Fascinating Caffeine Withdrawal Side Effects No One Told You About
If you’re used to drinking caffeinated beverages every day â whether in the form of coffees, sodas, energy drinks, or teas â you might experience some bizarrecaffeine withdrawal symptoms, if you decide to suddenly cut back. These can range from physical symptoms, to mental and emotional ones. And it can all be pretty uncomfortable until your body adjusts.
Of course, a lack of caffeine won’t impact everyone in the same way. “Usually someone needs to be taking at least 100 mg per day before stopping to experience symptoms,”Dr. David Gatz, of Mercy Medical Center, tells Bustle. Whether you forgot your usual morning cup, or are cutting back on purpose, you might feel a difference within 12 to 24 hours, Dr. Gatz says, with more intense withdrawal symptoms a day or two later.
If you’re trying to rely less on things like coffee and soda in order to get through the day, there are ways to get through the process with suffering too much. As Dr. Gatz says, “Individuals wishing to reduce their caffeine intake should consider doing so gradually if they are using large amounts of caffeine on daily basis.”
You might, for example, go down from four cups a day to three, switch to decaf, or water-down your coffee until you don’t need it anymore. While it may not be fun at first, there are plenty of ways to get through the caffeine withdrawal symptoms listed below, and come out the other side.
How Much Caffeine Is Okay Each Day
How you react to caffeine depends on your body mass, health and metabolism. It also depends on whether your body is used to getting regular doses of caffeine and how much you have in one serving. Research suggests that 400mg per day or less is an acceptable dose of caffeine for the general population.
Approximate caffeine levels per serve include:
- chocolate drinks: 510mg per 250ml
- instant coffee: 80120mg per 250ml
- drip or percolated coffee: 150240mg per 250ml
- espresso coffees such as espresso or latte: 105110mg per 250ml
- black tea: 65105mg per 250ml
- cola drinks: 4049mg per 375ml
- Red Bull energy drink: 80mg per 250 ml
- energy drink: 160mg per 250ml
- dark chocolate bar: 40-50mg per 55g serve
- milk chocolate bar 10mg per 50g serve
- guarana: can contain up to 100mg per 1g of guarana
- caffeine tablets such as No-Doz 100mg per tablet.
How Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms Happen
Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant that decreases drowsiness by blocking adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter connected to the bodys sleep-wake processes. By blocking the receptors, caffeine can allow a person to experience a temporary, improved feeling of wakefulness.
Caffeine also boosts other hormones and neurotransmitters like adrenaline and dopamine, and reduces blood flow to the brain.
The withdrawal symptoms happen as the brain works to adjust to functioning without caffeine. Fortunately, caffeine withdrawal does not last long and symptoms are considered to be relatively mild.
- mood changes
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Do You Need To Give Up Coffee
Heres a question you may not have asked yourself: do you actually needto give up drinking coffee? If youre pregnant, have heart arrhythmia, deal with anxiety, or struggle to sleep, giving up caffeine may be a health-conscious decision.
Despite its bad rap, coffee can provide health benefits in many ways. You dont automatically need to cut coffee altogether consider cutting back. With science approving up to 4 cups, you have a caffeine fix without overdoing it.
In many cases, coffee can actually be good for you!
Many people find themselves quitting coffee because of its acidic effects on the stomach and digestive system. Thats why weve created Golden Ratio: a coffee thats low-acidity and smooth on the taste buds.
If you want your caffeine rush without the bitterness and stomach discomfort, weve got three reasons to give us a try. Were environmentally friendly, full of unexpected flavors like vanilla coconut gold coffee, made from all-natural ingredients.
If youre considering giving up caffeine, give us a try first and skip the headache.
How Much Caffeine Can Someone Have
Caffeine is safe if you dont get too much. Experts recommend teens get no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day .
But even smaller amounts of daily caffeine can make someone dependent on it. This means that if you quit caffeine suddenly, youll have caffeine withdrawal symptoms like headaches, trouble concentrating, and feeling tired and irritable.
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Symptoms Of Caffeine Crash Or Withdrawal
Coffee contains a potent psychoactive chemical called caffeine. This chemical is the worlds most commonly consumed psychoactive drug. Caffeine can affect the neural activity in your brain and temporarily provide you with increased awareness, alertness, and reduce fatigue.
However, as you consume more of this substance you can get addicted and experience physical symptoms similar to withdrawal when you stop drinking coffee.
This feeling of withdrawal is what we call the caffeine crash. The symptoms usually start 12-24 hours after your last cup of coffee. Here are the most common symptoms that you may encounter.
A caffeine crash is another way of saying caffeine withdrawal. The symptoms are very similar to withdrawal symptoms because IT IS withdrawal.
Some people may be more susceptible to caffeine crashes due to their bodys lack of ability to metabolize caffeine. There is research that suggests that some people have genetic markers that increase the likelihood that they become heavy coffee drinkers.
The half-life of coffee is around 6 hours to eliminate half the caffeine in your body for a normal adult. If you want to avoid the negative effects and never experience a caffeine crash, it would be best to wait for the caffeine to fully leave your body after 48 hours.
Here are the most common symptoms of a caffeine crash.
Having Urges Or Cravings To Smoke
Almost everyone who smokes regularly has cravings or urges to smoke when they quit. They may be mild or can sometimes feel overwhelming. Figuring out how to deal with cravings is one of the most important things you can do to stay successful.
Ways to manage: There are LOTS of things you can do to make urges and cravings less of a problem. Quit-smoking medicines can help a lot, and so can other quitting tips. Cravings can be triggered by things that make you think about smokinglike people you smoked with, a place you often smoked, or things you used to do while smoking like having a cup of coffee. Even a thought or a feeling can trigger a craving. But other thoughts can help you get through a craving, like remembering why you are quitting. Remember that you never have to give in to a craving, and that it will always pass.
- Keep busy and distract yourself.
- Be active some physical activity is better than none!
- Spend time with friends who dont smoke.
- See other ways to manage withdrawal.
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Hydration Prevents Caffeine Crashing
Water is an important part of preventing caffeine crashes. This is because you may be dehydrated without even knowing!
You dont have to be fainting to be dehydrated. When youre feeling tired and not productive at work, think to yourself, Have I drank water today?, instead of reaching for a cup of coffee.
A 1998 study showed that 75 of Americans are chronically dehydrated and arent even aware of it.
Another study showed that just one percent dehydration decreased worked productivity by 12 percent and it just gets worse from there. At 3-4 percent dehydration it can bring the worker productivity by 25 percent.
The Addictive Nature Of Caffeine
Caffeine is an addictive chemical compound, meaning its regular use leads to dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal. Once youve become tolerant to caffeine, you need more and more caffeine to get its stimulating effects, and if you dont consume it, your body goes into withdrawal mode.
When you abruptly stop 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.
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How Long Do Caffeine And Coffee Withdrawal Symptoms Last
The good news is that these kinds of Caffeine Withdrawal symptoms usually only last between one to nine days.
After that time, your body will likely have adapted to life without Caffeine.
The withdrawal symptoms typically set in 12-24 hours after stopping Caffeine altogether.
They are usually reported to peak around day two to three, but the severity and length of the symptoms will vary from person to person.
We recommend that you consult your doctor about your plan to stop Caffeine. Caffeine is a powerful drug and therefore you should carefully consider how best to wean yourself off it.
Lack Of Focus And Difficulty Concentrating
Another potential side effect of stopping our caffeine habit is a lack of focus and difficulty concentrating.
The reasons for this are again down to caffeines stimulant properties.
Notably, a wide range of studies demonstrates that coffee consumption improves focus, concentration and cognitive performance.
Furthermore, research shows that caffeine can efficiently compensate for reduced mental and physical capacity following poor sleep .
These above findings are why coffee makes such a popular drink for early-morning meetings it helps us to clear our mind and concentrate. This effect would be especially desirable for those not getting adequate sleep.
When we stop drinking coffee, we feel the loss of these beneficial energizing effects, which leads to difficulty concentrating/focusing.
Although there are numerous coffee alternatives, they just are not coffee.
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Avoid 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 Associations annual 2013 meeting.
Dr. Canton is referring to the fact that doses of caffeine significantly less than ones usual dose may be sufficient to prevent and treat caffeine withdrawal symptoms .
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How To Beat Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms
Here are some tips for successfully quitting caffeine:
Tip: If you are looking for a refreshing warm drink, try growing your own mint in your kitchen. That way, you will always have fresh mint to make tea with.
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How To Prevent Caffeine Crash
Any avid coffee drinker has probably experienced one caffeine crash in their life and would never want to experience it again. Due to physical dependence, the caffeine crash usually results from extended periods without coffee.
There are a few ways to prevent caffeine crashes. To either be less reliant on caffeine and identifying the reason why we drink so much coffee. Or quit drinking caffeine and coffee so we are no longer physically dependant on them.
Here are some reasons why you can be drinking coffee and how to potentially stop being so reliant on caffeine.
Caffeine Will Work Again
Consuming caffeine daily quickly causes the human body to build up a tolerance to the drug. The same dose of caffeine then causes a person to achieve a sense of normal rather than the euphoric feelings it once did.
Quitting resets your bodys caffeine tolerance, allowing it to work really well on the occasions you really need it to.
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Reducing The Intensity Of Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms
If we want to quit coffee or caffeine in general, then how can we do it in a way that doesnt make us feel like were dying?
While dying might be an exaggeration, these withdrawal symptoms can make people feel terrible, so its important to come off caffeine in a way that doesnt cause too many problems.
Fortunately, studies have looked into this issue, and they offer some guidance on how to avoid the worst effects.
So, what is the best way to avoid caffeine withdrawal?
Caffeine Withdrawal: Symptoms And Treatment Dsm
Are you used to picking up a large, steaming cup of coffee every morning prior to getting to the office? Do you continue to drink coffee as you pore over paperwork and attend meetings throughout the day? Do your children seem to go through soda and other caffeinated drinks like theres no tomorrow? You may have joined the many Americans who consume so much caffeine every day that they now have withdrawal when they suddenly stop their intake of it. In fact, an astounding 90 percent of adults and nearly the same percent of youngsters in the nation indulge in what amounts to seven drinks of caffeine daily . Withdrawal from it has become common.
The habitual caffeine consumption has consequencestolerance, and people up their intake to get the effects it brings. Chronic caffeine causes dependency on it, and many people continue to drink the same amount or increase their intake to prevent the signs of stopping the use of caffeine. A lot of individuals need a mug of caffeine as soon as they wake up in the morning, and it just becomes part of their everyday routines. They say they want to get that boost caffeine gives youto be more alert and have more energy.
Another part of the difficulty with ceasing the use of caffeine is that it has become very popular as a social function. Most social gatherings include drinks that are caffeinated, especially coffee.
How To Treat Withdrawal Symptoms
Here are some tips if you want to decrease or quit caffeine:
- Taper consumption instead of going cold turkey. If you are used to drinking coffee, try half-decaf half-regular and gradually wean yourself off.
- Avoid sources of caffeine. Make sure you are not accidentally reintroducing caffeine. Check labels on packaged sodas, tonics, and teas, even packaged food.
- Hydrate. Dehydration can make withdrawal symptoms worse.
- Take a pain reliever. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin to help with withdrawal headaches.
- Get plenty of sleep. You will probably feel tired when you stop consuming caffeine, so help combat this by getting at least 7 to 9 hours a night.
Much of the data collected on caffeine is observational in nature. There have been few randomized, controlled studies.
In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration acknowledged that for healthy adults, or up to about four cups of coffee, was not associated with dangerous effects.
Safe upper levels of caffeine use during pregnancy is a bit more complicated.
A 2020 review of studies shows that though some experts suggest that pregnant women can consume up to 300 mg per day, other studies have shown that doses of caffeine as low as 100 to 200 mg per day during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of complications including miscarriage, fetal growth restriction, and low birth weight.
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- Low energy
Gradually reducing Caffeine intake over several weeks instead of quitting cold turkey can help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Compared to other addictions, the withdrawal and recovery periods from Caffeine are relatively short. Most Caffeine addiction symptoms can be resolved in 7-12 days of consumption reduction. During that period, the brain will naturally decrease the number of adenosine receptors on each cell in response to the sudden lack of Caffeine. If an individual can decrease intake until it becomes nothing, within a few weeks the levels of adenosine receptors in the brain will reset to their baseline levels the addiction will be broken.
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How To Reduce Your Dependence On Caffeine
One way to avoid caffeine withdrawal headaches is to reduce your dependence on caffeine. However, you could end up with even more headaches if you go cold turkey.
The best way is to cut back slowly. You should aim to reduce your intake by about 25 percent each week.
For example, if you usually drink four cups of coffee a day, go down to three cups a day for the first week. Continue to cut back until you get down to one or no cups a day. If you crave the taste of coffee, switch to .
You may consider using a food diary to track how much caffeine youre getting. This will help you cut back on other sources of caffeine, such as black tea, soda, and chocolate. Switching to noncaffeinated alternatives, such as herbal tea, seltzer with fruit juice, and carob may help.
Most people can manage caffeine dependence or reduce their reliance without medical intervention.
You should make an appointment with your doctor if your headaches are accompanied by: