Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal—Worse Than Headaches

The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can be severe, extending beyond headaches to keep you from performing your daily life functions.

symptoms of caffeine withdrawal

Are you addicted to caffeine? Once you’ve become tolerant to caffeine, you need more and more to get its stimulating effects. If you don’t consume it, your body experiences symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.

Do you have a caffeine addiction? It’s not uncommon. As little as 100 milligrams of caffeine a day, the amount in about 12 ounces of coffee, can lead to symptoms of caffeine withdrawal—e.g., headaches and marked fatigue—when caffeine consumption is discontinued.

Higher daily doses of caffeine (the average adult caffeine consumer in the U.S. ingests about 280 milligrams a day) are even more likely to lead to caffeine withdrawal symptoms, and those symptoms are more likely to be severe, research shows.[1]

The Addictive Nature of Caffeine

Caffeine is an addictive chemical compound, meaning its regular use leads to dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal. Once you’ve become tolerant to caffeine, you need more and more caffeine to get its stimulating effects, and if you don’t consume it, your body goes into withdrawal mode.

When you abruptly stop (or substantially reduce) your normal daily caffeine ingestion, a characteristic withdrawal syndrome develops. This syndrome, aptly named “caffeine withdrawal syndrome,” has been well-researched and is included in the DSM-5, the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as a substance-related and addictive disorder.[2]

Common Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal

Caffeine withdrawal syndrome is indicated by three or more of the following classic symptoms:

  • Headaches. A caffeine withdrawal headache can be throbbing and severe. While they are considered the “hallmark” symptom of caffeine withdrawal, they don’t always occur. Caffeine withdrawal headaches are reported in about 50 percent of users who suddenly abstain. They are often referred to as the “worst headaches” ever experienced.
  • Marked fatigue or drowsiness. Regular caffeine users who abstain report decreased motivation to work, decreased alertness, and more overall fatigue and drowsiness.
  • Dysphoric mood, depressed mood, or irritability. Medical experts point out that withdrawal from caffeine can look like mild depression.[3] In addition to increasing or causing feelings of dysphoria, depression, and irritability, caffeine withdrawal, studies have documented, can decrease sociability.
  • Difficulty concentrating. Studies show that when regular caffeine users abstain, their performance on behavioral and cognitive tests (e.g., sustained attention) is impaired.
  • Flu-like symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or muscle pain/stiffness). Feeling achy and flu-like or having an upset stomach are also common caffeine withdrawal symptoms, although they may go less noticed and less frequently reported.

Timing of Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms usually begin within 12 to 24 hours of stopping caffeine, and they peak after one or two days of caffeine abstinence. They usually last for a total of two to nine days, although caffeine withdrawal headaches may last up to 21 days.

Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms and Daily Life

As noted above, caffeine withdrawal symptoms are known to impair our ability to function in normal daily activities. A person is considered to be suffering from “caffeine withdrawal syndrome” if symptoms cause significant distress in their interactions with others, work, or other important areas of functioning.

Because of their caffeine withdrawal symptoms, people may be unable to work, study, exercise, or care for children. They may fall asleep at work, end a vacation early, miss a religious service, or cancel a social gathering. About 10 to 55 percent of caffeine users who stop will experience this type of significant functional impairment.

Avoid Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal by Tapering Off Properly

Gradually reducing your caffeine intake over a period of days or weeks reduces the likelihood you will experience any caffeine withdrawal symptoms at all. Research shows that tapering off 25 percent every two days will work best for avoiding symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.

“But even just 15 to 25 mg twice per day, upon awakening and the early afternoon, can help with some of the symptoms,” according to Dr. Ali Canton, MD, of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, whose research team presented a review of the scientific literature looking at caffeine withdrawal at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual 2013 meeting.[3]

Dr. Canton is referring to the fact that doses of caffeine significantly less than one’s usual dose may be sufficient to prevent and treat caffeine withdrawal symptoms (e.g., consumption of 25 mg by a person who regularly consumes 300 mg).

What’s Your Caffeine Withdrawal Experience?

Many people have a tough time trying to give up caffeine, making multiple attempts to quit but ultimately failing. Does this sound familiar? Or maybe you have been able to successfully stop ingesting caffeine. If so, what strategies did you use? Tell us in the Comments section below.


Originally published in 2014, this post is regularly updated.

[1] Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2004 Oct;176(1):1-29.
[2] DSM-V. Caffeine Withdrawal. 2013 May 27:507-8.
[3] Medscape Psych. An Overlooked Withdrawal Syndrome? 2013 June 13.

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Comments
  • Very one-sided presentation. I find many of your so-called “expert advice” bulletins to be like that, meaning too simplistic. Please be a bit more subtle and include some of the facts and arguments from the other side.

  • I am two weeks without caffeine and I went cold turkey. I have found that my headaches lasted only 2 days, but my fatigue and fog have lasted almost 2 weeks. Soooooo ready to be clear headed again!

  • There job is to present a health blog Dennis. I find their presentation to be quite apt for the lay-person and they have included citations should you feel you need more. You are also quite capable of reading up on other presentations should you feel fit. UHN feels this is accurate and presents what they feel is accurate and correct. ‘Other side’ sounds incorrect from a health perspective.

  • I have been caffeine free for 6 months and am still going through withdrawal symptoms of fatigue, but i have been a regular user for 30 years so i had a strong dependency.

  • Some have withdrawals for 6 months before feeling normal, but all of them say it’s worth it so stay strong.

  • I am currently withdrawing from caffeine (day 5) and experiencing headaches and fatigue but worst of all – excruciating lower back pain! I know this is because my adrenal glands are worn out but I have gone through caffeine detoxes before and never has it been so severe. Any tips? I end up popping a few Tylenols to get me through the day. Anything more holistic?

  • I am on day five of caffeine withdrawal. My stomach is killing me. I also had lower back pain. Does anyone have a racing heartbeat?

  • Good article, to bad many commentors in need missed the end part about tapering. There is literally no reason not to taper, you are probably damaging your long term health by stopping cold turkey if your dependence was high enough.

  • I have been drinking Monster Ulta everyday for the past 2 years. Which has 140 mg of caffeine per can. I suddenly stopped drinking the caffeine and I experienced a migraine headache, which included light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, hot flashes, vomiting and even a very upset stomach. Day 3 of not having any caffeine includes a headache, upset and gaseous stomach, and not wanting to do anything at work. I’m taking OTC meds to counteract the symptoms of withdraw and they are being managed well.

  • I was drinking very strong coffees, I think in total probably over 200mg a day. I wanted to stop because it hurt my stomach and I felt so addicted and run down. Yesterday I didn’t drink any cofffee, and a migraine hit, completely debilitating like I never experienced and I started uncontrollably vomiting. Medics came and said my blood pressure shot up to 180 but in the hospital all the checks showed it was normal and the heart was fine, eventually I was able to leave after a few hours of IV but the headache continues. I thought about tapering but dud but did not expect to be so wolloped on the first day so now it’s too late to change that.. In the past when I would cut out more slowly I still had significant withdrawal symptoms and found that when I taper, it’s slightly less painful but involves a longer period to suffer withdrawals. I never experienced such pain in the head.

  • This article helped me.
    On Sept 27, I decided to handle my coffee addiction – I was a 1/2 -1 pot a day girl (yea, when I do something I really like to do it!)

    So I woke up and quite cold turkey. Interestingly enough, I have not had huge issues with headaches. But I am going to suggest to anyone else who decides to do the same thing that you taper-rather than trying to go cold turkey. Here is the timeline.

    Thurs. Sept 27 – Cold Turkey Quit

    Friday, Sept 28 – I held out until 3 pm and then had two large cups of coffee.

    Saturday, Sept. 29 – No coffee

    Sunday, Sept 30 – No coffee (starting to get body aches)

    Monday, Oct 1 – No coffee (have body aches so bad it is uncomfortable to site down. My daughter tells me that I am getting old!)

    Tuesday, Oct 2 – More body aches – I have only experienced this with the flu. I Google “side effects of coffee withdrawal” because damn, I am not getting THAT old!. I get this article article which suggests tapering – I get a large Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

    Wednesday, Oct 3 – One small DD coffee (the body aches are gone)

    Thursday, Oct 4 – One small DD coffee – it actually doesn’t taste good.

    Friday, Oct 5 – One small instant coffee

    Saturday, Oct 6 – 1/2 cup of instant coffee

    Sunday, Oct 7 – No Coffee!!!!!

    So there you have it – tapering was the way to go for me and taking extra vit C when I had cravings also really helped. Also, not buying coffee for the house helped – I was forced to go out for it while I was tapering.

  • I quit caffeine (trying to) two days ago and life is miserable. I never realized I drank so much. Sometimes in the morn some soda, afternoon soda can, put for dinner 2-3 refills, home in evening maybe a glass or two. I tried going down to one can right away… massive headache, fatigue, irritability, severe shaking, depression, couldn’t function, focus, no energy. Ugh. Read about tapering off a little and trying that…hopefully it works…. but in order to taper off where I was I would still need a lot of caffeine…. so I’m not doing that. Still only going to try to do two cans at the most. I look like hell since cutting back caffeine because I can’t function. I was cutting back because I don’t like having to rely on or need something, but I cannot believe my whole bodily system so jolted and shocked from caffeine that it might just have to be done. I’m miserable.

  • I went from drinking ~400mg of caffeine each morning to none. The first afternoon the pain in my body was very bad. Pounding migraine, dizziness, no energy, nausea and light/sound sensitivity. If I exerted any energy my head would throb unbearably, it was the worst headache of my life. I tried to take a shower and it caused me to vomit. I think most would have gone to the ER. Was one of the worst pains in my life. I found meditation and remaining perfectly still, allowing my heart to slow down and my body to relax helped quite a bit. Each night I slept I felt like my brain was repairing itself. I drank ~24oz of Pepsi about 4 days into it and was extremely stimulated. It felt great but I regretted drinking enough to bring me to that level.

    I am currently 7 days into the withdrawal only consuming small 10mg doses every couple days. The symptoms have tapered off a little bit but I still am quite foggy and slow. I have always had migraines but they have been especially prevalent and severe. Based on my current level of recovery I think i may have another week or two or possibly more before I am completely back to normal.

  • Thanks all for the comments. I’m on day three of eliminating coffee. I have been a very heavy coffee user most of the life, and have quit caffeine a number of times. This time I’m doing more gradually. Started January 1. Still drinking tea (green and occasionally black) and had a quarter cup of coffee last night and half a monster drink. Oh, I was probably up to about 1000mg a day. Today the hip pains have started (typical for me) and I’m treating them with Tylenol. I’m hoping with a combination of tea and aspirin, this will be less harsh than in the past. My goal is to just have green tea and perhaps Yerba Matte. I’m not going for 100% caffeine-free, but reaching the point where mynintake is under 100mg a day.

  • Excruciating pain that originates in my buttocks and radiates down my legs and into my lower back have become my main symptom of caffeine withdrawal. I seldom get headaches. I don’t get nauseated. In fact, my mood, attention span, energy, and ability to focus are all better without caffeine. But the pain is so debilitating!

  • I was drinking 1.5 cups in the morning and a Diet Coke in the afternoon. Day 6 Cold Turkey. Headaches come and go. Lower back pain, shoulder pain, lower body muscle aches were so bad last night I couldn’t sleep. I had to take Advil. Relieved to see there is no caffeine in Advil. I gained a few pounds. But I’m not going to stop. I was getting so anxious and irritable and waking up at night regularly on caffeine. I’m just preparing for this month and maybe next month to be bad.

  • I’m so glad to read this as I am just like everyone in the withdrawals. I also came down with pneumonia during my trying to taper time over the holidays. The headache is what is getting me I didn’t know if it was from the fever or withdrawal. Whew I need to do the same amount daily route. I got a lot of anxiety and heart palpitations drinking too much and even drank coffee and monster so much I would fall asleep but wake up often in the night. I’ll be glad when I’m not spending all my money on that addiction!!

  • I am day 5 into my withdrawal and WOW. When I tell you I have NEVER felt this way in my entire life I mean it. I only stopped drinking caffeine (in the form of a pre workout for gym) bc I was starting to have heart palpitations! It freaked me out so I decided to just quit drinking it all together. I did not realize that that was going to be so hard on my body. I’d been drinking this stuff everyday for years not knowing one single serving had 300 mg of caffeine in it plus lots of stimulants. The first day I got a headache. The next day I was extremely nauseous, diarrhea, hot and cold flashes. I could not sleep at night. My brain was completely overworking and fixated on all surrounding noises which just kept me up and having wild thoughts before bed. My anxiety went through the roof for the first time, even giving me thoughts of self harm. Day 3 I went to a hospital bc I was so anxious…they ran tests and said I was perfectly fine but that my anxiety was mild and so they prescribed me meds to help me calm at night and sleep. They didn’t work my mind was still racing. The next day I talk to a therapist who tells me “you MAY be going through a caffeine withdrawal “ I went home and looked it up and BOOM, alllllll of the symptoms I have been feeling were right there on that screen. I am day 5 into it and oh my God I can not wait to be normal again currently day 5 I am still a bit anxious with hot flashes and nausea. But I am getting better everyday. Wish I had read about tapering off. If only I knew I’d even go through a withdrawal. Good luck guys! Better days to come.

  • I only drink coffee on and off, I would drink for 2-3 days then not drink for a week or a few weeks. so I was never addicted. Recently I started to like coffee more and make my own freshly grounded drip coffee. It has been a month drinking around 2 cups a day or 1 cup and an espresso or two outside. I stopped for 4 days because I had a cold and on the 2nd day I started getting excrutiating lower back pain, on the 4th day it was still very painful, messing with my sleep because the pain would be more acute in the evenings and in a lying down position. I was very confused and didn’t understand why this was happening and thought it might be part of the flu symptoms but on the 5th day I had an espresso and immediately forgot the pain.
    Now I have to figure out how I can enjoy coffee frequently without being bound by the pain of withdrawal when I don’t have it.

  • I have an autism spectrum disorder. I work as a cashier at a busy grocery store like Save On Foods. It can get hectic and the demands can be sometimes overwhelming. I use caffeinated gym supplements like Kaizen Pre-Workout and Amino Energy. But after a day of consuming these supplements (though I do use vitamin and amino acid supplements and a low-gluten diet) my stomach feels upset. I have been slowly tapering off a few milligrams per week or two by taking a pinch or two of powder away each week.
    At this point I am on average using one third or one-quarter less caffeine than I was six months ago. Even these small drops affect my ability to be sociable and productive but as my nervous system gets used to the tapered dosage I can adjust and reduce some more. After some more time I should be able to get off completely.

  • I have given up caffeine in the form of cafe latte’s recently, about two weeks ago. I tapered off over three days so avoided the spine chilling headaches when you go off cold turkey, something I did once before a few years ago. I think there is some mild mood effects, but I am sure that over time these will disappear. Feeling slightly depressed I guess. But I am so happy to be off caffeiene, and this time I am going to stick to it. I am drinking Rooibos tea which is caffeine free African tea, so I still enjoy that habit of a nice hot cuppa.

  • Very one-sided presentation. I find many of your so-called “expert advice” bulletins to be like that, meaning too simplistic. Please be a bit more subtle and include some of the facts and arguments from the other side.

  • I am on week 2 of no caffeine and I still have withdrawals. Started with dizziness and moved to palpitations, foggy brain, heart/chest pain. Week 2 and had Heart pain with shortness of breath today. Had no clue cold turkey was going to be like this. Went to emergency twice and urgent care once. Everything with heart and blood is great. This is nuts!

  • I’ve had the caffeine headache for 9 weeks now plus the anxiety and hard to swallow. All of my doctors say it’s normal and try to get me a therapist. I can’t win and it is literally the worst headache I’ve ever experienced in my life !!! Anyone go this long or why do I feel like it’s just me and could be something more serious?

  • I was given tea in my bottle as a baby. My mother was told this would calm me down? Grew up dring tea every day but did not notice any adverse effects from caffeine until I was introduced to coffee in the form of mocha in my early twenties. Not too long after I increased my usage quite a bit drinking caffeine in every form I could find. A headache, then a few days where I can not stay awake, moderate muscle aches (feels like I can not stretch enough) and of course many days of the fog. But what seems to always defeat me is the realization of what normal is. I feel physically great but psychological need to be “up” is very strong. I hope to defeat this look forward to being stone cold sober being able to enjoy it.

  • Sebastian you are not alone. Any time i try and cut down (from 3 cups to 1 cup currently) i get withdrawls. And i havent quit completely yet. The headache duration for me is weeks and weeks long. I always insist there is something else wrong with me as so many people say they were over the hump in a few days. I go to the doctor over and over and even insisted on a ct scan which found nothing. Im right here with you and havent even quit completely yet.

  • So glad I found this article. I was trying to recover from jetlag so stopped drinking coffee as I couldn’t sleep at right times. But now I still can’t sleep and my body is exhausted like I’ve run a marathon and have major headaches! I didn’t know coffee withdrawal was this instantaneous. I’m going back on instant coffee in the morning to recover as I’ve just started a new job and can’t have these symptoms!

  • I’m so glad I found this post, I Drank coffee for 7 years, not much, but decided to come off 5 days ago, My headaches are bearable but the aches in my legs make my running harder, I’m sleepy which is a good thing since I never slept much,I have 5 kids in grade school, So I cannot just lay around,

  • Was drinking 2-4 can rockstar per day and about 4 med coffee . For 6 years …. quit cold turkey . Headache started hours after missed drink . Day 2 was unbearable . I spent the day in bed with the worst headache of my life . Day 3 I vomited all day . I am off them now , and it was the worst withdrawal I’ve felt ever

  • Very interesting article; thank you. Also, I read an in-depth study conducted by the US government. I like yours better. I have been consuming coffee for 45 years. I am 61, and in excellent health aside from headaches. For 40 years, I have been awakened in the night with a headache. A few years ago, I discovered that 100 mg of a caffeine tablet would make the headache go away. But I have decided I don’t want any headaches, ever. It is now day five of reducing my caffeine consumption. Although I have been doing this slowly, for two days now I have had a non-stop headache, neck pain and shoulder pain which is not unusual for me but it is more acute in the afternoon than what would be considered normal for me. I have switched to Matcha in the morning which contains 1/3 of the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee. It also has 10 times more Antioxidants than in a cup of green tea. I find that gives me some relief. What I want to achieve, is no nighttime headaches which could be related to withdrawl symptoms in the night. In addition, I am allowing myself to consume a 50 mg tablet of caffeine in the night to take the edge off of a headache, and I will continue to reduce this, knowing that the symptoms my last for weeks. Besides still having a headache for two days now, and pain elsewhere, I am mildly depressed, and don’t feel much like socializing. I hope this will be successful not only for myself but for others. Because I don’t normally have daytime headaches, I find my day upsetting. It does not make me want to give up and I will not give up so that I can assess myself fairly.

  • I actually drank very little coffee each morning (about 1/4 cup ) and would pour the rest out ,yet I have stopped cold turkey for 3 days now ,I’m a migraine sufferer so to me the headaches were mild (considering )but the past 2 days I’ve experienced a pain on the left side of my face in front of my ear (about the upper jaw none area ) I’ve never had this before and I’m wondering is this a symptom of caffeine withdrawal, has any else experienced this type of pain, no otc pain killers really help ,not even prescription ibuprofen 800 mg ,what will help this?? PLEASE SHARE

  • Thanks for these comments! Woke in night by aching legs and lower back on the evening of third day cold turkey…. omg wtf freaked out by the pain….but reading of your experiences has calmed my freaked out head down a notch…staying absolutely still is slightly better…i had the expected headaches and fog helmut for the first days….but this sudden lower body freak out had me scared….glad i’ve not had the vomitting though…..wish i had read about tappering before…but being the bull i am i’m determined to shake this thing….i hate to discover that i’m addicted…and gave up cigarettes cold turkey in 2000 when i realised how much i depended on them… made me really resentful of them…. then did so with beer in 2004….so now its coffee….God my legs! Fight fight fight! Good luck everyone!

  • I stopped drinking coke a week ago now I was drinking a 2litre bottle or more a day , the past 3 days I haven’t been right , it started with aching legs pains in my back and stomach , now I still have bad pains aching legs x nausea vomiting and zero energy , I have never felt so awful but i guess that’s my fault cold turkeying , any 1 no how long this will go on 4

  • I stopped drinking coffee three days ago, I’m on day 4 now. Day one started with a headache around lunchtime. Day 2 was headache all day, with fatigue and irritability. The back pain also started day 2. I’ve also had trouble sleeping. Day 3 the headache was gone, but the back pain has continued into day 4. I’m taking some ibuprofen tonight to try sleeping better. We’ll see, but I wish I would’ve weaned instead of going cold turkey. It’s exacerbated by my going on an elimination diet the same day as quitting cold turkey, haha. Bad idea.

  • In mid December I woke with a hot flash and had nausea/heart palpitations/sever anxiety. Not knowing what was wrong, I stopped drinking coffee cold turkey because of the anxiety. My original symptoms were likely hormonal (48f) but I now wonder how has to do with caffeine withdrawal (I have no idea how many mg a day but I drank cup after cup all day until about 6pm). It’s still hell but I’m not going back now. Something more to think about, that’s for sure. Two positive components: Had I known about the how harsh caffeine withdrawal was, I’d likely still be drinking it because of the horrible menopause crap. The other is seeing how many people were inspired to stop or reduce their intakes. Kudos!

  • I am on my 4th month of no caffeine. I don’t touch chocolate anymore either or any stimulate for that matter. I quite cold turkey and it has been a nightmare. Week 1 Dizzyness. Week 2 elevated heart rate (palpitations), went to emergency twice, Anxiety like crazy with imminent doom thoughts for all 4 months so far. Week 3-4 and Month 2: feeling a little better but have body aches, insomnia, lethargy, no motivation, terrible cognitive memory, labored breathing, can’t focus on anything for a duration of time, crazy anxiety.
    Month 3: Everything seen above and worse other than brain fog , with heart palpitations (elevated heart rate, PVCs and PACs). The nurses said that is exactly what happens and Drs said “it shouldn’t last this long”. 1 dr said for me to get back on caffeine. Caffeine is a drug and it is a stimulant … Quitting a stimulant is the hardest thing to do according to studies and they last the longest. The reason why people don’t have a long process… they are still consuming a form of caffeine (e.g. chocolate). I stopped everything and I am on my 4th month. Will keep everyone posted.

  • Note to reader,
    The first 90% of this comment is a detailed background on other causes and symptoms that I’ve had the I think may effect my current situation. If you just want to read the current symptoms that may be caused by caffeine withdrawal please skip to the last section.

    My first unpleasant experience with caffeine happened when I was 17. I had been drinking 1-2 energy drinks most days for about a year. Then one night at a friends house I had a stacker energy pill for the first time (actually 2 of them) after I had an energy drink earlier that day and a couple of sodas earlier that night. It put me through the roof… for about 20 minutes until the anxiety/panic set in. I had never experienced or even heard of anxiety disorder before then so, after my heart rate was up to somewhere around 150 and I was vomiting I went to the ER but I was 17 and they said all they could do without parental consent was check my vitals which other than the elevated HR and BP were normal. The triage nurse kept asking me if I was on any drugs and didn’t seem to believe me when I said “just a lot of caffeine”. They mentioned nothing about anxiety/panic disorder and sent me on my way. I still had no Idea what was wrong and the next 3 months were hell. It usually hit me at night and I rarely got much sleep. After about a year I was more than less back to normal with occasional mild to moderate panic attacks that seemed to be getting less frequent. Skip ahead a few years and now I’m a new father (unplanned and unprepared). My girl friend of course was staying at home to care for our newborn while I was working at a hardware store and doing odd jobs when I could find them trying to make ends meet. Being tired all the time I started regularly consuming moderate amounts of caffeine (1-2 cups of coffe most work mornings). That was about 8 years ago. I’ve had several induced panic attacks over the past several years but nothing too debilitating. I started drinking a lot of alcohol in my early 20’s and continued off and on until about 2 years ago when I started having intestinal issues. I had very good success healing my gut with a diet rich in live and fresh foods like fruits, vegetables and fermented foods. During all that I quit drink alcohol and caffeine again and stayed clear of refined and processed foods and red meat. I felt great. Then I started moderately drinking again and shortly after that I stated a new job that was very demanding so, I started drinking coffee again. I was still pretty strict on my diet but slowly started eating more red meat, pizza, junk food etc. but still maintained a decent diet. Although the alcohol and caffeine intake increased dramatically. I was approaching alcoholism and addicted to caffeine again. At one point about six months ago I was drinking 500- 800mg/day. The past several months I’ve been drinking less, usually 1-3 drinks 4-6 times a week but still having way to many on occasion. I’ve been realizing lately how much money and time I’ve wasted on alcohol and decided to quit and figured I might as well quit the caffeine again too. That was last Friday.

    Day 1: no symptoms feeling great started exercising too

    Day 2: slight headache but nothing to bad still feeling great

    Day 3: headache gone. feeling great. already getting projects done around the house. Wife fixes me a glass of wine with dinner which I drink. I didn’t tell her I was quiting and it was small glass so, down the hatch.

    Day 4: back at work from long weekend. Feeling great. Lots of energy. (Someone offers me a 12oz coke I drink it) then I get an upset stomach and 2 bowel movements in the a.m. (very uncommon for me) but I didn’t think much about it. Then that night around 9:00 I started feeling anxious. Increased thirst. It got worse. Start experiencing something like sleep apnea where a feel like I stop breathing or jerk when I fall asleep. I didn’t get much sleep

    Day 5: anxiety continues. Increased thirst continues. Sleep apnea like symptom continues. Start feeling nauseous, light headed and weak at work. Also having chest pain. Decreased appetite and symptoms feel worse when I eat. Bowels start feeling inflamed and have one movement that is like diarrhea. Again not much sleep.

    Day 6: All symptoms continue. 1 bowel movement that is very thin not much mass (hadn’t eaten much though).

    Day: 7 All symptoms continue. Nausea is a little better

    Day 8: all symptoms continue but everything except stomach and intestinal symptoms seem to be getting a little better. Still not eating much, probably around 500 calories a day. Feeling very weak I guess from not eating

    Day 8: a little better sleep. feeling very weak but when I eat more than a bite or two symptoms get worse as has been the case for several days. Weighed my self this mourning and I’ve lost almost 15lbs. Made a doctors appointment for tomorrow morning to see if there are any other issues. Will update

  • Before I start writing about my experience, i would like to send a message of encouragement to all those who are trying to quite caffine. Your brains are capable of miraculous things, you can do anything and the more you give the symptoms attention the more they will control you. You are strong and you can do this.

    Now for my experience: I decided to quit caffeine because it was effecting my meditation and balance. I didn’t research the types of withdrawal symptoms that accompany quitting. The first day I stayed on the couch with a mild headache, the feeling was uncomfortable but bareable. At around 1 am that night and for the next 3 nights, I would wake up in agony. My whole back would be on fire, the pain was unbearable but never suspected it was caffeine withdrawal symptoms. What was strange is that during the 3 infamous nights I would wake up at exactly the same hour; 1am and all I could do to eliviate the sharp knife stiffness would be to do yoga back stretches until 6 am, by then I was so tired that I would fall asleep from exhaustion. After 3 days I stopped waking up at 1am and everything went back to normal as if I never head a drop of Caffeine.

  • Before I start writing about my experience, i would like to send a message of encouragement to all those who are trying to quite caffine. Your brains are capable of miraculous things, you can do anything and the more you give the symptoms attention the more they will control you. You are strong and you can do this.

    Now for my experience: I decided to quit caffeine because it was effecting my meditation and balance. I didn’t research the types of withdrawal symptoms that accompany quitting. The first day I stayed on the couch with a mild headache, the feeling was uncomfortable but bareable. At around 1 am that night and for the next 3 nights, I would wake up in agony. My whole back would be on fire, the pain was unbearable but never suspected it was caffeine withdrawal symptoms. What was strange is that during the 3 infamous nights I would wake up at exactly the same hour; 1am and all I could do to eliviate the sharp knife stiffness would be to do yoga back stretches until 6 am, by then I was so tired that I would fall asleep from exhaustion. After 3 days I stopped waking up at 1am and everything went back to normal as if I never had a drop of Caffeine in my life.

  • Thanks to the posters for their stories, it seems many of us have similar experiences, which can last weeks if not months. But somehow there are few articles out there explaining our more severe examples, and so much advertisement promoting how great coffee is. How can it be so good for you when it is so addictive? I went to the hospital for a coffee withdrawal migraine last year, but managed to quit and then this year fell into the coffee trap again, I used matcha to transition this time, which helps a lot, but still have huge headaches and don’t feel like doing anything. Is it worth it to quit?

  • I have no intention of going off caffeine but by mistake while I was doing a pet/house sit I was drinking their coffee from dark rich beans…I had no idea what was going on…I thought I was dying I felt so ill, ached all over, could barely move and my head was pounding…pure hell…one beautiful real cappuccino brought me back to life with a clear head and ready to roar…. hallelujah!!!

  • Quit caffeine almost two weeks ago- Had headaches, drowsiness, body aches and irritability for a few days. Been working out every day to wake myself up and I feel pretty normal, definitely healthier. Might have to cut out chocolate, my addict brain tried to rationalize that it was different than coffee but I definitely get a buzz from it now that my tolerance has gone down. But I feel like I’m getting depressed now. Does anyone else have experience with caffeine withdrawal depression/how long did it last?

  • I
    Think it’s more nafarious than just simple Cafine withdrawal. They are putting something in the soda that’s doing this to us. I’m. An ex heroine junky.. Quiting Pepsi has been way harder and more painful

  • I just turned 72 years old and have been drinking coffee for almost 60 years. I have anxiety disorder…..no one ever suggested that coffee was exasperating it.
    I’ve been having two large mugs of regular coffee in the morning, two squares of chocolate with lunch and a mug of regular coffee in the afternoon.
    Tuesday I left the mall via ambulance….I had palpitations and felt like I was passing out. Bloodwork and heart monitors checked out fine.
    Thursday I went to the cardiologist for follow up. He connected my symptoms to caffeine and dehydration. His instructions were to drink less coffee and more water. He also said there is no reason to eat dark chocolate for your health.
    Because of my age I would not attempt cold turkey.
    Today is day 3 of having two cups of half-caffeine, half decaf. This morning I didn’t even want to finish the 2nd cup, but I did because of side effects. I felt jittery.
    Tomorrow I will start three days of one cup of half-caff.
    The worst for me has been the back, hip and leg pain at night. Last night I took Tylenol, it helped and I got more sleep.
    In the next week I’m scheduled for an echocardiogram and stress test.

  • I have been taking a caffeine supplement for energy for the past 3 years. During these 3 years I have taken a break for about a week or so 3 or 4 times. Just recently now I am 10 days in without any caffeine. The usual headache and fatigue lasted only about 2 or 3 days, i have been alert and not tired since then. The MAJOR problem with me has been EXCRUCIATING LOWER BACK PAIN. I already have a sciatic nerve problem with my lower back but I’ve always been able to manage it and stretch often, but since I stopped using caffeine my back has been absolutely killing me. I can barely walk 300 ft without pain being so unbearable that I have to bend over or sit down for a minute just for the pain to stop. I really need help on what I should do

  • After having a slight dizzy spell I decided to go cold turkey (not thinking anything bad would happen) not many symptoms for a couple days, then heart palpitations, raised heart rate, unbelievable anxiety, Iv never had anxiety before, Pain across the top of my back. Fatigued by 2pm each day, fuzzy head, was convinced there was something wrong with my heart. Thought I was having a heart attack! Went to doctors, blood pressure a little high 148/88 (I’m 36 male) he thinks I’m fine but to try settle my anxiety he booked me in for ecg and bloods next week. Then I came across this and other sites relating to caffeine withdrawal, I thought f**k this, I’m trying a coffee to see if it’s that! I had a coffee yesterday morning, didn’t feel much different, one in the afternoon, slept like a log, felt perfect apart from slight dizzy head, had two coffees today, feel 100% now. I can’t believe it can make you so poorly and anxious.

  • Hello I’ve been going through it all since august and it’s been the worst ever depression anxiety stress but the migraine is the the most scary I had every test done MRI,eeg,C’s,all normal but I still get these shaking headaches back pains dizziness fog head I can’t interact with my kids nothing I’m afraid

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