How To Manage The Most Common Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms (2023)

There are some instances when reducing or eliminating the consumption of caffeine can trigger symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. Even consuming caffeine for three consecutive days can result in caffeine withdrawal symptoms when you stop using caffeine.

Studies show that approximately 50 percent of individuals experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms when they eliminate or cut back on caffeine consumption, while around 13 percent experience withdrawal symptoms so severe that they cannot go to work.

.Common sources of caffeine

Usually, the more caffeine you consume, the greater the risk of experiencing caffeine withdrawal symptoms when you stop or reduce your intake rate, and the greater the chances of experiencing more severe withdrawal symptoms.

Caffeine is found in many plants, though the most widely consumed are coffee, tea, cocoa pod, cola nut, guarana, and mate. Caffeine is so popular that an estimated 80 – 90 percent of adults and children in North America consume caffeine habitually. Only 15 percent have stopped taking caffeine completely due to concerns about their health and unpleasant side effects.

In the US, the average caffeine consumption for a healthy adult is 280 mg, which is the equivalent of 84 ounces of soft drink or 17 ounces of brewed coffee.

Studies indicate that quantities as low as 30 mg of caffeine can affect your mood and behavior, while 100 mg per day can result in physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms upon cutting back.

The leading dietary source of caffeine among US adults is coffee, while the largest source among children is soft drinks. An estimated 70 percent of soft drinks in the US market contain caffeine, including some non-cola drinks such as cream soda, orange soda, root beer, and lemon-lime drinks.

Some coffee ice creams and yogurts contain a considerable amount of caffeine. Dark chocolate candy contains about 30 mg of caffeine while chocolate milk, milk chocolate, and cocoa contain less than 10 mg of caffeine, which is not enough to initiate any mood and behavioral effects, leave along cause dependence.

There are also some medicinal products that contain substantial amounts of caffeine: over-the-counter stimulant medications like Vivarin and NoDoz contain 100 – 200 mg of caffeine per tablet, while caffeine-containing analgesics such as Midol, Anacin, and Excedrin deliver 64 – 130 mg of caffeine per two-tablet dose.

(Video) 5 Signs and Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal

.What is caffeine withdrawal?

Caffeine is a stimulant that can be chemically addictive. It is the most commonly used mood-altering drug across the globe, and while it does not necessarily damage your health to the same extent as other substances, you can easily develop dependence.

If you abruptly quit caffeine, especially if you have been taking two or more cups a day can lead to coffee withdrawal with physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms.

In fact, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association classifies caffeine intoxication and caffeine withdrawal as mental disorders that can interfere with your daily life.

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms can be initiated by abstinence from daily doses of as little as 100 mg a day. But the severity of symptoms tends to increase with the intake of greater amounts.

Studies have also revealed a genetic propensity toward caffeine dependence and withdrawal. This implies that if someone in your family has experienced the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, you should take extra caution when cutting back.

.How much caffeine can you safely consume?

Studies suggest that drinking coffee can boost productivity and improve your health, but only if you consume up to four cups of coffee a day or less than 400mg of caffeine per day. But this only applies to healthy adults.

Pregnant women, surgical patients individuals who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, individuals with irregular or faster heart rates, and individuals who are prone to caffeine dependency may, however, need to limit their caffeine consumption or quit the habit altogether.

This is because studies have linked the excess consumption of caffeine to a number of adverse effects, including:

(Video) 2 Most Important Supplements to Break Your Caffeine Habit (Withdrawal) - Dr Mandell

  • Modest increases in blood pressure
  • Increased serum cholesterol due to lipids found in coffee (unfiltered caffeinated and decaffeinated)
  • Increased risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Delayed conception and lower birth weight

.Caffeine withdrawal symptoms

The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal usually start about 12 hours from the last caffeine intake and are at their worst after 24 – 48 hours, lasting up to two months for those consuming 1,000 mg or more per day.

These symptoms vary in both type and severity from one person to the other. Common caffeine symptoms include:

1. Headaches

Caffeine headaches typically begin behind the ears as they move up to the front of the head. It is gradual in development and diffuses, though it can also be throbbing and severe

2. Drowsiness

You experience an unusual sense of fatigue that causes you to feel sleepy, drowsy, or yawning even when sitting up straight

3. Dizziness

Besides feeling drowsy, some people tend to lose their sense of balance from caffeine abstinence

4. Lethargy

The diminished or lack of caffeine in your bloodstream will cause you to feel a lack of energy, sluggish, unmotivated, and unproductive.

5. Irritability

After a few hours without caffeine, everyone and everything seems to be getting on your nerves. You feel miserable, with diminished contentedness. It’s best to isolate yourself for a while.

6. Flu-like symptoms

Withdrawing from caffeine usually causes a stuffy nose, sinus pressure, blocked sinuses, hot and cold spells, stiffness, and heavy feelings in arms/legs

(Video) Caffeine Withdrawal Treatment | Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms & Causes

7. Constipation

Caffeine is known to stimulate the bowel. When you reduce your intake or stop taking caffeine altogether, the colon gets affected too.

8. Nausea and vomiting

The first few days of withdrawal are very hard, and many people don’t even think about food. The feeling of nausea and vomiting causes them to skip many meals, adding to the feeling of lethargy

9. Lack of concentration

There is little you can focus on during the withdrawal period, whether it is studying, working, or operating machinery. It is best to stay away

10. Insomnia

Some people have reported not being able to sleep due to caffeine withdrawal

11. Muscle pain, stiffness, and cramping

People who are used to taking caffeine before exercise can experience all kinds of problems with their muscles if they cut back or stop.

12. Anxiety

While some people experience anxiety from caffeine consumption, others experience the same and even panic attacks from withdrawing

13. Brain fog

Brain fog is described as the inability to have coherent thoughts or difficulty doing basic tasks. Some people have reported experiencing brain fog from caffeine withdrawal.

14. Depression

In some cases, caffeine withdrawal has caused users to become disillusioned and lose focus in life. Temporary blues are not that bad, but if you were previously troubled or struggling with depression, cutting back on caffeine can aggravate the situation.


15. Heart Rhythm Abnormalities

Caffeine is said to stimulate the heart muscle. During caffeine abstinence, some people have reported experiencing changes in their heart rhythm, resulting in low blood pressure and palpitations.

.How to manage caffeine withdrawal symptoms

When caffeine withdrawal symptoms occur, the severity varies from mild to extreme. In a worst case scenario, withdrawal can produce clinically substantial distress or impairment in performing daily tasks, and on rare occasions, be completely incapacitating.

How To Manage The Most Common Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms (1)

The obvious solution to reducing withdrawal symptoms is to consume more caffeine. But this solution is only rational if you discontinued your caffeine intake for an easily changeable reason, like trying out a new beverage instead of the usual coffee, or running out of coffee before you can get more.

But if you intentionally cut back or discontinue your caffeine consumption, you can reduce the severity of some of the withdrawal symptoms by reducing the amount of coffee in your diet gradually.

Consider reducing the amount of caffeine in your diet progressively.

A good number of people who make the decision to overcome an addiction or stop a bad habit tend to use the “cold turkey” method where they drop the habit suddenly. The problem with this technique for caffeine elimination is that it worsens the symptoms considerably.

Here are some examples:

(Video) How to Reduce Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms - No Caffeine Day 23!

  • If you get your caffeine from coffee, you can reduce your intake by half a cup a day, or by drinking a blend of decaf and regular coffee, or by slowly switching to decaf.
  • For tea lovers, you can gradually reduce your intake, start drinking decaf teas or try teas with minimal caffeine levels
  • If you like colas, consider drinking smaller sizes or gradually scaling back on the number you consume every day

In addition to reducing your daily caffeine intake or replacing caffeinated beverages with herbal ones, you should get enough sleep to overcome fatigue and dizziness.

You should also consider:

  1. Starting an exercise or workout routine to help boost your energy levels naturally (through the release of dopamine) without caffeine
  2. Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated
  3. Improving your diet so it contains plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  4. Taking pain relievers like ibuprofen, Tylenol, or aspirin to ease a caffeine headache and muscle pain symptoms

Keep in mind that withdrawing from caffeine is hard and needs patience. With the right kind of support, you will soon be able to carry on with your life normally without needing caffeine to give you a push.


How To Manage The Most Common Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms? ›

Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Improving your diet so it contains plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Taking pain relievers like ibuprofen, Tylenol, or aspirin to ease a caffeine headache and muscle pain symptoms.

How do you control caffeine withdrawal symptoms? ›

How to treat withdrawal symptoms
  1. Taper consumption instead of going cold turkey. If you are used to drinking coffee, try half-decaf half-regular and gradually wean yourself off.
  2. Avoid sources of caffeine. ...
  3. Hydrate. ...
  4. Take a pain reliever. ...
  5. Get plenty of sleep. ...
  6. Boost energy in other ways.
Nov 5, 2018

What is the most common withdrawal symptoms from caffeine? ›

The severity of symptoms vary from individual to individual, and most commonly include a headache, fatigue, decreased energy/activeness, decreased alertness, drowsiness, decreased contentedness, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and feeling foggy/not clearheaded.

What is the easiest way to break caffeine dependence? ›

Breaking the Habit

“Depending upon your level of daily intake, you might want to cut your caffeine level in half the first week and in half again on week two. Some patients have found it useful to go to half-decaf, and then to decaf, then to gradually replace the decaf with another non-caffeinated beverage,” he says.

How do you manage caffeine intake? ›

Curbing your caffeine habit
  1. Keep tabs. Start paying attention to how much caffeine you're getting from foods and beverages, including energy drinks. ...
  2. Cut back gradually. For example, drink one fewer can of soda or drink a smaller cup of coffee each day. ...
  3. Go decaf. ...
  4. Shorten the brew time or go herbal. ...
  5. Check the bottle.

Does exercise help with caffeine withdrawal? ›

Exercising for 20 minutes a day helps combat withdrawal effect, by positively increasing mood and alertness. Professional counseling has proven effective in assisting with caffeine withdrawal and providing individuals with information about caffeine may assist in both reducing or stopping caffeine intake.

How long does it take to get used to caffeine withdrawal? ›

Are you wondering how long it takes to feel normal after quitting caffeine? It definitely should not take months. For most people, caffeine withdrawal symptoms can last two to nine days and you should be feeling fine again no more than two weeks after you stopped using caffeine.

What is the most common symptom of caffeine withdrawal quizlet? ›

Most common withdrawal symptoms: headache and fatigue. Symptoms of caffeine abstinence: depression, decreased alertness, less contentment and relaxed moo. decreased activity and energy, greater sleepines and drowsiness, and increased irritability.

Should I quit caffeine cold turkey? ›

Tip: Don't Quit Cold Turkey

A step-by-step approach is your best bet. To start, replace half of your morning cup of joe with decaf, for example. Switch out your caffeinated foods and drinks over time with caffeine-free options to help ease withdrawal symptoms.

How long does it take to get over caffeine withdrawal headaches? ›

Official answer. Quitting caffeine can cause headaches. Caffeine withdrawal headaches can start within 12 hours of stopping caffeine and are likely to be at their worst 20-51 hours after your last caffeine fix. They can last up to 9 days.

What vitamin helps with caffeine withdrawal? ›

Supplements for Caffeine Withdrawal

vitamin C and B complex. minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. amino acids tyrosine or phenylalanine.

Does quitting caffeine increase dopamine? ›

Quitting Caffeine

Caffeine causes the brain to produce dopamine. Chronic caffeine use can deplete the brain's stores of tyrosine and phenylalanine, two amino acids which act as building blocks for dopamine and adrenaline.

How long for dopamine receptors to heal after quitting caffeine? ›

The changes in receptors reverse after withdrawal of caffeine within 7 days.

How long does anxiety last from caffeine withdrawal? ›

Caffeine withdrawal can occur in anyone who regularly consumes caffeine and then abruptly discontinues its use. Common symptoms include headache, fatigue, low energy, irritability, anxiety, poor concentration, depressed mood, and tremors, which can last anywhere from 2 to 9 days ( 3 ).

What foods counteract caffeine? ›

Eating may slow the release of caffeine into your bloodstream. Opt for slow-digesting, fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, beans, lentils, starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds ( 1 ).

How long does caffeine anxiety last? ›

Symptoms are likely to begin around 12 to 24 hours after you last ingested caffeine, and they can last between two and nine days. Make sure you don't take painkillers containing caffeine (a common addition) to help with symptoms as this will maintain your dependency. Keep hydrated.

What's a substitute for caffeine? ›

These 11 Caffeine Alternatives Will Give You A Natural Energy Boost
  • Chicory root "coffee"
  • B vitamins.
  • Carob.
  • Rhodiola.
  • Water.
  • Maca.
  • Peppermint tea.
  • Cordyceps.
Aug 23, 2022

Is it hard to focus after caffeine withdrawal? ›

People may experience difficulty concentrating after abruptly quitting caffeine. In the absence of caffeine, adenosine molecules can promote feelings of fatigue that may affect a person's ability to concentrate.

Is it hard to sleep after caffeine withdrawal? ›

It may be hard to believe it, but Dr. Raden says insomnia is one of the most common symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. “Ironically, cutting down on caffeine too quickly can disrupt sleep the same way consuming too much caffeine does,” he says. “It may take a week or two for your sleep cycle to reset itself.”

Does caffeine withdrawal cause anxiety? ›

Caffeine causes blood vessels in the brain to constrict, slowing blood flow. Experts believe that if you stop consuming it, your blood vessels expand, blood flow accelerates, and the added pressure gives you a caffeine withdrawal headache. Anxiety. People who abruptly stop consuming caffeine may experience anxiety.

Which of the following are true of caffeine withdrawal symptoms? ›

What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal?
  • Headaches.
  • Tiredness.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Nausea.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Irritability.
Dec 23, 2020

What is the most consistent withdrawal symptom after chronic caffeine use quizlet? ›

The most consistent withdrawal symptom after chronic caffeine use is: headache. All of the xanthines have similar effects. But which one has the greatest overall effect on the body?

What are the stages of caffeine addiction? ›

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes four caffeine-related disorders including intoxication, withdrawal, anxiety, and sleep.

Will quitting caffeine make me happier? ›

Many people who quit caffeine find that the boost they experience in their sleep quality results in them feeling happier and more energized. In individuals who are prone to experiencing depression, anxiety, or irritability, regular caffeine consumption can make these feelings worse.

Is decaf 100% no caffeine? ›

How much caffeine is in decaf coffee? Decaffeination removes about 97% or more of the caffeine in coffee beans. A typical cup of decaf coffee has about 2 mg of caffeine, compared to a typical cup of regular coffee, which has about 95 mg of caffeine.

Why are caffeine withdrawal headaches so bad? ›

One analysis reported that 50% of people experience a throbbing, widespread headache during caffeine withdrawal. This is because caffeine has a vasoconstrictive effect, meaning it narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow. With regular caffeine consumption, blood vessels become familiar with this constriction.

How long does caffeine withdrawal fatigue last? ›

Caffeine withdrawal fatigue can last anywhere from two to nine days. If you're sleep deprived and rely on coffee to perk you up, though, you may feel fatigue until you address this.

Does B12 help with caffeine withdrawal? ›

Vitamin B12 deficiency is another common culprit of fatigue, making it the perfect replacement for your current caffeine addiction.

Is B12 a good substitute for caffeine? ›

If you have enough vitamin B12 in your system, increasing your intake probably won't supply a jolt of energy like you'd get from a cup of coffee or an energy drink. Remember, it's a nutrient, not a stimulant. On the other hand, a shortage of B12 makes it difficult for your body to convert food into energy.

What supplements are good for caffeine withdrawal headaches? ›

There are no specific supplements for symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, but you might find using OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen helpful for headache pain. If you want a more natural approach, simply drinking enough water can often get rid of a caffeine headache and may even help prevent one.

Does caffeine rewire your brain? ›

Researchers have now shown in a study that regular caffeine intake can change the gray matter of the brain. However, the effect appears to be temporary. Coffee, cola or an energy drink: caffeine is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive substance.

Does caffeine lower serotonin levels? ›

It was previously reported that caffeine has the capability to reduce brain serotonin synthesis by inhibiting tryptophan hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme for central serotonin biosynthesis (Lim et al., 2001), and/or to reduce brain serotonin/dopamine ratio by blocking adenosine α1 and α2 receptors within the CNS.

What is the fastest way to reset dopamine? ›

Things You Can Do to Reset Your Brain's Dopamine Levels
  1. Create exciting daily routines. Incorporate fun activities into your daily routine, even if they are mindless activities. ...
  2. Focus on perfecting your sleep schedule. ...
  3. Improve your diet. ...
  4. Exercise. ...
  5. Practice mindfulness. ...
  6. Listen to music.
Apr 24, 2022

How do I know if my dopamine levels are low? ›

Problems with anger, low self-esteem, anxiety, forgetfulness, impulsiveness and lack of organizational skill (symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Social withdrawal, reduced emotions, don't feel pleasure (negative symptoms of schizophrenia). Gastrointestinal symptoms, including chronic constipation.

How do I get my dopamine back? ›

How to Increase Dopamine Naturally
  1. Avoid overindulging in alcohol or recreational drug use. ...
  2. Maintaining a healthy diet can increase dopamine levels. ...
  3. Avoid junk food. ...
  4. Exercise regularly to increase dopamine. ...
  5. Spend time outside. ...
  6. Practice healthy sleep habits. ...
  7. Engage in healthy, pleasurable activities. ...
  8. Meditate or practice yoga.

Does CBD counteract caffeine? ›

It's entirely possible that CBD is able to counteract some of the jitters that caffeine can cause precisely because they both activate some of the same pathways in the ECS. Anecdotally speaking, some reports suggest that taking CBD with caffeine increases a sense of focus while taking the edge off the caffeine.

Do bananas counteract caffeine? ›

Sorry, But Bananas Won't Calm Your Caffeine Jitters : The Salt Can eating a banana counter the effects of caffeine? That claim has been circulating around blogs recently. Some baristas swear by it, but we talked to a scientist who explains why it just isn't true.

Can melatonin counteract caffeine? ›

Caffeine and melatonin have a minor interaction. Basically, the caffeine in the coffee will handily cancel out the effect of the melatonin, and you'll just end up wide awake, staring at the popcorn texture on the ceiling, 11 cents worth of sleeping aid poorer.

What does caffeine anxiety feel like? ›

According to the National Library of Medicine, common signs of caffeine-triggered anxiety include: Restlessness. Nervousness. Headaches.

How do I stop feeling jittery and anxious? ›

Things you can try to help with anxiety, fear and panic
  1. try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. ...
  2. use calming breathing exercises.
  3. exercise – activities such as running, walking, swimming and yoga can help you relax.

Is it safe to quit caffeine cold turkey? ›

If caffeine is a big part of your daily diet, taking it away can have a host of unpleasant effects in the short term. These include headache, tiredness, sleepiness, down moods, trouble concentrating, and crankiness. You'll start to feel symptoms a day or two after you stop. They can last anywhere from 2 to 9 days.

Does quitting coffee help anxiety? ›

Drinking less coffee or even eliminating caffeine entirely can help reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and reduce headaches, among several other benefits.

What is the healthiest drink with caffeine? ›

Healthiest Energy Drink Choices

Tea: Black and green teas provide safe doses of caffeine along with some health benefits from the antioxidants flavonoids they contain. Although caffeine contents vary, the average cup of black tea provides about 40 milligrams (compared to 100 to 120 milligrams in a cup of coffee).

What tastes like coffee but has no caffeine? ›

1. Chicory coffee. Like coffee beans, chicory root can be roasted, ground and brewed into a delicious hot beverage. It tastes very similar to coffee but is caffeine-free.

What drinks give you instant energy? ›

Green tea, yerba mate, coconut water, Kombucha, Ginger-turmeric shot, and Matcha Latte provide a sustained energy boost without the crash. While supporting overall well-being and health, these ingredients enhance mental clarity, alertness, and physical performance.

What is the best non caffeine stimulant? ›

If you are looking for natural stimulants that aren't caffeine, here are 13 few options that you should consider.
  • Ginseng.
  • Yohimbine.
  • Theobromine.
  • Bitter Orange.
  • Theanine.
  • Yerba Mate.
  • Ginkgo Biloba.
  • Guarana.
Oct 1, 2020

Can quitting caffeine cause panic attacks? ›

"Anyone that consumes caffeine daily can have a caffeine withdrawal." He said the majority of people who have severe withdrawal symptoms are those that quit caffeine cold turkey. It could mean something as small as a headache or as serious as a panic attack.

Where is a caffeine withdrawal headache located? ›

A caffeine withdrawal headache can present as a feeling of pain and pressure that pushes outwards from the brain. Starting behind the eyes, it can move up to the front of the head. Caffeine withdrawal headaches can also present with migraine-like symptoms and as a widespread feeling of throbbing pain.


1. What Caffeine Withdrawal Does To Your Body
2. 8 Signs and Symptoms of Caffeine Withdrawal | How to Reduce Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms (2022)
3. Caffeine Withdrawal- How to Quit Coffee
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4. Severe Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms
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5. Caffeine Withdrawal Headache Relief & Treatment - No Caffeine Day 17!
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6. I Abruptly Stopped Drinking Caffeine And This Happened
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