Caffeine Withdrawal

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

A couple of Saturdays ago at my Weight Watcher meeting, the leader did a “back to the basics” meeting. I always find these kind of meetings so helpful to me because when I started, I had a horrible Weight Watcher leader, so my initiation wasn’t the best that the program had to offer.

I learned a lot of new things that I should be doing considering that I have been following the program for over twelve weeks. I really should be hitting the whole grains because it will help “keep things moving.” I really should be watching my sugars, fats and oils and which ones would be helpful to me. I also learned that I should watch my intake of soda.

As a scientist, I know that case studies aren’t valid data, but I hear a good story and I think, “Man, I should try that.” Logically, I know that I shouldn’t believe it based on one case study, yet my inner Klingon says, “I think we should try it, sir.” So, my Weight Watcher leader says that when she was running, she found that it was easier for her to breathe when she stopped drinking carbonated beverages. She prefaced this story with the statement that it was only her individual experience, so it wasn’t like she was trying to fool us.

So, last Monday, I quit soda cold turkey. I thought it would be a piece of cake, considering that I hardly drink any soda. I was just trying to find a way to make my running easier. Plus, I thought, I would get off what little caffeine I drink every day, so that on the day of the race, I could guzzle down a Diet Mountain Dew and really feel its effects when it actually counts.

Tuesday, I had a headache. Wednesday, I had a massive headache and went to bed with a rice bed buddy. That night, I ended up sleeping almost twelve hours. When the headache returned on Thursday, I started to worry. Maybe I was getting sick. I’ve never had sinus headaches this many days in a row with no help from Sudafed, Tylenol, Ibuprofen or aspirin. It was weird. I began to worry that Melanie must have given me some horrible cold. I began to worry that I might be depressed and not even know it. I began to worry that I was getting a brain tumor. Then, I remembered. Oh yeah, I haven’t been drinking soda. This must be those Caffeine Withdrawals that people talk about.

By the way, don’t bother searching for advice online about caffeine addiction unless you are actually looking for herbal remedies and joke quizzes. That’s all you’ll find. I even went to Dr. Weil. I think he’s a quack, but compared to all those herbal remedy quacks, he looked almost bona fide. His recommendation, along with others, is to drink green tea. Sure, that has less of a stimulant effect than coffee, black tea and Mountain Dew, but it also has other stimulants to get addicted to. I decided to just weather it out.

No headache on Friday. It took four days to get through that headachy time and the only thing that gave me any relief was sleep and a rice bed buddy. Man, I think I’ll skip the Dew on race day just so that I don’t have to go through that again.

How To Quit Soda


17 Responses to “Caffeine Withdrawal”

  1. rachel brown Says:

    i am trying so hard to quit, but i’m actually afraid of the withdrawals. i’ve been going to W.W. myself, and i actually noticed that during the weeks when i was drinking less diet pop, it was easier for me to lose weight.

  2. janet Says:

    ok I went to the doc today with the heart tests and told him about the withdrawals and he said: Exercise , walk, run, move around and water will make a BIG difference. Water will flush and exercise will use up the caffeine. I feel much better. I got on the treadmill and I really hardly have a headache!!!!’ TRY IT!!

  3. Heather Says:

    I’m in my second day of withdrawals from a 4-cup of coffee/ day habit + 2-3 diet sodas/ day. All I can say is ouch!! I have a bad headache, and my mind is very, very foggy. I also am experiencing a lot of ringing in my ears, and all I really want to do is sleep. But, I’m so, so glad I decided to do this, because obviously this stuff is very addictive and poison for the system!

  4. Caitlin Says:

    I only just made the decision to quit drinking soda today, and after about five hours i already have a throbbing headache and sore muscles! i hope it only lasts four days like yours did, cause i do not know how much more i can take of this!

  5. Star Says:

    Tried last week to get off Dr. Pepper. I had such a bad headache, I swear it felt like a migraine. Became very agitated at others around me because of the headache…..and was not strong enough to continue, so I weakened and popped open a can of dr. pepper.

    This week I am vowing after reading all of your stories to stay off coke for good. Wish me luck.

  6. Randy Lee Says:

    I have been off of coffee, caffeine in general, for ten days now. What an experience this has been, seriously! The first seven days were the worst.All the way from the headaches and the brain fog (severe brain fog!!!), to the intense mood swings. However, now i can finally exhale because im beginning to find balance and its REALLY paying huge dividends. Quitting caffeine is making a HUGE positive influence in my life.Also, these comments helped alot, they kept reminding me that i wasnt alone.THANKS A MILLION!

  7. Rachek Says:

    Wow, i feel like an addict or something. I stopped drinking caffeene 4 days ago and i was a caffeine freak. Starbucks, Energy drinks, coffee, soda, crystal light energy, zipfizz. Anything that had caffeine i would guzzle down. I feel so different, so relaxed, but these headaches are Insane! I only had mine for a day, then i went to cheer practice, drank tons of water, and that headache went down the drain! So i’m excited to see how long this will last!

  8. Julie Says:

    I was drinking 3 to 4 cups a coffee per day and was having trouble sleeping so I decided to give up caffeine. I reduced my caffeine over a period of two weeks, so when it came to stopping all together, I only had slight headaches which went away in a few days. But I did notice that my moods were quite low for a week and that I really had to have lollies which I usually don’t eat much of. The good news is that I’m sleeping like a baby, even falling asleep in the lounge which I never do. so it’s all good.

  9. Angela Says:

    i stopped drinking coffee yesterday…uuuugh! i found this article after having suffered for two days with headaches and SEVERE fatigue. i almost fell asleep in the bathroom at work today! all i want to do is sleep away the caffeine withdrawals and go on with my life! i was hoping to find a quick fix or a cure but it looks like (after reading these comments) that i’m going to have to just push through. i was only drinking a cup a day. who knew??

  10. jackie Says:

    I used to drink anything between 5-8 cups of coffee (mix of instant, filter & starbucks)as well as 3-4 cups of tea per day. Not good. My adrenals were producing so much of the hormone cortosone that my immune system was shot and I picked up every cold and virus going. I started cutting back about 3 weeks ago and got down to 2 filter coffees at work then went onto dandelion & nettle (Caffeine free of course!). Last mOnday I gave up copmpletely and had one day with a mother of all headaches. I couldn’t speak properly, think straight or walk in a straight line. I drank water and did lots of yoga, drank more water and did more yoga. Now I sleep like a baby, wake up before my alarm goes off and am ALIVE and VITAL as soon as I get up. My energy levels have gone through the roof – I feel AMAZING. People aren’t gasping for their first tea or coffee in the morning, like me they are ADDICTED. Stop, now….the benefits are so worth it. Don’t give up!!!

  11. Linds Says:

    This is so great to read. I thought I was getting depressed, then I made the connection to my New Year’s resolution of quitting coffee. I completely quit caffeine as of Sunday so I’m on day 3. I go straight home from work and want to sleep, plus I feel sad at times (which is completely out of character for me). These posts helped alot! I’ll feel so much better and balanced once I get to the end of the week. Thanks!

  12. Bill Says:

    I’ve quit a caffeine addiction several times before. I’ve always found ibuprofen (extra strength, 400mg) to cut through the headache very effectively! I’m in the middle of it today and don’t intend to go back to coffee this time!

  13. Jennifer Says:

    Was looking up info on weight loss and caffeine and came across this site. I normally drink 5-6 cups of black tea a day and lattes every once and a while. I have been dieting and exercising to lose some weight, but it has been really hard. I have had the feeling that my daily caffeine intake has had an impact on me not losing weight, so I stopped cold turkey 3 days ago and sure enough, I weighed myself this morning and have lost 4 lbs already. The only thing I have done differently is stop drinking caffeine. Yes, I have been lethargic…I can’t even keep my eyes open past 9 at night (normally go to bed at 11) and have been a little irritable and have a few minor headaches. Today (4th day) I feel better. I am going to try it out for a few weeks to see if it is easier to lose weight while off the caffeine. I am substituting with mint tea and drinking way more water than I normally do, so maybe that is why I have lost weight this week:-)

  14. De Says:

    I have been on and off caffeine for 15 yrs. In that span of time I had found that caffeine to be a diaretic (sp?)which means you pee a lot and thus you can get dehydrated. Caffeine also destroys the Vit. Bs, C, zinc, potassium and iron. The carbination in the sodas destroys calcium. Most recently I have been better at staying off of the caffeine due to my having Raynaud’s syndrome. Caffeine tends to constrict the blood vessels and Raynaud’s is an over reaction of the blood vessels in the fingers and toes to cold temperatures. I have found what works for me with the withdrawal symptoms is to somewhat increase foods with iron. Try to drink the recommended amount of water each day. IBprofen, and a cold compress at the back of the neck or something like tiger balm patches at the neck, shoulders and forehead regions. The herbal version of IBprofen is Valerian root which doesn’t have the side effect as IBprofen on the liver but it can make a person feel like a zombie in the morning. The Valerian root is best taken in tablet form as the root is a nasty smelling root (think dirty socks smell) If you are hooked of tea or coffee a switch to decaf, note that there are minut traces of caffeine still in them. And finally, Green tea has caffeine.

  15. Jane Says:

    This has been motivating for me. I’m a caffeineaholic. Starbucks plus more coffee in the morning, followed by several diet soda’s and usually at least 1 energy drink each afternoon. I got so sick of needing the stuff and feeling like crap. I actually got sick and slept in bed for a whole day. When I realized that I hadn’t had any caffeine due to my sickness, I decided to go with it and continue to completely detox off of caffeine. I’m on the morning of day 4. This has been painful. Severe headaches, fatigue, feeling like my arms and legs are made of bricks, lack of concentration, motivation and borderline depression. I’ve also been nauseated and having other gut issues, but I’m not sure if that is part of the caffeine or if I have contracted a mild virus. In any case, I”ve come this far and I hope I can stick with it. It’s nice to read stories of others who have gone through the same thing. It is nice knowing that the poisen isn’t in my system anymore. It seems so harmless until you try to stop. Which makes you realize how much it does have an effect on your body.

  16. Frances Says:

    I have been addicted to excedrin migraine for at least four years now. I would pop two every morning like my cup of coffee. I was addicted to the caffeine that is in the pills. They then pulled the pills on a nationwide recall so I then started taking BC powder. After a couple of days of feeling really sick from this new caffeine substitute I decided to quit cold turkey. The very first day I literally thought my head was gonna fall off. I was nauseated, sick to my stomache, my head was throbbing with pain. Day two I ended up in the emergency room from dehydration from the vomiting and also had to be given an injection for neaseau, and a pain injection called dilauded it’s stronger than morphine to help the migraine subside. I then went home that evening after lab work, and a ct scan that proved I was normal and it was withdrawals from the caffeine in the meds I had been taking for so long. It’s now officially day four and I still have a minor nagging headache but I have been taking ibuprofen to help with that. I do feel eighty percent better. Caffeine addiction is no joke and it’s very painful. Be careful with over the counter pain reliever meds because they can harm you, and can make you addicted.

  17. Robin Bredl Says:

    I am on day 8 caffeiene free! Caffeine was making me very hungry, and it irratates my bladder. I have found that taking a vitamin B supplement helps with the brain fog. i am fortunate not to have had headaches. I’ve read that the body is no longer addicted to caffeine after 9 days…. one more to go!

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