Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline
Caffeine is surprisingly the most consumed drug in the world. From statistics, about 100 million Americans consume at least one cup of coffee per day and this is quite significant. Americans and people all around the world love their caffeine fix, be it from coffee or energy drinks and sodas and if they skip that regular cup of coffee or glass of soda that they usually take, experts warn that they might start to experience symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.

Neuropharmacologists call caffeine a drug that acts as a mild stimulant that blocks receptors in the brain that can dilate blood vessels causing headaches and other symptoms. It is possible to become dependent on caffeine after just a week or two of continued use. You shouldn’t be surprised if you start to feel the symptoms almost immediately after you quit. Caffeine stimulates the release of stress hormones and adrenaline which give you that energy boost but, as you well know, this surge of energy doesn’t last very long and you eventually crash and seek out more caffeine afterward. Therein lies the problem as this continued dependence on caffeine wears down your adrenal glands.

Can caffeine withdrawal cause headaches?

Yes, you can get headaches from caffeine withdrawal. You might experience headaches 72 hours after your last caffeine intake. The painful sensation starts behind the eyes and moves to the front of your head and creates a very unpleasant experience.

What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?

Common withdrawal symptoms of caffeine addiction include:

  • Fatigue and sleepiness
  • Depression
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Concentration impairment
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
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When you do finally decide to quit caffeine, the withdrawal symptoms can start anywhere from 12 to 20 hours after your last cup of coffee and can peak at 2 days and will probably go on for as long as a week. It is recommended that you wean yourself off caffeine gradually by reducing the quantity you consume little by little. This makes it a bit easier to cope with withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms aren’t specific or constant and they vary from person to person depending on their physiology and quantity of caffeine they’ve been consuming. However, there are common symptoms that you can expect when you try to quit caffeine. Some of them include:

  1. Fatigue and Sleepiness

Little wonder this is a symptom of withdrawal. When your body is already dependent on caffeine and you need coffee or soda to give you that instant fix of energy it becomes difficult to be as active as you once were when you stop taking caffeine. You will experience lower energy levels physically and psychologically and this will tempt you to go back to caffeine. Typically this occurs within the first 24 to 36 hours after your last drink.

  1. Depression

When you quit caffeine, your serotonin levels will drop and this will have an immediate impact on your mood and consequently, depression sets in. The main issue is just the lack of caffeine and this depression is not linked to any real life happenings or conditions. This symptom also manifests between 24 to 36 hours after your last caffeine intake.

  1. Headaches

The headaches will start behind your eyes and then move to the front of your head making your day to day activities ever so terrible. This symptom is experienced around 72 hours after your last caffeine intake. At this point, you no longer crave the sweetness of the caffeine-containing drink or the energy fix but your body just reacts to the sheer absence of caffeine in your system.

  1. Irritability

It is probably a good idea to prepare everyone you come in daily contact with that you might be a little grumpy and you’re probably going to overreact to the little things that you normally wouldn’t react to. This irritability is often as a result of the body reacting to the absence of caffeine and it is amplified with the headaches you are probably already experiencing. This also is manifested between 48 to 72 hours after your last drink.

  1. Anxiety and Nervousness

It is possible to have actual physical manifestations of anxiety. Your chest starts to get a little bit tighter and your breathing might become a little more labored and difficult.

  1. Concentration Impairment

You will experience difficulty concentrating and your alertness levels will be on the decline at work and in school and this makes even the easiest tasks seem like the most difficult thing to do. This is the reason why coffee is so popular in colleges and workplaces where a high level of mental concentration is needed. Lapses in concentration show up almost immediately after caffeine intake has been interrupted.

  1. Muscle Pain and Stiffness

Aches and pains occur during the initial stages of withdrawal. If you normally use caffeine for your workouts, you might find that it is harder for you to lift the same amount of weight, to keep your energy levels up and to keep your endurances level as high as you would normally get.

  1. Flu-like Symptoms

It is also common to start to experience symptoms of flu such as stuffy nose, blocked sinuses, chills, hot flashes etc.

  1. Insomnia

Among the most common effects of caffeine withdrawal is insomnia. Some people cannot sleep through the process as their body is going through all these changes as a result of the absence of caffeine in the system. This is, ironically, as a result of the disruption of the sleep cycle due to the abuse of caffeine. Insomnia is a symptom that will probably be experienced late on in the withdrawal process.

  1. Constipation

It’s not a pretty affair. Caffeine stimulates the bowels and without it, your trips to the bathroom might start to get really uncomfortable.

According to research, tiredness, as measured by a visual analog scale is the most sensitive indicator of caffeine withdrawal. Headaches only become an issue after at least 24 hours of caffeine withdrawal and it was also confirmed that after longer term abstention, drowsiness and lethargy are transient caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

You probably didn’t know this but caffeine withdrawal following years of previous research has actually now been classified as an actual mental disorder and this is because caffeine is a drug and it needs to be treated as such. During the withdrawal process, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Decrease your intake gradually. Don’t go cold turkey at once.
  • Hydrate yourself properly.
  • Try decaffeinated alternatives.

How long does caffeine dependence take?

Caffeine dependence is developed in as short as one or two weeks of continued use. The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are felt anywhere between 12 to 20 hours after quitting and can last for up to one week.

If you persist in your bid to quit caffeine, you will eventually cross the threshold where the withdrawal symptoms begin to fade until they are no longer there. This can take anywhere between two weeks to months depending on the method used to quit and the concentration of the initial caffeine intake.

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Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

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Comments 103

  • Thanks a lot!
    Here in Germany i m not able to find any reliable informations about this topic. It is therefore important that american health sience report about it!

  • Thank you for this article. I have been off Caffeine for over a week now, and still having headaches, my body is aching at night especially. Only one night of insomnia so far. I have been very tempted to drink some green tea, just for the health benefits, and the smaller dose of caffeine. I really want to be caffeine free though. It is a rough road so far…for me.

    • I just quit caffeine 3 days ago and having same symptoms especially body aches (lower back and legs). How are you doing so far ?

      • Im on two months and i i still am wanting a damn Dr Pepper so bad

      • Exactly the same

      • I stopped all caffeine for 4 days now but the past couple of days, I was off work because I felt exhausted and my body hurt everywhere. The bones in my feet and legs hurt immensely. I slept 17 hours a couple of days ago and then another 13ish hours the following day. However, today I woke up with no pain, I have been up since 4.30 am and I feel so fresh. I wouldn’t feel this fresh drinking coffee. Worth it!

      • I’m on day 5 of my caffeine free life, Woke up this morning feeling like I had been doing squats and deadlifts all nights, couldn’t even extend my legs out in front of me while sitting let alone touch my toes while doing so.

    • thanks for giving me a heads up based on your experience. im also cutting my caffeine intake.

    • today is my first day pray for me today is 4-26-2019 me and my friend stopped today we been drinking caffine soda such as sprite 7-up fanta help us

    • Is there anything that nulls the headache?

    • I here you Bri been off a week and the first 3 days you could have put me in a mental ward much better now but still get panick attack’s will probably take another week or two to get it out of my system totally

  • Good info. I wondered why I was having such ‘sinus’ type headaches and a little breathing difficulty. I went off caffeine once before but don’t remember it being this bad. I went cold turkey 3 days ago for heart reasons and I still have some headaches. According to this article it can take 2 weeks to months to get over all the symptoms. Hopefully no more than 2 weeks but I have been drinking a lot of coffee, tea, cokes and love chocolate. So my system is loaded with caffeine. Oh well…..

  • I was rushed to the Hospital 5 days ago after experiencing palpitations two days in a row while riding my mountain bike. I have been a heavy Starbucks coffee consumer, and have been taking in close to 40 ounces a day. 2 Ventis a day, and additional shots of espresso from about 1998 not missing one day. Yah,. Not to mention all the sugar I ingested . Long story short the Doctors at the ER told me my caffeine intake was responsible for the Palpitations after many tests, blood work,and EKGs. I was scared, but at the same time knew I had to quit my coffee consumption.Well, here it is Day 4 with no caffeine, and I am alive.The last 3 days were terrible. Killer migraine headaches, sleepy, tiredness, irritability, confusion, etc. All of the classic withdrawal symptoms. The Headaches are getting better, I am eating well, and I actually feel very good right now after I rode my bike 3 miles. Back to a normal sleep patterns, and waking up early again. I was going to sleep at 4:00 am , and my biorhythms were off.I am grateful I was able to do it cold turkey too, and not suffer as bad as some people do. Ok, Good Luck to all, and my best wishes to those that want to quit. James

    • first safe level is 300 to 400 mg a day, some say 300 some 400.. meaning 2 drip cofffee mug medium strength , which i dont like nor use, I use mocka stove top expresso pot.. or 5 expresso, yes expresso is much less than avg drip mug of coffee which has 200 mg.. depending on the strength you make it.. but expresso being concentrate you feel it fast, but it is one third of the soupy drip cofffee mug of 200 ml.
      it is about r 7 to 8 cup of instant coffee, instant coffee tea spoon is 50 mg. Black tea has 30 mg per spoon which make a cup. Darjeeling which I love is 20 mg of caffeine a cup, which require one tea spoon to make ,and the lowest of tea is green tea. zero cock Idont drink but Pepsi Zero Sugar 20 oz. 115 mg!!! yes .. and many soft drink pepsi or cola are between 70 to 90.. I dont drink them anyway.. for info only.
      so my advice, first gradual if you estimate 500 gm of caffeine a day .. play with concentration of coffee, instead of 2 table spoon, use 1.7 for 2 days, then 1.5 for 2 or 3 days, then 1.2 for another 3 days.. then 1 spoon… if in the processs you see it watery, lower the water so it feel concentrated but less.. then if you drink say 5 or 6 assorted caffeine drink cocke coffee, etc… make it 5, then 3 days later 4.. then 3.. you will notice a very minor symptoms … very minor.. but dont rush , lower it only 10% to 15% less every three days to get adjusted to it.. in 10 days you will be drinking 200 mg or 250 which is very safe level… then you can lower it further if you want that, me no.. I Love it.. so I stay at 2 or 3 cup total, 2 coffee and 2 tea it comes to 300mg.. the way I do it.. i drink in small quantity of liquid so it is not soupy so taste great but in small cup.. good luck all from.

    • Thank you!!! Great information. Day three going on day four. I’m really glad to have a timeline available of how long this process is going to take. This way I know I will avoid disappointment with my progress. I know what is on the other side, I’ve been successful before and lived two great years caffeine free. One more time, my hope is to make this a lifetime commitment. good luck friends.

      • I’m on day 4 and I’m glad to read I’m not the only one doing this right now! Well done!

      • How are you doing now ? It’s only been six days and I am still experiencing head ache and body ache and not able to sleep long enough. Hope you are doing well !

        • I’m six days in too and have the same symptoms as you. I can only sleep with pills. Are you better now?

        • I am on day nine and it’s all over the place. A real struggle. I’m actually wondering if something is seriously wrong with me. So glad for these other comments as they help me remember I’m not going crazy. Headaches still there and quite intense. Moods not terrible but I am anxious and my brain is so foggy. Only way out is to see it through. No going back.

    • It never once occurred to you that, maybe that much coffee is a poor decision and detrimental to your health? Where’s your common sense & self love??

    • Thank you for the positive comments. I am 4 days into coffee withdrawal and am super tired. I realise I will have to accept this but hope I get more energy by the end of next week.

  • I was forced into caffeine detox after a bout with food poisoning almost 72 hours ago.
    The headache and eye pain were intense after 24 hours, but after 48 hours both have lightened up. Still present off & on but tolerable
    Thank you for the information & insight

  • I have been off coffee for 3 days and I am experiencing muscle and joint aches in my hips and legs.

  • It is week 1 – went cold turkey – probably a bad choice.

    It is so tempting to get back on the coffee – my limbs really hurt! Giving up alcohol seemed so much less painful – maybe I just forget once the goal of clearing the body from these drugs is achieved.

  • I stopped coffee 2 days ago and am experiencing headaches and insomnia. I am writing this at 3:30 am. Can’t sleep. I hope ithe headaches and insomnia pass quickly. I’m hoping I can hang in there and not go back to. Coffee. I did enjoy a cup or two each morning but I was experiencing heart palpitations so I decided to quit coffee. Hopefully I can do this.

  • Thank you for this article… I just completed a detox from my prescription medications to see if I still need them or not and that was very very tough. I have began my new life of eating organic and trying to remove and avoid all unnatural chemicals from my body.

    Caffeine is the last step and I have to say it is harder than I ever imagined. I have a very stressful and very demanding job. On an average day, I would have 5-7 shots of espresso to perform as required. I know I can do this though…reading your article certainly made me feel better. I am on track and since I am now experiencing almost all of the symptoms.

    I wish everyone out there well who is on the same journey to being drug-free!

    We can do this!

  • Day 3 on caffeine abstinence. I decided to go cold turkey as I can’t do otherwise. I love coffee to just drink 1 cup a day! Well know withdraw symptoms as reported by our fellow quitters here. One symptom that strikes me is pain in the lower limbs. Very intense and only subsides with painkillers. Looking forward to a life without coffee!

  • I am nearly three weeks coffee free and am still having intense bouts of sleepiness during the day. I wasn’t a heavy caffeine consumer, so I am wondering is this really still part of detoxing?!

    • I am week one and still expedition also. I just wAnt to sleep. My blood pressure is also sky high.

    • It is probably a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider if your symptoms persist. Maybe you were taking in caffeine in various forms that add up? Coffee, tea, sodas, chocolate all have it. They did say it can take months to fully recover from the withdrawal symptoms. I am a personal believer in replacing what you were trying to get from coffee/caffeine. Which is namely energy. You will hopefully find some increase in energy by seeking out activities that energize you. Exercise is a good one. I hope you find relief. I struggle with the same issue when quitting caffeine and it is no fun.

  • Day 4 cold turkey. Triple shot in the morning was my reason for getting out of bed. Afternoon double shot. Aches and pains all over worse in legs and hips responds well to paracetamol. Thought it was difficult to give up nicotine but caffeine wins out hands down.

  • I have been drinking coffee since I’m 26 years old. I am now 71. I was drinking 18 cups a day . I went down to 12. I have almost every symptom there is. I am having a very hard time . I am anxiousness , I have headaches . I am always tired now and I want to have a cup of coffee like there is no tomorrow . I work as a hair stylist owning my shop and finding working 12 hours is hard without my coffee to get me thru. I had trouble with swollen ankles for years . I thought it was a heart issue . so my heart doctor thought so too. She put me on water pills and my ankles were still swollen. Now they are skinny. Forgot what my legs looked like. go figure . This is what doctors should ask the patients that have a heart specialist. They should ask how many cups of coffee do you drink a day and if they say 12 to 18 they have got to stop ! thanks for listening

    • You down to 12? I drink a 12 pack of soda and a coffee or two a day and just going down you can tell! I have anxiety and headache and that blah feeling, I hope we can get through this and remember to drink water and I actually think Gatorade helps… Steven

    • Eilee, hang in there. I’ve drunk coffee since I was 12. I am now 61. Three weeks ago, I quit cold turkey. I would drink about 10 to 15 cups of very strong coffee/day. I wouldn’t say that my energy level is up to where it should be, but I don’t have headaches or lethargy any longer. I do sleep better. My stress level is much lower. I work 12 hour days as well. It helps to go for a short walk each hour. Blessings on your journey 🙂

  • I’m in the minor leagues compared to many above; I found that my Coke Zero intake had escalated to five or six cans a day, and decided just to stop for many, many reasons unrelated to the caffeine intake. At only at most 204mg/day, I didn’t think that was the headline problem — it’s still well below ‘safe’ consumption levels, no matter how conservative an estimate you look for. Not much more than two cups of coffee.

    Yet, come day three of cold turkey and the headache was astounding. I don’t normally have headaches, so that was a surprise. It was strong for around 18 hours, accompanied by muscle pain primarily in my legs and lower back that peaked around the midpoint of the headache.

    This is day four, now about thirty-six hours since the headache arrived, and it’s mostly gone. My muscles now feel merely strained, not actually constantly uncomfortable.

    All in, it’s felt a lot like having a flu without the cold-like symptoms.

    So, getting to my point: if you’re a proper caffeine drinker, consuming four or six or more cups of coffee a day, I would absolutely advise **against** going cold turkey.

    I’ve had probably the most minor of potential withdrawals, during which I wasn’t expecting any side effects at all because of the small quantity of my intake, and it’s been quite uncomfortable. Had I been trying to cut down to the extent of other posters here, I think I might have had a very tough time indeed.

  • its been almost a month going cold Turkey and I am very depressed and getting back on regular hours has made me less productive. So I am getting less done with double the sleep. I am hoping things will change….wish i had my old energy back.

    • I’m curious how you are feeling now. I’m 2 weeks in and feel like crap a lot of the time. Lethargy, depression, and lots of headaches. Please tell me it gets better.

  • It’s been one week without any coffee and I’ve been feeling dizzy, lightheaded, constipated and waking up in the middle of the night with anxiety and some panic attacks. I’m one of the guys that preferred drinking coffee all day over water. And I’m getting my punishment, hope you guys don’t have to go through this. I’ll post an update in some weeks if I can remember haha

  • This information has helped me understand my symptoms, and has given me hope to hang in there. I thought it was no big deal at first since I was only drinking a 1/2 cup a day, and I would only drink one particular coffee (French Vanilla Cappuccino from Tim Horton’s). That’s it, nothing else. I didn’t think it was a big deal since it was out of a machine just like hot chocolate. Believe it or not, I’ve only been drinking this stuff for about 6 years. Before then, I never drank coffee at all….only tea (go figure!).

    My first experience with withdrawal was when I went on vacation, and realized there was no Tim Horton’s in China. It was a horrible experience, and I had no idea what was going on. Needless to say, I started purchasing cans of instant French Vanilla Cappuccino sold at Tim Horton’s. It was like the American Express commercial said, “don’t leave home with it.” Well, I never traveled without it.

    Then my husband started to get irritated, because every time I’d try to quit, it was really bad. My withdrawal symptoms were a lot like everyone described. It made him nervous and he couldn’t understand what I was going through because he’s never drank coffee, or taken any drugs in his life. He said to me, “anything that has that much control over you, you need to let go.” So I’ve been trying, if not for that reason alone. Since several attempts to kick the habit, the longest I’ve ever gone was 6 months. My downfall always happens in the winter when I have a craving for something warm to drink. I’m going to take a week off work, and go cold turkey to try and kick the habit again. I’d probably loose my job if I tried to work during the process because I can get pretty outspoken when I’m irritated. So I’d rather not take that chance. Good luck to all of you! Thanks for listening, and thanks for sharing your stories.

  • I quit cigarettes and sodas cold turkey about a month ago… I wouldn’t do nothing everyday but drink 5-6 sodas everyday and smoke a pack of cigarette everyday literally no water intake no nothing and I’m a month in on both withdrawals and I feel like hell still!!! Any tips please??

    • I’m right there with you , I quit soda and coffee cold turkey February 8, 2019. And although I am getting better , I still have headaches , anxiety , jaw clenching and all the symptoms. Not as severe , but they keep coming. I’ve been drinking soda every day my whole life and coffee since I was 14.

      • we stopped around the same time. The severe anxiety attacks are gone and all the worst symtomsm but i get waves where I feel more depressed and “disconnected” with reality( hard to describe) every now and then but it is more manageable and im able to function. Seems like a very slow process, but looking back its improved much more.

    • I smoked for 15 years and had so many quit attempts. The only thing that worked was going on patches for 6 months and then gum for another 6 months. I kept a few pieces of gum around for a few months after that incase of bad cravings but so far I haven’t smoked in two and a half years. You may wanna talk to a dr about using the patches and gum for an extended period of time, idk. Good luck to you

    • are tremors part of it? I am slowly adding a small amount of coffee, watered down. OMG the headache was horrible. I feel like I am shaking all the time and have to take a sleeping pill to sleep. I never dreamed this was the problem. I had stopped cold turkey and have had coffee every morning for


  • Gyeah headaches bearable . If this is what my caffeine mistress has being doing to me I’m done with her. Hang in there, drink water and cut the sugars next. Well worth the pain.

  • I would say it is 5-6 weeks since my last cup of coffee or tea. I have also cut back on chocolate although not entirely… Headaches are still constant, ranging from a slight tingle to heavy buzz, not particularly painful but i’m getting pretty sick of it!

  • Thank you for this information. I have high blood pressure, so l have to get away from the caffeine. I have one Pepsi left. After it’s gone, I will be going Cold turkey. I’ve been without caffeine before, so I know what to expect from the absence. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it. But, for my health, I have no choice. At least now I know how long it’s going to be. (Or some sort of timeline anyway.)

  • I was only on 50 mg of caffeine so really low amount. I have decided to get off its 4 days no caffeine, I may go down to 25 mg then 15 then 5mg then off it’s seems better that way. Not sure

  • Im on day 4 of no caffeine. Was a heavy consumer for years but was forced to stop earlier this week due to a stomach virus I contracted. Cutting out caffeine is a crucial part of my recovery. I had no idea how bad the withdrawal period from caffeine would be. Constant headache. Lethargic. Aches and pains. It’s made me realize how much caffeine alters ones body chemistry and is forcing me to rethink my views towards coffee. If the withdrawals from coffee are so bad, it can’t be a good thing to put into your body regularly. I’ve always believed that the less you need to get through the day, the better. So I am now looking forward to getting through this withdrawal period and kicking the caffeine addiction.

  • Great information! This is not easy giving up my coffee! I was a three to four cup a day lady. Love my coffee but my digestive system wouldn’t tolerate it anymore. The caffeine or acid, or both, caused cramps, bloating etc. it was affecting my life. So here I am on day 3 with no coffee. The headaches were not bad and now gone. There is a slight fatigue but not too bad! For all of you trying, keep it up. We will be better off in the long run.

  • Wishing everyone a good journey with their soda, coffee & caffeine withdrawal

  • thanks for the information it help me ive been drinking coffee since 2008 and trying to stop this past few days.. and all the symptoms said here is accurate haha thanks again

  • For me, I sleep 12 hrs a day when I go through the withdrawal… don’t know who gets insomnia?

  • Wow! So many strong people here!

    I started a medication 7 days ago that completely eliminated my desire for caffeine. I didn’t even think about it until 3 days ago when the migraine started and didn’t let up until this morning to a light headache. I decided to stay caffeine-free because of how my medication might interact and because I think I will save money.

    Having a migraine for 48 hours was rough and I am hoping this light headache is a sign that the worst is over?!

  • I quit coffee 5 days ago. I drank between 2 and 4 strong cups a day. I noticed that my sleep had become very disturbed and suspected that too much caffeine was the cause, which is why I quit coffee.
    I have switched to tea. I had nasty headaches between days 2 and 4 after quitting. Headaches are gone now, but anxiety is suddenly very high, and I feel very low and lethargic. I feel worse than Ive ever felt in a long time. I hope this doesnt last long, because I love drinking coffee, and im sorely tempted to just forget about all this quitting nonsense and just get back drinking coffee again.

    • Hey! This is exactly how I feel! Did it get better?

    • I was drinking coffee and also switched to green tea…I realize now that I have withdrawal from caffeine! The tea isn’t as strong as I thought it would be. It’s been one week and I hope I can get back to normal soon. Yikes!

  • Lilly…what’s the medication?

  • I quit coffee (the only form of caffeine I drank) 2 days ago. I used to drink 2 cups of Gevalia daily, first thing in the morning and again around 1 or 2.
    I’m quitting due to acid reflux. I just don’t want to become dependent on heartburn medication and since I quit coffee, the reflux has subsided. This keeps me going!
    My withdraw symptoms are : muscle and joint aches, tiredness and headaches. If my headaches become unbearable, I take a Sudafed which shrinks the blood vessels like caffeine.
    My husband drinks quite a bit of coffee and the intoxicating smell makes me teary eyed, but I am determined to soldier on!
    Good luck to all!!

  • Hi everyone, Advise pleeeease, I feel like I’m dying. I had palpitations and sweats last Thursday at 2am after drinking too much tea before bed (I’m guessing) and ended up in A&E. They saw a slight abnormal heart rhythm but didn’t know what was wrong. Since then I’ve cut out the tea. 5 days now. I was drinking maybe 5 cups a day of black tea for over 30 years.

    OMG I feel like I’m loosing the plot. Last night was the worst ever. Strangely no headaches??? But getting really bad hot flashes, anxiety/panicked attacks, palpitations, cramps/spasms in my chest and abdomen, leg and hip pains, my legs feel like jelly, feeling dizzy, woke up to a stuffy nose today, couldn’t sleep til 6am this morning then woke up still with all these symptoms. I’m getting really worried if it’s the withdrawal or something else.

    I just gave in and had a few mouthfuls of tea as it’s scaring me so much. Are these symptoms all withdrawal symptoms? Can someone please tell me if this is all normal and how do I manage the symptoms. I really want to quit the tea but can’t cope with this.

  • I was drinking 400mg of caffeine a day for several months – my anxiety was on high, and my heart felt flighty. I quit cold turkey on March 11, and after about 24 hours of no caffeine I started getting awful anxiety attacks, racing pulse, and a horrible mood. In the days since, I’ve been experiencing muscle aches, mild sinus and chest congestion, and minor anxiety attacks. Aside from all of that, I’m beginning to feel generally more mellow, and I’m not craving caffeine at all. Magnesium supplements, Gatorade, and light exercise have been helpful, as well as allowing myself to rest. I’ve also found roasted chicory root to be a satisfying caffeine-free replacement for coffee.

  • I have been experiencing headaches that seem to be like tension headaches in the back of my head not in the front is that normal and how long will it take to wean myself off of caffeine

  • When will this headache end?! I lived on coffee all day everyday until I got the flu 3 days ago! I cannot handle this headache. I’m not even craving or able to tolerate coffee. Do people really have a headache for weeks like the article says?? I hope not. I can handle the fatigue and muscle aches but not this headache business

  • I’m on day 3 of my latest attempt to quit caffeine, and this time it’s for good, I can’t go through this again. In the past I have quit, but then fallen back into the habit thinking I can have just one cup, but your body always craves for more and it’s the same old slippery slope.

    In my experience cold turkey is the only way to go if you seriously want to stop. My advice would be treat it with the respect of any other withdrawal, give yourself 4-5 days where you can just lie in bed and feel sorry for yourself. Drink water, lots of it, even when you don’t feel thirsty. I always get a dry mouth, and a bitter taste and don’t want to drink, but keeping hydrated really helps the headaches. I switch to a fruit and vegetable diet because it’s quick to prepare, and I make sure I’ve got everything I need in the house so I don’t need to worry about going outside, unless I want to.

    The pain of the headaches from day 1-3 is crippling, so some good audio books to entertain whilst you go through this are helpful. I also use gel eye masks that you pop in the fridge to make cool, as they are very soothing. Things do start to get easier after day 4, you still get headaches but these are just minor compared to what you have been through. I will certainly miss my caffeine fix in the future, but the negatives far outweigh the positives for me now.

  • Newly pregnant and the taste of coffee is just awful now. So I stopped drinking and have been ridiculously fatigued, shallow breath, can’t sleep, optical migraine, constipated. Today, I was like, what the hell, gonna have a cappuccino. All of the sudden, I have the jitters and my heart starts racing – but I have energy like I haven’t had in about two weeks.

    I realized that I might be having caffeine withdrawals. Your article has helped me confirm this.

    I drink a liter of Seattle’s Best from a French Press every single day. Although I sometimes alternate for a cappuccino on some days, but it’s about the same concentration. Anyway, I just hope these symptoms go away soon. After this, I’m gonna regulate my caffeine intake. Can’t believe how addicted I was and didn’t realize.

    • for the sake of your precious baby too….they will have caffeine coursing round their little bodies too! Well done! 🙂

  • I drank , correction , NEEDED my cup of coffee every morning to function. I quit cold turkey 3 wks ago. It was rough for the first week all the symptoms with the worst headaches. It was a rough patch but I now am starting to get better sleeps than ever before! I’m less bloated and not consumming the sugar and cream every day is a bonus in loosing weight. I never really enjoyed the taste of coffee but used it as a stimulant when I started shift work. So glad to be free of this vice. So hang in there it does get better and life is cleaner and not so foggy free of caffeine. I now enjoy herbal caffeine free teas at work and home. It’s freeing not being controlled by a beverage. Stay strong!!!

  • I used to rely on my two cups of strong coffee to wake me up in the morning, tea to carry my through the day, another coffee around 2-3PM to keep me going, usually tea at dinner time. Cold turkey – 2 days without it and it’s been hard! Day one spent on the sofa in a stupor, night sweats into day 2. Headache was there, but managed without pain killers – just lots and lots of water/herbal/fruit teas. I mean really lots, feels like more than you need, but helps with the headache. Really foggy brain and towards the end of the day muscle and back pain started. I also feel very tired and at the same time unable to fall asleep, irritating.
    It is fascinating journey though, to realise how much it affects your body and daily functioning. It will get better. Stay strong quitters and if in doubt search on line ‘spiders on drugs’

  • I’ve had every single

  • Thank you for sharing this info. in plain language. And for my fellow caffeine lovers seeking redemption, I thank you too for its your hx of trials that bring home the analysis of this report. I’m 2 days in. I’ve been experiencing cloudiness in thinking, moodiness and the infamous headache – it started behind my right eye lob and is now in the front area of my head. My nose is runny too, but I think that’s due to the fan I just recently started with the break of spring and I’m finding it difficult to get a night sleep. I feel depending on the person and the state they’re in physically and emotionally, prior to quitting, the affects of the withdrawals are different. Nevertheless it is nice to read you guys’ thoughts and to know that the dark seemingly tunnel is short.

  • Thank you for sharing this info. in plain language. And for my fellow caffeine lovers seeking redemption, I thank you too for its your hx of trials that bring home the analysis of this report. I’m 2 days in. I’ve been experiencing cloudiness in thinking, moodiness and the infamous headache – it started behind my right lob and is now in the front area of my head. My nose is runny too, but I think that’s due to the fan and I’m finding it difficult to get a night sleep. I feel depending on the person and the state they’re in physically and emotionally, prior to quitting, the affects of the withdrawals are different. Nevertheless it is nice to read you guys’ thoughts and to know that the dark seemingly tunnel is short.

  • Thank you for the very informative article. I have been a habitual coffee drinker since I was eight years old as I was brought up in a Cuban household where that is perfectly normal. However, when I started drinking coffee, the average size of a coffee cup was about a quarter of the size of the average coffee cup we’re used to today. Needless to say, I now overconsume coffee and so had my husband until he quit cold turkey about a week ago. Since then, he has not slept more than one hour a day, he is not eating very much, he has begun shaking and he’s even more irritable than usual. I unfortunately can’t watch him like this any longer and made him a cup of coffee just now. We will have to try another method and this article has been very helpful. Thanks again!

  • In the last paragraph of your excellent article about caffeine addiction, it says that withdrawal symptoms can last up to one week. But in te second part of the same paragraph it also says that withdrawal symptoms can last two weeks to months. I had my last coffee about a month ago and I am still going thru these hellish withdrawals that you describe so well. So, I would like to get a better understanding about the withdrawal duration from others who went thru the same ordeal. Many thanks.

  • It is a relief to see so many people going through the same thing, and basically with the same symptoms. I was in denial. Was brought up in a house where coffee was normal, but I started being a heavy drinker about 23 y/o. To my surprise 20 years later I’m here sharing this. I’ve always justified my caffeine intake—literally more than I could count—by referring to several—even scientific—articles that boast the goods of java. But then I realized I couldn’t ignore some signs of this intake abuse, 3 days ago I went to the ER with the worse abdominal pain ever, and while they found no apparent reason, I feel in my bones it was caffeine poison. Interestingly, I got disgusted with coffee and don’t feel like touching it, but I’m definitely heaving all the withdrawal symptoms such as headaches body ache, cold sweating, extreme fatigue and, go figure, insomnia. Best of luck to everyone. I was blind now I see! 🙂

  • I was up to about 4-5 cups of coffee daily. I’m on day 8 of no caffeine now. I had a bad headache the first day, but none since. I felt drained all week. ridiculously tired, but also couldn’t fall asleep, or stay asleep at night. It was a brutal week. Cardio at the gym definitely helped. Day 8 and I felt pretty damn good today. I slept decent last night. Reading these comments, it seems like caffeine is a really strong drug. I’m glad to be off of it. Good luck everyone.

  • Man, I was feeling so depressed, tired…my bones and joints were killing me, bad sleep….I didn’t even relate it with caffeine withdrawal…I was delighted to google this article, glad to know that I’m not dying, it’s only bloody coffee… 🙂

  • Don’t you think it’s so scary to experience the symptoms of withdrawal and to realise how much of a hold this stuff has on you! I was absolutely astounded! I’m on day 4 going cold-turkey…think the worst has passed now, but it’s so very real and I definitely don’t want anything to have such a hold on me! Keep on everyone! You KNOW it’s doing you good to become free of caffeine, so get some good encouragers around you so that you don’t give up! 🙂

  • I quit drinking coffee about 1 week ago. Usually drinking 1large cup of drip coffee in the morning and occasionally a small cup in the afternoon. Daily intake 700 – 1000mg? I switched to making a tea latte in the morning with 2 teabags I think that’s 60mg? Maybe 100? Headaches not too bad though I do feel like my head is stuffed with cotton or something much of the day. Body Aches Yes. Tiredness Yes. Yesterday I “treated” myself to an espresso before work and today I am feeling greater withdrawal symptoms. I guess that’s normal. I am just so unmotivated today and have been tempted to have a cup of coffee. I am enjoying the tea option and may eventually wean myself from that. Cold Turkey isn’t for me right now. I am enjoying some of the benefits of lowering caffeine. I don’t experience an energy crash. True, I am experiencing tiredness, but that’s not the same as a crash. Thanks for reading!

  • I’ve been drinking a 20 oz diet coke every morning for years, with an occassional soda with dinner if eating out. I found out I had high blood pressure so I decided to eat clean and go cold turkey. I’m on day 6. The headache started day 2 and lasted 2 days, that followed with stuffy nose and chest congestion and fatigue. The worst part has been the pain in my legs and hips, it’s like a constant ache. Hopefully I don’t have too much more of this.

  • Tapering off, if possible, is —the— best way. You can buy decaf and regular, and then mix some up with less regular in the mix. Keep lowering the amount of regular added to your mix each week. After a few weeks I’m now mixing at 10% regular and 90% decaf. No headaches, very mild symptoms and much calmer and happier. Will be completely on decaf in next week or so. I’m 60 years old. Coffee was really affecting my life, oddly. Most don’t realize that alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine are very much drugs just like the “street” drugs we see abused meth, pot etc.. Give tapering off a try instead of cold turkey–which I’ve done in the past and it was a horrible way to quit.

  • I have quit coffee many times. The withdrawal symptoms are much worse if the amount you are drinking is high. My peak consumption is about three 16 oz. “cups” a day. Tapering your intake before you quit is a great idea! I get 3 days of headaches and 2 weeks of leg pain. I have also used hot chocolate to taper off of coffee. With a few days of hot chocolate I avoided the headaches. You can do it. The people in your life might prefer that you go somewhere else during detox.

  • I have been of caffeine for at least 2 months maybe longer. I have been having internal shaky and jittery feeling. Can caffeine withdrawal affects last that long. I would have 5 to 8 pops a day before I quit. Usually shaky and jittery1st thing in morning and mid to late afternoon.

    • I think it can take a lot longer than a week – as this article incorrectly suggests. So i would probably think it’s still part of detoxing and also getting used to life without Caffeine. It sounds like you were consuming quite a lot.

  • Sleeplessness, Headaches, weakness in arms, yawning at work.. i am having them all.

    Quitting coffee is not as easy as it appears! especially if you are addicted for over 2 years.

  • Yea, a month in to just coffee one cup and a few cups of black tea a day and I’m in the middle of a depression “wave” really s**ks knowing exactly how to make the depression go away and not doing anything. I also have diagnosed depression so the caffeine depression is just the cherry on top. Hate the invention of caffeine pills.

  • I love coffee to the core of my being, but I feel it’s bad for me..
    This is 7th day I haven’t any, I have no physical problems, rather psychical.. I miss the ritual itself,
    I’m obsessed by the idea of it, I hope it dissipate with time

  • Me too Cod_e. I sleep & sleep. It is day 3 no caffeine & I have been lying around in pain dozing. Day 1 of withdrawals felt like a terrible hangover. I listen to guided meditations on you tube to lull me to sleep.

  • Am 65 yrs old. Have been drinking coffee when I started working at 18. Usually 3-6 cups per day. Decided to quit by weaning myself 6 yrs ago when started getting heart palpatations, cold sweats and anxiety attacks. I knew it was not menopause because went through that years earlier. Was diagnosed with thyroid cancer the same time and decided it was a wake up call. Quit and relapsed several times, went back to drinking coffee sporadically, not the same amounts as before, but am trying to quit again hopefully for good. Am on week two now and headaches have nearly gone away, but feeling lousy, nervousness, muscle aches, fatigue, depression, but am determined. Am drinking herbal teas in the morning and at night on occasion, usually chamomile. It’s funny that I look at virtually every Starbucks on the street and am dying to stop in. I still crave it.

  • I stopped for a month and it was hell, but I started to feel much better, but one day I had a cup of coffee to get through a precarious no sleep situation. The coffee worked wonders for that day, but with even a one-day relapse the recovery has knocked me out for like three days, the headaches returned and total exhaustion, I hope it goes away soon. It’s like a major coffee hangover, not totally like quitting all over again but bad enough for me to recognize you pay a price for that extra energy. Has anyone else had similar relapse experiences?

  • I’m on day 7. I consumed 4 – 5 cups of regular black coffee per day and and some days I’d have diet cokes too. I’ve been drinking coffee religiously for 30 years! I’m having some trouble with my BP and decided to stop caffeine cold turkey and I’ll say it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve done! It’s a close race to when I stopped smoking cigarettes a couple years ago!
    My headaches seem to be getting better but I’m still so tired and I have a hard time getting through my work days. I have muscle aches – legs and back are the worst! My sinuses seems to be acting up. And I’m freaking grumpy! I will say I’ve not had any trouble sleeping during the night – thank goodness.
    This is certainly a challenging journey but I plan to stick with it and hope for the best out comes for us all. Best of luck to you guys’!!!

  • So I went for 24 hours without caffeine and I didn’t think I drank that much but I imagine that what I went through was like heroin withdrawals… I woke up with a slight migraine and sweats… it turned in to shakes a cold spells back to over heating… nausea was horrible… every time I stood up I vomited… tired yes but the head pounded like nothing I had experienced before… I couldn’t take it and all the vomiting I finally had a soda delivered to me cause I couldn’t leave the couch and the headache slowly started to disappear.. by this evening I’m starting to feel more normal. Why would I experience what seemed like heavy drug withdrawal? I generally have a cup of coffee and soda a day.

  • I thought I’d taper off. I don’t drink a lot, a latte a day, but one starts not being enough and then I’m need two not to feel tired and flat. So I spent a week cutting back to one mug and stayed with that for a few months, the a week ago I took it down to one shot large latte, did that for a week, now I’m leaving a third of the coffee in the mug, and next week I will leave two thirds in the mug, then following week stop. But this week feel sooooooo flat, depressed, my heart is just completely sad and flat and I have no motivation. Is that normal even when you are giving up in stages like this?

  • I had possibly the most frightening experience with this, feeling so depressed that I was crying, felt foggy and disconnected, depersonalisation and like I was in an altered state. Also fatigue and tiredness – zombie is the term I’d use. I’d talk to people and be like, I think I’m going to cry.

  • Hi. after illness for 2 weeks and no coffee I am shaky and weak after 2 week2of virtually no legs are jelly and weak and I feel anxious.Is this normal?
    I would have normally gave 3 coffees a day ,but been on Caf for 30 years.

  • I’m on day 5 off of caffeine . It’s really hard psychologically. I’ve been having terrible anxiety as well as nervousness. It can be the smallest situation & I will have anxiety . I don’t have as much energy as normal but I do feel calm and more relaxed overall ; I do have some neck and back pains here and there but I’m hoping this will stop soon. I have went cold turkey . Not sure that’s a great idea but I just want too see myself for who I am with any caffeine .
    Praying for the best
    Good luck to all

  • I was during a Dr Pepper every day but now I do one every 4 days but has anyone felt nausea or vomit and how long will it last ? Thst one of my issues and alittle sinus to but I not quitting cold trucker try I went last Week didn’t have s Dodd’s for 3 days I trying not hsvr one for z5 days sm I doing this right where it want make me Nasir’s or vomit

  • Day 4 without coffee and it’s been horrible. I’ve quit before but withdrawal symptoms seem to worsen with age. Slight headache in morning advances to severe tension headache with neck and shoulder pain. Slept the whole day for first 2 days. Not fun. This time I did not experience stuffy nose but headaches much worse. I sympathize with those that quit cold turkey. This is the longest I’ve had headaches. The other times I quit the headache lasted 2 days. I know I’m now done with caffeine. Thanks for this article explaining all symptoms one can get. I never would have equated muscle pain with caffeine withdrawal.

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