Withdrawal Headache Or Something Else
People often describe caffeine withdrawal headaches as a widespread, throbbing head pain. The International Headache Society defines a caffeine withdrawal headache as a headache that:
- develops within 24 hours after last consuming caffeine in people who consume at least 200 milligrams per day of caffeine for more than 2 weeks
- goes away after 7 consecutive days of not consuming caffeine
- improves within 1 hour of consuming 100 mg of caffeine
Doctors may also diagnose someone with a caffeine withdrawal headache if their symptoms do not match those of other types of headache.
Caffeine From Tea Coffee Energy Drinks/tablets Guarana
Caffeine is ingested from many sources. In many instances people may be unaware of its presence. A standard cup of coffee contains 70-180mg caffeine depending on the strength and method of preparation.1Instant coffee generally contains less caffeine than coffee prepared from ground beans. Tea contains 20-35mg per cup.1Chocolate also contains caffeine.
Some of the approved medicines containing caffeine are the diuretic De Witts tablets and the sleep inhibitors No Doz and No Doz Plus tablets , and the antimigraine prescription medicines Ergodryl, Migril and Cafergot tablets. These contain up to 100mg of caffeine per dosage unit and the recommended daily dose or dose per migraine attack is up to 600mg. Some soft drinks and energy drinks contain caffeine in varying amounts.
Guarana is a dietary supplement which contains caffeine and is quite popular. It is made from a ground extract of the seeds of the plant Poullinia cupana var sorbilis which have a natural caffeine content of around 5%. In some preparations guarana is combined with ginseng. Guarana tablets or capsules are marketed as herbal tonics which are said to increase stamina and endurance and have beneficial effects on the nervous system. A dose unit usually contains the equivalent of about 40mg of active caffeine.
Energy Drinks And Caffeine
Energy drinks contain caffeine, as well as ingredients such as taurine and guarana . Energy drinks do not hydrate and should not be confused with sports drinks.
The caffeine and sugar content of energy drinks is high. In fact it is often higher than in soft drinks. The levels of caffeine in energy drinks vary between brands, so it is important to read the label before having them.
Children and pregnant women should avoid drinking energy drinks.
You May Like: What Is Descaling Coffee Machine
Symptoms Of Coffee Withdrawal
The first caffeine withdrawal symptoms will usually occur 12-24 hours after the last cup of coffee youve had. The intensity of coffee withdrawal will depend on how much coffee youve been consuming on a regular basis and how fit you generally are.
The following can be caffeine withdrawal symptoms:
- Exhaustion and lack of energy
- Restlessness and sleeplessness
- Irritability and lack of focus
How long these symptoms last is different for everyone. Your body is doing everything it can to bring itself back into equilibrium. A complete recovery from all symptoms could take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
Symptoms Of Caffeine Withdrawal
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
Caffeine is the worlds most commonly consumed psychoactive substance.
It functions as a central nervous system stimulant, meaning it affects neural activity in the brain and increases alertness while reducing fatigue .
If the body becomes dependent on caffeine, eliminating it from the diet can cause withdrawal symptoms that typically begin 1224 hours after stopping caffeine.
Caffeine withdrawal is a recognized medical diagnosis and can affect anyone who regularly consumes caffeine.
Here are 8 common signs and symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.
Read Also: Diet Peach Snapple Caffeine
Caffeine Overdose Symptoms Include A Variety Of Health Problems
1) When you consume an excessive amount of caffeine, you may experience the following symptoms:
2) Anxiety, headache, and dizziness are all symptoms of migraine.
3) Feeling jittery or shaky.
4) Insomnia is a condition in which you have fits of sleep throughout the night.
5) A fast or irregular heartbeat is described as having a racing feeling in the chest.
6) An increase in blood pressure has been observed.
How To Reduce Caffeine Dependence
The best way to reduce caffeine dependency is gradually, ideally, by cutting down on caffeine intake by around 25% each week.
Coffee, tea, or soda drinkers may find it easier to transition to decaffeinated versions of their favorite beverages. People could also try mixing decaf with caffeinated drinks and gradually increasing the proportion of decaf to caffeinated.
Several other tricks and lifestyle habits can also help people reduce their caffeine dependence, such as:
- replacing caffeinated foods and drinks with caffeine free alternatives
- staying hydrated
Recommended Reading: How To Clean My Mr Coffee Maker
Top 15 Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms
Need help reducing caffeine ?
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Caffeine Withdrawal
The typical caffeine withdrawal timeline usually spans only one to three days. Symptoms usually begin within hours of skipping your usual morning dose of caffeine. For example, if you regularly consume two cups of coffee in the morning and then one morning drink no coffee, you may get a headache within a few hours of when you normally would have consumed the coffee.
Caffeine withdrawal symptoms usually get worse over the course of a day and may peak the following day. By the second or third day, the effects of caffeine withdrawal should be gone. You can avoid experiencing severe caffeine withdrawal symptoms by gradually tapering the amount of caffeine you consume daily.
Also Check: Cleaning Mr Coffee Pot
Days Later Was It Worth It
Now that we had quit caffeine cold turkey, we were feeling proud. It quickly became evident that we didnt need to drink coffee or have any caffeine. I could be Not a coffee person.
But, to be honest, we both miss it. We love coffee. After all, we live in Colombias coffee region, home to the worlds finest beans. There was only one thing that was going to keep me from coffee.
That one thing: better sleep.
If I could measure an improvement in sleep during the 30 days after quitting compared to the 30 days before, I would have my motivation to live a caffeine-free life.
Well, the data is in. And, the results are surprising but conclusive in my opinion.
How Long Does Caffeine Withdrawal Last
Commonly, these withdrawal effects last for 2-4 days, and they are most severe from about 24 hours after the last caffeine dose.
Studies show that the severity much depends on the prior caffeine intake and for how long it had been sustained.
That said, we all metabolize caffeine differently and this may also influence how long it takes to overcome withdrawal .
For instance, in some cases, there may be no symptoms whatsoever. In other cases, individuals may suffer for over a week .
Also Check: Can Caffeine Cause Dry Eyes
Dealing With Withdrawal Symptoms
We have seen that caffeine withdrawal can be accompanied by many unpleasant symptoms and take a long time to overcome.
Many people who want to cut down on caffeine often make the mistake of stopping abruptly. When they experience withdrawal symptoms, they go back to drinking caffeinated drinks or taking a headache medication containing caffeine to make the symptoms disappear. This inevitably creates a new dependency cycle. Avoiding withdrawal symptoms is, in fact, one of the most common reasons people continue their caffeine habit.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can get through the process faster and feel like your usual self again.
One of the easiest ways to minimize or avoid the withdrawal symptoms altogether is by slowly cutting back on caffeine. You can start by swapping out 25% of regular coffee with decaffeinated coffee or caffeine replacements like chicory, carob, and mate. You can even stretch your cutback over the course of several weeks in order to avoid feeling the full withdrawal effects.
Weaning yourself off caffeine by reducing the quantity consumed little by little will make it easier to cope with withdrawal. From a neuroscience perspective, taking small steps will give you enough time to rewire your brain to create new, healthier habits.
Here are a few other things that may help:
Caffeine Is In More Than Coffee And Soft Drinks
When you think of caffeine, your first thought is probably a cup of coffee or soda. But, did you realize that caffeine is found naturally in the leaves, seeds and fruits of more than 60 plants, as well as in processed foods and some medications? The following are some of the items that contain caffeine.
- Kola nuts
You May Like: How Does Dunkin Donuts Make Their Mocha Iced Coffee
What Are Tips For Tapering My Caffeine Intake
Try these tips for tapering your caffeine intake to avoid the unpleasant effects of caffeine withdrawal:
- Reduce your daily caffeine intake gradually, based on the number of beverages you usually consume. For example, if you normally drink four cups of coffee per day, cut back to three cups. If you normally consume 12 cans of cola a week, cut back to nine cans. Continue this approach until you stop consuming caffeine altogether.
- Reduce your intake over the course of several days or a week.
- Replace those caffeinated beverages with water. Increasing your water consumption may help your body normalize adenosine levels more easily and prevent a caffeine withdrawal headache.
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.
Recommended Reading: Do Caramel Frappuccinos Have Coffee In Them
How Can I Cut Back On Caffeine
If you’re taking in too much caffeine, you may want to cut back. To avoid caffeine withdrawal, try cutting back slowly.
Replace caffeinated sodas and coffee with drinks without caffeine, like water, decaffeinated coffee, caffeine-free sodas, and caffeine-free teas.
Keep track of how many caffeinated drinks you have each day. Then, substitute one of these daily drinks with a decaf or caffeine-free alternative.
After a week or so, swap out another of your daily caffeine drinks with a decaf or caffeine-free option.
Do this for as many weeks as it takes to bring your daily caffeine intake to one caffeine drink a day, or even less.
As you cut back on caffeine, you may find yourself feeling tired. Be sure you get enough sleep, and boost your energy with exercise. As your body adjusts to less caffeine, your energy levels should return to normal in a few days.
How Addicted To Caffeine Are You
You can take our Caffeine Addiction Diagnosis Quiz to see where you rank. This may explain why your caffeine withdrawal has been so rough.
Human beings can be addicted to anything including caffeine. Whether dependency or addiction, the reality is that for many, stopping caffeine consumption is very difficult.
Whether you should quit or not depends on how your caffeine habit is affecting your health, your relationships, and the people around you.
For some people, their regular coffee/caffeine habit may not affect any of those things and quitting need not be necessary.
You May Like: Can Decaf Coffee Cause Constipation
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.
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?
Also Check: Caffeine In Folgers Decaf
What Surprised Us About Caffeine Withdrawal
Rock-bottom means the end is near
For Alex, she hit rock-bottom on the evening of Day 3 with an acute headache and nausea. One day later, she finished her caffeine withdrawal timeline.
My rock-bottom took place in the middle of the night . Within 24 hours, I had also finished my caffeine withdrawal timeline.
So, while it sucks to hit rock-bottom, we found that within one day later, your body will be 100% and finished with its caffeine addiction.
I still pooped
I didnt have any issues with bowel movements. So many people think that they need that morning cup to wake up their digestive system, but that doesnt seem to be the case.
Drugs are very helpful
Both Alex and I hardly ever take pain relievers. So, when we do, they usually work quickly. With our caffeine headaches during withdrawal, the drugs helped a lot.
Our eyes were opened
As expected, experiencing caffeine withdrawal was enlightening.
As two people who care deeply about our health , we were shocked at the severity of our caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
We knew that we never wanted to be dependent on caffeine again.
How Can You Manage Symptoms Of Caffeine Withdrawal
The best way to manage caffeine withdrawal symptoms is to anticipate them. If you plan ahead to manage the effects of quitting caffeine, then you can weather the few days of symptoms with ease.
To manage caffeine withdrawal symptoms, try:
- Acetaminophen or another over-the-counter headache medication to reduce the of a caffeine withdrawal headache
- Informing family members and coworkers that youre quitting caffeine, so they can support you through any unpleasant effects
- Keeping your migraine treatment at hand, in case caffeine withdrawal triggers an episode
- Napping, if possible, when feeling fatigued due to caffeine withdrawal
No specific caffeine withdrawal treatment exists because the symptoms clear up on their own without medical intervention.
Don’t Miss: Does Diet Root Beer Have Caffeine
How To Overcome Withdrawal
Consider the following tips to overcome withdrawal symptoms:
- Its best to start your withdrawal on a Friday, so you dont have to torment yourself without caffeine and possibly plagued by headaches all week long.
- Prepare total abstinence with a progressive reduction of the dose: if you drink 5 or 6 coffees, on Thursday take 3 and on Friday, 3. In any case avoid caffeine at night. T
- If you are trying to get rid of caffeine, be aware that there are over-the- counter flu and pain relievers that contain caffeine . It is also found in tea, both black and green.
- If you dont want to do without your beloved morning ritual, you can substitute another hot drink for the coffee. How about a delicious mint infusion, for example?
- Be prepared for potential food cravings, which can also be an unpleasant side effect of caffeine withdrawal. Its a good idea to stock up on a generous supply of fruits and healthy snacks. After a few days, this desire will also tend to regulate itself.
How Can You Tell If You Have A Caffeine Problem
Indicators of caffeine dependence can cover a wide range, from general irritability, sleep disturbance, acid reflux, and anxiety.
Since its a bit general, ask yourself these questions to see if you have a caffeine problem:
- If I skip my coffee, will I get a headache later that day?
- Am I irritable before my first cup of coffee?
- Can I concentrate without my first cup of coffee?
- Do I need to increase my cups of coffee over time?
- Do you often feel jittery or on edge?
In a nutshell, if you drink one or more cups of coffee a day , youll develop a caffeine dependence according to studies by Johns Hopkins University.
Also Check: How Does Dunkin Donuts Make Their Iced Coffee