caffeine withdrawal

5 Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms | How to Manage and Treat the Symptom and Timeline

A day can’t end without drinking caffeinated beverages for most people, including myself. According to experts, caffeine is the most consumed psychoactive substance in the world.

Since almost everyone is hooked on caffeine, withdrawing can be hectic. If you are struggling to abandon ship, I have looked at some caffeine withdrawal symptoms and how to cope with them. 

Regardless of why you are dehooking from caffeine, let’s see what to expect. 

What are the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal? 

Quitting coffee or any other caffeinated beverage comes at a cost. Like any other psychoactive substance, it has withdrawal symptoms, and most aren’t desirable. 

If you are trying to quit caffeine, these are some symptoms you can experience. 

Headache 

It’s one of the main effects of stopping drinking coffee and caffeine. Usually, what caffeine does is constrict blood vessels that take blood to the head. When you stop taking caffeine, the blood vessels return to their regular sizes and supply more blood to the brain. 

As the body tries to balance the pressure, you can experience a caffeine withdrawal headache. The headache varies from the one you get from other effects.

What does a caffeine headache feel like? Usually, the increased blood pressure in the brain triggers migraine-like headaches. However, the kind of headache depends on the individual and varies in intensity and duration.

How to get rid of a caffeine withdrawal headache? Since headache is the most common and can be severe, you should always be prepared to counter it. You can always try keeping the body hydrated, over-the-counter drugs, and getting enough rest. Essential oils like peppermint and rosemary are also reported to help significantly. 

Lightheadedness and dizziness 

Coffee is effective in offering stimulation. When you withdraw instantly, it can leave you feeling lightheadedness. Also, it can lead to dizziness which can affect your general well-being. 

To avoid extreme reactions, gradual withdrawal is recommended. Sitting down or lying down can prevent you from fainting or falling due to dizziness. 

Fatigue 

One reason why people drink coffee is to ease fatigue. Drinking caffeine results in an energy boost, thereby eliminating fatigue. However, when you miss your dose, the body will struggle to stop the tiredness. 

Without the energy boost, the body will struggle to balance the energy demand and supply. It can be a severe symptom for heavy coffee drinkers.

Eating well, exercising, and taking a power nap can assist when fatigue clicks during the withdrawal period. 

Anxiety 

Drinking coffee is known to raise alertness and elevate mood. Also, people with sensitivity to caffeine can experience jitters where anxiety is the main issue. However, even during caffeine withdrawal, you can suffer from anxiety.

When the body is used to depending on caffeine for an emery boost, withdrawing might cause anxiety. Since it’s a psychoactive stimulant, sudden withdrawal might make you anxious and confused. 

Nausea and vomiting 

 Yes, failure to drink coffee or caffeinated drinks can lead to nausea and vomiting. Although this doesn’t happen to everyone, some people report suffering from stomach upsets

Apart from the upset, you can feel nauseous (like you want to puke). Also, some people experience vomiting before the body stabilizes. 

5 Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms | How to Manage and Treat the Symptom and Timeline 1 caffeine withdrawal

Being moody 

 Being moody is also included in caffeine withdrawal. Specifically, coffee drinkers can experience a negative mood as the body tries to rest. Since caffeine is part of daily refreshments, quitting can significantly affect your mood. 

Some of the most common encounters are feeling weak, depressed, irritable, and anxious. Some people get irritated and agitated quickly, which can improve as the body acclimates to a caffeine-free life.

How long does caffeine withdrawal last?

Caffeine withdrawal can take anywhere from 2 -9 days, depending on various factors. However, the onset of the symptoms will kick in in about 12-24 hours from your last caffeine intake. 

The severity of the symptoms varies from one person to another. For instance, if you are heavy coffee dependent, it can be more intense than a person who takes a few cups weekly. 

As you withdraw, the symptoms will fade, and you will get better within the mentioned days. Below is a summarized timeline. 

Caffeine withdrawal timeline 

Day one after withdrawing is when you will notice the first symptom. Most people report headaches as the most common experience. 

Day two and three, other symptoms like fatigue, moody, and anxiety will manifest. During these two days, you will experience the most severe symptoms. 

From day 4, the symptoms will start to ease for some people. However, others will continue feeling slight symptoms up to the 9th day or beyond. 

Caffeine withdrawal treatment 

In case the symptoms are extreme, sometimes people will need treatment. Some people will need to get medical expert assistance to manage the symptoms. 

Some of the intervention measures available to ease these symptoms include;

Gradual withdrawal: gradual withdrawal is recommended when it is hard to cut caffeine at once. You can switch to low-caffeine coffee and decaf to help manage withdrawal symptoms

Keep the body hydrated: keeping the body rehydrated is proven to ease caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Dehydration, on the other hand, can worsen the situation. 

Get enough rest: Especially when you have headaches and dizziness, it is best to get enough rest to avoid even more serious conditions. Being less active also minimizes body energy requirements. 

Take Analgesic drugs: If you can’t bear the headache, you can try over-the-counter painkillers to relieve the pain. 

Final words 

Caffeine withdrawal is a journey; you should be prepared before quitting. While caffeine withdrawal symptoms differ among drinkers, at least you will experience some. 

While withdrawing from coffee might be a big issue for some people, there are a couple of other helpful options, like herbal tea, matcha tea, and fruit juices. 

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