What Are Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal?

by Anthony Carter on July 15, 2011


Many people don’t pay it much attention but caffeine is actually a very addictive substance. It is only when people try to give up something like coffee that they find out what a hard habit it can be to break. Coffee addiction leads to psychological symptoms in withdrawal. The symptoms are not life threatening but they can make for an unpleasant few days. It is believed that as many as one in eight coffee drinkers will develop withdrawal symptoms should they stop.

What Causes Caffeine Withdrawal?

The wonderful thing about the body is that it is great at adapting to things. This can also be bad though because sometimes the body adapts so well that it struggles when things return to normal. Caffeine is toxic to the body so it copes by learning to deal with it. The body learns to function with this drug in the system and after a bit of time it can start to depend on it. If this drug is suddenly withdrawn then it can leave the body in a bit of confusion. It is this that causes the symptoms of withdrawals. Reducing the amount of caffeine slowly over time can prevent symptoms from occurring. The problem is that it can be a lot harder to give up coffee this way. In a lot of instances the best option will be a clean break and to just live with the symptoms.

The Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal

The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal will vary greatly between different individuals. Some people hardly experience any symptoms while for others they can be quite intense. Here are just some of the symptoms that you may have to deal with:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Some people who give up coffee can experience mild to strong headaches. These can be uncomfortable but they will disappear after a few days.
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to get to sleep at night
  • Some people may find that they become constipated. This is because coffee triggers bowel movements. This will get better after a few days as the body re-adapts.
  • Stiffness in muscles
  • Slight depression
  • A feeling of  tiredness and lack of enthusiasm to do anything
  • Symptoms that could best be described as flu-like

The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal will usually begin about 12-24 hours after your last dose of coffee. They will get milder after about five days and should have disappeared altogether within nine days.

Some Final Thoughts about Caffeine Withdrawal

Caffeine is toxic and in excess it can be responsible for many health problems. It is always a good idea to give coffee and other caffeinated drinks up if you use them too much. The withdrawals symptoms may be a bit unpleasant but the health rewards will more than make up for this. By just dealing with a few days of discomfort you could be adding a lot of time onto your lifespan and improving the quality of your life into the bargain.

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