Some withdrawal symptoms associated with caffeine are headache, anxiety, irritability, and poor energy levels. In some instances, lowering consumption gradually, maintaining high fluid intake, and getting enough sleep each night might help.
Most people throughout the globe drink caffeine every day (1Trusted Source).
A central nervous system stimulant, its effects include heightening awareness and lessening drowsiness (2Trusted Source).
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms often appear between 12 to 24 hours after the last dose of caffeine is consumed if the body has grown reliant on the stimulant.
Any person who regularly uses caffeine is at risk for developing caffeine withdrawal, a diagnosable medical condition (3Trusted Source).
Here are eight indicators that you may be experiencing caffeine withdrawal.
1. A painful head discomfort
Intense headaches are one of the most often reported signs of caffeine withdrawal (3Trusted Source).
Caffeine reduces cerebral blood flow by narrowing blood arteries.
Reduces cerebral blood flow by as much as 27%, according to a 2009 research, after just 250 mg (less than three cups of coffee) (4Trusted Source).
Caffeine causes blood arteries to constrict. Thus cutting down or quitting may result in more blood reaching the brain (4Trusted Source).
Withdrawal headaches, caused by the brain’s attempt to adjust to the abrupt increase in blood flow, may range in duration and intensity.
The headaches should go away as the brain gets used to the additional blood flow.
But not all authorities buy into this explanation, so there’s a need for additional study (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Caffeine alleviates headaches, including migraines. However, withdrawal from caffeine may also produce headaches.
Consuming caffeine alone or with pain medication may help alleviate headache discomfort (6Trusted Source).
Coffee is a staple for many individuals since it helps them get through the day.
The sleepy neurotransmitter adenosine is blocked by caffeine, which results in increased alertness and decreased weariness (7Trusted Source).
The converse is true, though; removing caffeine from your diet may cause you to feel sleepier and more exhausted.
For instance, one research conducted in 2012 on 213 regular coffee drinkers found that being without caffeine for 16 hours increased weariness.
Furthermore, caffeine addicts who used the drug daily had more severe tiredness and other withdrawal symptoms than those who used the medicine less often (8Trusted Source).
Its stimulating effects only endure for 4 to 6 hours, which may encourage you to consume additional cups of coffee or energy drinks throughout the day (7Trusted Source).
Caffeine dependency and withdrawal symptoms might worsen under these conditions.
Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant known to elevate heart rate and blood pressure (7Trusted Source).
Those sensitive to caffeine may experience agitation and nervousness after consuming as little as one cup of coffee.
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms are similar to those brought on by caffeine use.
People who suddenly stop drinking coffee often report feeling anxious (3Trusted Source).
One’s mind and body might depend on it, leading to unease.
Moreover, if you get most of your caffeine from sugary drinks like soda or sweetened coffee, the abrupt drop in sugar may amplify the anxiety brought on by caffeine withdrawal.
According to animal research, they were abruptly cut off sugar from their diet after regular sugar usage might lead to anxious behaviours (9Trusted Source).
4. Having a hard time focusing
Caffeine-containing beverages, such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks, are famous for various reasons, one of which is the perception that they improve focus.
Coffee, energy drinks, and other caffeinated beverages are often eaten during important events like exams, games, and presentations to help people concentrate.
The stress response hormone adrenaline (or epinephrine) is elevated by caffeine (10).
Dopamine and norepinephrine, two excitatory neurotransmitters, also increased their activity (11Trusted Source).
Increased alertness and better concentration result from this chain of responses, which also increases heart rate and blood pressure and stimulates the brain.
Concentration may suffer while the body adjusts to working without caffeine during a gradual withdrawal period.
5. A sad disposition
Researchers have long known that caffeine may improve mood.
Its adenosine-blocking properties make you more awake and lift your spirits (12Trusted Source).
The results of small research on the short-term benefits of coffee showed that, compared to those who drank decaffeinated coffee, those who drank caffeinated coffee reported better mood enhancement 30 minutes after drinking their cup (13Trusted Source).
Numerous scientific investigations have also shown a protective association between frequent caffeine intake and decreased vulnerability to clinical depression.
According to a meta-analysis of 12 research, high coffee consumers had a 24% decreased incidence of depression compared to low coffee consumers (14Trusted Source).
Researchers in 2008 found that caffeine’s stimulating effects may boost one’s mood and energy levels but that these advantages quickly fade after the drug is no longer used (15Trusted Source).
Cutting down or eliminating caffeine might hurt your mood.
Regular coffee consumers tend to be grumpy first thing in the morning.
Caffeine in coffee might be to blame for your short fuse.
Caffeine only stays in your system for 5 hours, so withdrawal symptoms like irritability might occur after a night’s sleep (3Trusted Source).
Caffeine improves people’s moods and gives them energy, and regular coffee users are used to both.
Weaning off caffeine-containing drinks like coffee might bring on irritability and mood swings for some people.
It may be difficult for regular caffeine consumers to reduce their intake without experiencing mood changes.
Eighty-nine per cent of caffeine-dependent individuals in a 2012 survey said they had tried to reduce their caffeine use but were unable to because of withdrawal symptoms, including irritability and hostility (16Trusted Source).
Caffeine withdrawal may cause tremors, albeit not as prevalent as other symptoms, especially for people relying strictly on the drug (3Trusted Source).
Overconsumption of the central nervous system stimulant caffeine sometimes results in trembling hands and other symptoms of agitation (17Trusted Source).
Those suffering from anxiety disorders are generally advised to avoid coffee to avoid exacerbating their symptoms (18Trusted Source).
However, people with high caffeine use may get tremors if they suddenly cut down.
Caffeine withdrawal may cause tremors in the hands, although they shouldn’t last more than a week (3Trusted Source).
Hand tremors that persist for more than nine days should be evaluated by a medical professional.
8. A lack of vitality
To boost flagging energy levels, most people turn to caffeinated drinks and meals.
Many individuals need to rely on artificial energy sources like coffee and energy drinks since their natural energy reserves have been depleted due to causes such as lack of sleep, stressful work, and bad diets.
Caffeinated drinks are often used as a crutch to provide the energy required to get through the day or to make up for lack of sleep.
A cup of coffee or an energy drink may give you a mental and physical boost by improving your focus, speeding up your heart rate, and elevating your blood sugar (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
For these reasons, some people become dependent on caffeine, needing more and more of it to get the same results (21Trusted Source).
This explains why those who try to cut down or give up coffee often report feeling tired (3Trusted Source).
Managing the Pain of Caffeine Withdrawal
Withdrawal from caffeine should only last 2–9 days, with the worst symptoms happening between 24 and 51 hours following the last cup of coffee or tea (3Trusted Source).
Even while these symptoms often only last for a short time, they may still be quite bothersome.
The likelihood of suffering from these undesirable consequences may be mitigated.
Follow these steps to lessen or prevent experiencing any withdrawal from caffeine.
- Moderate your withdrawal by reducing your intake gradually since a sudden stop may shock the body and exacerbate withdrawal symptoms. Weaning off caffeine slowly might lessen the likelihood of withdrawal symptoms.
- If you’re trying to wean yourself off caffeine but can’t stand the thought of going cold turkey, try cutting down by consuming half-caffeinated liquids. Replace one of your coffees with a decaf herbal tea for the best results.
- To keep yourself from becoming dehydrated, it is essential to drink enough water when trying to wean off caffeine. Withdrawal symptoms like headache and exhaustion are already uncomfortable, but dehydration may make them much more so (22Trusted Source).
- Try obtaining the recommended amount of sleep each night, which is 7 to 9 hours, to help overcome weariness (23Trusted Source).
- Get more out of life without coffee by increasing your intake of natural energy boosters like exercise, nutrient-rich meals, and stress-reduction strategies.
To sum up
Although many people use it regularly, caffeine might produce withdrawal symptoms in specific sensitive individuals.
Anyone who develops a habit of drinking caffeinated beverages and then suddenly stops doing so may experience withdrawal symptoms.
Headaches, drowsiness, low energy, irritability, anxiety, poor focus, depression, and tremors are all common symptoms that may last anywhere from 2-9 days (3Trusted Source).
Fortunately, these symptoms may be mitigated in various ways, such as by progressively reducing coffee use, maintaining a healthy water intake, getting enough sleep, and engaging in other activities that increase energy levels.
Even though the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can be very bad, they are only a temporary setback on the way to getting off caffeine.