coffee before quitting.

  • Patricia Peterson October 24, 2016, 5:57 am

    OMG!! Day 7 without coffee… I’m hurting so bad. My hips are killing me. Headaches gone but legs are aching. Please tell me… when will this stop?

  • Brandy October 18, 2016, 4:39 pm

    I stopped drinking so much caffeine entirely on accident. I was having about 1-2 sodas today, on top of a venti Starbucks Frappucino and my morning cup of coffee. One day, I couldn’t have the Starbucks or the soda, just the morning cup of coffee. I noticed how much better my body felt, so I decided to just wean it down to my morning cup of coffee and my sweet tea.

    It is now day seven of no soda or Starbucks. Sitting here, I feel like I have the flu, and my body is screaming at me to go get a soda or Starbucks. But even so, I’ve liked the way I felt without having so much caffeine (less bloated, and more energetic). I’ll probably never give up my morning cup of coffee, but I don’t ever want to go back to drinking so much caffeine, ever again.

  • Alice October 12, 2016, 10:39 am

    I’m so glad I found this page. It’s “good” to read that all of you are going through the same! After drinking lots of coffee for at least 10 years I quit drinking coffee throughout the day and only had 2 cups in the morning, that’s all. I totally quit drinking coffee 2 days ago. I quit alcohol also one month ago and weed almost 2 months ago now, but that was less painful than quitting coffee, this is the hardest of the three!

    I’ve had cramps in my right leg and still have cramps in my neck under my ear, but that’s slowly fading now. I didn’t know they were withdrawal symptoms from coffee until finding this page! I’m also familiar with the head aches, insomnia and GI problems but the thing that disturbs my quality of life most is the anxiety. I’ve always suffered from anxiety issues but they were quite manageable until they started to get worse after stopping cannabis, but at the moment they’re sky high, and I suspect quitting drinking coffee is another trigger.

    I’m getting help soon, starting next week, and I hope that the physical withdrawal symptoms will have disappeared by then. Ready for a new, clean life!! Thumbs up for all of you! Alice

  • Foggy October 4, 2016, 1:17 am

    I gave caffeine (soda) six months ago. I had headaches for 2 months. Now, six months later, I still serious brain fog ever since I quit soda and it is negatively affecting my work. I can’t find a solution to getting my memory and brain functioning back… and I am constantly making typos… Help!

  • Darci September 25, 2016, 3:04 am

    I’m so glad I found this page. I’m on day 6 of going off caffeine (1 cup of espresso daily) and my legs are killing me. I thought it was strange to have leg pain from caffeine withdrawal too. Day 1 and 2, no headache, just wanted to sleep. Evening of day 2, the headache started and it was really bad until day 4. I still have it but it has calmed down to a dull pain that I can handle.

    By day 3 the pain in my back was so bad my husband was telling me to just drink some coffee but I didn’t want to go through all of this again. I don’t crave caffeine. I’m one of those who drink a cup around noon for a treat. By the afternoon of day 4 I noticed cramping in my legs started. The evening of day 5 the pain was so severe in my legs I almost gave up but finally fell asleep.

    It’s now the evening of day 6, my legs still hurt and I just read on here that it can last for 2 weeks. Ug! The main thing I’ve learned from all of this, I’m never going back to being a regular coffee drinker. This pain isn’t worth it!

  • Gennie R September 16, 2016, 11:52 pm

    Well I’m glad to see I’m not the only one going through hell lol Today is day 5. I decided that I was going to do a total detox and give up caffeine, sugar, anything processed or artificial. So basically I eat wheat pasta, Brown rice, fruits vegetables, meats and drink water. I drank at least a 2 liter of soda a day. Decided that Monday was a good a day as any.

    Day 1 wasn’t so bad. No headache… Just really craved the soda and junk I used to eat. Thought to myself “this is going to be easy.”

    Day 2 I was in a 6 hour meeting at work. I sat in agony rocking back and fourth like a baby monkey taken away from his mother too soon. I was trying my darnedest not to vomit all over the regional manager. I didn’t thank God. The hour and a half ride home last 10 lifetimes. I was in the fetal position in the back seat hugging a pillow which I later saw was the poop emoji symbol. At that point I probably wouldn’t have cared if it were actual poop. I was unable to drive so my husband has to pick me up.

    Day 3 I woke up and thought I was feeling better. WRONG. By 1pm I was praying for the second coming of Christ. The intense migraine made me think I had been trampled by elephants. My husband has to pick me up by 3 because I couldn’t drive again.

    Day 4 I start to wonder if I’m detoxing off caffeine of heroine. I mean really. Headache isn’t as bad but still makes his presence known. My spirits are down and I text my husband “should I just drink the damn soda.” feeling discouraged I kept working.. And then I realized my head no longer hurt. Sometimes God let’s you get to the very end of your rope, but he’s always there. Felt good the rest of the day.

    Day 5, today, feel pretty good. Every once in awhile my head will feel funny but no real headache. The worst is over!! It was a long 4 days, but it was worth it. I know I’m going to be much healthier now. Just think, if your body has this kind of reaction trying to get rid of it… Should you really be putting it in your body?

    Stay strong, you can do it! God bless.

  • Obinna September 7, 2016, 2:09 pm

    Hello Guys, Am so honored to join you all. I am currently on day 9 of my caffeine withdrawal. Am not really a heavy drinker but I noticed that this withdrawal started when I was on green tea though I failed to realize that the green tea had caffeine in it, while I was also drinking coffee occasionally at work to stay alert.

    From the first to the fifth day the Panic attacks were coming in a regressive fashion, from the most severe in day one to being reduced in day five. I was prescribed diazepam by my doctor to combat the panic attacks and calm my nerves. At the moment am on day nine and I must say the panic attacks have really subsided at most almost non existent thanks to drinking lots of water and breathing techniques. What I experience now is occasional lethargy. I hope this would also fade off and I would return back to normal.

  • Jennifer k August 1, 2016, 10:24 pm

    Has anyone had severe panic attacks while stopping drinking caffeine? If so are you still going without caffeine or did you go ahead and start caffeine again? My panic attacks are so bad and happen right out of the blue I’m now thinking the not having caffeine caused them after reading these post. I went as far as going to the doctor and he prescribed me some antidepressants. I can’t handle the attacks as I don’t have energy to take my kids school shopping. :( So would starting drinking Dr. Peppers again make them go away? I have felt this way for about 2 to three weeks.

    • GRETCHEN August 7, 2016, 12:27 am

      Hi Jennifer. I had extremely bad panic attacks while quitting caffeine. I also had to go on antidepressants and ativan twice a day for a couple of months until I felt normal again. I’m 100% caffeine free now and will never go back. You can make it through this. Good luck to you!!

    • Scott August 12, 2016, 11:57 pm

      Jennifer: Severe panic attacks were the main feature of caffeine withdrawal for me. I’d been a heavy consumer for many years. Even small caffeine reductions would leave me feeling panicked and out of control, with intrusive thoughts and feelings of despair.

      I’ve been reducing my intake by about 1/4 tsp of instant coffee per week. Even at that rate the symptoms have been barely tolerable at times. I’m well past the worst of it now, but I’m astonished at how severe the withdrawal symptoms have been.

      • 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

        • viv September 30, 2016, 12:19 pm

          Steven you are not the only one suffering for a long time, I also stopped drinking caffeine in 2013 and am still suffering, mainly neck and shoulder pain and residual fatigue, mind you, I had been drinking it for over 70 years…

          • Malcolm April 30, 2018, 10:51 pm

            ”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.”

            You posted this ^ at the end of 2016 so basically when you just posted this comment and you’re telling people you’ve been off for years implying withdrawals can last for years – scaring everybody that reads it.

            I’m so glad I caught you out. What liar and an addict. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Sofa July 1, 2016, 4:48 am

    I quit somewhere between two and three weeks ago due to a series of mental health issues. I suffer from OCD, bipolar, and a few others and I believe I used caffeine like all substances I use, to escape sadness and keep energetic enough to combat my constant fears. I’m coming down from a recent psyche health crisis and, like other challenging parts of my life, I’ve made human errors that feel as if they were done by some imposter rather than by me.

    Typical for the end of an episode, anxiety and depression became a constant. I began to try every desperate method of change I could figure, as I believe many bipolars coming down may do. I quit smoking my periodic cigars more than a month ago and that seems to have ended. But I tossed quitting caffeine onto my to-do list as well and kind of did it all at once.

    Recently I’ve been more depressed than perhaps I have been in years, and living with chronic mental illness means that’s a big big deal. I can’t tell if this intense depression is because my manic actions have ruined my life and now I have no hope to recover. Or if I’m just withdrawing at the same time as some major pain and a big life lesson. Is this spiritual or biological?

    I find mySelf plagued with obsessive thinking, much more than usual even for an intense obsessive compulsive. Questions, themes, fears, and noticing “signs and patterns” are a constant for me. As well as extreme fears of failure and abandonment. Again I constantly wonder…is this because of what crazy things I did last month? Or is there an additional explanation? Is my life ruined?

    The comments here point out more than the myths I read that withdrawals aren’t very psychological and only last two weeks. It’s almost week three and maybe this can be a spiritual lesson. I’ve been given a small amount of unrefillable Xanax that only make me sleep more. I can hardly sleep unless I take them. Melatonin doesn’t help.

    I find myself wondering…will I ever be happy? Why did I make my bad decisions in life? Are the stars affecting me? Do I deserve love? I don’t want answers, I want to stop asking these questions. It’s been almost three weeks off a pot a day for ten years, I’ve turned thirty and want to change my life and be a person of inner beauty.

    My heart goes out to all of you folks quitting caffeine or any substance at all, but especially those with mental illness. Hang in there and know that anything positive is worth a chance and this can’t hurt you, it can only influence your thinking. :)

    • Jenn July 10, 2016, 8:42 am

      Sofa, Thank you for acknowledging those with mental illness. I suffer greatly with it. (Lost my mom to mental illness when I was 14; she suicided). I am trying to quit caffeine too. I notice how much better my mental health is when I’m not drinking it. I also think I might have some severe sensitivity to caffeine. Today was day one of no coffee drinks and I’ve been tired with a headache, but it’ll be worth it in the end so I won’t give up bettering myself and my mental state. Take care. :)

  • Jim Parker June 29, 2016, 6:16 pm

    The article states, “It has been shown to improve learning, memory, coordination, and overall cognitive performance.” That is not a true statement. The only studies that have shown that to be true have been sponsored by companies that produce caffeinated products. The study subjects were regular caffeine consumers, and the ‘improvement’ was seen when they were deprived of caffeine for several hours compared to when they ingested caffeine.

    That’s not exactly scientific conditions to test under, and anybody going through caffeine withdrawal can say what the results would have been without the study even taking place.

  • outwest June 25, 2016, 2:13 pm

    I, too, am glad to find this site and all the comments. I had read on other sites that the symptoms take two to three days to subside, but that is not true. I was drinking three 20oz. bottles of diet pop (soda) per day. After going off pop for a week now, I have heart palpitations that it feels like my sugar is high, but I check and it is still normal.

    I have diabetes. (Over the past few 3 years I was able to bring my blood sugar down to normal levels without medicine.) Also I feel like not eating, but I have to eat something so my sugar levels do not go too low since I eat very few carbs. I am so tired. My husband tells me to I need to exercise so my sugar does not go high, but I just can’t.

    At work this past week, I got so tired I could put my head on my desk and sleep for an hour. Thank goodness for this weekend so I can rest. The worst though is my heart. I even made an appointment with a heart doctor, but I may cancel that. Hopefully these withdrawal symptoms subside in the next two weeks.

  • Annelisa Reihnhart June 25, 2016, 2:05 am

    I’m not sure how you guys quit caffeine. I tried it today. My headache was debilitating, seriously. I thought I was going to die. Vomited all day. You guys say this lasts for days and weeks? Nope. Can’t do it. I’ll just stay addicted to caffeine. I want to get off but I cant cold turkey for sure. With the Taper Method, do you still have those ice-pick my brain is exploding headaches?

  • BeatIt May 31, 2016, 2:55 pm

    My caffeine withdrawal happened somewhat accidentally. My friend had given me a very strong / bad batch of a MDMA and it followed with a feeling of unease and anxiety. I have already battled with anxiety periodically since my teens so when I do get it, it can be pretty intense. But equally, through my coffee habit, the smallest amount of extra coffee would give me the shakes and make me feel anxious.

    For the next week, I was in a constant state of slight or fight. As a result of the anxiety and my heart rate going crazy I chose not to have any coffee – of which I typically have a large equivalent to 3 shots of espresso every morning, and then maybe another coffee or a cola to top me up during the day. I continued to avoid caffeine as the anxiety persisted, and I was very worried that the bad trip/ come down had created a permanent chemical change in my brain which triggered the anxiety.

    I found it extremely difficult to communicate with anyone and was terrified to use public transport or be in any kind of social situation. The thought of not being able to work efficiently or go on some of the trips I had planned that year made me feel even more anxious and depressed.
    I correlated said anxiety, depression and loss of ability to sleep, as well as extreme lethargy, to the fact that I hadn’t been drinking coffee as usual, and soon realized these were symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.

    This gave me a much more positive outcome as I knew these were temporary chemical changes rather than permanently triggered anxiety. How did I get through it? Lots of water. Breathing, mindfulness, and meditation. These helped me to keep calm whilst I had to carry on traveling long journeys for work, as well as helped me to stay calm and focused at work even though at times I felt to just run away.

    There were a lot of ‘TED talks’ on Youtube which were very helpful in keeping my spirits up and giving me some breathing techniques to try. I would definitely recommend checking out the many available online. I had a couple of books about mindfulness, which in short is being conscious and in the moment – this helped me to feel calmer and more comfortable in some very uncomfortable situations by keeping focused on the mindfulness principles.

    There are many books about this and resources online. Also, when I struggled to fall asleep, I played some hypnosis tracks on Youtube designed to alleviate anxiety and negative subconscious thoughts. I was a bit cautious about these at first, but they worked wonders. Especially some of the uploads by Michael Sealey – check him out.

    Within a few days, my symptoms were all gone thanks to the breathing and meditation, as well as drinking a lot of water and eating fruit for energy. I have continued to use these techniques and a more conscious approach to my healthy eating, and I feel better than ever. I wish you all the best in your journeys.

    • al January 25, 2017, 2:02 am

      Thank you so much for this. My situation is almost identical to yours it’s scary. Although I’m still in the processing of recovering. (It’s been 2 weeks). I went to a doctor and they recommended antidepressants but I really do not want to be on them. My symptoms have improved but the anxiety is at its peak upon waking up in the morning and when I feel that uncontrollable anxiety/depression creep up on me I feel hopeless that I can’t beat this… Can you please share some more advice and how you got through this? Your story gives me hope in this time of dread.

  • Libby May 26, 2016, 12:33 am

    Hello. I quit drinking Coca Cola cold turkey probably about 6 cans a day. I would drink it continually throughout the day and night. I’m on day 3 with no caffeine and the headaches are unbearable. Nothing works at all for them. So much pain behind my eyes and temples. Also, body aches, joint and muscle stiffness, not too mention the severe heavy sweating I’ve been through day and night when I never used to sweat like that.

    Sleeping is so so, wake up frequently. Also, hardly any appetite. Will I lose any weight from quitting soda? Is there any light at the end of the tunnel please? I feel so terrible.

  • Curt May 11, 2016, 5:19 am

    Was drinking 4 to 6 cups a day for 10 years. Now in my 3rd week and still sleepy, foggy and groggy, like a zombie all day. No energy or motivation, depressed. Read somewhere it can take up to 2 months to recover. Hope it’s not that long. Went off cold turkey, maybe I should have tapered? Stopped drinking it because I eventually had total insomnia, could not sleep at all for days at a time! Had to stop the coffee! Just a cautionary tale for everyone out there. Good luck.

  • Kelly May 6, 2016, 6:49 am

    I’m on day 7. I did a 4.5 day juice cleanse and quit cold turkey. I used to drink 4 to 5 cups of strong espresso a day with the occasional can of V thrown in for good measure. I have a high pressure job that requires a lot of concentration. I had headaches constantly from drinking coffee so I figured they would continue until the side effects of quitting wore off.

    I’ve been headache free since day 2. I put this down to my diet consisting solely of juice. Watch Sick Tired and Nearly Dead, it will blow your mind. I do suffer from brain fade and I feel totally exhausted at the end of the day. I’m sleeping the whole way through the night for the first time in years.

    I’m also finding I’m not as dehydrated, I used to drink up to 3L of water a day to combat the caffeine, now I drink about 2L. My concentration is still all over the place although after reading the posts on here, that is normal. I would recommend the juice cleanse as a good way of quitting, just clear it with your doctor first.

  • Jennifer Maiden May 2, 2016, 3:08 am

    I have a love hate relationship with coffee. Or rather I love it but it hates me. I have been concious for the entire 2 years that I have been consuming between 1-2 pots per day that it was making me feel unwell yet I kept drinking it. Hard to explain fully. Just flu-ish, anxious, and ick. I never once felt jittery as I am ADD so it calms me down.

    I tried quitting twice but when I relapsed each time the kick I got off of consuming again with a tolerance reset drew me back in. Fast forward to a week ago. I felt really strange. Something I had never experienced before. I took my BP as we have a monitor at home and it was 160/108. I am 34 and have never once in my life had a high BP reading. Not even during the 4 times I was in natural labor.

    I went to the ER where it was discovered that the spike was due to a caffeine intolerance. Well that’s for the birds so coffee had to go. Day 1 and 2 I only had 1 cup in the morning compared to 6-8 cup throughout the day norm. The only symptom I experienced was crippling fatigue. Otherwise I was comfortable. BP was good. Day 3 I had the 1 cup in the am and 2 cups throughout the day that were half reg and half decaf.

    Still crippling fatigue but BP shot up to 150/110. Full blown anxiety and pain. Day 4 total abstinence. Strangely no fatigue. Just feel malaise. That night BP shot up again 150/98. Wth? No caffeine. Day 5 (today) no caffeine. Feels like I’m gonna die. Pain all through body, nausea, unquenchable thirst, anxiety, fatigue, going crazy, eyes burning and aching, zombie, brain fog, dizzy, hell. BP has been stable

    I wanted to share my experience for comparison and note 2 differences. I have never experienced the famous headache and I eat nonstop in withdrawal. Caffeine acts as a powerful appetite suppressant on me. In fact it caused me to lose 15 lbs which is bad because I was only 125 to start with. So when I withdrawal I eat everything and often. Good luck with your caffeine free journeys.

    • Kelly July 29, 2016, 4:51 pm

      Jennifer I feel for you!!! I’m constantly eating while in withdrawal mode from caffeine. I also experience GI issues right after eating. The shaking, nervous feeling and hot flashes are horrible. I have been on and off caffeine for about 8 days now.

  • PJ April 18, 2016, 5:09 am

    This is the third time I withdrew from coffee. I have had extreme reactions, muscle/nerve spasms from lower back to my legs which made it almost impossible to sleep, headache, tiredness, diarrhea and just being in a zombie state of doing nothing all day. The first time it took 7 days to get back to normal, the second time 7 days, 3rd time – 2 days to get back to normal.

    I ate healthy, I exercised and drank LOTS of water. Fruit in the morning, salat for lunch with some tuna, carrots as a snack or apple, salat in the evening with chicken and some brown rice or organic pasta. Banana with some caramel as a snack. All the time I drank herb tea and at least 2 liters of water, generally think about getting base food and drinks.

    Coffee is an acid and so you probably lack base in your body to get balanced. Then I exercised in the gym, I ran 20-25 minutes with my muscle spasms and after that they were gone, running has the effect of detoxing your body, so you get rid of all the acid – 2 days and I was back to normal, at least no pain though I still feel a bit tired.

  • luminair April 16, 2016, 12:58 pm

    Having just read a lot of commentaries below I feel for you all and know that it’s good to have somewhere where you can share about what you’re all going through. I was raised in a family of coffee drinkers as well as smokers. So everyone took up these habits as a result. Had to give up cigarettes long time ago due to health.

    Then I developed tinnitus and did a lot of research to find out how to deal with it. Learned that coffee makes it worse so, quit coffee cold turkey after drinking about 6 cups of coffee a day. I had some dramatic side effects including headaches but tinnitus improved, so I felt relief and eventually after about a month was clear of withdrawal symptoms and tinnitus with the extra help of some Ginko (for the tinnitus).

    Now I’m finding that a habit of tea drinking that I’ve developed over the last years has to stop because of repeated low iron level reading on blood tests. Tea and coffee interferes with iron absorption from foods, and that to avoid this problem one has to drink tea (or coffee) an hour before foods that contains iron or supplements or 2 hours after.

    This is all too much of a worry for me so have decided to quit drinking tea at home all together. This is my first week of quitting tea and can relate to mood swings and lethargy big time. Am relearning how to drink my non caffeine drinks such as herb teas and the like. Remember reading somewhere that Rosehip tea is a good drink to drink when withdrawing from coffee etc.

    Anyway I will allow for an occasional cappuccino when I’m out and about and an occasional percolated coffee at home with visitors. Meanwhile can’t believe what an emotional crutch drinking tea can be… so wish me luck in getting over this one!

  • Inquisitive Observer April 13, 2016, 7:50 pm

    For all of those individuals that come here looking for an explanation as to why they are undergoing “coffee withdrawal” please note that the term “adrenal fatigue” denotes an unscientific and non-existent pseudo-condition not recognized by medicine. There are actual medical conditions affecting the adrenal glands but none of them have anything to do with coffee.

    I’ve seen this hoax condition (coined by a chiropractor in 1989) referenced here several times and I’m hoping we could find the good sense to stop it in the hopes of better educating those legitimately seeking knowledge about “coffee withdrawal”!

  • Daniel April 6, 2016, 6:51 pm

    I drank on average 4 to 6 energy drinks a day for a long time and a lot of alcohol. This wrecked my body and mind. I quit alcohol for 2 weeks and still felt awful all day, so I tried to quit caffeine instead. Instantly better after 12+ hours.

    I no longer wake up and lay in bed for 45 minutes before moving and I’ve got so much done these last few days you wouldn’t believe. I’m almost the person I was years ago. I have hopes and dreams again and the chronic fatigue has lifted. If you feel awful and you drink tons of caffeine then consider quitting and maybe just drinking tea instead. You won’t regret it.

  • Sumit Khanna April 5, 2016, 1:27 pm

    Thanks for all your comments! I thought I was all alone! Today is my 12th day of withdrawal of caffeine that I was consuming through tea, green tea, chocolates, red bull and more! I went on cold turkey! This period has been really debilitating. The pressure in my forehead, and the brain fog were so severe the first week.

    Depression, and trouble while speaking were another one! I’ve been through around all of the symptoms of withdrawal as mentioned here. I came to know about this withdrawal through surfing! For the last one year I’ve have been trying to figure out the cause of my symptoms. At last I had no options other then to go on anti-depressant which my doctor suggested!

    My dose was fixed! Today I feel a lot better after quitting caffeine! I believe that after a month I will be able to withdraw myself from anti-depressants!

  • Vince March 23, 2016, 11:43 pm

    Wow! I want to first start off by saying how I am SOOOO thankful for this thread. Here’s my story: From May- Dec 2015 I was consuming roughly 400-600 mg of caffeine per day. I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker prior to that, but once I started drinking it, I was hella productive at work! It was amazing!

    During the Christmas holiday (when I was on vacation) I noticed my heart rate dramatically increased, I had anxiety, very fatigued and during a typical Xmas family argument I bursted into tears (not like me at all). The anxiety and the VERY increased heart rate made me think I was going crazy (seriously). After I googled my symptoms, I put two and two together and recognized my unintentional withdrawals were occurring due to me not having coffee for a couple of weeks over Xmas vacation. During the week following Xmas break, I experienced anxiety, major brain fog, constantly sweaty feet (weird, I know), difficulty concentrating.

    Three weeks later, I was at Panera and had a sweet tea. It completely slipped my mind that caffeine was in Sweet Tea (duh). So I felt like I hit the reset button on the progress I made. I think I maybe one of the people who has also developed a sensitivity to caffeine because my body has stopped metabolizing it. I had maybe two MAJOR random clouds of depression.

    I am a very chipper person normally, but these waves of depression were intense. I am so glad I cleared through them. I truly truly sympathize with people who actually struggle with depression on a day to day. This may seem weird, but there was a period when routine things made me annoyed/nauseous. For example walking into my apartment gave me nausea (an “uggh” feeling), and my typical commute was unbearable and I felt nauseous. I wish I could better explain.

    Now, I’m about 7 weeks into being caffeine free. Most of my symptoms are easily bearable. On rare occasions I have light waves of sadness (not as bad as a wave of depression) . My anxiety has weakened to moments of intense thoughts (lasting less than an hour). I’ve regained most of my focus. Sweaty feet no more. I will say this, I will never take for granted my mental health. These past few weeks have been super super tough but glad I am doing much better now. One happy note, I did experience about 4 days of no symptoms last week, so I hope to be 100% within a month or so.

    I recommend drinking a WHOLE LOT of water. It made me feel better. I could never find anything to help with the anxiety. But I read somewhere that Vitamin C and Magnesium are recommended (don’t take my word for it, do research). I found comfort in resting. I hope I wrote enough on my experience for people to relate to. It gets better!!!!! :o)

  • Job March 22, 2016, 11:23 pm

    I take an insane amount of caffeine. Looking through the comments real fast I couldn’t see anyone that comes close. Sad to say and freaking out the last few weeks, as it is taking its toll, my 2,500-3,000 mg a day is killing me. I take pills, three energy drinks, and 1-2 bottles of Mio energy a day.

    After work I’m useless. I stop every weekend and get extremely sick. Flu-like symptoms like crazy. Nose stuffed up. I feel high I’m so dizzy. I know it’s going to kill me if I don’t quit.. This Friday- Tuesday I have off. Quitting! I need any/ all tips. I heard orange juice helps. Plus no other option besides cold turkey. It’s how I’ve quit all of my drugs. It’s the only way for me.

  • Pixy March 19, 2016, 10:54 am

    I know how you all feel – I’ve quit 3 times and the 3rd time was 16 days ago. I was a heavy espresso drinker, and the withdrawal symptoms are over the moon. :( You name it, I have it. BUT! I know from past experience that they will subside, and you have to really want to reap the benefits before quitting. The good news is that after 6 months (yes, 6 months) you will feel reborn in many ways.

    The bad news, is you have to get there. Get support, tell a friend that will understand… FYI I slept 12 hours last night again… I am not living the sleepy period and have digestive distress, but I am not giving up and I will never go back! Good luck to all.

  • Angus March 14, 2016, 3:33 am

    I’m one month into my caffeine reduction program (down to one weak cup per day from 4-5 strong cups) and life is still a living hell. I have raging insomnia, restless arms and legs, intense nausea and the worst part is that I have constipation and diarrhea at the same time. How does that work? I can feel the food I eat churning through my GI tract at breakneck speed but when I try to go to the toilet nothing comes out and so I’m left feeling crappy (pun not intended) all day. Urgh.

    • Beth August 13, 2018, 4:04 pm

      I found your comment about insomnia interesting, because that has been my absolute worst withdrawal symptom. I have reduced my daily green tea intake down to 2 cups in the morning from about 7 spread throughout the day, and I have the worst insomnia!! 3 nights out of a week, I have not slept at all!

      Not one single second of sleep. My headache wasn’t bad, I had a little dizziness and a little nausea, but nothing too bad. The insomnia is enough to drive me crazy though. One night I took 4 sleeping pills and still nothing. Does anyone on this thread know when the insomnia will go away?

  • Caroline March 3, 2016, 11:42 pm

    In addition to eliminating coffee and cutting back on caffeine capsules a few days ago, I also stopped all dairy and gluten (and all grains) about three days ago, and boy have I had a tough time of it. I am going to post what I have been doing to be able to stick out the detox in the hope it will help alleviate suffering for someone else. Because of the severe crying jags and anxiety, I have been using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which is like emotional acupressure and really works for me usually whenever I have had any emotional upset.

    I have had to take a few caffeine capsules each day in order to continue with the caffeine detox, down to only two today, which has helped rather than going totally cold turkey with all caffeine. In addition to this, I have had to take Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy… every two hours starting this morning… and this has been phenomenal at relieving the emotional withdrawal issues. I actually accomplished a lot today!!

    In addition, I am taking Bach Flowers Olive (two drops in a glass of water every two hours) for the terrible fatigue. For the terrible pain in my muscles and joints, I am taking magnesium bisglycinate (1/4 teaspoon in a small glass of water)… 3 times today. This really helps the severe leg/foot cramps (especially during the night) and also the muscle pains I have been having.

    I am sticking with this total elimination of all gluten, dairy, and caffeine this time because it has been so debilitating and I do not ever want to go through this again!!! Good luck to all of you!!

  • Caroline March 3, 2016, 1:19 am

    I am stopping coffee and caffeine capsules for good this time because when I cut back even a little I was getting horrific leg cramps and kept waking up repeatedly all night long. I had to take magnesium powder and also use magnesium topically to make the cramps stop. I am sending a big huge thank you to everyone who has posted on here because I thought I was going nuts.

    Was crying and anxious and not feeling right in my head – along with severe lethargy and chills/hot flashes all day yesterday – after I stopped all coffee two days ago (usually two cups a day of Keurig coffee) even though I continued to take caffeine capsules as usual in between the coffees. So now I am going to cut back on the caffeine capsules as fast as I can. The terrible pain in my arms and legs and back is a little better today, and I am soooo comforted to realize that I am not crazy, just a recovering addict. Wow, that is hard to say, but that is really the truth.

    So I arranged to be off work again tomorrow so I can just rest and be good to myself. I also am using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), a form of emotional accupressure, to enable me to process all of this emotional junk and terrible emotional upheaval that is accompanying all of the physical symptoms. I am going to focus now on using EFT to clear out WHY I have gone back on coffee and caffeine capsules over and over.

    There has to be something underneath all of this that is being triggered and makes me stop taking good care of myself and actually abuse myself with these toxic and addictive substances. I will report back on how this works for me!

  • Boo Rhodes March 1, 2016, 2:28 am

    Coffee makes the world go round! I love my coffee, and yes the withdrawals are horrendous. But, I love the taste of a good dark coffee with real cream. I get migraines with or without coffee. The coffee withdrawal headache is nothing like a migraine and nothing but caffeine will appease it. I get it for a whole day if I go a 24 to 48 hours without a cup. Then again, I have a small 4-cup coffee pot and I only make it in the morning so I probably do not have as much as the average person.

  • Kerry February 22, 2016, 9:58 am

    I decided on Saturday (2 days ago) to kick my coffee habit. I have anxiety issues and almost immediately after I skipped my usual coffee in the morning my anxiety raged! And didn’t leave for 24 hours, I honest to god thought I was losing it! I had no idea caffeine withdrawal could highlight it… I had a headache (still have) and knew that was a symptom and Googled other symptoms. So relieved I’m not cracking up completely!! Good luck everyone.

  • Matt February 1, 2016, 10:59 am

    Just before Christmas I had a panic attack which I thought was a heart attack due to the amount of soft drink and chocolate I had consumed. I went to the emergency ward at hospital to make sure everything was ok. I had an ECG and a heart enzyme test and they came back all clear. So from the next day I stopped with the Vanilla Coke, which cut out caffine and most of my sugar.

    The first few days were hell, I felt like I couldn’t do anything, I was nauseous with splitting headaches, my body ached. I felt like I had the flu. But I pushed through. I have cut down, but not cut out, things like chocolate and lollies. I am a month into it and I am starting to feel myself again.

    I’m still quite anxious and my sleeping isn’t perfect, but that might have something to do with my shift-work. I am drinking carbonated water to help with the cravings of feeling like I need to drink soft drink. But I haven’t craved soft drink once, but that might be because I have paired soft drink with panic attacks.

    This is an awesome blog, that has helped me so much, because I know what I’m feeling is normal!

  • MC January 30, 2016, 6:42 pm

    I have been a heavy coffee drinker since I can remember – I’m 59. No big fan of sodas, fancy coffee-based drinks, or energy drinks. I just like a strong cup of espresso or Americano with some cream a few times a day. I quit cold turkey a few times and stayed off caffeine for a few months each time.

    I quit again 5 days ago. Except for feeling a bit fuzzy the first day I feel fine. I sure miss the taste and the feeling of coffee, especially the very first cup in the morning. But I don’t feel sick or impaired at all. I admit I am surprised to hear that some people have severe withdrawal symptoms.

  • Barbara M. January 27, 2016, 11:14 pm

    This is into 3rd week. headaches rare, but lethargy still hits, although overall I definitely see I have more energy – most days – than when I drank coffee (drank a lot). Coupled with a mild cold today, I was SOOO tempted to have a cup of coffee, seeking energy, but managed to resist. I just think about what the prior 2+ weeks were like and it helps my resolve. Seriously – I am done with that coffee consumption I just couldn’t control. God’s blessings on all who are on this better path! It’s tough but definitely gets better. It’s nicer being free.

  • Elena January 27, 2016, 4:16 pm

    Hello, I stopped drinking coffee 2 months ago. I am European, and where I come from, drinking coffee several time a day is a social ritual. I was a coffee drinker for about 23 years, but the time had come! The first 2 weeks were unbelievable! I couldn’t function at all.

    I felt like a very old sick woman – muscle cramps, headaches, brain fog, inability to focus or think, irritability and sluggishness. I gained a few pounds because I could make myself to resume my work out routine. Two months later, the most painful symptoms are gone with the exception of the lack of motivation to do things I care about. I sleep better and I am calmer, but I can’t make myself to be as productive as I was on coffee.

    So clearly, I have not recovered completely yet! I am determined to not go back to coffee, but the length of the recovery process and the truths I uncovered for myself in the process had surprised me. After all is said an done, one fact became clear to me: most of my success in school, work and raising three children is probably due to coffee! Ouch!

  • Sabrina January 21, 2016, 4:48 pm

    I’m on day 7 of me giving up caffeine, I would drink at least 24oz of coffee everyday (because back how much my thermos holds) and my Starbucks runs in between. I had no idea what was happening to me! On day 1 and 2 I only had the jitters and a little nervousness, but on day 3, OMG – I had everything from nausea to anxiety. I literally thought I was going crazy I was depressed I cried for 2 days!

    I felt exhausted and I couldn’t sleep thoughts we’re going to my head a mile per min! I felt hot one minute the next minute I felt cold, I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. I thought I was losing my mind and going crazy! I felt like a zombie. And then it dawned on me that maybe I was having caffeine withdrawals!

    Now the physical symptoms are starting to subside but the mental is still here. I must say the anxiety is not as bad as it was 4 days ago, but it still here. My appetite is coming back slowly… It’s the worst feeling I’ve ever felt in my life! I’m still feel crappy though. I really hope this feeling passes soon. Bye bye caffeine, you’re not worth all this!

    • Gretchen January 24, 2016, 8:31 pm

      Hi Sabrina. Right now I’m at 12 days without caffeine. I’m going through a similar situation. Anxiety that went through the roof. It’s still there all day although I’m having less panic attacks. But yesterday I had one. At night I cannot sleep. I tried melatonin which didn’t work.

      My Dr said to take Benadryl, or you can by the active ingredient- diphenhydramine for less money. My appetite is also gone, and I’m losing weight. I’m sure the anxiety isn’t helping with my appetite. I hope you are feeling better.

  • Mumzy January 20, 2016, 5:13 pm

    Today is my 5th day without my 5 shot iced espresso. I was nursing a pretty steady habit of 1 a day on top of my hot coffee. Still doing my hot coffee. Perhaps that is next. Having minor headaches and of all things sweaty hands. I’m sure this will pass.

  • JW January 15, 2016, 11:07 pm

    Day 6, muscle pains in legs and hips is finally going away, vertigo also subsiding. Headaches went away on day 5. Terrible time getting off this stuff… How can caffeine not be bad for your health in the long-term?

    • Cam January 19, 2016, 2:36 pm

      Coffee is the only plant that is proven to increase human lifespan. It improves outcomes for all the main causes of death in modern society. These benefits are dose-dependent, all the way up to well beyond 6 cups a day. Really high usage starts to show correlation (not necessarily causation) with an increased risk of suicide, but otherwise the health benefits are there.

      It is definitely strange, given how addictive, dehydrating, and overstimulating this beverage is. Tea is a similar situation, with many documented benefits, along with some real concerns. Synthetic caffeine is often delivered in a form including lots of sugar, artificial flavors, etc. without the antioxidants and other beneficial phytonutrients present in coffee or tea, so it seems safe to assume that energy drinks and such would be more harmful to health.

      I am currently addicted to Red Bull. My whole life I thought it was ridiculous to drink such things, but I ended up discovering that it was able to snap me out of depression in a way that nothing else seemed to be able to, and I reluctantly began using it more and more frequently to hold me over while I figured out other strategies. I believe I am experiencing withdrawals now.

      My stomach is always tight and sour. My nerves feel buzzy and my chest has a fluctuating tremor throughout the day. My heart is pounding. Niacin helps these symptoms subside. So does drinking a Red Bull (contains niacin). Do these sound like caffeine withdrawal symptoms to y’all? Maybe something else is going on. I was only using about 200mg of caffeine a day.

  • Gary January 14, 2016, 9:38 am

    I’m about a week into quitting caffeine. I used to drink around 5 or 6 cups of tea and coffee a day. The first few days were hard, as I suffered from the headaches and lack of energy. However, I feel incredible now! I’ve basically swapped coffee at work for water and have never felt so good in myself. I’m substituting Tea at home for Red Bush tea which tastes just as good as normal tea. Morale of the story is keep it up… It may start out rough, but the end result is incredible! I’m so much more alert and awake now. I shall never go back!

  • Lane January 13, 2016, 8:56 pm

    I was a pretty heavy caffeine user, not as much as some, I had a cup of coffee every morning and would have a soda or two through out the day. It’s now been exactly 13 days since I’ve last had caffeine. The headaches…oh my god they’re killing me! Everyday since my last cup of coffee I’ve had this same type of aching sharp pain in my head that hasn’t really seemed to have gotten better.

    It’s sooooo annoying, and it really consumes a lot of aspects of my life. I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m NOT going through caffeine withdrawals, and something else is going on with me. I went to a doctor and he said there wasn’t much he could do, he pretty much just said headaches are hard to figure out. I’m a 21 year old college kid so I think he didn’t believe me and thought I just want pain killers… thanks guy…

    But seriously even as I sit here and type this out on my phone, the ache is there, as it has been for the past 13 days. Tylenol does help a little, but it’s still there. It’s weird because it’s not the same type of headache pain I’ve gotten in the past. It’s a different type of head ache pain, it’s really hard to explain. Hopefully this doesn’t make people shy away from this post but I was a heavy marijuana user too (I live in CO) and I even quit the pot because I thought maybe that was the cause?

    But now I’m seeing THC listed as a good thing for headaches? It seemed to kinda make my aches go away but once I came down the aches were back and almost seemed worse. I really can’t get to the bottom of this and I’m not completely convinced it’s caffeine withdrawals, but maybe it is? I have also stopped having sugar all together too. Maybe the sugar and caffeine withdrawals are working together? Is that possible?

    I did used to eat a lot of sugary things through out my days too. I need to get some vitamins, but I have to wait until I get paid next… Can anyone give me a word of advice or possibly know what could be happening to me? I’m pretty desperate at this point to be over the constant headaches. Thanks for reading.

    • Gretchen January 17, 2016, 7:12 pm

      Lane how are you doing?

  • Ren January 10, 2016, 9:40 am

    Withdrawing from coffee or coffee detox can be very painful. First second day you can have severe head aches, even diarrhea and vomit as well. I have done coffee detox so many times but this time I want to withdraw from coffee altogether. I’m finding it quite easy as earlier I have been on few retreats where I was introduced to pure essential oils healthy eating, cold pressed juices and smoothies.

    So guys if you are detoxing, use pure essential peppermint oil for headaches, even drinking a drop or two in warm water helps too. What I find more soothing is rubbing a few drops on the temple of my head. Cold shower on the head helps heaps too. Having cold press green juice early in the morning gives ample of energy and motivates you too.

    Go for a morning walk just before the sun rises and do some stretches when the morning sun is shining on your face! Drink lots of water as water gets rid of all the toxins from your body. Eat healthy, stay active and hydrated. It’s my 10th day, and I feel great! I haven’t touched any painkillers at all. Happy detoxing!!

  • Fergal January 7, 2016, 2:22 pm

    5 & 1/2 weeks into my caffeine withdrawal and I still have headaches and sluggishness with a lack of focus. I gave up caffeine per orders from a sleep specialist and it has not yet helped my sleep. My caffeine intake was only about 200-300mg per day. I suppose it affects people in different ways. Going to hold strong and stay off it, hoping this madness will end soon!

    • Fergal January 22, 2016, 9:20 am

      I just wanted to follow up on my last post. I am now 8 weeks free of caffeine and I have finally started to feel the benefits. My headaches are subsiding, my energy levels are more consistent throughout the day and sleeping better! My general outlook is a lot more positive too. I am putting this down to a combination of factors.

      – Going caffeine free.
      – Sipping on water throughout the day. Get yourself one of those squeeze bottles and just take small sips. It will keep you hydrated throughout the day.
      – Morning exercise. I went to a sleep specialist and she recommended morning exercise only. Exercise raises the body’s temperature and exercising in the evening can affect your sleep due to this increase in temperature.
      – She also recommended no screens 2 hours before bed. This includes smartphones, TV, Kindles etc. Go back to doing something like jigsaws, puzzles, sudoku, reading paper books. Takes my mind off everything and knocks me going to bed.
      – Replacing Coffee with an alternative hot drink. I now drink Rooibos tea religiously. It’s naturally caffeine free and full of nutritional benefits.

      For the past 8 weeks I was doubting that going caffeine free was helping me. My advice to anyone who feels the same is stick it out for as long as you can. The rewards seem worth it to me.

  • Ashleigh December 13, 2015, 3:10 pm

    Leandro, you are not alone! Your post summed up EVERYTHING I am suffering. I’m going through hell and back. I’ve had a coffee this morning (day 12) and it hadn’t really helped!! I’m at my wits end, after this I will never ever take my health and well being for granted, it’s been a horrendous life changing experience!

  • Ashleigh December 13, 2015, 3:05 pm

    I’m on day 12 of coffee withdrawal… I can honestly say I have NEVER experienced anything like this! I’m literally at my wits end! Day one to three I had the winter norovirus hence why I stopped drinking coffee and Diet Coke. I had to appetite and feel rotten so didn’t turn back to coffee or Coke instead drinking water. By day 6 (still not suspecting coffee withdrawal as the issue) I was anxious beyond belief, depressed, back pain, couldn’t function at all in the morning, sweats, panic.

    I thought I could be pregnant, have kidney disease, gall stones, you name it I googled it! At one point I considered going to A&E and just begging them to take crippling anxiety/panic/hot flushes away! Around day 9 I came across this page, it dawned on me the reason for this hell!! I was drinking 7-9 coffees per day (heaped double spoons) plus maybe 2-3 cans of Diet Coke. I do suffer slightly from anxiety but nothing on this scale.

    I swear I’m taking a nervous breakdown… Mornings are by far the worst. Intense brain fog and shaking, anxiety etc. On day 10 I literally couldn’t do it anymore and took a 1/2 cup of coffee. Very little effect, other than a fast beating heart. Today (day 12) I’m sitting desperately trying to eat to escape the nausea and sipping on a cup of coffee. Very little effect again.

    Could someone please please give me feedback, surly after almost 2 weeks and after having a half cup of coffee yesterday and today this should stop… It’s living hell!! I will thank god and count my blessing on the day I get my health and my life back after this horrendous fortnight!!

    • Ren January 11, 2016, 12:43 am

      Hi Ashleigh, Are you still going through the same issue or you getting better now?

    • Fergal February 5, 2016, 1:14 pm

      I had very similar withdrawals for weeks too. It seems people have very different reactions to quitting coffee. I hope things are getting better for you now. I am close to 10 weeks free of caffeine and have finally acknowledged that its a very slow recovery process.

      Most symptoms are gone but I still suffer from anxiety / fatigue / brain fog from time to time. Some days are far better than others and I just try to remember that the good days make it worth it. I’m sure a couple of months down the road, things will get more consistent. Would love to know how you are feeling now.

  • Brittany December 3, 2015, 2:21 pm

    Thankful for this post. The last few days I’ve experienced brain fog, depression, anxiety, low energy, no concentration and zombie like feelings. I’m in my first trimester of pregnancy and thought it was wacky hormones. I finally realized today that I quit caffeine about the same time as all of these symptoms appeared. My first two pregnancies I didn’t experience any of this, and I think I did drink caffeine but it was limited.

    I did get a cup of coffee this morning and it’s already made s difference. While I’ll still limit it, I don’t think quitting cold turkey is a good idea from my personal experience. Scary to feel like you are out of control. I’m normally a very energetic, happy, fearless woman but the last few days I’ve been extremely low.

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