Self Improvement For Men

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How to Go Caffeine Free And Beat The Hellish Withdrawals


caffeine withdrawals

Here’s a fun fact. Caffeine is the most commonly used addictive drug in existence.

Many of you have probably never considered it to be a drug, but it certainly is. (Just Google caffeine and check out the classification box to the right) I’m not saying its a bad drug, caffeine has been found to have positive health effects in moderation and whether you use it is totally up to you. But the fact is is that it is a drug, it is addictive, and through my experience your life can significantly improve without it.

So while I’m not here to tell you what choices to make, I am here to portray the facts so you can make an educated decision. If you’re struggling with fatigue, anxiety or just not feeling awesome and your slugging down the caffeine all day, take a step back, have a read and decide whether going caffeine free is something you need to do. It was for me.

Why would I ever give up caffeine?

Kicking caffeine is certainly not for everyone, and I am in now way against caffeine, or trying to say it is bad for you.

I know people that live on Starbucks and wouldn’t be able to function without it. But to me this is the problem. “They wouldn’t be able to function without it.” 

Ask yourself right now, if caffeine wasn’t available for you tomorrow, how productive and useful would you be? Most of you would probably be completely brain dead zombies. I was.

Personally, I do not want to be reliant on any substances. I used to be heavily reliant on caffeine for years and now I am 100% free of it. Since this life change, I can assure you my energy levels may be twice as good as they were before.

I must warn you though. This is not for the faint of heart and this change does not happen overnight. This is a decision for long term self improvement and will make anything else you are trying to do in the next few months much more difficult. But if you can stick with it I know you won’t regret it.

Caffeine is an addictive drug

Caffeine is one of the most widely accepted addictive drugs on the plant, along with porn. Check out the info-graphic below for more detail on just how addictive caffeine truly is.

Benefits Of Living Caffiene Free

Benefits of being caffeine free

You can see from the infographic that the problem is not just in mine or anyone else’s head. Caffeine is a drug and not being dependent on it carries many benefits. For example, after giving up caffeine and getting through withdrawals:

1) You will have consistent energy levels thought the day

2) You will have a decrease in stress and anxiety

3) You will wake up easier and more refreshed

4) You will save money

5) You will get harder erections!

When I was on caffeine, I started to have problem with anxiety and my energy levels. I was on  a constant track of up’s and downs, and each cup made me increasingly more jittery and nervous. Some people will never feel this way. Good for you. But most people do, and they have no idea what the cause is.

Since I quit caffeine, and have recovered from withdrawals, my life has gotten a lot better. I have consistent energy throughout the day. I wake up refreshed and my overall well being has increased. I also don’t have to spend my hard earned money just to feel good and have the energy to get out of the house.

It is a great change, but I will not butter it up. It did not come easy.

Caffeine withdrawal | the ugly truth.

Caffeine withdrawal is real, and it sucks. A lot. If you decide to go caffeine free and you have been dependent on caffeine for years like I was you will go through withdrawals, and they will likely last for months. Although everyone is different, I will share with you the withdrawal symptoms that I experienced. 

First some commonly reported caffeine withdrawal symptoms:

1) Headache

2) Insomnia

3) Fatigue

4) Depression

5) Anxiety

6) Irritability

7) Muscle pain and stiffness

8) Lack of concentration

9) Flu-like symptoms

**Update: Since writing this article, we have had an amazing 188+ comments from people going through similar caffeine withdrawals. You can see them below, and it just goes to show that it is not a two week thing as many people will have you believe. So when you are done reading you can check out the comment section which is filled with amazing information and stories from great people. You can also head to the Forum and personally track your progress and receive support from hundreds of people in the same spot. Just head here and start a new thread.

My personal caffeine withdrawal symptoms

Here are my personal symptoms that I experienced after being a slave to the drug for years of my life. Again, everyone is different! And some of you lucky bastards will feel better in weeks to a month. But for some, it can take as long as a year for the brain to fully return to its pre caffeinated state. (This doesn’t mean you will be in withdrawal that whole time) So do not feel afraid or alone if you experience any of the following or worse.

Week 1

Extreme fatigue for the first week. Feels almost like bad jet lag. You have no energy to do anything and you don’t really want to do anything. Concentration was near impossible this week. Also developed what seemed to be a slight cold.

Week 2 – 4

Along with the extreme fatigue depression sets in. I felt so low. I didn’t want to do a damn thing and I felt like a complete piece of shit. This honestly lasted over 2 weeks. This was accompanied by some raised anxiety levels. I was just constantly stressed out and felt horrible. Honestly its rough, and your body is so dependent on it that when you take the caffeine away your brain misses those chemicals and needs to re balance itself. This state feels like it is never going to end but you will get through this state, just stay strong.

Month 2 

Depression and anxiety went away but my brain was just plain dull. Life wasn’t too exciting at this time and I just felt bland. I didn’t have strong energy but I wasn’t in extreme fatigue. Its just a lull. As the month went on I began to experience glimpses of feeling good. But they were short lived. sleep got a lot better this month. I began to sleep very deep and I feel like this is important in the road to recovery.

Month 3

The glimpses of feeling good started to get a little longer in duration. I would start to feel good for a few days but then have another wave of fatigue and dull foggy mind set in. It was discouraging but I knew that recovery was not linear. There was good weeks and there were shitty dull brain weeks. The depression and anxiety was gone though. You are almost completely stress free because you are kind of just there lol. Lack of emotion is a good way to describe it.

Month 4

This is when things really started to turn around. The dull foggy mind was about 80% clear and things started to seem bright again. I was excited to go do stuff and happy that I was free of caffeine. This was the first feeling that all my sacrifice in the past few months was worth it and it was about damn time.

Month 5 ( Where I am writing this article)

Awesome. Literally the brain fog and dullness is completely gone.

I feel awesome and I wake up refreshed at like 7 AM. My co workers are slaves to caffeine and when they ask me if I want a cup I can say no thanks. I am energized and lively all the time. My wit has come back and my mind is sharp. I find myself joking around and am very quick to the punch.

I also am approaching girls a lot more now and I truly believe this has helped. I am grounded while energized and can hold a good conversation. Essentially I just have a great mental balance. No anxiety from caffeine but with a good energy about me. Its the best of both worlds..

– Another great article on this womans caffeine free journey

***It’s important to note that if you are going strong and you do give in to a cup of coffee or a caffeine fix during your withdrawal, this will not set you back to the start. It may set you back a day or two but trust me you are not starting over.

I went back to the caffeine a few times during my whole journey. Each time I felt I noticed a little bit more how shitty caffeine really was. The energy it gave me was an unclean stressful buzz. It was accompanied by some anxiety and didn’t really help much. So each time I went right off it again.

It definitely may have amplified symptoms for a few days but then I was right back to where I was.

As you see this is not easy

This is not for everyone. But I assure you, if you are reaching for coffee or soda several times a day just to get you by, and you still feel fatigued, you can really benefit in the long run going caffeine free.

Many people start to become so strung out from caffeine and stress that the caffeine actually starts to make them more tired. It doesn’t work and they need more and its just an ugly downward spiral. This eventually can lead to adrenal fatigue, which I believe I definitely had, and really takes a toll on your quality of life.

And don’t listen to anyone who says caffeine withdrawal only lasts a few days to a week and cannot last more than a month. I’ve experienced it and I assure you it is real. Some sources say that your brain can take up to a year to fully revert back to its pre caffeine state. See some of the links below for others who have taken long to heal.

Bad caffeine withdrawal after 3 months

Anxiety during caffeine withdrawal

Things that may help with caffeine withdrawal

1) Drink a lot of water

2) Taper off the Caffeine, meaning cut back a little less each week over the course of 3 – 6 months. give your brain time to catch up.

3) Light exercise at first. If you feel fatigued don’t force it

4) L-Theanine – A herb that helps tremendously with anxiety. (Non addictive) Read more here. Buy it here.

5) Quit Caff – Special blend of vitamins and herbs to help your body adapt to stress and to quit caffeine. The ingredients are legit, but they do affect neurotransmitters (they contain Rhodiola Rosea & 5 HTP) so it is up to you. I didn’t take this, but it will help with depression and all ingredients are natural.

6) Astragalus Root! – This stuff is amazing. It is a Chinese adaptogenic that helps the body with fatigue, deal with stress and to raise the chi. I take 400mg everyday.

7) Eat a healthy diet! Stay away from sugar.

Your body is like a sports car

I like to think of my body like a highly tuned BMW M6. I’m not going to fill it with shitty dirty fuel ( Coffee, Soda, Energy Drinks ), but instead I am going to put clean premium oil and fuel in ( Water, Vegetables, Essential Fatty Acids ) This is going to keep my engine running smooth and clean, give me a better supply of power, and increase my mpg’s.

In conclusion

It is really up to you if you want to take the dive and go caffeine free.

I am in no way against coffee, I am aware that caffeine has been proven to be good for your health, and can veen extend your life. This is just my personal experience and wanted to share it with you.

Also, if you do decide to give this a try, understand that this is not a quick fix like a lot of the things on this site. Life caffeine free is much better in my opinion, but it took a while to get there.

Now when I get a little tired from natural day to day stuff I take a 20 minute nap and I feel amazing and refreshed afterwards. My energy is clean, my mind is clean, and if you can be the same.

Additional Resources

Quitting caffeine is hard, these books may help you. Check out their descriptions, read some reviews and see if they are right for you.

1) Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks Us

2) How To Quit Without Feeling S**T: The Fast, Highly Effective Way To End Addiction To Caffeine, Sugar, Cigarettes, Alcohol, Illicit Or Prescription Drugs


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Cheers.

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423 thoughts on “How to Go Caffeine Free And Beat The Hellish Withdrawals

  1. Justin

    Hmm. I’ll stick with coffee, but try to avoid the trap of drinking more and more- I have friends that go through stupid amounts per day. I can go days, weeks without (Sometimes I forget to buy more.) They go for hours and they start getting withdraw symptoms. They literally drink a large mug to settle down and go to bed.

    Sadly, I know coffee is literally killing one of them. She’s got chronically low iron and coffee cripples your ability to absorb iron.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Yeah man,

      Like I said this isn’t for everyone..and coffee is not bad for you at all. But some people are just better off without it, me being one of them. And your friend clearly. Didn’t know that about iron though very interersting.

      Reply
      1. R I

        I drank 500 ml of Rockstar double power energy drink and am having insomnia for more than 1 week. I quit caffeine this is day 7, I sleep every 2 days for only 3 to 5 hours max. I do not wanna go to the dilemma of meds. I started morning exercise. Is there any hope.? Am a female

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          There is hope R I.

          Read the comments, you just need time!

          Take magnesium (400mg) at night, may help with sleep. Stay hydrated and try meditating before bed. One thing that won’t help is more caffeine.. You can do this!

          Reply
  2. orostinm

    I’ve had direct personal experience over the last 8 years recovering from alcohol. then nicotine. refined sugar. red meat, now in the process of getting off caffeine. I can say from personal direct experience that Sean’s experience is true. caffeine affects me the same way as do withdrawals. One thing I’ve learned from abstaining from various social drugs for years is that everyone human has a slightly different experience on or off them. there are those that seem immune to the affects of coffee, etc. I met a man that smoked pot and cigs for 30 yrs and claimed he had no withdrawals when he quit. That may have been true, but I don’t think so. Also effects of abuse of these chemicals can vary by age. What affects me negatively now used to be ok. Caffeine is a gateway drug for me. after sugar it was my main high since age 15. Now at 46 its clear its over and not working anymore. That’s when most of us quit,

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Interesting story. I agree strongly about how everyone is different and age being a strong factor. It seems I am hyper sensitive to everything and even had a hard time coming off xanax after only taking it for two weeks, while I know kids who have also abused drugs for years with no issues quitting. But good luck with getting off caffeine, it will feel really good to not need it anymore.

      Reply
  3. Mark

    There are very few books and or publications written on the negatives of caffeine use. Most books talk about then supposed positive benefits. The best book is called “Welcome to the Dance” by Ruth Whalen. After many years of direct experience, I am sure there is not one benefit of human consumption of the toxic nerve agent known as tri methyl xanthine (caffeine)

    Reply
  4. Mark

    No Problem Sean. I think everyone should understand the pitfalls ahead when quitting caffeine. One is tea of all kinds. Tea contains caffeine in all cases. Don’t fall for the green tea scam if you are of addictive personality. You be drinking 1/2 gallon a day in a year. I did it. Excessive tea drinking will cause problems you never knew existed, and in some ways it seems worse than coffee when abused. Health benefits come from being drug free. All these chemicals are drugs. The other pitfall is taking a supplement called 5 htp. This stuff will take your already weak torn up coffee wrecked stomach and make it worse in 2 days. Also stimulates the appetite so you cant pass any food anywhere without eating it. Same goes for all the other supposed amino acids that allegedly curb cravings or addiction. It all caused more problems on top of what I already had. Not to mention the cost. I agree it takes about 5 months off anything before some slight relief comes. The theory of 3 days to withdrawal from caffeine is nonsense.

    Reply
  5. Mark

    As a non caffeine user I would also like to point out that when going to my doc for help getting off caffeine he recommended another more power methamphetamine called welbutrin. This drugs insert clearly shows by its chemical nature that it is a very powerful speed. They tweak the chemical name to throw average people off. My other doc friend told me its more powerful than caffeine…While this drug has helped some people; it caused me to have waking nightmares after taking one pill. I flushed them all down the toilet immediately. Try watching some u tube clips of personal testimonies of folks who have tried this powerful toxic chemical to overcome weaker social drugs. I’m not against medical drugs. just all drugs, based on the suffering they’ve caused in my life directly. Of course there are those that claim benefit from them and that’s ok for them. Its never good to argue the point with a drug user because they are blind to its effects when intoxicated by it. The media has increased its positive spin on coffee and tea lately by leaps and bounds. Even my doc said studies have shown caffeine is good for humans…It is a known toxic nerve agent that kills and paralyzes bugs…If you think the Boston tea party was about taxes. think again…..

    Reply
  6. Steve Wansings

    Hello, wonder what people’s thoughts are on this. For a long period of time, I’d drink water as often as caffeinated drinks (mostly diet soda, but lots of iced coffee too). I then started getting this light headedness feeling – not debilitating in the least bit, just more annoying wondering what is happening. While this odd symptom started while I was *still* drinking caffeine, there was a few days where I didn’t have the stronger coffee. I then stopped cold turkey for a few weeks, and pretty much 70% of waking hours I would experience this very subtle but noticable light headedness. After getting my eyes checked out and other potential issues (because I didn’t think a caffeine withdrawal, if it was that, would last this long), I finally submitted that maybe this is caffeine withdrawal. I had two diet cokes each day for the last three days, and today was the longest I’ve gone without the lightheadedness (knock on wood).

    What do you guys think — no headache, no other symptoms — but a light headedness “empty head” feeling for almost a month due to caffeine withdrawal? Is that possible?

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Definitely possible steve,

      Although I don’t know if that is why and you should still consult a doctor, caffeine withdrawal can definitely do that & can definitely last for over a month. Everyone is different.

      I know anxiety can cause lightheadedness, I don’t know if this is an issue for you, but just a thought.

      Hope that helped,

      – Sean

      Reply
  7. Scott

    Awesome reflection Sean…I am about 8 weeks in and I was really starting to wonder whether it was the caffeine or I had something else going on as well…..I went to the Dr and he ran extensive blood tests which were all clear. I am working out at the gym and jogging again now , but the mood and the fogginess…..you are right…it feels as if it is never ending. I gave in earlier this week and had an espresso……..that was the reality check I needed to make me realise the caffeine is the core of the mood and the fogginess….almost instantly my energy levels increased….but it felt awful…..and you are very true……two days on and I am on my way back into the journey again. On the plus side and in hindsight…..before I have in, I was starting to have days where things felt really good and the energy levels were good. The one thing that has really changes in the past month is the sleep patterns….almost better each night. Again…great reflection…thank you and I look forward to the ‘baby steps’ in this process as my brain (and whole system in fact) rebalances itself.

    Reply
      1. Mark

        So, in my experience as a direct caffeine abuser and also abstaining from it, I can say that some folks may have no side effects from withdrawal and some can have the most serious withdrawal which may temporarily cause psychosomatic like illnesses that aren’t really there. Everyone is different. Caffeine used to be your friend than at some unknown point in life it turns on us and causes things like itchy butt, skin, and ears. excessive ear wax in only one ear. strange moving abdominal pain. diabetes like symptoms. dizziness, noise in the head, hallucinations, panic attacks, heart irregularities of all kinds, muscle weakness, poor sex drive, prostate issues, mania, sleep problems, binge eating, strange food cravings, arthritis, addiction, compulsive behavior, excessive spending of money without care, thyroid throat swelling, nasal debris, constipation, depression/fatigue, IBS, neck pain, shoulder pain, etc.
        These things don’t happen to all folks and they don’t happen at age 20 or the with ones first cup. This is my experience as a result of abusing caffeine for 31 years. For more info try caffeineinformer.com.

        Reply
  8. Harold

    Growing up I loved coke and pepsi. I used to drink it anywhere and everywhere. Breakfast, lunch, after school, dinner etc. By high school, I was up to guzzling 2 liters of Pepsi a day. In grade 11, I suffered a broken ankle and when they did a bone density scan, they found I had weak and brittle bones, partially due to the fact I rarely drank milk and that caffeine and soda excrete calcium out of the urine. I was put on calcium medication. I also was becoming overweight, and having some skin problems due to all the sugar. By university, I was adding lattes and espressos, drinking red bull and rockstar energy drinks, even having caffeine pills before exams. I’d go to the gym and weightlift but I would have some pre-workouts before that also had caffeine. I would say I was easily over 1100 mg of caffeine daily. I was always jittery, nervous, hopped up. I would wake up and need my fix of caffeine. Well after a few years, I was at the gym, and even with 3 scoops of concentrated pwo, I was messed up. I was yawning and my head was hurting. One thing about caffeine addiction is, like any drug, you build a tolerance and need more. I finally decided now was the time to quit cold turkey. Literally the next day I stopped. Such a massive change, I went crazy. The withdrawal felt like torture, I still feel sick to my stomach as I type this because of what it was like. I woke up on the second day feeling groggy and tired and irritable. The whole day my nose was runny, my eyes and sinuses hurt and by nighttime I was suffering from a throbbing headache. Not even 1000 mg of Tylenol was helping (Don’t use Tylenol if you can avoid it). For almost 8 days it felt like I was a junkie going through heroine withdrawal. Killer headaches, nausea and almost vomiting type feeling, runny nose, back aches and body pains, trouble focusing, all groggy and confused. By the second week, the headaches stopped but I was tired all the time. Due to all the caffeine I suffered from insomnia the past 10 years, and now I was tired all the time. I felt lethargic, depressed and felt like I couldn’t move. My body needed the stimulant effects of caffeine to get going again. By the third month, is when I realized a change. I had switched to water from everything else, and I had lost 22 pounds naturally. I had less bags under my eyes, my skin looked healthier and I wasn’t as tired. By the end of the year, I could wake up refreshed on 7 hours of sleep only, I had more energy than I ever did on caffeine. Sure I didn’t have that jolt or buzz, but I was down almost 47 pounds by the end of the year. I’ve been caffeine free for 2 years now. I turn down soft drinks at parties, I might have a decaf in a social situation or date, I do have a little chocolate every now and then. But my body and mind are off the drug. I’ve even started to read again, something I never did with all the focus and energy caffeine was supposed to have given me.

    It’s crazy how no one even bats an eyelash at the fact we are consuming an addictive drug with little disregard to how it really affects us. I mean I was a boy drinking tons of caffeine. How much caffeine is there now in other drinks, in candy etc. I would never get my kids to ever have anything with caffeine. I’d rather take all the negatives of not having caffeine, than going through what I did. I don’t need a cup of joe in the morning to get me up, I don’t need to have energy drinks to get amped etc. I wonder if I ever did a brain scan, would there have been changes in my brain on and off the caffeine.

    Anyways, just my anecdotal story. I truly wish people would kick this addictive drug, but many love the effects, and I cannot blame them, but for anyone reading this, ask yourself, do you drink more caffeine now than you ever did before? Can you function without it? Can you travel without the need to stop and get soda or coffee to get you through the journey etc.

    Reply
  9. eric

    I’m so much better off . I decided coffee just numbed my feelings and I wanted to be me again. I weaned myself from full strength to half of a decaf to nothing. My energy is real and through the roof. I exercise 20 min a day . No more anxiety.headaches.I almost feel sorry for people when they say they neeed they’re coffee in the morning. It wasn’t easy but it can be done.

    Reply
  10. Abhi

    Hey Sean, I read this post on the 24th of February and I decided I will give it a go in April or something since my final examination would be ending in March but I ended up withdrawing tea in cold turkey sub consciously. I didn’t even realize it. I’m off tea since 24th of February, it all seemed good until 2-3 days earlier I started feeling like a Zombie. I’m emotionless and mind is completely blank most of the time. I can’t think of anything, I can’t visualize and I think I stopped dreaming too at night. I’m also experiencing light headiness which Steve Wansings described. I can now concentrate better since my mind can’t think of anything else. I feel less stressed but I can’t be sure of that because I can’t feel anything, I’m numb. My friends who take Adderall also feel this way but when the Adderall wears off they don’t feel light headiness. I’m pretty sure it’s due to withdrawal of caffeine since Brain stops making Dopamine due to caffeine and it takes almost 90 days of withdrawal of caffeine for brain to start Dopamine again. This would account for Anhedonia and why I feel like a emotionless zombie. I’m really thinking to drink Tea again, since I have my final examination going on. I had to just write and let it go because I was going crazy because of this.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Abhi,

      Thanks for writing. I understand the need to search for answers and how you feel like you are going crazy. I went through it too!

      How long have you been drinking tea and how often? It 100% sounds like caffeine withdrawal my friend. I went through the same thing. Each month it will get better, but if yu are taking finals I don’t think ti will be the end of the world to drink tea if it will help you pass.

      You can attempt to go caffeine free afterword, or just power through it if you feel that you can handle it.

      Your emotions will come back and you are not going crazy! Please keep me informed of you progress. I developing a forum where people can track their progress and receive feedback shortly if that is something that interests you.

      Reply
      1. Abhi

        I’ve been drinking tea for about 6-7 years, I tend to drink more tea in the winters about 1-2 cups a day. In summers I drink 1-2 cups in two weeks. My intake is not too much and it varies. I think I’m not going to drink tea now. Since, I don’t want to go through this phase again. Also, my testosterone level has increased a lot, it’s crazy how deeply caffeine changes your body. I love the idea of the forum, seems good. I just hope these withdrawal symptoms end quickly.
        Thank you, Sean, for responding even though I sound crazy.

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          You dont sound crazy to me since I’ve lived it! haha

          Three things that will greatly speed up your recovery: Drink lots of water, eat healthy & exercise everyday. You’ll be good before you know it.

          Reply
          1. Abhi

            Sean, Today, I gave up. I gave up to a cup of tea because I couldn’t take it any more but after drinking the cup of tea rather strange thing happened. I had the worst experience of my life. After 2 hours of drinking I thought, I should be able to feel like I used to feel before on caffeine but this was not the case, my heart starting pumping very fast, I thought I would die on the spot and my eyes started twitching also. Both of these symptoms happens when the intake of caffeine is too much but I only drank a cup. So, overall I still feel shitty and emotionless after drinking a cup.
            You mentioned you gave in to coffee couple of times during withdrawal. Did you felt like before after drinking or you still felt the same ? Also, how far you were in withdrawal when you gave up ? Did your eyes twitched like crazy during the withdrawal. The reason I’m so paranoid because what if this is permanent.
            You’ve been of so much help.
            Thanks bud.

          2. Sean Russell Post author

            Abhi,

            That sounds terrible, I know the feeling. The problem is, I am not a doctor, I cannot give you medical advice so I think you should go get checked out. I will tell you more about my experience, I have emailed you directly.

  11. Sufferling

    Hi,

    I am so glad I have found this website. I have been researching the web on things relating to caffeine withdrawal, anxiety etc.

    I am 38 years old and I have been using caffeine for many years. I think I have started on caffeinated products since I was 8. I started having problems with anxiety since September 2013. After having 3 servings of instant coffee I was feeling not myself. This is not a large dosage as I was drinking that much on a daily basis. Anyway I was feeling anxious, my mind was not focusing and I was expecting some really bad to happen.

    I had since started to cut down and even attempted to stop. I went through days of feeling shaky, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, depression and even suicidal. I even went to see the doctor but every physical tests turned out alright. I became obsess in finding out what happened to me.

    I have stopped drinking coffee and started just drinking 2 servings of green tea per day for the past 2 weeks. I still get worries, anxiety and heart palpitations but lesser. The feelings of doom has not left me totally. After reading your article it gives me some hopes I will feel better eventually if I quit caffeine totally.

    Am I supposed to go through these withdrawal symptoms even though I haven’t given up caffeine totally but just reducing the amount?

    I really would love to hear from anyone who has been suffering from anxiety and recovered by eliminating caffeine. I really hate the feelings of daily worrying and hopelessness.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey man,

      I am sorry to hear you have been having a rough time, but am glad that you came here because I can definitely help you. My experience was similar to yours. I started to get anxiety from the caffeine and then had anxiety from stopping it. But it gets better!

      I am familiar with the feelings of doom. They are horrible and feel like they last forever but they won’t. Just like cutting down any drug, even reducing the amount will cause withdrawal symptoms. There is not a lot of information out there about this in regards to caffeine, so when it happens people get scared and think they are loosing their mind. I did, I remember I used to search Google any day looking for a similar story to ease my mind.

      Let me tell you what will help you: Drink a lot of water. Eat well. And try to exercise everyday! This is the most important. It will help with the caffeine withdrawal and will help with the anxiety. It may make you feel worse the first few times but your body will adapt and it will help so much. Keep lowering the caffeine or go cold turkey. The first month may suck. But if you eat well, drink a lot of water and exercise you will be generally okay after the first month. You may not have 100% of your energy back but within the next few months it will come back. Then after 3 – 6 months after a lifetime of caffeine you will feel great, have much lower anxiety (possibly none depending on the rest of your life) & have natural clean sustained energy!

      You can do it man.

      Whats a few months of hardship for years of lower anxiety & more wellbeing. At this point you have reached a level where the caffeine will only make your anxiety worse. I really recommend living a life without it.

      Reply
      1. Sufferling

        Sean,
        Thanks so much! I have finally found someone who can tell me I am still normal.
        When I started having anxiety, I suspected it was the caffeine. I then tried to eliminate it but started feeling more anxious. I researched the Net and it seemed everyone agreed caffeine withdrawal only lasts 10 days top. I was past 2 weeks and still not feeling better. I began to be scared thinking I might be having psychological issues.
        I have been very fearful at work. I feel overwhelmed and unable or incapable of carrying out my work. I even contemplate quitting the job I have been in for 9 years.
        Thank you Sean. Now I know I am not alone and I just need to bear with the elimination process longer.

        Reply
  12. Andy

    I quit caffeine about 8 weeks ago after a 2 week taper although I’ve cheated a few times since then. Today I had one cup of weak brew in attempt to stave off the symptoms I describe below.

    I was a heavy coffee drinker for about 20 years. I drank at LEAST three cups (usually four) a day of very strong brew. I sometimes would drink upwards of a pot.

    Anyway, at first I seemed fine. My main goal was to avoid the headaches which tapering allowed me to do. However, as the weeks have worn on, my blood pressure has dropped 20 to 30 points, I have this crazy light-headed and spacey feeling all of the time, I struggle to concentrate, I can’t find words that normally come easy to me, and my balance is off a little. I especially feel it when I stand and sometimes and get weird visual, starry disturbances in my vision when standing; sort of like when you close your eyes and run them. It seems to be related to blood flow to my head and maybe my lower blood pressure.

    This is scaring the hell out of me to the point where I’ve cheated a few days but the sporadic amounts of caffeine intake haven’t done anything for these “dizzy” symptoms other than jacking my pulse and blood pressure to levels I’ve never experience before (I must have been tolerant to the effects before quitting). Everything I’ve read states that caffeine withdrawal is a two week affair and now I’m entering month three. I’ve scoured the internet for information and not much is out there. My doctor has been no helping stating that he “thinks” it’s caffeine withdrawal but has me going to a neurologist for an MS screening. Yikes!

    Has anyone else experienced these types of symptoms? If so, how long did they last? This is driving me crazy since it makes study a lot more difficult. The only thing that has helped is exercise.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Whats up Andy,

      Textbook caffeine withdrawal right there. I hope your MS screening will be fine, I think it will. Think about what you said.

      “I was a heavy coffee drinker for 20 years.” Caffeine is a drug. Fact. Imagine you used any other drug for 20 years and then stopped in two weeks. You can imagine the withdrawal effects.

      Its just such an accepted drug that nobody believes someone can actually withdraw from it. The cure is time and no caffeine. It seems to become a problem once people try to stop. They are fine and once they stop they experience these issues and then when they drink it again it either makes it worse or does nothing. My cure: Avoiding caffeine forever. I do not miss it at all.

      What helps is water, sleep, good nutrition, stressing less about your health!, and exercise.

      You will recover and be good, but it will take time. There is evidence and research that shows that the brain may not fully return to its pre caffeinated state for up to whole year. I don’t remember where I read this but I have. That doesn’t mean you will have symptoms for a year, but don’t be too worried. Take it week to week. Some people, like myself, are much more sensitive to these things than others. My symptoms lasted as listed in the article.

      I think you will be good Andy, but if you have any more questions email me at menprovement@gmail.com

      Reply
    2. Abhi

      Andy,
      I do feel the same way as you described. Drinking coffee or tea makes blood pressure rise but the symptoms don’t go away. As Sean has pointed drinking a cup or two doesn’t take you back to the start but it sets you back day or two. I’ve been caffeine free for two weeks and I already feel crazy. What I’m trying to do is drinking small amount of caffeine (Green Tea). So, my brain doesn’t go crazy. I’ve been also very scared about whether this would ever wear off. Please keep posted about your MS screening.

      Reply
    3. Nikolaus

      hey man there’s a doctor by the name of Terry Wahls who CURED her MS with proper nutrition. you should check out her TED talk called “minding your mitochondria”

      what you’re talking about definitely could be a nutritional issue.

      Reply
  13. Bex

    Thank you. This is, so far, the more informative, realistic, down-to-earth, and encouraging articles I have read on caffeine and withdrawal. I am in the process of going through it right now. After only a day of not drinking my usual tea, I experienced strong headaches that last all day. I was very tired, achy, and irritable. It has been 5 days and though the headache side of things has reduced, I am in a state where I feel deadened inside, drowsy, depressed, unmotivated, and a total lack of interest in previous things I would enjoy. I am hanging in there, because the fact I had such strong withdrawal symptoms of only a day off tea showed me I had a problem and proved caffeine is indeed a drug.

    Previously, I was up to 20+ cups of strong tea a day (mainly earl grey, which is my favourite). No sooner would I drink a cup, I’d be back for more, or filling up a large tea pot and refilling my cup over and over again. Like a chain-smoker, but more a chain tea-drinker :-)

    I personally felt that it would take me longer than the typical 2-9 days withdrawal that is often mentioned on other websites. When I read your article, it helped me to feel a lot better that if I do not reach that 9-day mark, it’s okay and not abnormal! So I feel motivated to persist, though I understand it won’t be easy (and it surely isn’t). I do not enjoy feeling that I have to have caffeine in order to stop or prevent withdrawal symptoms, so I would like to break this habit and probably NEVER go back. The problem with going back, I very easily tip into chronic intake again. I am a bit of an “all or nothing” person. I am afraid that if I do go back, even to weaker tea and less of it, that if I tip the scales a little, I will put myself back and have to go through withdrawal again.

    I have done this already once and don’t wish to repeat it.

    Anyway, thank you very much for sharing your experience and I have saved this weblink to my desktop, so I can refer to it as/when needed. I believe it will help and encourage me as I go on my caffeine withdrawal journey.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  14. Eugene

    Hi,

    Today is day 3 caffeine free for me. I tapered down to 2 cups of green tea 22nd Feb until 12th March then for the following 2 days just one cup of green tea in the morning. Since last Saturday I haven’t any anything caffeinated.

    I am feeling awful. I have heart palpitations, feelings of doom, anxiety and depression. This is on top of the usual, lethargic, body aches, flu like symptoms etc. I would hope the withdrawal is not so severe since I have been tapering my consumption. I also feel shaky, cold/hot spells and very unsure of myself. This really sucks at work because I am feeling overwhelmed and scared of something bad will happen.

    Do you think a decaf coffee will help? If I drink 1 or 2 decaf coffee per day will I still reap the benefits of being caffeine free?

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey Eugene,

      Can I ask what your reason for quitting caffeine was? Was it causing you trouble before hand? Also how long and how much caffeine did you typically drink? I ask because it seems stopping is causing many problems for people and I want my article to help people, not cause them distress. But regardless, this is a long term improvement, and ultimately will help people regardless if caffeine was causing them distress or not.

      But in your case, it is textbook caffeine withdrawal. I do not recommend drinking decaf coffee now. There are still traces of caffeine in it. And if you are going through withdrawals it is best to stay clear of it. Later on, decaf coffee may be fine, and you may still reap the benefits of being caffeine free. But for now, I would stay clear.

      I think you are experiencing the worst of it now, and you won’t want to ever do it again so just power through. Try to exercise and drink a lot of water. In another week you will feel a little less anxious. Take it week to week.

      Reply
      1. Eugene

        Sean,

        I was having a lot of caffeine for many years. Like 4 to 6 cups of instant coffee per day. I was proud of the fact it didn’t affect me negatively but helped to motivate me instead.

        I was facing some stresses at work at some point. I started feeling anxious, worrisome, sweaty palms/feet, heart palpitations, ruminations etc.

        I am trying to cure this and I hope by quitting caffeine I will be able to handle stress better, less depressed, less worry, less procrastination and generally better.

        Reply
  15. Adam

    Hey Sean ,

    Great Article. I just starting caffeine free living again . I’ve been free for about one week now. I’ve only drank one cup per day ( max 2 rarely) and would stop any time without severe withdrawal effects . The reason I want to completely stop, is because I have issues with anxiety, and caffeine exacerbates it. I’m also not a fan of the caffeine crash and the tolerance I build towards it . I once quit completely for one month , and besides the more stable energy, my mood and was still pretty much the same. I noticed it took you 3-4 months before you got really better. Maybe it will take me less time considering you probably drank more coffee than me.

    Do you eat Chocolate?
    Did you know it contains theobromine, which is a cousin to caffeine, and can still be additive.
    I avoid chocolate because it depresses me.

    All the best, Adam

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      I don’t eat chocolate. I am super sensitive to many things so when I decided to go caffeine free I decided to avoid anything with caffeine in it. I am sure I would be fine eating chocolate, but I just don’t.

      I didn’t know it contains theombromine, that’s interesting.

      Plus I eat extremely clean so chocolate doesn’t really have a place there haha

      Reply
      1. Adam

        Chocolate only contains trace amounts of caffeine which is irrelevant. The Stimulant in Chocolate is Theobromine and everybody mistake it for caffeine . Read this-http://www.xocoatl.org/caffeine.htm

        Reply
  16. Bex

    I am about 12 days into caffeine withdrawal. I’ve had the headaches, the mind-numbing fatigue to where you feel like you’re half asleep most of the time. Wanting to sleep a lot. I’ve also had anxiety/panic-type reactions in the second week, which I am still getting from time to time. I am swinging between these symptoms and at times just feel “nothing”, almost bland. I guess I feel kind of depressed. I have been drinking caffeine-free herbal teas and just water. I have not cheated at all. I have felt tempted to go back at times, but I’m trying to see this through and see if I do come out the other side better off. So far it does feel as if I’m in a more deadened state than I’ve ever been in and hard to imagine this will go. Mind feels blank/dead with not alot of emotion or life. Definitely does NOT take a few days to a week to suddenly get better. he only way I can see that ever happening is if a person was hardly drinking much caffeine in the first place and probably not for a very long time. Anyway, this is my update and it helps to read what other people are experiencing. There are also caffeine free coffee alternatives that are made with things like barley, chicory, beets, dandelion, etc., if anybody is interested. Not only healthy, taste similar to coffee, but caffeine free. Take a look online to find some of them. Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Eugene

      Bec,

      I am on the seventh day. I was having work anxiety. My work problems were causing me a lot of stress. I quit caffeine in the hope I would feel better.

      I am still feeling anxious and having flu and bad cough. I don’t know if it’s coincidence. I hope the anxiety and feeling of hopelessness go away soon. I need to be able to think clearly to tackle my work.

      Reply
      1. Bex

        Hi Eugene, I relate. I got told I should not have gone cold turkey because of the state I have been in for the past 12 days. I feel as though I cannot get anything done and have zero motivation or energy. I cannot even focus on my studies for a course I am doing and keep forgetting to get on with it anyway. I have been tempted to have a very weak cup of black tea, but I’ve somehow resisted (barely). Today I actually, finally, broke down in tears (embarrassing to admit). Depression is getting to me, and yes, hopelessness. I never thought in a million years, that caffeine abstinence would have this impact. So it does confirm that I have been addicted to a drug/chemical.

        I wish I could give you some advice on what you can do in the state you are in. Maybe some cleansing type teas or even lemon juice in warm water? Or, if you feel you need a wee bit of caffeine, perhaps a weakened green tea might just help steer you through a bit more and help you focus in the meantime as you continue to keep most of the caffeine out? I don’t want to sabotage your efforts by saying get back on the caffeine, but you are working and I wonder if compromising a wee bit with a green tea might be acceptable? Because it is high in antioxidants, etc., and may help tide you over (as long as you do not overdo it). Just a thought….

        Can only take it day by day at this point. I keep hoping tomorrow will be better.

        Reply
    2. Sean Russell Post author

      Yes Bex,

      People are crazy. They see caffeine like its nothing, but the fact is it is a drug that affects the chemicals in your brain. If you took any other drug for 15 years and then stopped you would feel it for months to years.

      Caffeine is an accepted dru, simple as that and people are ignorant to withdrawal effects.

      I felt the emotionless stuff, it will pass.

      Reply
      1. Bex

        Thanks for the response Sean. Yes, it’s easy to see caffeine as insignificant until you try to get off it ;-) Then you get a heck of a shock realising it’s absolutely a drug. You do not get this kind of withdrawal over something “benign”. The withdrawal effects have been a shocker! In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s the worst thing I have ever experienced. I have been through sugar/gluten withdrawal and I thought that was bad at the time (and it was). But this has been the biggest downer I have felt. Sugar withdrawal was hard but there was always a wee light at the end of the tunnel and I could sense it even with the intense detoxification I was going through. With this/ It’s like being in the dark walking blindly and feeling hopeless, depressed, and bland.

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Yes they are a shocker. And most people never realize it because they never have an issue with it, so they use it forever. Its the guys who start to have caffeine become a problem, especially with anxiety who struggle. You can no longer drink it, and quitting it makes your anxiety temporarily 10X worse with added depression.

          I quit Gluten a week ago actually in a self experiment. Been feeling a little sluggish, but nothing like the caffeine.

          Give it a month, exercise and drink lots of water and your mind will start to wake up. Think positive too. It’s really powerful. Believe your withdrawals are getting better each day, and they will. Before you go to bed, look forward to feeling better than you did today.

          Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Depends on the user. Plenty of people feel better in a few weeks. But I have read that the full effects of caffeine won’t reverse 100% for a whole year. That doesnt mean it will take you that long to feel the positive effects though.

      People do not treat it as a drug. Imagine if someone used any other drug for 15 years straight. It would certainly take them 3 – 4 months (probably much more) to feel better.

      But it does vary.

      Reply
      1. Adam

        I guess my recovery will be quicker considering I wasn’t a big coffee drink. I was having my one a day, and I haven’t been drinking it consistently for the past 10-15 years like some individuals . I had if often for the past 2-3 years.

        Reply
  17. Eugene

    Thanks all for answering my questions and words of encouragement.

    Sean,

    So you had quit cold turkey. How much were you drinking? Hopefully my withdrawal period and severity will not be as long and as severe as you. The reason is because I attempted to quit since last year. I lasted only 12 days before I caved in last December. But in the process I was also tapering down from a very high consumption so I kind of had 2 to 3 months head start. I am just trying to think positively.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      I wasn’t drinking an extreme amount, but I was consistent for years. I was also going through a very rough time in my life when I stopped and it just amplified everything. I am also super sensitive to any stimulants. So I do believe that my withdrawal was extreme. Which is a positive in your and everyone else’s situation.

      I think you will be in a much different state of mind in a month. You will be good. Keep me posted!

      Reply
  18. Steven

    Dude I commend you for sticking it out for 5 months. I started drinking coffee one year ago, my work productivity has gone down drastically, feel way more tired at the end of the day, I get angrier quicker, etc..

    I have tried to stop (no lie) 30+ times. Even right now, I gave up coffee these past 2 days and just had my first one.

    The reason why I can’t make it (aside from discipline) is I can’t do nothing for 5 months. I’m not the type to sit around, unmotivated, lazy, bummed out. I can’t do it, its just not me.

    I fear the only way I can quit caffeine is a year long process by dwindling down….

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Yeah man,

      It was a bitch but I wasn’t just sitting around either. I was working and even playing semi-pro soccer. Don’t know how haha.

      It is hard, but it feels good to be done with it.

      Reply
      1. Adam

        Had some 85% organic dark chocolate a few days ago .Anyway, I always get depressed a few hours after having chocolate, and it persist the following day. It may be a mild aphrodisiac, however It makes me feel like crap.

        Reply
          1. Adam

            I hear you Sean. I’m okay having that occasional organic cup of coffee once every 3-4 weeks. The problems start when you consume coffee everyday. How much coffee did you drink back when you were having it ?

          2. Sean Russell Post author

            I didn’t drink thaat much coffee. Maybe 1 cup a day. But I was drinking 5 hour energy’s and monsters every time I went out in college, was taking pre workout mixes everyday before I worked out (and sometimes even before going out!) These mixes have like 300mg per scoop now its crazy. So probably a normal amount for a 20 sumin year old.

          3. Adam

            That’s a shit-load of caffeine everyday , I’m not surprised you got all messed up. It’s good that you quit. They’re some studies saying how coffee helps depression and memory, what do you think about that ?.

            Don’t you find your concentration better now

          4. Sean Russell Post author

            I have no doubt that in some ways caffeine can be very good for you. It is natural, and has been proven to be beneficial to health. It is just clearly not for everyone and is used in excess.

            And yeah, I will take sustained concentration over intense momentary concentration with a crash. I think people can increase their concentration with caffeine, but then when it wears off their concentration is lower than their baseline. so they need more. And eventually caffeine will only bring you up to your baseline. So when they quit they have zero concentration for months.

            But when you get back to your natural baseline concentration and energy like you had when you were a kid it is beautiful.

          5. Adam

            I actually find my creativity better without caffeine. And you’re right ….. it’s better to have more stable energy ,rather than a burst followed by a crash . Caffeine gives me bit more energy and also makes me feel more stressed in a kind of good way, like fight or flight.

            I’ll never got back to having caffeine everyday or having it before hockey . When I consume it before ball hockey, it just makes me too edgy with an extra step that I don’t need . I’m a more accurate intelligent player without pre-game caffeine use.

            I wonder who funds the studies done on caffeine. I know they’re many legitimate studies showing the cons of caffeine use ,and acidity in coffee. The best way to probably consume coffee ,would be to eat the bean . It’s like when you drink orange juice, it’s not so healthy because there’s no more fiber to slow down the sugar, just the vitamins are left . You’re better off eating fruits .

  19. Eugene

    Bex,

    How are you holding up? I have passed the 1 week mark. I still have runny nose and phlegm.

    What really gets me are the anxiety and feelings of doom. For me its the feelings of doubt on myself. I worry about losing my job and how it will affect my kids and family.

    I keep thinking it will get better if I have some caffeine. But I know from experience the first few cups will be great then the same anxious symptoms will come back.

    I am getting heart palpitations as I type. I don’t noticethis during the weekend. I think work is a trigger for me.

    I really hope I will improve soon.

    Reply
  20. Bex

    Hi Eugene, I passed the 2 week mark and began, at last, to experience some improvement after feeling deadened and depressed. I did not think I would experience any improvement and began to seriously doubt what I was doing or my ability to persist. I ended up breaking down. For some reason, I just decided to stick at it some more and then I began to feel better.

    I have had the anxiety/panic and the feelings of doom you speak of. It just goes to show what effects this drug (and that’s what it is) must have been having on the body/brain all that time for the body to go into a kind of “shock” state when it’s withdrawn.

    I felt calmer, healthier, and my stomach felt more relaxed (which sounds odd I know). Fingers crossed that things continue to improve! I hope you can hang in there, Eugene! Because I think the worst of your symptoms often come in that crisis point where the body is in a state of trying to not only detoxify, but heal. It’s not usually an easy or smooth upward process to better health. It’s usually a bumpy ride! I hope you can take some heart from my response.

    Let me know how you are getting on and keep us in touch.

    Reply
  21. Eugene

    Bex, Sean and Others,

    I have reached the 2 week mark.

    I am hesitant to report I am feeling better. This is because there are times I feel better but there are times I still feel depressed and lethargic. This can happen on the same day. I do feel less worried. I think less of problems but at the same still feel lack of motivation, hope and enthusiasm.

    I have more dreams and I still wake up at night worrying about something but I will try to rationalize the problem and get back to sleep.

    One thing that really bugs me is the heart palpitations. I hope it goes away.

    I will update again in a few days. I am glad you feel better Bex

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Keep going Eugene,

      Two weeks is nothing amn and you are already seeing signs of feeling better! That’s how it works.

      You will notice some short phases of feeling good and they will be short and far apart at first. Then they will become more frequent and longer as time goes on.

      A great sign of healing.

      Reply
  22. Bex

    Thanks so much for the update, Eugene. It is hard to admit feeling better when the other stuff still happens. I have had that, too. The lack of motivation, hope, and enthusiasm (feeling of deadness) was a big problem and feels like it won’t go. I think I was lucky to have things improve in 2 weeks, whereas for others it can take longer.

    Yes, I too am getting more dreams and very vivid. I don’t wake up at night, thank goodness! But the dreaming side of things has gotten very active since giving up caffeine. So something is definitely happening in the brain. I used to dream a lot as a kid and remember my dreams, but that soon faded to an extent once I became an adult and I wonder now if I can put that down to chronic, and increasing caffeine use.

    Yes, I am still getting heart palpitations too! I still feel it’s a definite result of the withdrawal of caffeine and the body trying to heal and balance itself out. It’s upsetting when the symptoms come in cycles, rather than gradually just “fade away” in a nice upward trend. I think this is why it is hard to keep going because you can feel like giving up when they keep returning.

    I have been naughty in the respect that I have gone a bit stupid on my diet, so have included a lot more high carbs, thinking I could do it because I started to feel better from no caffeine. But I am evidently NOT ready and still not strong enough. So I’m now going through a different kind of withdrawal and have the classic headaches, etc. So though I’m still off caffeine, I’m now having to withdrawal from the higher sugar content, even though I only ate fruits and cereals. I have a major problems with carbs, so still gotta stick to my low-carb diet.

    I hope you can somehow hang in there, Eugene! I know it’s not easy, but I believe that you will begin to notice more positive changes over time. It just demonstrates the problems that caffeine creates inside the body to have to go through such a difficult withdrawal and detox process. I know recognise a lot more as a drug or even close to a toxin/poison. May sound extreme, but the detox has been extreme enough for me to realise it’s risk to the body, particularly those who may not be very healthy to begin with.

    Please do keep us updated and hang in there! Are you finding substitutes for your hot drinks? Like cereal based beverages that smell, look, and taste like coffee, but are made from roasted barley, rye, chicory, beets, dandelion, etc? They are surprisingly satisfying and do not have any caffeine. Very similar to coffee. Look out for them if you’re after something to satisfy your prior coffee enjoyment. I’m into the herbal tea now and am sorting out my favourites. Avoid the ones that have caffeine of course ;-)

    Take care and hope you start feeling more improvements soon and less of the problems!

    Reply
    1. Eugene

      Hi Guys,

      How is everything? I have just hit the 3 weeks mark. It feels like eternity.

      I think there have been very short periods of feeling good but most of the times I have been feeling neutral or worrying and anxiety but the physical symptoms like sweaty hands have not been very apparent. I still feel a sense of doom especially at work or when I think about work.

      There have been many challenges thrown my way, from the work front and family. I am still hanging on. I really hope I can switch off about thinking about my work related challenges after I have left the office. Do you guys think this will improve? I am worry this is me and not related to caffeine withdrawal. I really need to see I am improving more.

      Sorry if I am not being very coherent. It is just that some times I feel there is hope and then some things will happen and bring me crashing down. It is exhausting and discouraging.

      Reply
      1. Bex

        Thanks for the update, Eugene. I am sorry to hear of your struggles :-( I can truly relate in regards to the anxiety and not being able to “switch off”. Depression included. I also do not tend to have sugar or too many high carbs in my diet, because I have a health condition that makes me vulnerable to getting candida (yeast build up in the body), which creates all KINDS of problems that can imitate psychiatric issues. I also had mercury toxicity from dental amalgams, which is probably why I suffered candida. So I’ve kind of been there and done that with many health issues that created anxiety and over-thinking, panic, depression, etc.

        No, it’s not you. It FEELS like it is, but it isn’t. When you are in balance, even if you TRY to get stressed, you almost cannot do it. When you are not completely well and vulnerable (even during withdrawal), then it goes the other way. No matter how hard you try, you still find it happening. I hope you can take some heart that it’s likely part of the process of withdrawal/healing. If you check out healing crisis symptoms online, you may be surprised at the types of symptoms you can experience during withdrawal and when the body is trying to heal. It’s not all physical symptoms, you can feel like you’re going insane at times.

        The fact you are hanging in there, even with all this going on, is something to be proud of. Yes, I believe you will improve. If these problems increased or started after you began to drop caffeine from your diet, then that pretty much confirms that’s what’s likely going on.

        I was lucky that I began to note some change in 2 weeks, but it is very different for each person. Even now, I am still getting patches, but some of that is because I am being stupid on my diet and eating stuff I know I shouldn’t (pushing my luck). I did this because I felt stronger after the caffeine withdrawal. But my system is still simply not ok enough to handle high carbohydrate foods. But I usually like to push the boundaries every now and again, particularly when I’m feeling stronger. So I’ll try again another time and see what happens. Perhaps I need to give my system more time to heal from caffeine withdrawal? healing may still be going on, even though I’m not noting the strong withdrawal anymore.

        You are being very coherent. The roller coaster ride of feeling ok sometimes and then you’re hit down again is very typical. It is definitely exhausting and discouraging. It will be interesting to see how you feel next time you sign in. It may take a couple of months. Example – when I used to cheat on my diet, it took 3-4 months to recovery properly. That is scary, but it’s rare. So hopefully you will not have to wait that long before you really start to come out of the darkness. But it can happen.

        Hang in there, because you may get that breakthrough soon! It may just take a little longer. Keep us all posted on how things are going in the meantime.

        Reply
  23. Matt

    Three months in. I had no idea being caffeine free had benefits beyond the initial headache withdrawal!

    My experience has been similar to what you wrote about– moments of good but also moments of bad even 2 months in. The primary reason that I made the decision to cut out caffeine was because i was suffering from serious mood swings/feelings of mania/clouding of consciousness, basically the point at which life had become a constant scary blur.

    Since cutting out all caffeine (and also cutting back slightly on sugar) I have experienced an increasing sense of wellbeing and at this point the thought of drinking seems totally unappealing.

    It took about 3 weeks of bad withdrawal/anxiety before I started to feel better, I honestly don’t know what got me through the intial couple of weeks without coffee (luckily I had been feeling so mentally insane that I sort of knew I had no other choice).

    Anyways! Fearing that you won’t be able to make it is tough, but once you’ve built up some momentum it feels pretty great. All in all this has been a really positive experience, and i’m looking forward to months 4 and 5!

    Reply
    1. Bex

      That’s great to hear, Matt. :-) That also encourages me to keep going, because I think I’m noting some positives as well. But the withdrawal was absolutely awful. One of the worst things I have experienced. Just goes to show what caffeine intake must have been doing to me all that time I was guzzling it all day long, everyday.

      Reply
  24. Scott

    Hi again Sean

    Back in early Feb I placed a comment on your site, under this article….thought I would give up an update……..it has, now been almost 3 and half months since no caffeine apart from the espresso I gave into a week before I wrote the last comment. Mentally, I am much better………almost everyday for the past 3 weeks has been really good, before that, it was patchy…..but WAY better than December and January was. Interestingly , I went through 2 weeks of weird insomnia….I would have night of no sleep whatsoever and then the next night(because I had kept to my schedule and tired myself out), I would sleep. I was determined not to fall into the chemical sleeping pill or anti-depressant trap and I didn’t….so as I said…I can really see the improvement mentally……now onto the physical. After tests for Celiac, Gluten intolerance, Lactose Intolerance and Fructose Malabsorption, my digestive system has been playing up a storm…if it is not really bad heartburn, it is stomach cramping. I am cleared of the Celiac and Gluten intolerance, test results for the Fructose and Lactose come back next week. I cannot help but think that NONE of this happened before I gave up caffeine and now this. I really think my digestive system was so impacted by the caffeine that it was masking the pain and symptoms. In any case…I am learning to live with the physical stuff for the time being and hopefully the test results will inform me some more. I am back to running around 20km a week and I am very aware of what I am eating now,trying to keep it healthy and balanced and , for the record…..licorice tea is a really good way of easing the digestive stuff and I swear it helped me sleep better in the evenings! Suffice to say Sean….your observations and advice about being patient are spot on! I totally get it! Thanks

    Reply
  25. Scott

    ps

    And to all of those of you who have just started off in the journey and are experiencing the ‘stuff’…….it was as almost as you were reading my mind and had been watching me in those first months…..that was totally me…all of it….I am with you on almost everything you have pointed out….but it does improve….it really does and it makes you really begin to think about what you put into your body!

    Reply
  26. JBM

    Hi Sean and everyone,

    I am so glad I found this article. I am going through this torture as we speak. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and insomnia for a long time, I finally took the plunge of eliminating caffeine. (I should have done this long ago). I have tried every strategy know to man to deal with my anxiety(100’s of supplements, medications, deep breathing, meditation, dietary changes, cognitive therapy, exercise – I’m a fitness fanatic, etc.). I am 4 weeks into this adventure today. Looking back, a taper would have been the humane way to tackle this. I’m encouraged by all the messages on this board. I very sensitive to supplements, medications and (until now) I had no idea how much caffeine was affecting me. The first few days caffeine free – I felt a reduction in anxiety and actually got some real sleep. The only problem was at about day 4 – all the terrible symptoms began. I’ve experienced everything written on this board and it is sheer torture. The heart palpitations, shortness or breath and restless legs/jitters are terrible. I love to exercise…and after getting through the extreme exhaustion and depression of the first 10 days or so, I hit the gym. The problem is that I crash after exercise and my symptoms get worse again. I’ve tried spacing workouts apart and it still happens. I was stoked this past Saturday after a good workout as my energy and mood were great. Then I was up all night and crashed again and feel like I’ve gone backwards 2 weeks to the extreme fatigue, depression, anxiety and sudden moments of fear. I have managed to keep my job but my performance is not where it should be. I’m determined to stick this out because of the brief windows of good sleep, well being and being anxiety free. Sean, your story rang true with me because I am extremely sensitive to supplements, medications, chemicals, etc. I’d love to be able to get more detail about your experience to help me deal with this. Family and friends are trying to be sympathetic, but of course they think “It’s only caffeine”. I wish the best to everyone out there trying to improve their life by undertaking this. I hope to be someone who can provide encouragement to others a few months from now.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey JBM,

      Thanks for the comment and sharing.

      I really feel for you with everything you said. Being super sensitive to supplements, dealing with anxiety & family not understanding 100%.

      Your symptoms are spot on with the reduction of caffeine and change is definitely not linear. You may start feeling great for a few days, then drop back to a couple bad days. But the bad days will start to get a little better and be a little shorter each week.

      In the long run, you HAVE to stay away from caffeine if you have anxiety. I do not think you should ever touch the stuff again. As for overcoming the anxiety. I know how much of a bitch it is, and have made incredible strides myself, but still have some work to do.

      I will be posting more on the subject in the next few months, but until then I hope things start to get better. If exercise is too difficult right now, then just walk and take it easy. Good luck man.

      Reply
  27. Bex

    One thing I have noticed since giving up caffeine is I am dreaming a lot! Even lucid dreams are beginning to occur. Before, I barely noticed or recalled my dreams. Any ideas as to why this would be happening?

    Reply
    1. Abhi

      Yes, it has been happening to me too.
      Really don’t know why but I’m now good at recalling stuff, it feels really weird though.

      Reply
    2. Sean Russell Post author

      Hah this is good thing man!

      Your brain is waking up and starting to buzz again. Dreaming means deep REM sleep, which means healing. Congrats!

      Reply
      1. Abhi

        Yeah, Anxiety and depression is gone but to be honest this dreaming is stressing me out a little. I sometimes get flashbacks or hallucination. So, I hope this is not permanent and it goes just like anxiety and depression.
        You were right it feels like its never going to end but it did.
        I didn’t even thought that this kind of withdrawal could be caused by tea.
        I can’t thank you enough for helping me out through anxiety and depression. I hope I will get through this too.

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Hmm, i am sorry to hear that.

          But don’t worry Abhi. A lot of people talk about crazy lucid dreams at first, and it’s because your body and mind is healing and you are in intense deep sleep. That too will pass. You will get through it.

          Reply
  28. Bex

    Great feedback. I agree, Sean, I think it’s to do with healing. I’ll give another example – years ago when I was going through detoxification, I began to get flashbacks of things I hadn’t thought about, memories would come into my mind, I was freaking out and had no control over what was happening. The only thing I could do was go with the flow of it, but it was very strange. I recognised later it was actually a part of healing. I think as things get “switched back on”, stuff starts to flood back and things you don’t expect come into your mind. It’s a feeling of grief and being overwhelmed at times when it happens. Keep on with it, because it’s very likely another level of healing. I’ve heard many times that healing is like peeling back the layers of an onion. You may go through one layer and then get hit by another, as gradually things are peeled back.

    I did something very stupid and sabotaged my low carb diet by consuming too many high carbs and have felt really awful again. I did it because I was feeling stronger with no caffeine, and I guess I got too cocky. So I’m now dealing with “detox” symptoms again and they really get me down. I feel depressed again, but I hope it’ll lift soon. I’m still sticking with the no caffeine, except during my cheat, I did indulge in chocolate? Is chocolate significant for caffeine? Or not a major issue? I haven’t honestly noticed any caffeine-type withdrawal since stopping it, but just my usual withdrawal from high carb indulgence.

    Let me know how chocolate stands in the caffeine department. I did not have dark chocolate, but had the normal milk chocolate.

    Cheers :-)

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      100% agree. It’s actually called the “herxheimer reaction” and refereed to as the healing crises. It’s almost kick in the face but you often have to get worse before things get better.

      As for the chocolate Bex, you’re good. I think it would be more of a problem to start overthinking things (my problem) and bringing symptoms about in your mind just b/c you had something with 1 mg of caffeine in it. There is definitely some caffeine in it (very little – In one whole bar of chocolate there is around 9mg of ceffeine), but if it’s not bothering you, don’t worry about it. If I told you there was none you would probably stay symptom free anyway so enjoy.

      Reply
  29. Bex

    Hi, thanks Sean. Cool, I didn’t think chocolate was too significant in the caffeine department, so it’s nice to hear confirmation. Nah, the symptoms were not in my head, trust me. I have had a gut condition for many years, which makes eating anything with sugar a bad idea – even fruit can create problems. The symptoms from the chocolate were due to the sugar content I believe, because they differed to how I felt from caffeine withdrawal.

    I always push the boundaries in the diet department, because I want to be able to eat more variety.

    Yes, I’ve heard of the “herxheimer reaction”. Had plenty of those! Thankfully it’s usually a sign that healing is taking place and as bad as it may feel, it’s temporary and leads to improvement down the road (if the person sticks it out).

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey, I have been researching Niacin a lot lately, and it is supposed to have amazing effects of anxiety. Check this out: http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/how-to-take-niacin-vitamin-b3-for-depression-and-anxiety.

      I am going to try it out at the end of this month, but if you think it could help you now, go pick some up. If you go for it, don’t get the no flush niacin, get the regular stuff and try 3,000 mg’s a day.

      I have tried Niacin before, so it IS going to flush and burn like crazy the first week (only for 10 minutes long). That goes away in time, but don;t let it scare you. And taking it after you eat helps a bit.

      Just wanted to provide a safe outlet for you guys to give a shot.

      Reply
  30. Eugene

    Hi Sean and All,

    I just want to give you guys an update. I am on the 4 week caffeine free mark. There were many times I was tempted to have some caffeine. I imagined how good an ice coffee or cold coke would taste like. But I resisted.

    I think I am feeling confident to say I am feeling better. I still feel stressed and anxious during work days especially if I didn’t have any breakfast and facing some work related challenges and nasty email from my boss. :) But it is not all the time. And most times after work I feel alright.

    I still feel lethargic/unmotivated and easily tired. I hope this will improve with tine. I don’t feel very enthusiastic and excited at all. But I am glad the anxiety is under control. I can imagine doing something will improve things but as soon as I start doing it I feel tired and lack of motivation/energy to carry on and leave it hanging. This is annoying… There were bad days and I totally felt shaky, heart palpitations, sweaty hands/feet etc. I hope this will also become less as time goes by.

    In summary I miss caffeine especially coffee. I am sooooo tempted to have decaf. I am not sure if I am ready. Sean, maybe you can advise. But I am getting solace in the relieve from anxiety and words from the contributor and people who dropped comments on this article. People, keep posting your comments and I need to see anecdotal experiences of real people going through this and their actual descriptions of the benefits they experience. Especially regarding their anxiety or habit of worrying. I was at a point where having caffeine gave me anxiety symptoms and having less or none also gave me the symptoms. I was so confused and thought it couldn’t be the caffeine then and almost decided I was having psychiatric issues.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Eugene, Its the caffeine brother!

      From my & the other guys point of views, your comments are getting increasingly positive. Although progress is slow. you ARE definitely making progress.

      My advice to you, for a better life, is say sayonara to the caffeine forever. In a year you will have forgotten about this and probably your anxiety issues. Trust me, I have dealt with anxiety for a long time, and even though it takes a while to go away, it does.

      You may feel dull for a little bit but you will start to notice improvement every two weeks now. Don’t judge progress over days, judge it over weeks or even months.

      You are getting better, don’t go back now! And you don’t have psychiatric problems, you got this.

      Reply
    2. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey, I have been researching Niacin a lot lately, and it is supposed to have amazing effects of anxiety. Check this out: http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/how-to-take-niacin-vitamin-b3-for-depression-and-anxiety.

      I am going to try it out at the end of this month, but if you think it could help you now, go pick some up. If you go for it, don’t get the no flush niacin, get the regular stuff and try 3,000 mg’s a day.

      I have tried Niacin before, so it IS going to flush and burn like crazy the first week (only for 10 minutes long). That goes away in time, but don;t let it scare you. And taking it after you eat helps a bit.

      Just wanted to provide a safe outlet for you guys to give a shot.

      Reply
    3. Bex

      Hi Eugene, good to hear from you. Wow, good one for reaching the 4-week mark. That is great going considering what you’ve gone through to get here. I can understand your feelings in being tempted to grab a decaff coffee, but I hope you resist that urge and instead maybe opt for one of the cereal beverages that look, smell, and taste like coffee (they really do). But they are healthy and zero caffeine.

      It is possible your adrenals maybe trying to heal and that is not going to happen overnight. I would imagine that the lethargy and being easily tired is part of that. When we take caffeine all the time, we are artificially stimulated and the adrenals have to manage this every single day. They must take a pounding. One wonders how long this must take for them to recover?

      I would personally start getting into supplements that support your adrenals (and your liver too). Almost any multivitamin would be helpful to be honest, but there are specific ones that may focus on the adrenals. You might want to google that up. I think it maybe helpful to you during your healing.

      From reading your comments, I am in little doubt that you are going through a type of healing crisis. Please hang in there! Since I’ve given up caffeine, I have been sleeping more deeply and dreaming (as I mentioned earlier). I am now waking much earlier, earlier than I ever have. I can now wake at 5.30 – 6 am with no issue. I might look like cr*p in the morning (nothing has changed there), but I’m up! Normally I’ll struggle to wake at 8 am, much less get out of bed. So something is happening. I believe it’s simply the quality of REM sleep. Because of that, my body probably gets far more of what it needs, therefore I’m able to wake earlier.

      I don’t think it’s psychiatric issues, I think caffeine is a likely culprit here and being in a bind where having it creates problems, but withdrawing from it does as well. I would hang in there and see this through. Check your diet and make sure you’re eating healthy, natural foods as much as you can. That seriously will help your healing. Get some more fruit and veges in if you can. I eat meat, because I get the B 12 and iron and protein, but need the veges as well.

      Again, do not forget about coffee alternatives out there in the form of cereal beverages (ground down to a brown powder). They are very nice!

      Reply
  31. Abhi

    A week ago, I was sleepy all day and even after 12 hours of sleep I felt tired and sleepy. So, Now I have insomnia no matter how hard I try to sleep, I just can’t. I’ve slept like 3 hours in 3 days. I keep tossing and turning in my bed with my eyes closed but I can’t go to deep sleep. I ran about 6KM Today and two days before and I still can’t fall asleep. I don’t really feel tired but I have this clouded mind thing which is with me since the withdrawal. I wonder whats going on.

    Reply
    1. Bex

      Abhi, I still think I’m detoxing from caffeine! I had 2 weeks of horrible withdrawal, but then thought I felt better and thought it was all over. I cheated on my diet (started eating sugar, etc.), and then had to get back on track with that. Since I’m back on my diet, it’s as though the caffeine detoxification has “resumed” and I’m still going through it. Much to my shock! I am going into very deep sleeps, really vivid dreaming, and feeling kind of dead and fatigued during the day. Not sure if it’s depression or a sense of emotionless. It is hard to go through. So I’m kind of opposite with you at the moment with my sleep. Whilst you are suffering insomnia, I am going into deep sleeps. I also cannot stay up very late most nights now and wake much earlier than I used to. It’s been over a month now of being caffeine free. I seriously did think I had beaten it in 2 weeks, but I don’t believethis was the case. I may have had a wee patch of feeling better from withdrawal, but leapt into eating the wrong foods and then had to deal with that instead. Now that I’m back on track, I feel I’m still detoxing from no caffeine.

      Now I understand how hard it can be and how the temptation to resume caffeine can really get to you. But I’m still thinking it has got to be a case of the body trying to heal itself. Perhaps it is not just withdrawal at this stage, but healing symptoms? So whilst the caffeine itself has gone from the system, the aftermarth of it has still got to be dealt with? I’m hoping it is this. I feel as though my body has been pumped full of a sleeping drug and I’m dragging myself around with no real sense of joy or interest.

      At any rate, because of Sean’s experience and how look you took, Sean, it should help the rest of us realise it can take a long time before the body starts to truly show the benefits of no caffeine. I just hope this starts to improve soon. It’s not easy!

      I have the clouded mind also. Not sure what’s going on either with that. Maybe Sean can cast some light on this?

      Reply
      1. Sean Russell Post author

        Clouded mind is the worst..

        One of the longest lasting symptoms, but it will go away. Clouded mind also comes when you have high anxiety, so try not to worry about it. It is hard to live life feeling dead, but the brain needs time to bounce back. Keep thinking positive, each week will get a little better! I am going to try to get off Gluten next, so I think I will be dealing with clouded mind once more. Ever try to go Gluten free?

        Reply
      2. Abhi

        Bex, I exactly feel the way you described. I’m also not sure whether it’s depression or emotionless thing. I relate to everything you said. It feels good to have someone feeling like you during withdrawal. Also, I have noticed a pattern when my anxiety kicks in. I can go 1-2 weeks without it and suddenly for a week, I feel very anxious and its hard to control. I think this is healing processes or whatever. The stage I’m in is very hard to describe but you described it very well. I hope this gets over soon.

        Reply
        1. Bex

          Thanks Abhi! Yes, it does help to hear about what others are experiencing. I’m getting the anxiety as well and it’s downright embarrassing because when I’m around somebody I don’t know, I feel very nervous (excessively) and like my heart is pounding in my chest to the point I feel like I cannot breath properly. I’ve always been a bit nervy around people, but not to THAT extent. So I think my body is having trouble responding or handling stress, because it used to rely on caffeine to meet those needs. Now it has to pull from it’s own resources, and I think when you’re in the process of recovery and the energies are directed to the healing, and there is no artificial stimulant, then I believe it feels overwhelming to a body that probably now has to muster energy it is needing for healing to then cope with that. Kind of sends it into overdrive. That’s the only way I can describe it.

          If you read my other recent post, I describe exactly what I’m still experiencing. Again, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through. I want to come out the other side and know that this is all worth it. when you think about, it’s astounding the effect and damage caffeine can do on a the body/brain. This would not even be happening if it was benign/safe.

          Reply
      1. Bex

        Thanks for your responses, Sean. Glad to hear this about the clouded mind. I don’t really have much anxiety, it’s just the feeling of having a blanket over my brain much of the time. Again, though, this continues to confirm the dangers of caffeine to me. These symptoms and the lengthy recoveries are more than enough. It is hard to think positively when you feel half asleep lol. But I’m hanging in there, which I think is positive in itself. I don’t want anymore caffeine in my life. My body has shown me the damage it’s done with drinking so much on a daily basis for so long. It’s as though my body has gone into a type of dead/sleep mode to where it’s focussing mostly on healing.

        I have indeed gone gluten free. I went both sugar and gluten free. Yes, there were healing symptoms then, too. However, I think if you’ve gone through the caffeine withdrawal and come out the other side, you’ll do the same with this. I can’t say what it’ll do to you, because when I did it, I was a very unwell person and ate BADLY most of the time, so the detox was very strong. I came out the other side in a few weeks, however. The difference was MARKED. Hair thickened up, nails grew again, skin got softer and smoother, eyes shiny, eyesight improved, weight normalized more. I later had all my dental mercury amalgams replaced (safely with a biologic/holistic dentist), because I was also suffering mercury build up in my body and being poisoned by them, so had to have them out over a long period of time. Once they were gone, the detox began and that was EXTREMELY hard. But another source of problems was removed.

        I wish you all the best with the gluten free diet. Sugar is another one that is a great thing to kick out. I would just consume fruit and other natural sweet foods to help me get through the sugar addiction die off! And oh my, that was hard! Again, the benefits were marked!

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Thanks for the input man. That mercury stuff that scares me. So much crap to detox off if you want supreme health and each one makes you feel like shit for months. But I have heard the Mercury detox can be scary. Hopefully I will feel satisfied after going Gluten free and keep my 2 fillings in = )

          Reply
          1. Bex

            Yes, mercury detoxification can be extreme and painful, especially if not done correctly. I was one of those. I am not going to lie to you. It was a nightmare, but some of that was exacerbated by my ignorance and taking all kinds of mobilising/detox agents to ‘speed’ up the process. So it was stirring up too many metal toxins at once and creating massive reactions at a time. My body was actually naturally trying to get rid of it, which was hard enough, but forcing it to detox quicker was not always the best move. Supporting it and helping it, yes. Diet, supplement support, exercise, hot baths (saunas another way), is all good towards helping to eliminate the metals via the skin, the bowel/urine. You can certainly chelate the metals out, but it should be done carefully. Slow and steady is the best because your body can keep up and also begin to heal over time. The improvements begin to come later and it’s quite astounding how different you can feel. This depends on whether you’re greatly impacted by them. Some people are more affected than others.

            I had 8 amalgams, though. Had them for many years and also had a messed up liver detox pathways, so I accumulated/retained and built up those metal toxins, rather than eliminated. So my detoxification was probably more intense than others might be. I suffered what is called “retention toxicity”. One of the worst kinds.

            I would consider getting them replaced at some point (only by a biologic or holistic dentist who understands the dangers of amalgam and the safest removal method), if you get brave enough and decide to go the whole hog ;-) But you’ll certainly be doing yourself much good eliminating the rubbish from your diet and eating healthy. In fact, that alone helped me heaps when I still had amalgams in my teeth, but I was still poisoned nonetheless and had to eventually get those buggers out! The supplements that helped me mostly were vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, magnesium, selenium.

            Cheers

  32. Bex

    Just an extra. Check out this site, but more for the comments below the article: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-symptoms-of-caffeine-withdrawal.htm Should help you to feel a little better seeing more experiences from others who are going through the dreaded caffeine withdrawal and how the time to improve is so often much longer than what we’re lead to believe.

    I also read elsewhere that withdrawal from caffeine is also from the adrenal glands trying to recover. Like a horse that has been whipped for a long time, suddenly now they get to rest and this can be why people feel almost dead in their tracks for a time.

    PS, although it is said chocolate contains insignificant levels of caffeine, I am not going near it again for (hopefully) a long time. After my last eating of it, I feel as though I’ve relapsed. Yes, maybe it was the sugar, but it’s like going through the caffeine withdrawal all over again at this point. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so they say. So my experience with it was not good. Might be fine for others. I can only say what my own personal experience dictated. I’d love to eat, because it’s delicious! But my health comes first.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Nice link. Thanks.

      Yeah I choose to stay away from chocolate to truly be caffeine FREE. It is true, the adrenal glands get beat up from stress and caffeine. You are healing. I can tell from looking at your comments each week. Keep it going.

      Reply
  33. Scott

    Hey Sean

    So the lactose and fructose intolerance tests come back negative….no Celiac, not a gluten intolerance, no allergies…..I have a GREAT Dr who I believe in a lot. The diagnosis? Irritable Bowel Syndrome caused by stress……how?
    Remember I gave up caffeine cold turkey back in December…..my body and mind does its things and reacts/rejects/modifies itself over the past few months but, whereas in the past the caffeine gave me the buzz and the ‘I can do anything’ feeling(albeit short term), now my body and mind has only to rely on itself. So when I used to get stressed, I would grab a coffee and boom…off I would go…….it was the autopilot that my body and mind learnt to listen to it…….now, when I get stressed.,….my body and mind have no idea what to do…..so , whilst the mind is almost repaired, the body simply reacts via my digestive system. It is almost as if my body and mind is re-learning how to deal with stress of even the smallest amount.
    I am adamant this is happening without the need for any stress relieving drugs(if I did that, I may as well get back into the espresso’s twice a day!!!)……I just need to continue keeping fit, being patient , eating right and slowing down. My mind seems to be doing a better job at the moment than my body(but I am sure they are interdependent, so maybe they are both doing ok).
    What this all boils down to is your body and mind are very powerful when they are left to their own devices…the key is listening to them and being patient. The quick fixes we invent are also not really sustainable…….but the body and mind and how we use them…..they are really important!

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey Scott,

      I agree with what you are saying. Your body will adjust in time. And it is good that your mind is doing well because where the mind goes the body follows. Def. do not go on any stress relieving drugs..That is a whole nother rabbit hole.

      As far as the the Gluten intolerance test, I don’t believe those tests..Apparently they are not very effective..especially for people wh are affected neurologically. If I remember correct I heard Ameer Rosic talking about how there are 5 types of gluten sensitivities and the test only pick up 2. I have to look into it more, but Gluten is bad for everyone. Period. I am currently in the process of getting it out of my diet (day 2). I have heard from people with years of debilitating anxiety disorders being cured after going off gluten, when they were shown to not be intolerant. But I am no expert on the subject yet. Just my 2 cents.

      You will be good brother.

      Reply
      1. Eugene

        Sean,

        Do you still suffer from anxiety after you are caffeine free? I have been feeling less anxious compared to last year. But today I am feeling some symptoms of anxiety like shakiness, depression and a lack of hope. I haven’t had a single drop of caffeine for 35 days. I am hoping I will not be feeling this anymore. Maybe I will feel better tomorrow and this wave of doom comes and go and hopefully go for good eventually. But right now it is really a drag.

        Can you tell me if you have or had feelings like shakiness, heavy chest, heavy shoulders and general sense of hopelessness and negativeness? And also feeling afraid?

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Hey Eugene,

          I have General Anxiety Disorder. Sort of I guess. Sometimes its good, sometime during stressful times it’s bad. I am fully functional and it makes me a much better and stronger person. I don’t take anything for it, but it kind of kicked off when I was 21 after a bad drug incident. Before that I had anxiety but in a more everyday normal sense.

          So it was much worse after going off caffeine. I had a lot of doom for a good amount of time, probably 2 – 3 months. But in the long run, it helped immensely with anxiety. I don’t know what your situation is with anxiety in general, but the caffeine will make it worse for a bit, then better. After 3 or 4 months, if you are still feeling anxiety badly, I think you have a more serious issue with anxiety than you may have thought and it was just sparked by quitting caffeine, so I think dealing with the anxiety and fixing that would be the next step (and it’s very fixable) But i think your anxiety will go down after being 2 – 3 months free of caffeine. People without any anxiety can go off caffeine after years and not think twice. It’s very individual, but to answer your question, yes I felt a lot of hopelessness after quitting, even after a month.

          Reply
  34. Adam

    Hi Sean,
    I think sugar is worse than Gluten. Gluten doesn’t effect everyone negatively . I think the biggest problem is with all the additives and chemicals in food now a days.

    Are you on the Paleo diet?

    Reply
  35. Adam

    I see…well stick with the diet that makes you feel best, which most probably is whole foods. Paleo is good , however kick in some rice and oats .

    Reply
  36. Abhi

    I thought Anxiety and depression was gone. Today, I felt really anxious and depression and thoughts of dooms came once again. The whole month has been very weird. I have no appetite for about a month even after a lot of exercise I don’t really feel hungry and I can’t sleep. I think this could be because I’ve been exercising a lot. Today was a first day at the Gym. Don’t know if that could trigger anything but overall it feels like I will never get through this also No motivation. I don’t want to do anything, I’ve been pushing my self a lot. Hope this ends soon. Flashback and hallucinations are gone though.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey man,

      How long has it been. Sounds like healing to me. It is not linear man (meaning continual progress, there are up’s and downs), wish it was. Cut back the exercise your body needs to heal. My bad for telling you to exercise, I should of said easy stuff like walk and yoga.

      Reply
      1. Abhi

        Hey Sean, I stopped drinking tea on 24th of Feb and experienced withdrawal effects but I cheated a lot of times in between. I drank tea about 2-3 weeks ago last time and it was green tea. Doing exercise has direct effect upon on my sleep, If my exercise I feel sleepless. I had to take Xanax last night to go to sleep because losing sleep was making it worse. I feel better now after sleeping but there is still lack of appetite and no motivation at all.

        Reply
  37. Eugene

    Sean, Bex and Others,

    How are you all doing?

    The recovery is definitely not linear. One thing I notice is I am more aware of stress. In the days when I was powered by caffeine, primarily coffee, I wasn’t paying any attention to how I respond to stress. Now I don’t like the feelings of being stressed. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad. I feel my tolerance to stress has reduced. The bad thing is stress is unavoidable at work.

    I am hoping quitting caffeine will stop my anxiety/worry and improve my stress tolerance. So far I think quitting caffeine has helped. But I am hoping for more improvements. Things like better focus, more positive attitude, general sense of better well being are not there yet. For example, I know what I need to do at work and after I started, along the line I will feel unmotivated, feeling overwhelmed and negative about the effort. Is this normal? I feel hopeless at times. I don’t like to procrastinate because it makes me feel worried but I have problems getting motivated/energized and stay positive. One needs to have positive feelings in order to carry out tasks.

    Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Okay, you have had some ups and downs, but you are only 6 weeks in. Seems from an outside point of view that you are doing okay. At 12 weeks you will be a different person. After that the focus will start coming. It takes a long time for your brain to fully reboot. But it is worth it.

          As for being more aware of stress, I get that. Your body is going through a withdrawal, and you are probably analyzing every little feeling and feel overwhelmed by it. At 6 week I would stay the course, you don’t want to have to start over.

          Reply
    1. Bex

      Hi Eugene, thanks for the update and asking how I am. it’s hard to say at the moment because I have a bad cold and am trying to recover, but to be honest, I’m still not over the caffeine. I am experiencing a total lack of motivation and energy and finding it hard to complete tasks and a course I’m doing. My tolerance of anxiety and stress is near nil. As for motivation? I keep putting things off, leaving them to the last moment. I no longer go and see my relatives like I used to, because I just don’t feel motivated or energised to do anything. I am uncertain how long I’ve been truly caffeine free, but suspect it’s been 3 weeks or a bit over, because I had chocolate and believe that sabotaged things to some extent, or perhaps set me back. Certainly, if this is a healing process, it is very hard and longwinded. I feel as if I am permanently damaged, but am hoping it’s just the difficulty of the process of healing and am trying to stay positive and hang in there.

      To be honest, I’ve had caffeine all my life. As a child I drank both coffee and coke and ate chocolate. Regularly, too. So when have I been without it? I cannot remember. So no wonder this is an absolutely utter shock to the body. I think we forget about other forms of caffeine that we’ve had most of our lives (well many of us). Then of course, came the excessive 20+ cups a day tea drinking in recent years, so I’ve outdone myself. My body has probably wired itself on caffeine and now doesn’t know what heck to do without it, so re-wiring sounds like a good way to put it.

      I hope this is worth it. Sorry for sounding negative :-( I’ve never gone through anything so hard as far as detoxification goes. Sugar was easier than this! This is seriously impacting my life in so many ways, but I’m trying to battle this out through sheer determination and persistence.

      Reply
      1. Eugene

        Bex,

        I’m sorry to hear about your struggles man. I thought you were doing alright the last time you wrote. How much chocolate did you have?

        I feel you when you mentioned the lack of motivation and energy. I get that. Like I described I also lack the motivation to carry on once I started.

        Today after I woke up in the morning but still lying on my bed, I felt the world spinning. I got that a few times today.

        I don’t know what to say. I think I’ll hang on like Sean said for another 6 weeks to see if things start to improve. The anxiety definitely is much better. I’m not feeling on top of the world but at least the worrisome thoughts are not consuming my days like a few months ago. I can fall asleep, I can enjoy movies, dinners, time with my family etc without worrisome thoughts consuming my mind.

        Reply
        1. Bex

          Hi Eugene, thanks for the response. I had a lot of chocolate in a day/night. I really went to town. I didn’t think it significant until the crash happened. I read in an adrenal gland book I have by a doctor that chocolate is worse than people realise and does not just contain caffeine, but theobromine. It’s apparently not good when somebody is trying to recover their adrenal function. That might explain the crash, though it also meant I consumed a lot of sugar as well, so could be either/both.

          So staying away from chocolate now. I’m glad to hear your anxiety is much better. That’s great to hear. That must mean things are slowly starting to come right, despite more of the ups/downs and other symptoms that are persisting at this time. I hope I get to that point.

          If I had known it would be this hard, I think I might have taken the gradual approach ;-) This cold turkey style has had me land on my face, hard! I thought I was tougher than that! Apparently not!

          Good to hear you’re going to hang in there for longer. Guess we can only take it day by day, week by week. I’d hate to toss it in at this point and not sure if I ever will toss it in, because I recognise the damage it has done to me. I’m not sure if I want to rely that heavily on caffeine for the rest of my life, or go through the withdrawal all over again if I go back on it. It would be great if I was able to let a bit back in here and there, but I find that a little here and there can very quickly get back out of control again. I’ll just see how it goes. I also find that even with less caffeine, I can still go through tough withdrawals.

          Anyway, again, good to hear about the improvements and hoping that there will be many more in time to come.

          Reply
  38. Jennifer

    Hi Sean, I feel strange leaving a comment on a “men’s” site, :) but I stumbled across your article as I was searching online for support on quitting caffeine. I’ve been a Diet Pepsi-aholic since I was 16 (I’m now 40) and went cold turkey eight weeks ago. I’m starting to feel good, but it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done–my withdrawal period was well over a month, (it was torture) and since then, I’ve been in that “lull” you described. I just wanted to tell you that I’ve read everything I can find online about quitting caffeine, and yours is the best, most honest and accurate guide that I’ve found. THANK you for telling me that it would take 3-4 months to feel great–that has been such a comfort, bc so many people claim 3-4 days, or a couple weeks, and I wondered what was wrong with me; I even wondered if it was worth quitting, if I felt this bad after a whole month. I’m finding my process closely mirrors yours. I’m at almost 2 months and I do feel much better–already have more energy–but still a bit foggy and definitely miss the “buzz.” I go back and reread your article when I need encouragement. Just wanted to shout out a thank you to you for the great info. Also, “Caffeine Blues” by Stephen Cherniske is an amazing book–it will validate anyone trying to kick the habit. This book confirms that there is nothing at all good for us in caffeine, and there really is a “caffeine industry” making sure we, and our children, become and remain “lifelong users.” Good for you to promote the personal freedom of being independent of any kind of drug. And thank you, mostly, for validating how hard it is. Caffeine addiction is a real problem, and we need to give ourselves credit for doing something really hard in getting off of it. Thanks again for sharing your story!

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Thank you so much Jennifer for sharing.

      This is a men’s site yes, but I am glad to help anyone = ), especially on a topic that reaches everyone.

      Congrats on 2 months, quite an achievement. You will continue to feel better, and get used to not having the buzz. Unfortunately a lot of the world is run by large companies with their interests in mind. Goodluck with everything else!

      Reply
    2. Bex

      Hi Jennifer, hehe, I’m female too! But also stumbled on this site from doing “benefits of being caffeine free” searches and came across this site. I am about one month into completely caffeine free and I am still feeling tired, unmotivated, and frankly quite depressed. I assume the process is still going? It’s hard to keep going when you feel like this, because I feel worse than I did ON caffeine and at times wonder if it’s worth it. I keep holding out for the real improvement and have not experienced it as yet. I seemed to when I first got off caffeine and after 12 days, I thought I had noticed a change (for the better), but I cheated on chocolate and crashed. This time, it’s been a whole month and I’m not reaping benefits this time? Weird. So maybe the other time (12 days) was just a wee patch and I mistook it for full healing, when it was likely I may still have been in the process of withdrawal, but then ate chocolate and it all came tumbling down.

      So here I am. One month into it and wondering if I’m doing the right thing. It is posts like these that are the only thing keeping me off caffeine, because many other sites claim it takes only 9 days (what rubbish) to improve. I think sites like that will be aiding many to give up on their caffeine free trial, because they will assume they’re the odd man (or woman) out and something must be wrong, so they’ll likely return to drinking it. Yet, if you come across real testimonies, you often find people still struggling after weeks, even months!!! So let us hope we will reap the benefits very soon. Hard to hold on at this point, but I’m trying!

      Thanks for sharing your experiences here.

      Reply
  39. Scott

    Sean

    One thing that really worked for me when I was going through the sleepless night was the whole ‘white noise’ concept. It was amazing how the noise I fell asleep to , kept my mind off any stress or angst. There are some very good apps out there ( some are free), that work very well. My choice of noise is rain and thunder….. There is a great app called ‘ simply rain’…. It is brilliant! More than anything…. It is a drug free way of getting you sleep patterns into some sort of working order.
    Scott

    Reply
  40. Dmitry

    In the summer time, I used to drink Ice-tea for breakfast, but after reading your article I’m planing to switch to orange juice. Is there a hot caffeine-free breakfast drink that you can recommend instead of coffee or tea in the winter season?

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey Dmitry,

      Definitely not great to have iced tea for breakfast. I think you should check out herbal tea my friend. It is caffeine free and tastes amazing. Yogi is a good brand. The make some for detox, weightloss, and general health. Stop and shop also has a lot of good brands in the tea section. Lots of flavors.

      – Sean

      Reply
      1. Scott

        I agree with Sean, Dmitry, herbal tea is a great switch…..not to everyone’s taste but the Yogi tea Licorice flavour is my choice these days. Its excellent for your circulation system, the digestive system and just generally picks me up….I have a cup after breakfast and another just before I head off the bed at night. They also have awesome teas with Ginger in them that are great for colds and flu.

        Reply
  41. Johng199

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    Reply
  42. Johng217

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    Reply
  43. Mitko

    Your blog post is such a relief for me! I quit cold turkey just two weeks ago after eating a lot of chocolate and drinking coffee for nearly 6 years. Everywhere people claim that the withdrawal takes just 9 days and finishing the second week today, still not feeling perfectly well I thought something else was wrong with me.

    I still do get anxiety from time to time but it is not the same hell as it was in the first days. Was there a period where you would feel light-headed and couldn’t focus well on tasks for example working on the computer? The weird part is that most of this goes away at night once I go out for a hour or two snd when I return home I feel so calm and not light-headed at all.

    Thank you for sharing this experience with all of us.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey Mitko,

      Yes I have had similar experiences. Sound like you are doing well compared to some of the guys here.

      The fact that you feel better when you go out is good, it is because your mind is not focusing on it. So try not t think about it when your home. Some people just get more energy at night!

      Thanks man keep in touch and let us know how everything goes.

      Reply
  44. Eugene

    Hi Everyone!

    I feel like writing and updating everyone on my progress. I am 3 days short of 8 weeks caffeine free. In the past 3 weeks, I had about 2.5 servings of instant decaf coffee and a serving of Milo (chocolate malt). The total amount of caffeine is very insignificant and some more I never had them continuously (daily).

    My progress seems very similar to what Sean has described in his article. I am in month 2 and the anxiety, depression and stress have reduced. The problems I face are still there but I don’t react to them like I did and I don’t think about them when I am home or out enjoying myself. There are times when the worries intrude into my mind but only fleetingly and I can consciously push them out or I just let them pass and not react to them.

    In the energy department, it has improved compared to the first month. However I still don’t feel motivated enough and definitely still lacking in stamina to carry out tasks from start to end. The sense of doom or hopelessness still comes from time to time. When I start doing something, half way through I will feel it is hopeless or what is the point then tend to give up.

    I still miss coffee or rather caffeine. When I had some decaf coffee it didn’t appeal to me as much as the real thing. The taste was bland and there was no buzz afterwards. So I think I miss caffeine rather then the taste of the beverage.

    I am looking forward to month 3 and 4. I hope I can put the experience of anxiety behind me for good and enjoy the energy, focus and positivity of being drug free.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Nice progress Eugene!

      A month ago you were in hell and couldnt imagine getting out. I think you should talk to Bex about that (see comments below, because Bex is where you were and feels hopeless.

      Keep climbing.

      Sean

      Reply
  45. Amanda

    I feel so much better now after reading all these posts. Im on day 12 of cold turkey from caffiene after suffering anxiety. I don’t feel so alone now.
    The first week my anxiety was worse than before quitting but I knew that would be the case. I was sleeping all the time and had no energy or balance, doing simple tasks like washing up seemed impossible.
    I am now feeling worse, I haven’t slept for 5 nights which hasn’t helped my anxiety and I cant leave the house as I feel too wobbly on my legs. I feel sorry for my kids as mummy is not with at the mo. Last night I thought there was something wrong with me and this was nothing to do with caffeine. I think different after reading all these posts and it has encouraged me to keep going!!! THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!!!

    Reply
    1. Eugene

      Amanda,

      I quit caffeine in the hope of easing my anxiety too. Caffeine had always been my friend until a few months ago. Even cutting down to 2 cups of coffee or grern tea gave me symptoms of anxiety.

      Reply
  46. Bex

    Well, it’s been over a month of being entirely caffeine free and I am not sure how much longer I can keep this up. The mind-numbing fatigue is driving me up the wall and I do not feel like myself. I have no motivation, no longer go and visit people, and life feels like it’s just passing me by in a bland way. I keep getting this aching in my shoulders/back area (which comes and goes and appears to be related to withdrawal or detox?). The only positive I have noticed is (sorry for too much information here), I no longer have to take pain killers during menstruation. Usually, every month, the first day is very painful and I’m on strong pain killing meds (without fail). Twice now, I have not had to take any. I do not know what to put that down to? And as I’ve said, the sleeps I have are very deep and usually vivid dreams. It is also a lot harder to wake me up. So those are the only two things I can give any positives to. Everything else is extremely difficult.

    I’m sorry for sounding negative, but I am in the throws of this and it’s quite hard to see my way clear and imagine any light at the end of this tunnel.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      One day you will look back on this and say “holy shit” I can’t believe how horrible that was. You will come out of this.

      See the questions in my comment below I would like to help you.

      Reply
      1. Bex

        Thanks, Sean. I quit because one day when I didn’t have my cup of tea, I noticed headaches and I remembered this had happened once before. So I kept it up out of curiosity and the symptoms intensified throughout the day (almost intolerable). This made me aware that it was likely withdrawal symptoms. I didn’t like the fact I was having withdrawal from no tea, so decided I should probably keep it up and get through it. It just alerted me of the fact I must have had a problem with being reliant on caffeine.

        However, going off it? I never imagined it would be like this and go on for so long. I can handle a week or so, but to be over a month already and still have the same chronic fogginess/fatigue is interfering with other aspects of my life. I’m trying to hang in there, but am fearful this feeling may not go.

        I realised that I have actually been on caffeine since I was a child. As a kid, I drank a lot of coke and also drank coffee (not much coffee, but still), and had chocolate. I’ve always been an avid tea drinker as an adult, so my body doesn’t really know anything else. I almost wonder if going off it like I have has been a bad idea and perhaps I ought to have scaled it back instead? I’m trying to just keep it going, hoping that there will be a breakthrough.

        Reply
  47. Bex

    Going back on caffeine would likely relieve this, yes, because I’ve never experienced anything like this before. If I ever did go back on it, I would not consume the amount or the strength of tea I got up to, because I am far more aware now. But I am not sure which way to go at this point. Nothing could have prepared me for how hard this would be. I’ve been disciplined since my early 20s with my diet and everything, and kept it up despite the difficult detox period. But even that was not as chronic and intense as this.

    Reply
    1. Eugene

      Bex,

      I am in month 3. I had a decaf a few times but never in a row. I am using Sean’s experience as a guide. There are times I feel if being caffeine free is the right direction. Then I try to recall how unpleasant the anxiety was. I am targeting 4 months caffeine free. If the benefits are worthwhile. I have a strong feeling it’s going to be.

      Reply
      1. Bex

        Hi Eugene, good on you for keeping it up for that long. I’m glad you have experienced some improvements! Not sure if my anxiety was any worse with or without caffeine. I do not feel much has changed in that area for me. But if the caffeine gives you anxiety, then yes, I can see why you would prefer to keep off the stuff.

        I have to also remember that I went off my diet over a week ago and ate things I should not have eaten. Though I had no caffeine during that time, it has likely complicated matters and made the whole caffeine withdrawal feel that much worse and harder, as my body is also attempting to heal after the diet cheat. So some of this is my own fault. However, coupled with caffeine withdrawal, I just feel so bland and tired. It would be nice to have a wee “pick-me-up”, but in doing so, I would feel I’m sabotaging things and am trying to hold on a bit longer.

        I’m going to take things day by day and see how it goes. I may not always remain caffeine free, but it is still a lesson that my 20+ cup-a-day habit was not a healthy one and it’s not something that I would ever go back to after experiencing such difficult withdrawal. If, however, I find I come through this better than ever? Then there is probably no point in going back to caffeine, but I still miss my earl grey tea! ;-) Would still be nice to be able to have a weak cup of it every now and again.

        Reply
        1. Eugene

          Bex,

          You’re lucky caffeine didn’t cause you any problems. I would happily keep drinking it if it didn’t create anxiety symptoms for me.

          You don’t need to cut out caffeine completely. Just reduce the servings to twice a day. You’ll feel great.

          Reply
          1. Bex

            Hi Eugene, well I’m sure caffeine has probably had some negative impacts on me, but am not sure exactly what as yet, because I’m not really seeing any light at the end of this withdrawal tunnel. I’ve had anxiety most of my life, so I do understand how that is, but being caffeine free has not taken that away from me. It’s just the same in that area.

            I may have to take your advice at some point and start re-introducing a couple of servings a day of it, just to bring a touch of normality back in (if that works). I am suffering severely and see no light in sight. The symptoms are not abating at all, even after a month. The tiredness and sleepiness is chronic and extreme. In the moment, I do what I HAVE to do as far as my job goes, but overall my life consists of sitting/lying down and just wanting to do next to nothing or sleep. I keep waiting and hoping the next day will be different, but usually it isn’t.

            I may hold out for a bit longer, but am seriously considering getting back on some caffeine. I believe the cold-turkey style of withdrawal was not a wise move for somebody like me who already has health problems and had a very high intake of black tea prior to giving up. Perhaps too much, too soon?

            I wish you guys all the best in beating this habit! Who knew it could be this hard? Wow!

          2. Bex

            Bex,

            My anxiety improved very much when I hit the 2 month mark. Of course there will still be times when I get overwhelmed. This happened this morning after I was away from the office for 2 days and there were all kinds of demands in the form of emails I received. I opened one email at a time and put off those I couldn’t answer straight away and re-visit them after a break. They no longer felt so challenging.

            I feel I am more stressed in the morning. It can be my cortisol level is higher. When I was still taking caffeine I get a lot of anxious symptoms in the afternoon too. I suspect this is due to withdrawal from the morning intake.

            If you still want to keep caffeine in your life you will need to experiment on the dosage. Or you can tough it out for another month and see how you feel.

            Good luck. Feel free to pour out if out need to. I understand how hard this is.

  48. Helene

    Great article. Thank you:) People keep telling me that my withdrawal symptoms will clear after one week of being caffeine-free. I am now on week three and felling more tired than ever. At least now I have some hope that this will pass.

    Reply
  49. wurst

    Bex, most probably this has nothing to do with coffeine or withdrawal, but is a depression!

    Please stop trying to fix it yourself, see a doctor ASAP!

    I also stopped caffeine (drank 2-3 servings of green tea before, sometimes one cup of coffee, regularly ate dark chocolate), and after 3 weeks it feels fairly normal now.

    And I’m really sensititve to caffeine and in general one of those hypersensitive guys!

    So I can say that those horror stories about withdrawal lasting for months are not true in a general sense, these are individual cases.

    What feels unusual and a bit difficult sometimes is only that, when feeling tired, no “quick fix” is available. But that’s a good thing because it forces me to think of better ways to get out of the tiredness (get moving, eat something more healthy, sleep more etc.)

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Wurst, your advice is good but for some withdrawal simply does last for months. He should still however see a doctor, my advice is not to be misconstrued with medical advice.

      Reply
      1. Bex

        Sean, I am female ;-) But I already have a doctor and she knows about my struggles. I’ve been down the road of meds and psychiatry, which was one of the worst stages in my life and never wish to go back to. This is indeed something related to my physical condition. The less unwell I am, the depression lifts. The sicker I am, the depression seems to go hand in hand. So the withdrawal has simply made this so much more difficult.

        I am actually making an effort to do something for myself in the hopes I might make a positive difference in the future. That is not negative, that is constructive, despite the symptoms I am experiencing. Sometimes it helps to share with others.

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          I get what you are saying. You know your body and mind better than any of us.

          I hope things turn up for you, I think they will in time.

          Reply
          1. Bex

            Thanks, Sean. Yes, I think we all know ourselves the best and learn to listen to our bodies. Doctors don’t know everything, unfortunately, and their advice may not always work. Although, a couple of doctors I had actually helped me heaps when they advised a new diet plan of cutting out sugar/wheat/gluten/yeast. The difference was marked! So those who are open to natural therapies can often be the most helpful in my experience. The ones before that who just labelled me as depressed, shoved me on meds and sent me to a psychiatrist were the worst and I actually grew worse, rather than better. So chemical answers were not the answers in my situation.

            I hope this experience of no caffeine will eventually pass. It’s just good to be able to share and gain insight as to what other people are going through. I’m hanging in there by the skin of my teeth at the moment.

          2. Sean Russell Post author

            Agreed on the doctors part. Sometimes I think they are the most ignorant and clueless of them all. They are trained to favor pharmaceuticals (a ridiculously powerful industry) when the truth is natural is often the way to go. Medicine obviously has its place, especially in dire situations but I agree on staying away from chemicals.

    2. Bex

      Hi wurst, it has a quite a bit to do with withdrawal, but also partly due to my physical condition that I’ve had since I was 15. The doctor knows about this. It’s not fixable with meds/psychiatry, I’ve gone down that path before and it just made me worse due to the chemicals and the psychoanalysis was BS. When your body is unhealthy, the brain is also impacted. When I am healthier, the depression automatically lifts off me.

      The withdrawal process has just made it far more difficult. It appears that yes, it can indeed go on for months if testimonies are anything to go by. So just because you are somebody else might find your self improving after no caffeine in a matter of weeks, does not mean it’s the same for everybody else. I’m happy for you, but please understand we’re all different.

      I’ve never felt like this before, only since I gave up caffeine. I guarantee that if I started caffeine again, my exhaustion would probably “miraculously” lift, but I feel that is because I have lived and relied on caffeinated products for most of my life. I believe this is also why my withdrawal is more intense and longer lived than say somebody else who may not have had as much caffeine and/or for so long.

      Reply
  50. JBM

    Now over 2 months in (9+ weeks or 66 Days to be exact). I am still struggling. I have had some improvements and things are not as bad as the first 6 weeks – but still very difficult. My symptoms seem to have shifted a bit, although I still have all of the withdrawal symptoms to some extent.

    The biggest improvement would have to be energy levels. I keep thinking my sleep is getting better – as I’ll get 5 days in a row of decent sleep (4-6 deep hours) and then some more insomnia will hit – although I haven’t been up all night in over 2 weeks. Depression and Anxiety have lessened but are still present. The shakes, jitters, restlessness, shortness of breath, heart palps still occur once in awhile. Still dealing with intermittent dizziness (very frustrating) and foggy mind.

    One of the biggest frustrations is that I have nerve pain and ‘misfiring’ muscles – i.e. my nervous system is still very out of sorts. I have decent energy to workout now – but have to be careful because I pull muscles easily as they are so tight. My neck and shoulders are very tense and all other muscles tight as well….I hope this will pass soon.

    I also have a sensitivity (during this withdrawal) to many foods and have kept my diet very bland. I generally cannot tolerate any supplements and can’t tolerate any at all during this process. Interestingly – I will note that by removing all supplements – my anxiety and depression have lessened. I am getting pretty severe headaches now; I didn’t get them early in withdrawal.

    I wish everyone well on this journey and I hope my next update will be much better. Sean – you mentioned you continued to play soccer during withdrawal and I notice that most of your description of your symptoms were mental (other than fatigue). Did you have issues with physical pain – like muscle, joint stiffness, pain, nerve issues (tingling, muscle spasms, tense neck shoulders, legs)?

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      JBM,

      I definitely had physical muscular problems as well.

      As slow as it is, progress is progress. It will speed up now, you are past the worst!

      Reply
  51. Bex

    Am still suffering from withdrawal, but have to say the dreams I am having are unbelievable. It’s like being on a hallucinogenic drug. Very vivid and very neat and not something I want to wake up from. Been happening for sometime now, but moreso in recent times. During the day, however, I feel rather dopey/tired and a bit like a walking zombie. Am hopeful that this tiredness and, at times, emptiness/depression will dissipate.

    I wonder how others are doing at the moment? I hope you guys are finding improvements. I am trying to hang in there with this, because I believe that my body has relied heavily on this drug all my life. It must been a real shock to the system to have it withdrawal suddenly and have “nothing”. If I could have this over again? I would likely reduce it over time, rather than cold turkey. However, it’s done, so I figure I may as well run with it and keep going as is.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      That is intense REM sleep, which is intense healing. I know how annoying it is that your brain seems awake only while sleeping and then resting during the day, but that is what has to happen for recovery to happen.

      You will get through it Bex!

      Reply
      1. Bex

        Haha, thanks Sean. It’s incredible. I was even levitating in my dream :D I seriously don’t want to wake up. My life begins in sleep, lol.

        Yes, my fingers are crossed that this maybe part of healing and I sure hope so! I do not want to sabotage it and get back on caffeine, but do wish I would “wake up” during the day. I go through the day drowsy/half asleep almost and have to make believe at being alert.

        Thank you for the vote of confidence!

        Reply
  52. Eugene

    Sean,

    I am 10 weeks in being caffeine free except for occasional instant decaf coffee.

    I don’t believe I still get heart palpitations. I didn’t get that in the past few weeks. This is frustrating. I was looking towards more improvement. I have been having doubts about this lately. But I am going to hang on.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Eugene,

      Whatever you decide to do, I hope it works out for you. Instant Decaf still has traces of caffeine in it btw, I am unsure of what effect that would have on recovery.

      Reply
  53. Bex

    Hi Eugene,

    I am about 7 weeks in, or just over. I have not yet noticed any improvements in energy or brain fog. Basically I am in a state of chronic tiredness (feels like jetlag all the time). I am unsure how much longer I can continue, but at this point, it’s hanging in there by the skin of my teeth. I am aiming for the 3 month mark and then if there is no improvement? I may go back to some moderate caffeine intake. I’ll see how I am at that point!

    Glad to hear you are still hanging in there! But not easy when one is still struggling after such a lengthy period of time.

    Reply
  54. Adam

    Sean,

    I have been following this site for a few months to figure out if my problems were caffeine related. I’m not sure but I think my 4-5 to 6 cups a day may have been masking a Thyroid problem. The reason I say I’m not sure is because I suffered what I thought was an adrenal crash after a nasty upper respiratory infection and then an inner ear infection in which I received a not-insignificant dose of prednisone. I also quit caffeine cold turkey at the same time. I’m really not sure what caused what, but I have undergone vertigo, anxiety, vision focus weirdness, concentration issues, ?brain fog?, random aches, 3 months of a ?tension headache?, etc.

    Turns out I have subacute Hypothyroidism…

    I have had a CT at the ER and later had an EEG and MRI issued by a neurologist. All normal. I did learn from the neurologist that Thyroid Antibodies can have an effect on the brain.

    I have been on thyroid hormone for 2 months hoping to feel normal again. After 5 months of no caffeine,I was hoping for my “head” to feel normal again. It does not… At least it’s a much more tame version of what I went through, but still frustrating.

    Long story short… If ppl experience weird symptoms longer than a couple weeks or experience anything that scares them, see a Dr!

    I still think caffeine may have masked my Thyroid issues for a long time. Stress, travel, illnesses, and funerals all around the same time may have been the straws to break the camel’s back…

    Also… Through this whole experience, I have had to rehab myself back in the gym like nothing I have experienced in my life. I do better every week…but the pseudo-dizziness was pretty bad after workouts. I also reacted to stress backwards… Driving past a cop made me feel faint instead of a little amped… You know what I mean… You get a little excited and check to see if you’re speeding….

    You mentioned adrenal fatigue…So I thought I would throw that out there… I understand the whole Thyroid/Adrenal endocrine system is somewhat linked.

    So… 5 months… Hoping to feel normal again… :)

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Adam,

      I’m sorry to hear about your issues, but I am glad to hear that you know the problem so now you can fight it the right way and not feel lost.

      This is a good example that everyone SHOULD see a doctor regardless if they are feeling these symptoms.

      Thanks man, I hope you feel 100% soon.

      Reply
  55. Whobody

    Hey guys/gals, truly encouraging to read about what people are going through. Makes my own process easier to bear. I think I’ve always had a sensitive chemistry/balance, and I’ve always known that caffeine affects me negatively in the long run. I think my wiring/chemistry makes caffeine a bad choice.

    For those thinking of abandoning the cause – dont. I have nearly quit caffeine multiple times, making it as far as month 3 previously, only to go back on the bean. Yep, the first few days will be as you imagined. Your old energy back, fog lifted, more social. But in a week’s time, you’ll be your same frazzled self. Burst of anxious energy in the morning, crash in the afternoon, poor sleep, and worsening exhaustion.

    I’m now almost exactly at week 6 of being caffeine free. Cold turkey is the only way to go for me, and I’ve had no mistakes/cheats in the last 6 weeks. Given that I’ve nearly quit caffeine on several occasions, I think it’s easier for me to face these challenges – ie I know they are just withdrawal, Im not having a breakdown. And the symptoms are f***ing awful. For me: weeks 1 through 4 have included anxiety, depression, horrible brain fog (to the point I’m concerned about my performance on the job), complete lack of interest and motivation.

    Here at week 6, I’m starting to have days that are okay. The fog isn’t as dense. I can focus enough to accomplish tasks that require clear thinking and concentration. Two days ago, I sat for almost 6 hours straight to draft a 6 page white paper, with a deadline of that very day. While I certainly wasn’t as peppy as I would have been on caffeine, I was able to approach it with a focused calm, almost zero anxiety, and completely surprised myself by hitting the deadline.

    For folks that have quit caffeine because they’re aware of how it negatively affected them, I would strongly recommend you continue the fight. Realize that caffeine is not something your body is supposed to need. While some in the sciences / industry point to potential benefits, you are robbing yourself of your bodies energy stores, your bodies ability to absorb certain vitamins / minerals, and you are adding to your stress levels, and you will show signs of aging more quickly. Bite the proverbial f’ing bullet and get through this.

    Some encouraging benefits I’ve expereinced over the past 6 weeks. My face has less wrinkles, especially around they eyes (I’m 34). My complexion is clearer / brighter. I just have a healthier glow. Once my sleep evened out (post the insomnia phase), deep sleep has meant that I wake feeling more refreshed. As such, I’m more prone to exercise and hit the gym, even in the evenings when normally I’d be too exhausted to consider. I’ve noticed that my mid-section is looking more toned / less flabby, and I’m convinced that quitting caffeine has had some impact. (the relationship between fat/stress/cortisol/caffeine is worth reading up on)

    Do I miss coffee. More than you know. I miss the quick morning buzz that makes music sound better, the day seem surmountable, and me feel invincible. All for about 3 hours. I don’t miss the rest of how I am on caffeine – irritable, prone to anxiety, less emotionally intelligent, tired, and scattered. I have no question that I’ll be better off sans caffeine. So I stick with it, this time hopefully for good.

    The withdrawal symptoms (almost all) still continue, but at quite a lower level of intensity. I look forward to month 5 or 6 when I think I’m supposed to fully reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Two things I’ll very strongly recommend to those fighting the fight:
    – A good daily multivitamin. Currently taking Orange Triad, seems to help.
    – Drink water, lots of it.
    – Look into L-Phenylalanine. This is a natural an inexpensive amino-acid, and is in the food you eat. Many claim that supplementing with this amino acid made quitting caffeine any easy/instant process. I did not have quite that experience, but it has provided considerable relief, such that withdrawal symptoms are less severe. You owe it to yourself to check this out. Long story short – the way your mind produces/absorbs dopamine has been impacted by your caffeine habit. Now you’ve stopped. Your brain is trying to recalibrate. L-Phenylalanine gives your brain a natural boost in this regard. It is non-addictive, does not provide a high, does not induce anxiety. Google this one.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Awesome and informative comment Whobody..

      Thank you for sharing your experience and for all the great tips.

      “Bite the proverbial f’ing bullet and get through this.”

      Reply
  56. Whobody

    Thanks Sean…and I gotta agree with other posters on your article. It is the most thorough accounting I’ve come across regarding what to expect during withdrawal. Super informative…thank YOU.

    For the folks who think caffeine withdrawal is a joke, I’ll add that several years ago I chose to discontinue use of narcotic painkillers (due to chronic pain condition, not illicit), after about 2 years use. Was a real bitch for the first month, and took a full year to recover. Just making the point that I have a very real sense of going through withdrawal. While quitting caffeine doesn’t register in the same way, it IS a no-kidding withdrawal, and the impact to your thought processes, mood, motivation, general interest in life, and ability to get things done is very real. But I think very much worth doing. Six weeks in, I feel like I am starting to have moments of calm, clarity, and dare I say happiness. Starting to feel like I am slowly emerging from a dark and confusing mental/emotional cave.

    Thanks again Sean for your post. Stay strong guys (and gals).

    Reply
    1. Eugene

      Whobody,

      I was 10 weeks into caffeine free. You can see my posts earlier. I didn’t feel great benefits from being caffeine free. My anxiety was reduced due to the slowing down of my thinking. But the same applied to my motivation, energy and general well being. I was not excited about things anymore.

      I was on holiday last week. I was having at least 1 caffeinated drink a day. I was feeling good. But now I am worry I have reset my effort. Today is the first day I haven’t had any caffeine since last week. I am feeling jittery, anxious and general negative sensations.

      Sean,

      Am I back to square one?

      Reply
      1. Sean Russell Post author

        Eugene if you were feeling good with caffeine, maybe you should stay on it. Either that or stop any never go on it again! You cannot keep putting yourself through this rollercoaster ride, of stopping and going thru hell just to start again. You are no at square 1, but maybe square 2.

        Either way, in 2 years this will be a memory. You have to make a choice and stick with it for life.

        Reply
      2. Bex

        I’m sorry to hear this, Sean, but I understand where you are coming from.

        You have done amazingly well to last 10 weeks with no caffeine and all those symptoms. That’s not easy, and probably many would have given up long before. So I would not be too down on yourself. You can always eventually wean yourself completely off it again later if you feel strong enough to try again. Perhaps a bit of caffeine a day at this point isn’t such a bad thing? Perhaps just keep the intake to a minimum, or even just allow yourself “one” cup a day and leave it at that? You can always weaken the dose or reuse a tea bag to keep it even lower.

        It is not easy to make the decision to stick with the withdrawal when you’re suffering pretty badly and for such a lengthy period of time, but you’ve shown you have the ability to stick with it for over 10 weeks. That is not bad going. I’m only 2 months (or a bit over) into it and I’m still finding it hard. Some moments seem easier, but a lot of the time I do feel more tired and dull. Still can’t quite find much energy. Still hoping it’s “healing” symptoms.

        Sleep is going well, very deep and full of vivid dreams. During the day, I feel less like my old self and like I’m kind of going through the motions. Some days a wee bit better than others. I’m still not sure if I will remain caffeine free for the rest of my life, but that will depend whether my health improves enough to figure it’s worth it. I haven’t seen much evidence yet, but the sleep side of things is interesting…

        Reply
        1. Eugene

          Sean, Bex and Whobody,

          Thanks for your feedbacks. I haven’t had anything caffeinated these two days. I did have a slight headache last night but overall ok. I still feel a little shaky and empty inside.

          What I noticed when I started consuming caffeine during my holidays was, with caffeine my mind started thinking about work issues. Even when I was in the middle of something like having fun, work issues would start to enter my mind. Work is a major stress trigger for me because I have a mean boss. He is demeaning and demoralising. I developed anxiety since late last year. Without caffeine my mind slows down and less thoughts enter my mind and I can be in the present more.

          The setbacks are of course less motivation, energy and general feelings of emptiness. I understand what Sean is saying. I need to decide if I should stick with it forever or quit it forever. A part of me wants to quit forever but another part of me misses my old self while taking caffeine but minus the anxiety. I am so worried starting caffeine will bring back the anxiety which was really debilitating for me.

          I am thinking of taking really low doses to start with like decaf and half decaf. But i will wait it out until I can think clearly.

          Reply
          1. Bex

            Hey Eugene, sorry to hear about what you’re going through. It does not help to have a boss like that, especially when you have health and anxiety issues. Just makes the whole thing worse by adding to the stress. Would be nice if you’d be able to get out of there into another job with a more reasonable person to work for! But jobs don’t come by so easy.

            I do appreciate what you are going through in regards to caffeine. I miss my old self, too. I keep awaiting for that to return, but so far the lack of energy, motivation, and yes feelings of emptiness, remain. The only thing I enjoy is my sleep, but it’ll need to be more than that if I am to remain caffeine free. I’m afraid some of us have probably been on caffeine for so long and perhaps at such a level, that our brains/bodies are almost adapted to it (wired to it).

            I am unsure how long this will go on for. Certainly, I am aiming for the 3 month mark (at least) and then I shall re-evaluate and see if it is worth continuing. If there is no change, I may well go back to having moderate caffeine in my life. I would have thought they’d be more improvements by now. Dreaming and deep sleeps is great, but my daytime living isn’t fun at all and wanting to go to sleep early cuts out my enjoyment of my evening (which is what I used to look forward to). How sad that I’m that wired on caffeine, that I don’t even feel normal without it. However, I shall see how it goes over the next few weeks. The dreaming is amazing, though. If I ever do go back on caffeine, that is one thing I will miss about being caffeine free. Would be great if I was able to have moderate amounts, feel more energised, yet will get the deep sleeps and dreams :D

            So don’t feel alone in this. It appears that this caffeine withdrawal is far more of a challenge than many of us probably anticipated. Do not feel pressured either way. If you feel you cope a little better with a little in your day, then it may be the way to go for you, especially if you are under stress and work obligations. Only you can be the judge of that, given how you feel everyday.

            Take it as it comes.

    1. Eugene

      Whobody,

      How are you doing? Did you try the supplement DLPA? I have just purchased a couple of bottles but have yet to take any. I am curious if it helps you in any ways.

      Reply
  57. Lorenzo

    I’m at about month 3, I found this early on and it has helped me stick with it so far. However, there has been times it’s been tough. Especially because I didn’t quick on purpose. I got put on anti-biotics and thought the caffeine or nicotine was making me worse. So I quick both cold turkey, I was smoking 4 e-cigs a day, and starting my morning with a pre-workout with caffiene, then drinking about 2 cups of coffee, then like 3-4 diet cokes, then close to a gallon of black tea a day. The end of the first week I went to the emergency room because I honestly thought I was dying, because I was getting panic attacks, I felt depressed, had horrible headaches. They just said I wasn’t drinking enough water and sent me home. The symptoms continued, and I started googling around and immediately thought I was just going through nicotine withdraw, caffeine withdraw never crossed my mind. As stated in the article up to this point it’s been mostly unbearably horrible. I have however constantly referred back to this article, when I’ve been feeling like I couldn’t take anymore. So for me at month 3 getting closer to month 4, I can say I have hours, or sometimes days at a time of mental clarity like man maybe this is all just caffeine withdrawal and I’m getting better, followed by hours or days of not being able to focus, and feeling a bit tired, although I don’t really feel depressed anymore, I do still sometimes get sudden bouts of anxiety. I’ve been to the Dr. they said it still could be caffeine withdraw, my thyroid is normal, but I’m going back to get the rest of my hormones tested just to be safe, although none of these symptoms started until I stopped caffeine, I’m also thinking there is a possibility as a result of my years of drinking about 4 times the daily recommended dose of caffeine that I have adrenal fatigue that may be causing me to have a testosterone deficiency.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Lorenzo,

      It is scary to read your story because I know so many people probably go through the same thing with no clue to what is ging on. They then may end up going on an antidepressant for years and change the entire course or their life.

      I 100% think that everything you experienced is indeed caffeine withdrawal and I hope you can stick it out to see 100%. With such long term use and high dosage I don’t find it odd that you are just experiencing moments of relief in month 3. I think by month 6 you will feel like a different guy. As for anxiety and panic attacks, that can take a while to dissipate and for your mind and body to move on from. (trust me I know) You almost don’t feel like you can just relax and live but eventually it will come.

      Goodluck with everything and keep listening to your doctors if needed. Adrenal Fatigue can be a tough battle. But it is definitely reversible. 1. Relax and much as possible 2. Eat healthy (lower your sugars and grains, and eat more healthy fats (DHA, avocado, coconut oil) and eat lots of veggies. 3. Lots of water. 4. When you feel up to it, start to exercise slowly. Start with walking for a few weeks, then when you feel up to it start jogging and then keep progressing. (#1 cure for anxiety.) The bitch about anxiety is that it will make you feel like you cannot exercise because it tires you out so much, but the only wy to beat it is to exercise. The first 2 weeks can be tough. Extra’s – Meditation, Yoga, Gluten Free. And most importantly – TIME.

      Let us know how it goes.

      Reply
      1. Lorenzo

        WIll do, I was in pretty good shape to begin with, low bodyfat worked out 5 days a week. That’s one of the reasons it hit me so hard, the first couple weeks off caffeine was debilitating. I’m still not really at a point were I have the energy levels to workout again. I do know when your at a point of adrenal fatigue it can cause hormone deficiencies plus it turned out I also had a vitmain D deficiency. So I believe that the caffiene was helping to mask how bad I really felt.

        I think when I added up my caffeine consumption it would have been like a 16 cup of coffee a day equivalent amount of caffeine. I never really considered how much tea I was drinking or diet soda, just thought oh well only 2 cups of coffee a day. So, to everyone who thinks that they can’t do it, I’ve lasted 3 months so far cold turkey, without any caffiene, it’s super tough, but it is worth it. Doctors gave me Xanax for the panic attacks/anxiety I’ve also not taken any of those just try to relax my way through them.

        Also know I think the feeling good for a bit at a time, can sometimes make things work, I really have moments were I feel 100% back to normal which makes when the ill feelings come back even worse. So just keep with it, compared to last month I’m much better, and hopefully the following month I’ll be better then I am now.

        Reply
        1. Eugene

          Lorenzo,

          I am in month 4 of being caffeine free except for a week when I went back to a serving a day. I feel fine most of the days. My anxiety has reduced greatly but I can still be tense on a daily basis but it is debilitating.

          I can relate to how you feel. Even after so many weeks of being caffeine free I still don’t feel quite like my old self. I still feel shaky and empty at times. I miss drinking coffee and tea. I imagine drinking them and savoring the tastes. I have experimented drinking decaf coffee. I felt spacy and quite unwell after just 1 serving. So until now I have managed to steer myself from caffeinated drinks.

          I am powering on and I can think much clearly now. I also feel more motivated and energetic. These reasons and less anxiety are what is keeping me from going back to caffeine.

          Reply
  58. Whobody

    Lorenzo, Eugene,
    Really glad I decided to visit this thread tonite and read your updates. Is encouraging. I am fully 2 months into caffeine free – no slip ups. And about one week into being nicotine free after about four years of using Snus during most waking hours.

    Funny, life feels so f’ing boring…like I’ve given up two of life’s greatest pleasures. Funny that a terrible relapse for me would be a 20oz blend of some great coffee, and a dip of SNUS. Lol…pretty pansy as far as vices go.

    Discovered that my first week without nicotine is about ten times easier than first week without caffeine.

    But overall life feels terribly terribly dull at the moment…for the last several moments. Not feeling anxiety, not depression, but the dullness and feeling like I’m not quite at full-speed, not firing on all cylinders. Just bland.

    Working out and regular exercise seems to help.

    Strange though, unlike most reports, my sleep has not been great lately. Can’t fall to sleep quickly, not sleeping deeply.

    Reply
  59. Scott

    Hey Sean… almost 6 months on and just today I decided to see what would happen if I tried an espresso. So I took literally 7 sips of the drink…. in the first hour it was fine… the familiar dirty energy buzz was back. In the 2nd hour…. back came the anxiety…. terrible feeling. Only this time around I knew what it was and what it is like without it. Thats pretty much done it for me. I had thought that perhaps I could reintroduce a bit of coffee back into my day but …. no way now…. I am done with it. That dirty energy feeling, the headache and the tinnitus in my ears is not worth it. Despite the discomfort, a nice little reminder of how far I have come and where I do not want to return to!

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      It’s amazing right?

      When you kind of unplug from it and try to go back, you really notice what the stuff does to you. I had the same exact experience and that when I was like, nope – I’m done.

      Reply
  60. Eugene

    Whobody,

    Glad to read about your update. Sounds like you are doing well. I got to be honest, I still have cravings for a good cup of coffee. I know how you feel about how it is harder to give up caffeine than nicotine. I used to be a smoker. When I was quitting I began to drink more coffee. After a month I was doing fine without nicotine. With coffee/caffeine the craving and longing seems to be there even after weeks/months.

    The feelings of emptiness, incomplete and lack of buzz or excitement are still there. I think this is normally how I should feel. The caffeine has been covering them up and because I have been using it for years I now need to get used to how I am supposed to feel without caffeine.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      It is a tough thing, but yes – being used to a high can make feeling normal feel low. And often you over think how you are feeling instead of just being. But you should not always feel empty or a lack of excitement =. As crazy as it seems, your body is definitely still feeling the effects and recovering. I honestly think 1 year for 100% recovery. But like becomes livable and more manageable after 3 months.

      Reply
  61. Wurst

    How we are feeling after quitting coffee partly is also just a sign how wrong things are in our society.

    It is expected of people that they submit to the capitalist lifestyle.

    You always have to be willing to perform. You always have to be “enthusiastic”, and if you are not, something is “wrong” with you. You always have to market yourself, so your “unmarketable” side (being tired, unhappy etc.) is not allowed to be seen by others. (OK, you are allowed to be tired, but only when you at the same time tell that you had a very long day full of work and achieved lots of important things…)

    How Facebook works exemplifies this very much.

    Without coffee we just feel NORMAL.

    And this frightens us because this society doesn’t allow us to be normal.

    We tend to look down on people who take cocaine – but coffee has the same function like cocaine, only on a lower level. Upgrading to cocaine from coffee is only – in a perverse way – consequent.

    So I also think that Sean leads people in a wrong direction and evokes false, inexpedient hopes when he says that after a few months, he was energetic all day long. This way he is fueling the old “coffee thinking” – people tend to hope to have the “coffee energy” after a few weeks or moths, but without coffee.

    No, you will, most of the time, feel less enthusiastic, less energetic than with coffee, and this will remain. Period.
    And this is good for you. Period.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      True,

      I am not “energetic all day long” as if I am on a constant caffeine high. Good point. However most people that feel horrible after quitting caffeine are not supposed to feel that way as they do in the beginning. There is a rebound effect and it does get better.

      But I like your point.

      Reply
    2. Adam

      No no….Wurst , I think you’re wrong, and Sean is somewhat right.

      I’ve been a Coffee drinker on and off, When I quit for 1-2 months, I have more stable energy throughout the day. In general , I have way more energy when I’m coffee/caffeine free. Everyone builds a tolerance to caffeine, and eventually the buzz is not as good, eventually you start feeling depleted.

      If you’re naturally depressed, quitting caffeine won’t be the answer, but it will help. When I’m caffeine free, I’m a better thinker, I have a better memory, more mental stamina , I have more highs throughout the day opposed to one short caffeine buzz that makes me feel over the edge, followed by a evening drop.

      Caffeine tends to give many a ”fight or flight” buzz, anxiety and Euphoria…and anxiety isn’t fun. I’ve tried a pharmaceutical form of amphetamines once , a way more stable and pleasurable buzz than caffeine however, way more addictive and dangerous.

      Moral of the Story,” In General ” Life is better when you’re sober and eating a healthy natural diet , enjoying the natural pleasures in which your body responds . Cocaine and other users are always chasing the first few highs….same with caffeine, people eventually get addicted to their 1-2 cups a day ( Some have way more) and eventually need the caffeine to just feel normal.

      People …After 2-3 months of being caffeine free , if you’re living a healthy exciting life… eating well, fun hobbies, healthy relationships, you should feel great, have tones of energy , enjoy natural euphoria’s . And yes , life has it’s good and bad days. You’re still going to have the occasional blues in less you’re some type of mutant lol.

      Caffeine’s good on rare occasions, just like many other drugs.

      Reply
  62. Matthew

    Would you say that you’re concentration was really affected during the beginning four months? I’ve tried to quit caffeine three times. Every time I quit, it begins with a one week period of crushing migraines and an inability to focus, then proceeds into the never ending dullness that you mentioned. After the first week,I am able to focus, but my ability to retain information seems lessened. I know caffeine has some benefits when it comes to short term memory retrieval, but prior to my raging caffeine addiction, I never seemed to have a problem retaining information. As a child, I was always the top of my class and in the 95th percentile on standardized tests. My caffeine addiction began around the age of 15 with a soda addiction, then progressed into coffee as my health conscious mind warded off the temptation to consume soda. After coffee lost its efficacy, I began a long-term relationship with my one true mistress- 5 hour energy. Since then, I have begun having really bad skin problems, and have problems with consistency in my energy levels and cognitive abilities. I have moments where I’m really on point, and other times where I seem to falter to the point of where I wonder what has happened to my once sharp mind. In my pursuit for a remedy, I have radically transformed my diet numerous times including eliminating dairy, grains, and non-organic produce. I have tried low carb, paleo, eliminated tap water,calorie restriction, and tried virtually every nootropic that is well studied and possesses little to no adverse effects. I have had allergy tests with no results indicative adverse reactions to any particular food. I drink water like a mad man, consuming upwards of a gallon/day of spring water, or artesian well water that I procure locally. I also will drink a pinch of Himalayan sea salt in my water every day or every other day in order to ensure I am keeping my electrolytes replete.

    Anyways, in order to avoid telling you every nutritional endeavor I’ve ever embarked upon, I will circle back around to my original inquiry. The longest I’ve gone without caffeine is roughly 6 weeks. I always find myself going back to it because I lead a pretty demanding lifestyle as I am a full-time student, work 20 hours a week, and over the summer, I intern. I don’t get much of a break, so it’s hard to subject myself to dullness and limited information absorption. I need to be on point…all of the time. Does this get better? Did you notice that your ability to retain information became limited for a period of time? Is this the dullness you referred to? It makes sense, chemically, that your brain has a great deal of adjusting to do, and I think that amino acid supplementation could be a wonderful addition to a caffeine detox program. It could possibly lessen the detrimental cognitive effects, but I’m not entirely sure as I have never tried it during one of my caffeine free stints.

    Also, are you still caffeine free?

    Thank you so much for writing this blog as it has been a source of motivation every time I gear up to kick the stimulants.

    -Matthew

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey Matthew,

      I am still caffeine free for over a year now. And yes, there were months when my cognitive functions were severely affected. Honestly not sure how I tripped up and made it through, but I did, and now I am free from caffeine, never have to think about it and have consistent great cognitive function.

      It takes a while, yes. But to me, it was well worth it.

      Reply
      1. Matthew

        Were you taking astragalus during your detox, or was it something you kind of happened upon later? I purchased some today and it kind of put me down for a nap, but it’s important to note that I did only sleep for 5 hours the night prior. Is it a stimulating herb, or does it just kind of add balance? I know it’s great for adrenal support, so I will likely continue to take it during my detox. I’m in a limbo currently where my internship isn’t as mentally demanding as being in school itself, so this is probably a great 2 month window to make it through the bulk of the withdrawals. It’s unfortunate that the neurological symptoms last for such an extended period of time, but the benefits seem worth it. I can barely remember what it was like before I embarked on my 10 year caffeine high, but I do remember being more focused and much more balanced. I’ve also seen an odd correlation between my brief sabbaticals from caffeine and my acne. I never had acne as a teen. It all really took a nasty turn around the same time I started pounding the coffee, and seems to be completely alleviated when I’m not drinking the stuff. Possible causative, but I would need a longer frame of reference to know for sure. Today ends my last caffeine fueled day for the next 6 months. I will reassess after that!

        This is by far the best recount of a caffeine detox I’ve seen on the web. The detox definitely extends far beyond the physical withdrawals.

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Hey Matthew,

          I stumbled upon astragalus after withdrawals, but I wish I as on it earlier. It is a great adrenal support and raises your bodies chi, without causing anxiety. So it is not really stimulating but gives you a little more life it feels like. I take it everyday now.

          Good luck with your quitting. Here’s to a speedy recovery!

          Reply
  63. Smithf3

    Valuable information. Lucky me I found your site by accident, and I am shocked why this accident did not happened earlier! I bookmarked it. cdkekdkddffadkad

    Reply
  64. Rob Lipovsky

    Hi Sean,
    first off, excellent website and article. I have a questions about the clouded mind symptom specifically. How long did this last for you, roughly?

    -Rob

    Reply
      1. Robert Lipovsky

        I’m just curious about one more thing… how was waking up during this process? I assume during your fatigue stage it was difficult… but did you notice an improvement in being able to wake up after about a month or so?

        Reply
  65. Morgan

    Sean,
    how did you function with work? You’re a mechanical engineer, so weren’t you concerned with how your job performance would be during these crazy months?

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Yeah Morgan, it was really hard. Sometimes I don’t now how I powered through but I did.

      I guess just keeping the positive thoughts in my head that I was healing and could do it, and to troop it out was what did it.

      Reply
      1. Morgan

        Did you feel really tired for most of that time? Or did your fatigue wear off after a few weeks?

        Reply
  66. Chris

    Hey All,

    I’ve been caffeine free for almost 3 weeks now. I actually quit because I’ve been seeing a urologist for a while now trying to figure out the origin of my overactive bladder. I’m still pretty young and have been having this problem for a while. It turns out that its likely chronic prostatitis which are there are no quick fixes. He told me that caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods likely irritate the issue and cutting back could help resolve it. Since I’d still like to have a drink or two now and again I figured it would be much easier to cut out caffeine for good. I also figured it would have many added benefits, including helping me sleep better.

    Three weeks in and the headaches have generally gone away. The first two weeks were rough as it felt like my head was going to explode by mid-afternoon. Staring at the computer screen all day at work became excruciating. Ultimately though, I feel I got off easier than many and for that I’m thankful. Having this decision made for health a health reason that I can easily point to I think also made it easier to justify to myself. I miss the ritual of stopping for that morning Starbucks but my bank account certainly doesn’t.

    Just wanted to share and wish everyone luck!

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Nice Chris,

      It’s good to hear from someone who isn’t going through months of hell! And yes, saving money is fantastic. Thanks a lot for the comment.

      Reply
  67. Ryan

    Great article. And I’m not convinced that so many of are health problems aren’t partially related to caffeine. Maybe we focus on things like, say, gluten because let’s face it: it’s easier for most people to give up gluten than caffeine. I’m on month 2 of drastically reduced caffeine–was an everyday coffee drinker but have only had about 10 coffees since late May. Also green tea and dark chocolate. But I’m trying to psych myself up for going 100% free. I just fear I’ll want to die at work! But each time I’ve drank coffee over the past couple of months–planning to go back–I’m reminded that it’s a lousy experience. You feel great for about an hour or two–then you feel anxious/depressed/exhausted and you realize it’s nasty stuff more than you ever realize it when you’re drinking it every day. I’m light years calmer and even my energy started to improve after about 3 weeks. Maybe the hardest part: everyone says it’s good for you and everyone else seems to consume it. So you almost feel weird being a caffeine abstainer–the opposite of how we’ve made smokers feel weird for smoking. But nicotine and caffeine are essentially the same thing in nature…

    Reply
  68. Whobody

    Guys I completely fell off the wagon. Oof. nearly 3 months in and had a day where I felt like I needed something. Had a great first week back on the bean (yippee, i’m back baby) , week 2 was less great , and now week three I’m feeling stressed/frazzled. Back to the bad old days. Ugh – very disappointed…so much for my dedication. O well, climbing this hill again, starting from the bottom. Glutton for punishment. Will check back in weekly or so to update.

    Reply
  69. Whobody

    Sean,
    Wanted to ask, what brand of Astragulus are you taking? Do you combine with ginseng or other herbs?
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      I take the Solaray brand. The exact one I link to in the article. One in the morning and one in the evening.

      I do not take ginseng, as it makes me buzz and feel on edge. And I am not taking anything else herb wise. I do take magnesium (400mg a day), fish oil, V-D & other basic stuff.

      Reply
  70. Eugene

    Sean,

    Have you tried DLPA? I read on some websites it is supposed to be good for caffeine withdrawal. The users claimed taking this supplement they cab easily stop caffeine with no withdrawal symptoms.

    I have bought a couple of bottles and took a couple of tablets. Because I am not back on the bean full time just decaf coffee so I am not sure if it does anything.

    Reply
  71. Wurst

    Now I’m about 3 months caffeine-free. For several weeks also chocolate free (i.e. I eat only white chocolate).
    It’s clearly better, the energy is more constant, I’m calmer and more focused.

    How strongly I react to caffeine I could experience today.
    I ate some small chocolate bars from a gift I got. (Brown milk chocolate, not dark one.)
    After that, my heart was beating stronger and faster, and I was in a somehow nervous mood! I felt a bit bad for some hours.

    No thanks, caffeine really is not for me.

    Reply
  72. jianming

    I have just quit for 20 days. The feeling of caffeine free is absolutely amazing. Not easily angry, annoyed, road rage and full of energy. My intake was moderate but I can be very edgy even taking 1 cup a day. So no more caffeine. And its agreat article.

    Reply
  73. MR. VEINS

    Sean,

    I quit caffeine a couple months ago.

    There’s no crash, ever.

    I have constant energy – stamina is way up in both the gym and the bedroom.

    One of the best decisions I’ve made this year.

    Your man,
    MR. VEINS

    Reply
  74. Bex

    Well, it’s been quite a while since I last posted and good to see that others are hanging in there and others are giving it a go. :-)

    I have to admit, I found the caffeine withdrawal extreme, even after 4 months. Unfortunately, it was causing problems with my job and I was making some errors; enough to where I received a caution and an incident form was filled out, so I decided to go back on a bit of weak tea to see if I could “wake” myself up a little. I think it helped a wee bit. However, I have never gone back to my strong caffeine intake and am persisting for much of the time with next to no caffeine. Some days the most I have is using one tea bag twice and that is it. The rest is herbal, caffeine-free tea. I believe that the cold turkey withdrawal caused a backlash for me and perhaps my system couldn’t handle the shock. I am not sure, but going back on a small amount has helped a little bit. I am going to see if I can handle having none again at some point soon and see what happens.

    I believe that for those of us who have been using caffeine daily in strong amounts, have been really subjecting the adrenal glands to a fair bit of abuse. Once you quit cold turkey, I believe it can present quite a shock to a system so used to the “fix”, that it’s almost as though the body goes into a sleep state when it is no longer being artificially stimulated day in and day out. This may not simply be withdrawal, but might be a part of the desperate recovery of the adrenals, which is why I think some of us suffer so long term after the initial obvious withdrawal (headaches, etc.) has long since passed.

    I am still experiencing my very deep sleeps and vivid dreams, so the reduction of caffeine is significant enough to still have that positive change continue. However, I have not yet experienced any noticeable upsurge in health or heightened energy during the day. I am hopeful one day that might happen. For now, it’s quite possible that my body is still trying to recover from long-term caffeine abuse.

    I have learned a lot from this experience and never want to go back to my 20+-cup-a-day habit. I just hope my body will recover from it and begin to show promising signs that go further than simply having deep sleeps with vivid dreams!

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      20 cups a day for years is intense. Your system was fully dependent on coffee, so yes I agree cold turkey was probably a huge shock to your system – I would have recommended tapering. And in your bodies time, 4 months is not a long time. It may seem like long to you, but to get over a strong chemical dependancy can take up to a year. Hope everything looks up.

      Reply
      1. Bex

        Hiya, I have been off caffeine for approximately 5-6 months (for the most part), aside from possibly one or two very weak cups of tea a day. I believe I have been finally noticing improvements after a very lengthy and hellish withdrawal (touch wood). I can tell people that it may take up to 6 months or even longer. As you said, Sean, it may take up to a year! That would NOT surprise me.

        I would recommend tapering due to the shock it can have on the system. I did wind up adding back a cup or two of weak tea a day and I “think” it may have taken the edge of it very faintly (as I was so bad, I was messing up in my job), but at the same time, my healing evidently continued. I still enjoy the very deep sleeps and vivid dreams every single night (which NEVER happened when I was on high caffeine). I have been able to (touch wood), come off a long-term parasitic cleanse that I had been on for FOUR YEARS, because of a persistent parasitic infection due to my body obviously being such an utter mess that opportunistic organisms like parasites easily come on board and are not easily eradicated. The cleanse would serve to help me fight the parasite, but never really killed it (or them) off completely, so they would fight back every step of the way. I don’t wish to speak too soon, but this is the first time I’ve been able to come off it and, so far, stay off it……(again, touch wood).

        So, though I am still not the healthiest person (never was), I do believe that I have made progress from ousting caffeine and of course, doing my best to stick to a healthy diet, consuming mostly natural foods without additives/sugar, etc. I encourage people to hang in there, because the ride may be very difficult and very long. You may, like me, have to include a “little” caffeine back in if you find things are unbearable. The small amount should not significantly effect you or sabotage healing, but possibly take the edge off it a little and enable you to cope just a bit easier and continue down the healing path.

        So big thanks for Sean for putting this information out there and encouraging people to give up this drug. I now believe it to be a far more damaging substance than I had ever imagined, and the withdrawal and its extreme symptoms should be enough indication to show you what the stuff has been doing to you and what your body is going through in an attempt to heal.

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Thanks Bex,

          I am trying a program out right now that helps with anxiety, fatigue, and things of that nature. As I remember from our previous conversations I think you have dealt with these issues off and on – as many people who get hit hard with caffeine withdrawal often do.

          I will let you know how it works because it holds a lot of promise.

          Thanks for the update! Glad you are doing better.

          Reply
  75. Wurst

    Well, Bax, I’m not so sure whether in your case (or in the case of some others) it’s really just the coffeine withdrawal which causes the low energy.

    Do you do enough sports???

    Are you enough outside, in the sun???

    Are you sleeping enough hours per day???

    How is your nutrition??? Do you drink enough???

    Are you wanking too much (as you probably know, Sean has pointed that out – that fapping robs energy)???

    Reply
  76. Rob Moore

    I’ve been caffeine free for about 5 1/2 months and for the most part my energy is good. It was hell in the beginning. I went to every type of doctor and everything was fine. I still every now and then have sensations in my head like ants crawling and feels like my head is full like when you study for a test for about 5 hours. I been reading up on this product called go-yin (Genesis Pure) by Dr Lindsey Duncan which after research I got some and am hooked on it for life. It helps balance the body’s ph levels (Acidic to Alkaline) and mood.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Thanks Rob, i just spoke to someone who is going through a hard time right now and its good to see comments like this to encourage people that it does get better.

      I have never heard of the product – I looked at the ingredients, all great stuff. Thanks for the recco.

      Reply
      1. Rob Moore

        Thanks Sean. I know you are going gluten free and want to give you some info on Genesis Pure. Their products are all natural sugar free and gluten free. Their superfruits are great and this month they are releasing 8 gluten free live pure food kits.

        Reply
    2. Adam

      Hey Man,

      Overall , how do you feel being caffeine free. Do you notice a big difference in energy and mental clarity? are more or less depressed ?

      Reply
      1. Rob

        Hey Adam

        First off, for me my caffeine was pre-workout not coffee so I was taking one scoop then over time went to two scoops then three scoops. It added up to like 900 mg of caffeine and drinking that 30 minutes before I workout. I did this for 5-6 years and all of a sudden one day last November chest started to tighten up and left side of my body was numb so my wife called 911 and they came out and did ekg which was fine. ER doc said it was a panic attack. Never had one before. I felt better after about 15 minutes. So months went by and didn’t realize it was the caffeine and it happened again this year in Feburary. Still didn’t realize it was caffeine so it started happening almost everyday then finally after about a week I realized it was the pre-workout stuff and I stopped instantly. I felt bad for almost 2 months of being like a zombie and wanted to just sleep. The third month was better but still feeling dull for the whole month and these last two months got better and now my energy is overall good all day. Seems like I have more energy at night time. Sometimes in the middle of the day I have this head fullness like when you study for 5 hours and your head feels full. Seems like each week and month it gets better. Hang in there and it will get better for everyone.

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Great input Rob. Seriously hearing stories like this about recovery helps people so much.

          And it’s crazy how you can still withdraw from something that was having such a harsh effect on you. But you do!

          Thanks again man.

          Reply
          1. Sean Russell Post author

            I find that now I can get a stable level of euphoria, this is obviously through other means such as meditation and things like this but in short yes.

            I am also definitely more sociable, but that is because I am actively working on that.

          2. Adam

            Ok I see. How long have you been caffeine free now?
            have you noticed any difference when it comes to libido?

        2. Adam

          Hey Rob,

          Thanks for the feedback. Wow…you were taking some large caffeine doses.
          Glad to hear you’re feeling better.

          I usually go back and forth to one cup a day . I find that coffee will make me less depressed the first few hours, and then I’m more unsure of myself, more confused. When I don’t have caffeine for a month , I have more stable energy however, I will feel more depressed at times….but that can just be certain issues in my life .

          Caffeine is like any other drug. If you use cocaine, you will feel amazing for the first 30 minutes-to an hour ….and then you feel depleted.

          I haven’t been caffeine free for 2-3 months in many years, I’ll give it a try.
          I’ll probably just have dark chocolate on occasions .

          I kind of use caffeine when I feel depressed and down.

          Reply
  77. Joe

    Hi, three months ago I did detox from caffeine abuse (Caffeine pills, energy drinks, coke, chocolate milk and regular chocolate), when I started to get issues like a rapid heart beat, insomnia and unrest. I quitted cold turkey because I rather want something to be over as quick as possible. I experienced some effects including Insomnia, anxiety and depression, that lasted for a good week. After the 9 day mark I moderately started to drink Coke again, before falling into my old habit again when I felt better with the energy drinks etc, just without the pills. A few weeks later I had the same issues again and was forced to do another withdrawal. After that was through, I kicked the Coke and energy drinks for good, just sticking to a occasional chocolate milk and a chocolate bar a day. Two weeks ago I had a gastric flu and left out the chocolate and chocolate milk. I also had the effects of detoxing caffeine at the start, which was confusing to me but I thought it was more due to the flu. Last weekend when I felt good again, I drank a cup of chocolate milk after a 14 day break on Friday and Saturday. When I didn’t take any caffeine on Sunday, I’m dealing with Insomnia, a rapid heart beat and mild anxiety again.

    So my question is: am I really going through another withdrawal after such low doses as 5-10 mg a day? Is that even possible despite taking 9-14 day breaks? Or to notice effects of such a low dose? My GP said it’s impossible to have any traces of caffeine left in the body after 14 days or to suddenly get that sensitive or allergic to caffeine. Could it be that I’m that sensitive or allergic to caffeine now after my caffeine abuse that lasted for 1,5 years? I’m a man in my late 20s. Anyhow I’ll try to go to a physician this week for a complete check. I’m really sick of these upcoming cycles when I start to feel better, should I rather kick any caffeine for the next months/for good?

    Thanks. I’m glad I found this site.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      If you ask anyone on here, they will tell you the same thing. GP’s mean well but they have no clue about the true effects of caffeine. It’s not really their fault because there is not much on the subject, but they are robotic in their responses that there can be absolutely no effect from caffeine after being off it 2 weeks. It can be frustrating so don’t rely on them.

      Caffeine is a drug, so why would it be different than any other drug. Cocaine for instance. Obviously more powerful, but similar. If you had the exact same experience with cocaine and quit for a few weeks but then did a small amount and quit again, you would feel the withdrawals again. You have subjected your brain to chemicals for years, it takes time to revert back. Definitely more than 2 weeks.

      It sounds to me like you do not react well to caffeine. I believe it is definitely possible to feel that way after a small use after only 2 weeks. So my suggestion would be to stop, feel good as you were and never start again.

      I am not a doctor so these are my opinions.

      Reply
      1. Adam

        Hey Sean,

        how old are you again?

        I read somewhere that one drink of alcohol can effect the brains of people with anxiety disorders, depression etc for up to 3 months. I wonder if caffeine has that same effect.

        I once read a study that showed the benefits of caffeine for people with ocd. I always thought caffeine exacerbated my anxiety symptoms.

        Reply
          1. Adam

            Do you still abstain from Chocolate? For me alcohol once a month is okay. Caffeine effects me for longer, making my anxiety worse.

          2. Sean Russell Post author

            I used to abstain from chocolate. I think it was more a mental thing, if I had some I would overthink it and bring about symptoms. I think this is the problem with a lot of people who have trouble going off caffeine. They tend to be deep thinkers and care more than others. But I had chocolate a few times last week with no issues. I still don’t run to it though.

          1. Adam

            Hey Man,

            I understand, good Job on you for staying away from coffee, especially if you enjoy the taste, that takes will power . I think I also have a overactive nervous system , Even though I have hypothyroidism , I wonder if you can have both ? I take synthroid for my hypothyroidism .

          2. Adam

            Hey Sean,

            Dark Chocolate… to eat or not to eat. You realize that real chocolate without sugar is bitter and tasteless and no one would really like it . It’s not something are ancestors wouldn’t eat.

            Theobromine is way more mild than caffeine, but it is still a stimulant that should be used with caution for individuals that are sensitive towards stimulants.

  78. Jack

    Thanks Sean for putting info out because I was going insane after I quite caffeine…..I was taking 600 mg until I was very tired and felt worse and it did not work anymore…I am still withdrawing after 2 months of hell until I began to see many symptoms went way but still have flu blocked nose and slight sore throat and bad cough along with brain fog and fatigue and very strange dreams everyday.

    I had to add some green tea on and off so my body can cope and it seems its helping while my body gets rid of the caffeine….I will report if I feel better later.

    Thanks Sean for putting info about this addictive drug :)

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Thanks Jack.

      It is amazing how many people I have emailing me and commenting with similar experiences, yet doctors will still tell you that you’re crazy.

      Reply
      1. Jack

        Hey Sean :)

        I agree…I did not go to the doc because I found your article first and I read everything and everything you wrote I was in the same exact thing I am in now so I relaxed because seriously I thought I was dying when all that happened lol….Seems the withdrawal will last for 2 months more for me….I feel my stress is getting better every 3 weeks to 4 weeks is when I see symptoms some of them go away the less the stress in my head the better I get and it seems I am near recovery as I have only some symptoms like fatigue,brain fog,Flu and muscle aches……As you mentioned on your third month when your stress free is when your near recovery.

        I will report if I get better those few weeks ahead….Thanks again Sean :)

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Thats good man.

          I think key is not focusing on the symptoms because this becomes a problem in itself. A lot of people effected by caffeine and withdrawals are people who are susceptible to anxiety. Then after a month f feeling shitty, withdrawal turns into anxiety and an overactive amygdala/nervous system. This can make symptoms last for months, similar to CFS.

          Sounds like you have your shit together though.

          Reply
          1. Jack

            Hey sean :)

            Yes I agree….I always had anxiety problems and caffeine made it worse and it gets overactive if I think about anything negatively I try to interrupt it with a positive thought….However now my stress is much lower than past weeks but anxiety and dullness and fatigue are still there….Hope my recovery speeds up….I now drink lots of water to speed up the recovery and I hope I will improve.

          2. Sean Russell Post author

            Yeah,

            That dullness and fatigue can often cause anxiety in itself. And harboring/worrying about this dullness/fatigue creates symptoms in the body of dullness and fatigue, which then results in more anxiety!

            It is a vicious cycle,

            But patients of chronic fatigue syndrome have this same cycle going on with their amygdala at a much more serious rate and they can beat it.

            The only way it to cut off the thought that goes from the subconscious (amygdala) to the conscious mind. There is no doubt you have symptoms that are nt just in your head, but when you worry about them you are telling your mind there is something wrong and to stimulate the nervous system. This is not what you want to do to an already stimulated nervous system.

            When you find negative thoughts pop up or you are focusing on how you feel say, “Stop stop stop!” Look up take a deep breath a smile. Then congratulate yourself and distract yourself into what you were doing. (this is a small NLP pattern breaking technique I learned from a anxiety program that works. It is more in depth but I will making a full post on beating anxiety in the next 3 months. I will ad your email to the list to be notified.)

            You are breaking that thought, and eventually it won’t come anymore. Even if you have to break it 100 times a day at first.

            Any excessive worrying/negative thought that someone without any anxiety would have needs to be broken. Your body and mind will heal, stay positive.

          3. Jack

            Yes the anxiety is tough to deal with this withdrawal I am in but it seems my sleep got better and I wake up much easier than last weeks but still not motivated and kinda tired but not very tired like before and the stress is still there….Seems I developed low back pain also but I could say as you said it take up to 6 months to feel better…..Defiantly when I recover back to normal would love to see your new post about dealing with anxiety as I had this issue from young age…..Looking forward for your post :)……Seems some people are sensitive to caffeine and that for us takes months to feel better….I would say never give up and keep up the fight and it will get better…it may take time for some but being drug free is the way to live life :)

          4. Sean Russell Post author

            Yes that anxiety post is coming but it is taking quite a while to eve get started. I am so busy but eventually it will happen.

          5. Jack

            Hey Sean :)

            I read about a post here that food fast speeds up the recovery…Should I drink liquids only for few days or a week and see if it speeds up my recovery….what do you think sean??

            I heard its intense but I want to try it and see if it speeds up my recovery

          6. Sean Russell Post author

            I haven’t tried it so I have no input, but if you try it definitely let everyone know how it went! A week long juice fast is known to help people by removing loads of toxins, so I see the science behind it.

          7. Jack

            Hey Sean :)

            Seems that from experience that caffeine is more addictive than nicotine….I never smoked nor even did drugs but it seems caffeine is more addictive that I thought…..Seems big companies hide the fact that caffeine is just as the same or even worse than nicotine when it comes to addiction…I never thought caffeine would be like that in its length or its brutal withdrawal.

            Anyway to update my recovery…..I still feel foggy and still have sore throat but I wake up more easier but not very tired nor full of energy just dull….Hope things improve for me and everyone here :)

          8. Sean Russell Post author

            Hey Jack,

            Yeah man. It is a drug, simply put. Some are more effected than others and become dependent, mentally and chemically.

            You’re getting better! Just stay the course. Caffeine free for life from now on, you’ll look back on this and laugh.

          9. Jack

            Hey Sean :)

            Yea I was shocked that I found out that its a drug lol….I am bodybuilder and I used pre-workouts for like 7 years around 300 mg and 600 mg everyday…..The brutal withdrawal made me leave the gym due to anxiety and stress and fatigue…..I found something that seems to be better than Xanax for my sleep problems called Melatonin…I use low dose on Xanax around 1.50mg and thinking of tapering it till I reach a low dose then getting rid of it to replace it with Melatonin….What is your opinion on Melatonin???

            You think I should go back to the gym and start my high protein and low carb diet or wait till I fully recover???

          10. Sean Russell Post author

            Dude be careful with the Xanax. The longer you’re on it, the harder it is to come off of that. And if you think caffeine withdrawals are bad, forget it. Benzo withdrawals are another animal. I would start tapering now, slowly until you are off it. Then yeah melatonin is good, it’s the sleep hormone.

            You can get more melatonin naturally by getting more sun during the day and then eliminating bright light at night.

            During the day your body produces serotonin from the sun and it turns to melatonin at night when the sun goes down which makes you sleepy, but if you are getting bright lights all night until 12 AM, your body thinks its the sun, and that doesn’t happen as well and sleep is more difficult. They actually make glasses that block blue lights to wear at night.

            Who put you on Xanax?

          11. Jack

            Hey Sean :)

            I was prescribed Xanax for my sleep problems that before the caffeine withdrawal began….I would say 2 months before caffeine withdrawal started….I tried many stuff nothing worked only thing worked was Xanax and I used to leave it for days and did not have any withdrawals from it so maybe because I kept it at low dose or my body isn’t sensitive to it like caffeine was with me….I found this natural sleeping hormone and it works better but on lower doses or I wake up feeling it effects in the morning…I am tapering Xanax from 1.50mg to 1.25 mg till I reach 0.25 I do not want to take the risk as I did with caffeine just to be safe…Tried L-Theanine and did not do anything for me however I found this natural hormone and it does knock me out after 30 mins so I am going get rid of Xanax and thankfully I was not on high dose on it and I heard its addictive yes but I tried many things before and nothing worked and after the caffeine withdrawal began it amplified everything….I wish I would found this natural hormone before taking Xanax.

          12. Sean Russell Post author

            I want to meet the guy who prescribed you Xanax for sleep problems and literally punch him in the face. These guys don’t know what their handing out to people, they are brilliant at times, but senseless robots that are controlled by the pharmaceutical companies at others. You’re one of the lucky ones since it’s only been a few months. I have read so many stories of people being on xanax for years, and having to continually up their doses by their doctors recommendation, until 2-3 years later when they HAVE to come off it their dosage is so high and their lives are literally hell for years. Scary. So thankfully you become aware early on, taper and say goodbye to xanax.

            for help sleeping, Dave Asprey from bulletproofexec.com has some of the best articles on how to improve your sleep with supplements and stuff.

            I’m also working with a company called 88herbs they have a natural sleep product to check out if nothing else worked. It has melatonin in it, but if your melatonin is working now just stay on that.

          13. Jack

            Hey Sean :)

            The sleep hormone seems it doesn’t work for me anymore….Used to work fine from days ago and it also does make me feel groggy and dizzy and foggy the next day so I gave it to my mom and it seems its working for her with no side effects next morning….I heard about valerian root and I will give it a try….Docs seems to be programmed from what I noticed so I am not shocked they gave me Xanax LOOL..I will check the site links and see what I can find….Thanks again Sean :)

  79. Wurst

    Joe’s story must be taken with caution.

    It’s rash, to say the least, to say that his symptoms stem from the caffeine withdrawal.

    “Energy drinks”, coke, chocolate have other important substances in it, especially SUGAR.

    I stopped drinking coke already 22 years ago because I realized that caffeine+sugar made my feel much worse than caffeine only. Coffee in moderate doses was fine for me.

    It could be that Joe’s brain / nervous system has developed a dependency on sugar as well as caffeine, and it could be that the really bad withdrawal symptoms he experiences are not related to the caffeine.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Yeah,

      Sugar is another bad one. It’s hard to say if any one here is suffering solely from caffeine withdrawal. A lot of them I suspect are dealing with overactive nervous systems as a result of long caffeine stimulation and yeah sugar is another on that can do that.

      Reply
  80. Rob

    Its been 6 1/2 months caffeine free and the last 5 days seems like the fatigue and head pressure is like when I was on my 1st month. It is better right now. I guess it is going to take longer. Even after 6 1/2 months I have some good days and some bad days. But it is all manageable. I feel it especially after doing some outside out around the house.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Yeah everyone is different, it is crazy how long somethings can take to be 100%. Plus healing is not linear, so you may feel better for a month and then have slight symptoms for a few days.

      Reply
  81. Wurst

    Frankly, I think one should not over-interpret things!

    With 99% probability, after such a long time, these are not “symptoms” related to caffeine withdrawal – it’s simply the NORMAL up & down everyone has!

    You didn’t sleep enough? You ate something not-so-healthy? You experienced something difficult (controversy with work colleagues; issues with your partner; financial issues…)? Of course then it can happen that you have low energy, that you feel a bit confused or something like that!

    Only difference is that now, as opposed to when you still drank coffee, you don’t have the quick caffeine fix to “mask” your true condition!

    View that as something good! Because when you really feel what certain things cause in your body and mind (instead of covering it up by using drugs), you are more inclined to alter your behavior or lifestyle so that you’ll feel bad less often!

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      I think key is not focusing on the symptoms because this becomes a problem in itself. A lot of people effected by caffeine and withdrawals are people who are susceptible to anxiety. Then after a month of feeling shitty, withdrawal may go away but symptoms turn into anxiety and an overactive amygdala/nervous system. This can make symptoms last for months, similar to CFS. People constantly monitoring how they feel. You have to interrupt these patterns.

      Reply
  82. Natalia Robba

    Awesome article. Thanks Sean for taking the time to write it up. It’s the most in depth and familiar experience to my own I have found yet.

    I’m so glad I found your article, you have no idea. Maybe this sounds a little silly but as I was reading all of your readers comments I found myself tearing. Not because what they were saying was sad (although some of the mental effects certainly are) but because they are exactly like what I am going through, and for nearly 3 weeks now I have started becoming increasingly sure I was spiraling into a depression I would never get out of.

    I have been drinking caffeine for the last 10 years or so, every single day. Probably around 150-200mg a day. The thing is, I stopped drinking caffeine because I recently had a health scare, and I believe it was contributing to my anxiety. However, it was nothing like it is now that I’ve cut caffeine cold turkey. My anxiety comes and goes but when its with me its terrible, it’s like I’m living in a black hole of despair and hopelessness, and I become convinced that this is my life now, and there is no going back to how I felt mentally before. The scary part is, I’ve never had depression, so of course when I started experiencing these symptoms I would read online (not always a good thing am I right?) and my symptoms seemed to fit. That scared the s**t out of me. I have everything, I love my partner, I have a great house, in a great city, love my family, I’m fit and I workout 3-4 times a week, and I started to realise that this is exactly what people felt like when they were depressed, and people told them…what do you have to be depressed about? Brain chemistry is a messed up thing when it’s off. I told myself, if this is how I feel now what does the rest of my life have in store for me when things are so good now? These are the thoughts that would plague me. A lack of hope and a numbness with tinges of fear creeping in, coming and going. I have good days, but they generally only stay with me a day or two at a time before the depression comes back.

    The good news is I am getting better at coping with it, I tell myself repeatedly that it will pass, that its the withdrawal, its got to be. Heck it started the day after I cut it out. Even though you feel like there is no hope or joy in life, tomorrow you may feel totally different, and some days that’s exactly what happens.

    Your readers comments have been so encouraging Sean, I thank you so much for taking the time. I will ride this out and remind myself it could all still be the withdrawal. There are glimmers of hope…today is a better day. It tends to get worse between 7-10pm…no idea why, then it subsides.

    It’s been just over 4 weeks for me now, so when I read all these websites giving all these ridiculously short recovery times I was dismayed. If anything the depression was at its worst week 1-2 and it still lingers with me now.

    Best of luck to everyone and hang in there. I am hopeful this will all be a bad dream for me one day.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Natalia,

      I am sorry to hear that you are in this mess but I am glad you found this article!

      Going off a drug like caffeine after 10 years is a huge shock to your neurotransmitters and your nervous system. I am glad that you can see that these harsh effects are from that, because I know how easy it is to convince yourself that something bigger is going on.

      A couple things that will definitely help you:

      1) Understanding that is *most likely* (mandatory disclaimer) is caffeine withdrawal and that it takes a long time to heal 100%. I deal with people on a daily basis emailing me with stories just like yours. They all improve.

      2) Don’t get discouraged if a doctor tell you it is impossible to still be caffeine withdrawal. They still think cholesterol is bad for us, they are some of the dumbest smart people alive, and are almost robotic to the sense that if they didn’t learn it in medical school it cannot exist. Stay away from any anti-depressants/anxiety meds right now as this is *most likely* not the issue.

      3) Time and positivity is the best cure. Sounds like you have that in your corner. Keeping your mind off the symptoms is key as well. Stay busy!

      I wish you a swift recovery and I am sure that you will have just that. Take it week by week.

      Feel free to come back and ask anything you want.

      Cheers,

      Reply
      1. Natalia Robba

        Thanks for getting back to me Sean! =) Yea, I gotta keep reminding myself that’s the most likely cause. I’ve had mild anxiety in the past but this is something else, this is depression and I know it’s caused by the cold turkey.

        I will keep on trucking. It’s encouraging to see that the good days are few initially (as you and others have mentioned) but will become increasingly more common. At that stage it would be easy. I can handle a few bad days, its just in the beginning theres way more bad than good and it beats you down you know?

        Still :) Will keep positive. I’ll keep you updated on my progress in a weeks time. Maybe I should cut out the decaff too! Might speed things up? I probably have 1 Nespresso Decaff capsule a day (claims to have 0.4mg caffeine wonder if its true)

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          For me, I like to psychologically stay away from all caffeine for a while. There definitely is trace amounts of caffeine in decaf. And while I wouldn’t worry about it, for some they can start to overthink it.

          Reply
    2. Adam

      Hi Natalie,

      Sean is exactly right. You’ve been drinking caffeine for the past 10 years, it’s going to take longer than 4 weeks to feel back to normal. When I quit caffeine I’m usually depressed for the first 3-4 weeks, then I get better. I started coffee again a month ago and have been free for 2-3 weeks again, back on the path to feeling better.

      Caffeine alters Dopamine, serotonin, cortisol, and few other neurochemicals. It takes time for these neurotransmitters to rebalance back to normal.

      All the best, Adam

      Reply
      1. Natalia Robba

        Hi Adam thanks for your reply! :) At first I totally dismissed the idea it could be the caffeine withdrawal as the mental effects were so acute! I believe its one of those things that can vary enormously from person to person depending on their propensity to feel anxiety in the first place. For me I know I was reaching a stage where I wasn’t able to handle the caffeine anymore, and coming off it has been hell. Having a really good 4 days so far after my last post, so things looking up :)

        Reply
  83. Wurst

    Hello Natalia,

    you wrote:
    “I have everything, I love my partner, I have a great house, in a great city, love my family, I’m fit and I workout 3-4 times a week.”

    Perhaps exactly this is your problem?
    Perhaps you feel your life has become boring, you feel “boxed in”?
    Perhaps you would like to make more out of your life, do other things – but you want to keep your well-earning partner and the house etc.?
    And thus the anxiousness?

    It’s very doubtful that such bouts of anxiousness come from caffeine withdrawal. Some people here with psychological issues should be very careful – don’t attribute things to caffeine when in reality you just want to have an excuse to not tackle certain issues in your life! It’s easy to say: “Ah, brain chemistry”…

    Reply
    1. Adam

      Hey Wurst,

      It can be chemicals in the brain adjusting or in can be a persons lifestyle that is effecting them. But at the end of the day only the individual truly knows what they want or what’s effecting them. Sometimes it can be many things.
      Human psychology is very tricky, life is very tricky .

      Reply
    2. Natalia Robba

      HI Wurst,
      Thanks for taking the time to reply. While I can understand what you’re getting at, it would seem a little strange that a person that seemingly has everything good going for them to spiral into a very strange bout of anxiety/depression.

      I’m not saying from time to time we don’t all get a little down because we get into a boring rut, or need a need challenge project etc, as humans I think we always should have targets and challenges to keep us ‘happy’. But what was happening to me felt like a different thing entirely. From one day to the next literally my life fell apart, I had very dark thoughts, a strong fear of life in general, not wanting to think and wishing I could sleep to stop thinking. I felt like I was basically living in fear, and I can only compare these symptoms and feelings to those of a clinically depressed person. Considering my life situation I would think it would have to be at least some sort of chemical imbalance to bring on such a negative change don’t you think?

      On a positive note everyone, I have had 4 really normal days, which I was not expecting. I was starting to reach the stage where I feared I’d never see any ‘light’ at the end of the tunnel, and then one morning last week (after my last post) I just woke up and felt and thought more importantly…totally normal and happy.

      I guess I could expect a little bit of a rollercoaster but…at least this has been a nice break from the hell I’ve been experiencing in my own mind.

      I don’t think its fair to say these effects cant be caused by caffeine withdrawal after long term use. They very well could be right?

      Reply
  84. ECO

    I have been on and off caffeine the past few years. The longest I have gone is 3 months. Reason why I have stopped is because of anxiety and feeling sluggish after consuming too much caffeine. Mood swings and not stable energy levels.
    I am now on day 4 of no caffeine.

    My withdrawal symtoms are
    -lack of motivation
    -headache
    -irregular sleep
    -Pain/aching in my bones! weird thing I always get when I try to quit caffeine.
    Its aching in my bones in my legs
    -fly like symtoms, like running nose

    Now its day 4 and many of these are alredy better. Not sure what to expect in the coming weeks.

    Reply
      1. Adam

        Hey Sean,

        There must be a different study on caffeine every month. Lately all I’ve been reading, is how Caffeine can boost your long term memory, can stave off certain diseases, and how caffeine itself is a antioxidant.

        What’s your take on all pro-caffeine/coffee studies?
        Did you find your memory improved after giving up caffeine/coffee?

        I general find myself to have a better memory and be more creative when I’m free of caffeine.

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Yeah, I am not going to deny the health benefits of caffeine, but clearly it is not for everyone. I haven’t seen those studies and yes my memory has definitely gotten sharper.

          Reply
          1. Adam

            Hey Sean,

            One thing I notice about Coffee/caffeine, if I don’t have it for two months at then start again, the first 2-3 weeks where I’m having a cup a day are great. They’re mostly High energy days with the crash coming very late in the day .sometimes I wouldn’t feel the crash at all or as much. I would generally get an anxiety Euphoric feeling while being less depressed. Then after that 3-4 week period the caffeine has less of an impact and you I’ll start feeling worse, probably wanting a second cup a day to get the desired effects.

            I feel more down when I don’t have coffee.

  85. Wurst

    That is right, but I only suggest to be very cautious.

    Many people’s tendency is, if there are different possible explanations of what could cause a condition, to believe the explanation which saves them from altering their lifestyle or making drastic life choices.

    Of course I don’t know whether this is the case here also.

    Reply
    1. Natalia Robba

      I see your point Wurst. I made a big life change 2 years back and I do consider myself happy at where I am in life, which made this sudden negative mental change very strange. I totally agree, I think sometimes we try to rationalise it in such a way that we can ignore the real true root of our problems and carry on in denial.

      Reply
    2. Adam

      Hey Wurst,

      Overall my energy will be more stable without caffeine. In general they’re changes in my life that I can make for the better, I don’t use caffeine to mask those aspects. What I generally mean…. Is when it’s a boring cloudy day when you’re not in the mood to cut the grass or clean etc, then you have coffee and cutting the crash is more enjoyable…why? because it’s a drug that makes you feel excited for nothing lol .

      Reply
  86. Simon Peter

    I found a great way to get off caffeine without the major withdrawals as talked about here on the site. This works I have done it several times – I am the guy who drinks for coffee for about a year and then quits for a couple months at a time. This is how I do it. Warning this is not for everyone.
    Day 1 – Go on food fast drinking coffee or tea through day.
    Day 2 – Continue on the food fast – drink tea only.
    Day 3 – Continue on the food fast – cut out all caffeine.
    Day 4 – Break fast and begin working out every morning – at least do some jogging or biking.
    Day 5 and onwards – continue with exercise.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      That is an interesting protocol Simon,

      Thank you for sharing. I have heard many people report that a fast after quitting caffeine has helped them recover faster. It is intense, but if it works for you then thats awesome.

      Reply
  87. ECO

    Now its 5 or 6 days with no caffeine at all. I also decided to stop watching porn at the same time.

    Some postitive benefits I have experienced so far

    – no crash during the day
    -stable energy levels
    -vivid dreaming
    -no headache
    -less anxiety when talking face to face with people. I tend to be nervous when speaking to other people. But now the past days that has been totally ok.

    no sure if this is because of placebo or real effects ;)

    Studies shows some positive effects of caffeine, but also many shows negative effects of caffeine. Especially on people with anciety/panic attacks. So better safe than sorry I say. And also people talk about the antioxdant effects of coffee and tea. Then I say try Rooibos tea, without any caffeine and lots of antioxidants. My favourite is honeybush.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Thats great ECO,

      There definitely will be positive effects – especially from quitting porn which does act as an addictive drug in many men.

      I thinkt hat is where you are seeing the social benefits. Many report this.

      Also, yes I am not arguing the fact that caffeine does have some prove health benefits. But you are spot on when you say it can be negative on people with anxiety/panic attacks. And the average person takes way to much in this day.

      I’ll check out that tea, I am a fan of herbal tea. Thanks

      Reply
    2. Adam

      Hey ECO,

      Good to hear you’re feeling better.

      I think the antioxidants from Coffee are mainly beneficial in the American diet, considering many Americans are lacking many Nutrients from their unhealthy diet . I read somewhere that people absorbed the antioxidants from Dates better than they did from coffee.

      I’ve tried Rooibos tea, it’s good stuff.

      Reply
  88. NicePants

    Hi guys. I’ve been reading all of your comments over the past couple of days and I am grateful for the perspective you provide that seems to be absent when speaking with doctors and pretty much the general public. Most feel that caffeine withdrawal is trivial and short, of course, but we all know it can be more brutal and longer than that.

    I’m on day 2 of quitting. Day 1 wasn’t too bad, although I slept 14 hours. Last night I slept 12 hours. Today I ran into headaches and pretty bad depression. I don’t usually have depression like this, so I reached for a green tea. It shaved some of the edge off.

    I am unsure of course how much of this could be a result of genetics, because my whole family deals with depression. I think some of it is genetics and some of it is caffeine withdrawal.

    All I can say is that I don’t know how anyone can function like this. I’m lucky to have time off from work, but this feeling is horrible and I don’t think I could function like this. I expect I won’t be able to for another 1-2 weeks.

    I’m interested in knowing how you’re all doing. Bex, Eugene, etc. I suppose if I don’t hear from you that could be a good sign, however I’d like to hear from you if you check back here at all. How did it go after?

    Thanks as well to Sean for writing this article. I, like a few of you have noted, have found it a more accurate portrayal of caffeine withdrawal (as I’ve tried to once before and only got as far as a week) than is present on the majority of other websites on the internet.

    Reply
    1. Eugene

      NicePants,

      I am still an active reader of this forum and always looking forward to new comments.

      I am no longer caffeine free. I started drinking instant decaf coffee in late June, early July. Now I am on half decaf and I always keep it to one serving per day. Well at most two servings. This is still much less than what I used to consume.

      I was more than three months caffeine free except for a few slip ups. I was feeling horrible. First the depression and then the anxiety. I felt shaky almost every day. I was wondering if it was really caffeine withdrawal or I was just having a mental issue. I am very grateful for this site. I checked on it every day to read about other people’s experiences.

      I was getting a lot better after three months. I decided to go back because I missed the taste. I am aware of the shaky feelings and racy thoughts if I have too much. I hope I will quit for good after I finish my stocks of coffee and tea.

      In general reducing or quitting caffeine definitely helps with anxiety or worrying. It does for me anyway. However it gets really bad before it gets better. I think tapering might be a good way to reduce this bad experience. Having said that, my consumption tended to creep up after a short disciplined period of tapering. There would always be good reasons to have a bit more. I would think “well… since I messed up, lets start over”.

      Be prepared, cutting out or down on caffeine reduces your anxiety but also reduces your mental capacity. Decaf can still be addictive.

      Just sharing my thoughts and hope it helps others.

      Reply
  89. NicePants

    I’d like to also pose a question which has been a serious issue for me.

    Currently I am at the end of a long string of education, this last program I’m working on requires a lot of presentations (and the career potentially would require some too). I have a lot of anxiety in public, I think it’s fair to say I have generalized social anxiety. I go out in public because I have to, but I never really feel content and I always feel on guard, looking around at everyone trying to read their thoughts, etc.

    Has anyone else dealt with this? I’m hoping cutting out coffee will take this away as I’ve been reliant on it for 10 years. I’m interested to know if anyone has found that social anxiety has diminished or gone away as a result of caffeine withdrawal.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey NicePants,

      Social anxiety is a tough thing to deal with, but it can be dealt with. I do not think that quitting caffeine will suddenly cure your social anxiety, it may help in the moment that you are not revved up and fueling yur anxiety more, but the underlying anxiety has to be dealt with. I have had an anxiety disorder that plauged me for years, not particularly social, but general anxiety. There is a lot of science behind it, but I cured myself through breaking negative thought patterns, essentially the loop that causes all anxiety. I will write about it soon, after I finish a program I have been working with. It is too in depth to go into in a comment. But I will write down your email and send you a link to the article when I create it.

      Cheers

      Reply
  90. NicePants

    Hi Sean,

    That’s great, please use the email listed under this comment.

    I find the anxiety to be definitely exacerbated by coffee. Sometimes I feel like I’m having a panic attack although I don’t think it ever gets too serious. I believe that the caffeine causes my mind to “race” which leads to constant self-monitoring while trying to take in everything happening around me. It seems like a very physical thing, with impaired cognition being a casualty of it. Although that’s just how I feel about it and IANAD.

    All that said, I’m an independent adult and I function fine. I’ve also had jobs that require dealing with the public without too much issue. Although it seems like over the years anxiety has gotten worse alongside consistent coffee consumption (average of 2 cups a day).

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      The coffee will definitely make any anxiety disorder worse. And the impaired cognitive function is dude to the fact that your brain can only focus on 128 bits of information while it is being bombarded with 128 billion bits of sensory information at anytime. When you have anxiety your entire CPU per say is taken up on that anxiety, even if its on a subconscious level, making it almost hard to focus or concentrate at all.

      Reply
  91. ECO

    Sean,
    you mentioned niacin (vit b3) as effective for you to reduce anxiety. I have ordered and recieved a bottle of 500mg pills. But now I do some research online and it seems like they say doses like 500mg can potentially be dangourous. I am abit worried, but can I really trust what it says online?
    I have no other medical conditions.
    What would you reccomend as a safe dosage?

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey ECO,

      I no longer use Niacin, although people have said online that it does work for anxiety, IF your issue is a vitamin B3 deficiency. Niacin can be hard on the liver in some if you have an existing condition. But for most it is fine.

      Have you used the niacin yet? You may have a crazy flushing reaction (you likely will). Don’t freak out haha. It goes away after half an hour but can really burn.

      But I no longer use it because I have found a program that has alleviated my anxiety, and relying on supplements does not fix the root cause. Niacin has worked for some, but these people may have been severely deficient in B3. Most people are not. Whether you take it is up to you, I cannot say what it will do for you. I have read people taking much more than 500mg. I wouldn’t do that but I would worry to much about it. I would break the pills in half if you could. 500mg is a lot.

      But I will be writing about the program I used shortly to alleviate my anxiety and fatigue. I will add you to the email list to inform about it. whether you take Niacin or not is your call, don;t be surprised if you absolutely hate the flushing effect.

      Reply
      1. ECO

        Thanks for you answer. I took half the pill 250mg. I got a very strong flushing. Like being sunburned. Luckily I didnt freak out :)
        I have ben struggling with social anxiety for years. Very interested in hearing how you have overcome it. Thanks!

        Reply
  92. ECO

    And also should I take this supplement daily or just when I know I will be in a stressful situation?

    Reply
  93. ECO

    what about high quality white tea? I have read it has much lower caffeine levels than green tea and coffee. I really like the relaxed but yet focused feeling I get from drinking it. L-theanine is used for relaxation right? And white tea contains l-theanine? But I know my problem is that I start with white tea, then I want more buzz and it escalates into green tea, black tea and alot of coffee.
    But if I could control my habits, whould white tea be a good choice?

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Don’t know much about white tea ECO, but it sounds a lot better than coffee. Green tea and other teas typically are. But wether you can control yourself is up to you. Like I said, caffeine in itself is not some hellish thing that you hold avoid at all costs, it is natural. But when it becomes a beast of an addiction like most coffee drinkers is when problems arise. If you can tolerate caffeine, white tea sounds nice.

      Reply
  94. Brian

    Andy,

    I have been caffeine free for 2 months now. I am experiencing the same “dizzy spells” that you spoke about.It’s like this stuff will never end. I wanted to know how you are doing now?

    Reply
  95. NicePants

    Hey

    So I was unsuccessful in my attempts to quit coffee. Before trying to quit I was drinking 2 a day, 3 max. Now I’m drinking 1 a day 2 max. But it looks like I’m going towards 2 a day again.

    These aren’t huge numbers but they are consistent dosages, and without them I feel like I need caffeine to kill the withdrawal effects.

    The withdrawal is especially bad in the morning, and I want to keep sleeping forever. Has anyone else noticed this?

    Anyway, I managed to cut the drug out for 2 days, but I finally gave in to a little buzz one day with decaf, and eventually I crept up to 1 coffee a day and so on.

    However, on the first week that I quit caffeine I did some exercising during the days as well. At the end of the week, right when I stepped up my caffeine intake, I found that I was extremely lucid with very little anxiety and all the problems I had on caffeine like memory issues, fogginess of thought, fatigue, etc., were all gone. I was incredibly comfortable and I was carrying on conversations very intelligently.

    I’m not sure if that was just random or a result of having cut down in coffee during the first week.

    My question to you guys is, how do you deal with the wanting to sleep forever in the morning? How do you deal with the horrible symptoms of depression and anxiety, etc., in the morning and throughout the day? Is it worse for you in the morning?

    If the moment of clarity during the first week was a result of cutting down on caffeine, I absolutely MUST be successful in quitting, as I had gained a new lucidity absent for over a decade of my life. I actually felt like a normal person with value to add to the world, not the skittish scatterbrain who can’t focus on simple tasks for more than a couple of minutes.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      NicePants,

      Everyone is different and I wish I had a cure all answer to how to get through withdrawals if you face them. But I don’t, it is a combination of time and trying to keep your mind off of it. I never had the problem getting up, it would hit me differently. Hopefully someone else can input on that.

      Coffee is not the devil, and if you can function on it and not go above 2 cups a day without anxiety, don;t feel bad about it. Don’t feel guilty about drinking coffee, but if it has a bad effect on you it is worth quitting. But withdrawal effects happen for some, and unfortunately there is no magic cure. There are things you can do to help, which are listed in the article. But I also do not know everything, maybe there is something else out there that can help. Def don’t look towards psychiatric medicine though. That is a drastic step just to deal with caffeine withdrawal that could set you down a whole nother path.

      Reply
      1. Joshua

        My personal advice regarding the terrible caffeine withdrawals: if you’re healthy, don’t take beta-blockers when you consume caffeine, specially if you’re already an anxious person. I used to take propranolol when I had to do public speeches, but when I took it during my coffee-binge weeks I felt like the xantine + beta-blocker combination kick-started the withdrawal process with a nasty panic attack the same day. This has happened to me three times. If I’ve been consuming coffee, tea, chocolate and other sources of caffeine for a few weeks, and then used propranolol, that same day I was almost guaranteed to have some sort of “withdrawal-attack”. There may be some pharmacological association between those classes of drugs when mixed together.

        Also, I tend to get the terrible version of the withdrawal. First 1.5-2 weeks are filled with anxiety, invasive thoughts, palpitations, hot flushes and insomnia (no migraine, though). Week 3 makes me feel quite depressed, completely demotivated about life yet still functioning like an empty robot. Week 4 onwards makes me feel empty, emotionless perhaps, and each every 3-4 days I feel better with glimpses of feeling better until the condition heals by itself around weeks 7-9. Funnily enough, antidepressants take around the same time to alter the neurotransmitters in the brain. It is possible that those weeks of withdrawal are the same thing: your brain readjusting the chemical structures by itself, just like an antidepressant would (not saying you should automedicate on ADs). That’s just my theory. Anyway, it gets better. For me the worst is the anxiety, which doesn’t last that much, and the depressed mood which feels like it never is going to get better. BUT IT DOES. I honestly envy people who only get headaches and minor somatic symptoms in their withdrawals, they’re lucky. My reccomendation are: don’t think much about it, physical exercise if you can, try to have quality sleep at night and force yourself to be distracted from the invasive thoughts. It all goes away in a matter of time. Cheers.

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Thank you so much for this detailed account Joshua. I am sure it will help a lot of people when they are going through a hard withdrawal.

          Reply
  96. Herman

    Hi, I am a 52 yo man from the Netherlands. Two-and-a-half weeks ago I quit smoking, one-and-a-half week ago I quit caffein, alcohol and watching porn. All of them cold turkey. I smoked and drank huge amounts of coffe for over 30 years and drank a lot of wine the last couple of years. The nice thing is: all 4 addictions seem to be interrelated and quitting them all at once seems to diminish the withdrawal symptoms. Feel a bit foggy though. Anyway, thanks for the article and all the comments, feels like having lots of friends around…

    Reply
      1. liz

        I gave up coffee earlier this year. I weaned myself off expresso coffee over a period of 3 months which minimised withdrawal symptoms. I had headaches for a couple of weeks and fatigue for a few days but otherwise felt great almost immediately. A few months of feeling great I made the mistake of introducing chocolate, mainly in the form of cocoa, and white tea into my diet. After about a month I realised I was back on the caffeine rollercoaster – headaches, energy slumps, stomach acidity and nail biting. I was beside myself as I realised I would have to start with withdrawing from caffeine all over again after I beat it (after years of trying unsuccessfully) earlier this year. This time I went cold turkey. It’s been about a month and while the headaches have stopped, I’m now experiencing weird zombie like moods which are difficult to snap out of and fleeting moments of caffeine cravings. There are days when my body picks itself up for a few hours but those are still rare. In my experience, its worse coming off tea than it is coffee so don’t be fooled in thinking tea is a better option.The moral of the story for those that are reading this, once you give it up and realise how fantastic you are feeling, DON’T BE TEMPTED to ever go back! And wean yourself off gradually to minimise the withdrawal effects. I’m looking forward to those energy packed days again!

        Reply
  97. Masha

    Hi all,

    I just wanted to leave a comment as I found Sean’s summary of caffeine withdrawal very helpful.

    In short I suffer from an anxiety disorder and figured that drinking caffeine is like adding fuel to the fire. And it is. I have had no major anxiety attack since quitting caffeine six months ago, except for in the first month of withdrawal. That does not mean I do not get anxious or nervous anymore, it is just a completely different order of magnitude. I still have phobias, but do now for the first time have the feeling that I can start taking care of those via exposure exercises. In short it feels like that the “off” switch is back in function again. I can calm down much easier, can stop worrying and have much less repetitive thoughts. The first thing that vanished completely was the “permanent feeling of immanent doom”. I never expected that.

    Having said all this, in my opinion, not all anxiety disorders are the same. They can have different causes, not all will benefit caffeine withdrawal. Not all people are that sensitive to caffeine. If you feel better after say two months of withdrawal, I think it is a good thing to keep of it, and probably you will feel a slow improvement with each month of the stuff as you have removed a major stressor. But if it did not have much effect on you after a few months, I doubt keeping of it for longer will do much for you.

    N.B. There is for all practical purposes no caffeine in white chocolate.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Thanks so much for the inspiring comment Masha!

      Yes, if you have anxiety, getting of caffeine is a must. No way around it, and I am glad it helped you so much.

      Reply
  98. Paul

    Hello all — looking for encouragement here.

    I have been on and off caffeine for 6+ years (mostly on), and have had difficult withdrawal in the past but this time is very scary. I typically react with a lot of hypersensitivity to drugs, so this isn’t surprising but the length of time it is lasting is very concerning.

    Since stopping cold turkey, my head feels like there is an oversized balloon in it — massive pressure, especially in the back/top of my head. Whenever the pressure gets bad (comes and goes throughout the day), I start feeling very light-headed. I’ve been having lots of cognitive issues as well — can’t remember certain words, lose my train of thought while speaking to someone, feel confused.

    Tons of anxiety as well — I typically wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing out of my chest!

    A lot of sites seem to indicate the headache should be gone in 5 days, yet I am on day 7 today and my head is still throbbing! Anyone else have the head pain/pressure last a long time? I feel very hopeless, like somehow my brain is damaged will never be normal again. :(

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey Paul,

      Read through the comments here. You will see that for people sensitive to caffeine and other drugs this lasts a lot longer than 7 days. But you will also see that everyone who was freaking out because of how they felt, and feeling like they would never get better, eventually came back to say they were good now.

      You will be good, but 7 days is not enough time for your brain to rebalance chemical that have been neglected for years because of caffeine use. If you go back to caffeine, you will likely have to go through this again if you want to quit. So I say, you’re 7 days in, just stick it out. Take magnesium (400mg), and try to meditate twice daily and relax.

      Your brain is definitely NOT damaged. Trust me, my brain has come back from much worse. And the good news is, the brain is elastic and can recover from almost anything. Just give it time.

      Reply
    2. Jack

      Hey buddy :)

      I have the same balloon and head pressure from my top of my head for months but then it gets lower and the more it gets lower from your top of your head the more you improve and the symptoms becomes less….Stay strong because I almost have these balloons but now on are lower down the head and you will improve..stay strong :)

      Reply
      1. Zac

        Let me second what Jack says. I had this too, and it does go away in time. Now I’m about five months along after going cold turkey, and I get the occasional weird head feeling that passes after a few minutes (most likely linked to heightened anxiety).

        Be at peace, it will pass.

        Reply
        1. Jack

          Hey zac :)

          Yes its the high anxiety from caffeine withdrawal….I think I have the last two balloons from my right and left lower head then I should be stress free after that …I had big one in the middle which is gone now….it does get better but it take months….For me I will never touch the stuff again after this brutal withdrawal…hope you get better zac :)

          Reply
          1. Paul

            Hey guys, thanks for the reassuring… do you guys find that it comes and goes in waves a lot?

            I actually experienced some nice calm Thursday and yesterday, but for some reason, this afternoon I got hit with really big waves of anxiety, brain fog and headaches. Almost like my body was cycling…

          2. Zac

            Thanks for the encouragement Jack. I’m done with caffeine too.

            A huge thank you also to Sean for writing this article, as well as everyone who commented in it. When I found this article and discussion about 4.5 months ago, I was nearly beside myself from the weird withdrawal symptoms, of which anxiety is king and which feeds on everyone else. The article and everyone’s input has been a gigantic help as I get past this.

          3. Sean Russell Post author

            It means a lot that this helped you guys. Seriously, thanks for your comments and I am glad to have helped in any way!

        2. Jack

          Hey zac :)

          Yes Sean article has helped a lot because at first months it was hell and I was freaking out what hell has happened to me…..When I no longer take it anymore I used to read the comments and the article and it helped a lot….Most sites say it takes 1 week and I was like terrified until I found this site…It sure take months not weeks…I would say 1 year until we heal 100%.

          I found something new that is supposed to remove caffeine much faster in amazon….Hope it helps :)

          http://www.amazon.com/Rutacleanse-Natural-Acting-Removes-Caffeine/dp/B00G9JZDIU/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416237006&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=rutaxcleanse

          Reply
  99. Paul

    14 days off caffeine now…what a rollercoaster this has been! This past weekend I had a 24-48 hour window where I experienced some calm/clarity, but then it left for another dip in the valley.

    My headache is minimal now… it was absolutely horrid last week to a point of where I felt like I had unknowingly injured my neck or something. Now, it is a dull ache just all around.

    Anxiety comes and goes… usually at night while I am at home, I feel the most peace.

    I am sleeping ok. Some night I start falling asleep 2-3 hours before I normally go to bed! I have never felt fatigue like this before. I still wake up at 5:00am every morning, hours before my alarm clock.

    I still have some light-headedness where I start to feel dizzy with sudden movements, etc… I also still have some brain fog where I lose my train of thought mid-way through a discussion with someone, or I just can’t seem to find the words to say.

    It is really weird how your body cycles through shit here… the day that the headache finally started to let up a bit, I have experienced very strong stomach/intestinal upset, like my body is working at normalizing.

    Still have traveling aches/pains as well as some twitching going on.

    Just trying to wait it out and be patient. Made it another week, that is encouraging for me.

    Thanks to Sean and the others for posting answers/encouragement. Incredibly helpful!

    Reply
  100. Paul

    17 days clean… My headache is nearly gone, but damn… I have some really severe light-headed sensations/dizziness, etc… still some brainfog too. Honestly, I feel like I am having out-of-body experiences. I feel like I am not even “here”. When I am walking or talking to people, it is a very eery feeling!

    Did anyone else experience this at all? Please tell me I am not alone and that it will pass. It is very unnerving and is really making me feel anxious.

    Appreciate any info — thanks all.

    Reply
    1. Zac

      Hey Paul,

      You are not alone. I had very similar head sensations/feelings for the first 2-2.5 months. The combined brain fog and tension headache sensations I had around the 1.5 month mark made me certain that I was dying for a few days.

      It will all pass. Drink plenty of water and get all the sleep your circumstances allow, it has a healing effect.

      So many of the symptoms are aggravated by the anxiety. Don’t dwell on the invasive and scary thoughts, dwell on good and peaceful things.

      Reply
    2. Sean Russell Post author

      Worst feel ever.

      And yeah, i’ve been there. You feel like you could just float away and its just horrible and made me so anxious as well. It will pass man. Just try to chill and relax into it, try and enjoy it. It can’t hurt you!

      Reply
    3. Sean Russell Post author

      Also, this is a big symptom of anxiety in general like Zac said, and as you know your anxiety is heightened by it now. The more you THINK about it and worry about it, the more you tell your Amygdala (the part of your subconcious brain that controls fear and anxiety) that there is real danger and to be on alert. What happens is, by consciously fearing these sensations, your amygdala thinks there is something wrong and creates these sensations as a symptom of anxiety! Then you fear them again and continue the loop! Crazy isn’t it. But it will pass.

      What you have to do is overtime you catch yourself “checking in” on symptoms or having thoughts that a person with zero anxiety would have (even if you do feel weird, which you do – it’s not all in your head) say aloud STOP STOP STOP, Look up at something, breathe in and out and smile! This sounds weird, but it’s an NLP technique called pattern breaking. If you purposely break a pattern 10 times or so in a row, your brain won;t be able to connect to it. So when your feeling anxious put your head down and think about your anxiety again and pop out and say STOP STOP STOP, look up, focus on something else – deep breathe – and smile. Then go back down, connect to the anxiety again and pop up and do it again. Repeat until you cannot connect to the anxiety and then distract your mind into something else. Do it 100 times a day if you have to! Hard to explain via comment, but this works! It single handedly put the icing on me curing my anxiety. I learned it from a $200 program, the amygdala retraining program. Amazing stuff. Link:

      Reply
  101. TD

    Hi. Going through withdrawal and have many of the common symptoms listed here, but after reading through this page, I also have a couple that I don’t see mentioned as much.

    I’m also experiencing lots of tongue twitches (fasciculations) that started the day after I quit — never had it before. Also, pressure in the thyroid gland area in the throat. That, and I get these really bad thoracic muscle spasms… they light up so bad that I feel like I need to go to the ER or something… then, after a couple hours, it passes and becomes a dull ache. It cycles like this throughout the day and has been happening for about a week.

    I also get weird gas pains, bubbles in my throat, tons of intestinal oddities (one day diarrhea, the next constipation).

    Anyone else experience twitches, thyroid pressure, muscle spasms in the back or gut weirdness while going through withdrawal?

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey TD,

      I have never herd of that but everyone is different.

      I would go get checked out just in case.

      Maybe someone else can input on this

      Reply
    2. Zac

      Hey TD,

      I was getting the weird throat feelings last month (around four months cold turkey) and occasionally still get them.

      I have had gas bloating/acid stomach on and off since the beginning, and have the intestinal irregularities on and off, though they seem to have been leveling off in the past month.

      I have had spasms in my back and legs on and off the last five months. Twitches in the eyes and muscles were and early on symptom, but I have read about other people having them for longer and in other locations.

      Reply
      1. TD

        Thanks, Zac — appreciate the affirmation. Makes me feel less like I am going nuts here. :)

        How long/bad was your habit? Awesome that you are 5 months clean. Can’t wait until I can say that!

        Reply
      2. Jack

        Hey zac and everyone here I think the best way to detox faster is to eat high protein food and keep the sugars low and drink 1 gallon of water a day and try to sleep as it speeds up recovery….Patience will make make us pass this….Stay strong guys…Hope for the best :)

        Reply
      3. MA

        Hi Zac,

        It has been 3 months since I stopped drinking coffee. I experienced most of the symptoms described. But there is one particular issue that bothers me for quite some time.

        I experience serious stomach bloating since the beginning of quitting caffeine and it is on and off. I have this problem before I started quitting caffeine but it was nothing serious or uncomfortable. It becomes a huge problem for me since I stopped drinking coffee. I went to see doctors and they claimed there were nothing serious. I went to see specialist too and he suspected that I might be infected with H. Pylori though I told him I my blood test for H. Pylori was negative. But he said that he rarely recommend his patients to do the blood test as it is quite inaccurate. So, I am now on medication to get rid of the bacterium.

        But I am curious. What if my stomach bloating is not due to H. Pylori bacterium but because of me quitting caffeine? Is it possible? How long have you being having this stomach issue? Do you still have this issue now?

        Reply
  102. Adam

    Hey Sean, I wonder if individuals consuming to 1-2 cups of caffeinated coffee everyday have higher serotonin and dopamine levels over caffeine abstainers.

    Reply
  103. Fredrik

    I am swedish so mind the language
    I used to consume 700mg a day, but after a while you become tolerant and it just get you back to normal. But the bad effects you get is the same!
    Weaned down to 200mg a day 2weeks ago and have been on 0mg today.
    First week was horrendous, like it use to be for me when i wean down.

    The thing is most people tells you that caffeine withdrawls are supposed to last for max 9 days.
    Then there is this idea that you are supposed to feel great when the withdrawls are gone, the thing is that i am feeling pretty bad, fatigue and tired. Not at all as good as when i consume caffeine
    YOur posts however gave me some hope, and i will continue to not consume any caffeine at all, hopefully it will get better, i do it because i know that caffeine have some bad side effects even if you tend to deny them while you are hooked but i know that for a fact.
    I also have OCD and being caffeinefree seemse to give me alot less worry.

    thanks

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Thanks Fredrik,

      Yes it takes a lot longer than 9 days for some. But you will be better in time and better overall, especially if you have OCD.

      Reply
  104. Paul

    25 days clean now… man, I am NEVER going back. This has been the worst few weeks of my life!

    Headache still gone… or, it might come back for a minute or two then leaves. Light headedness and brainfog is going away but being a bit stubborn. I am FINALLY sleeping through the night!

    I wanted to reinforce my hatred of caffeine with some scientific facts about how horrible it is for you. Withdrawal enough should do that but I want to make sure I NEVER go back. Picked up a copy of this book on my Kindle and read it in 3 hours. I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone who is thinking of getting off caffeine or is going through withdrawal hell:

    http://www.amazon.com/Caffeine-Blues-Hidden-Dangers-Americas/dp/0446673919/

    Reply
    1. Jack

      Hey Paul :)

      I agree my skin is smoother and breath is better and the mood and even my personality is changing after the the hell I was in….Hope people know and educate themselves more about this addictive drug so they get of it…Hope fo the best :)

      Will check this book on amazon :)

      Reply
    2. Sean Russell Post author

      Thanks paul.

      I thinks it’s awesome how the comment section on this post is now 10X more useful than the post.

      There has been so many people who have come on and been in hell. Then they have come back week after week to share their progress, and EACH OF THEM are better or much better than they were and still in recovery.

      Just want to thank you guys

      Reply
  105. Bill

    Hey Sean,
    I have had tension headaches in the back of my neck and head for the past 2 years or so. I have tried so many things to get rid of it, seen docs, had shots in my spine, but to no avail, chrios, acupuncture, mri, you name it. The only relief I had is when I had a summer off of teaching, and I wasn’t commuting ( still drank coffee and caffeine every day though.). Maybe it was the commute, or maybe it was not the stress of working everyday? When the school year started back up again, I got the headaches and neck soreness, cramps, tightness, and tension headaches all over again. I love my job and I’m not a stressed out person. So, the past week or so I’ve been weening myself off of caffeine, starting with coke, and then the past few days I’ve limited my coffee, until today, I went with no caffeine at all. I’m hoping that staying away from caffeine will possibly help my neck muscles relax/heal or whatever. For the past 6 or 7 days I have been sleepy, and my neck pain has increased, since I’ve been limiting my caffeine. I was drinking up to about 24 oz of coffee per day and sometimes 24oz of pepsi or coke per day. So, a few questions. 1. Is it possible that caffeine could be causing my tension headaches? (the tension headaches came on slowly over time, I didn’t have like an accident or anything). 2. Do you think that over time, muscles heal better without any caffeine in my system? Any thoughts? I really want to not have tension (upper neck/back of head) headaches every single day Thanks again for this article and allowing people to vent about their issues. Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Bill,

      Thanks for commenting – this is an easy answer for me to give here being on an outside perspective.

      I think that your headaches were definitely from the stress/tension, as you already concluded. Caffeine is only going to amplify any stress you are feeling. So in my eyes, the solution to the headaches would be to eliminate the stress as much as possible.

      One was being not consuming caffeine.

      I don’t think the caffeine will have any effect on the muscular healing, with or without it. But not drinking something that revs up the nervous system will help prevent the tension in the first place.

      Going off caffeine at first will most likely increase your stress on the body and make you sleepy like you said. But it’s all about the long term gain, I think if you go off caffeine, let your body adjust to being caffeine free and work on other ways to handle your stress patterns, you could live a life tension headache free 6 months from now.

      I dofirst place.

      I truly believe that, and I think going off caffeine will just be a big factor that will help you achieve that.

      There are a lot of other ways to ease stress that you should look into. Exercise, meditation, magnesium supplementation just to start.

      Reply
      1. Bill

        Thanks Sean. I feel like my whole life will be better without caffeine. I am also trying to extremely limit my sugar intake as well. Hopefully with no caffeine, some rest, no sugar, and exercise, I will feel much better. Thanks again for the advice. I”m curious to see how life without caffeine really is!

        Reply
  106. Paul

    4 weeks clean… headaches are pretty much gone. Sleeping GREAT. Brainfog and light-headed at a minimal… comes and goes but doesn’t appear to stay for long. The horrific anxiety has lessened as well… again, it comes in spurts but isn’t a constant. Starting to enjoy parts of life again.

    One thing I have noticed is a constant runny nose. It is like my sinuses are draining all the time. I don’t think I am sick, but this has been going on for 2-3 weeks. Anyone else experience this as a withdrawal reaction?

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Sounds like you are really improving Paul, good to hear. Not sure about the sinuses, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Drainage is better than congestion in my opinion!

      Reply
  107. joe

    hi there mate,

    first of all my name is joe i am 29 years old and iam from London England. i don’t know where to start but in October/November of 2012 i became very ill fatigued and anxious i had been abusing caffeine for years including loads of coffees and teas per day in between them lots and lots of monster energy drinks and red bulls also loads of diet cokes, i started to feel anxious and just jittery and nervous with the occasional panic attack this was ruining my life so much that i decided to give up smoking and caffeine and alcohol all at the same time and believe me i done allot just take my word for it lol! anyway long story short the next 5 months where the worst of my whole life i could go into detail but it was horrific very bad panic attacks multiple times per day! and feeling so fatigued i couldn’t move i felt poisoned! any way in around march ish of 2013 i also gave up gluten and started to feel noticeably better but then i started having lots of stomach issues like my stomach was inflamed and everything i eat made me feel sick anyway lol i finally started to feel good again although the traumatic months that led me to this point of feeling good had left me feeling scarred like i couldn’t forget what happened. skipping forward to now December 2014 i have run into some trouble again now i started November feeling GREAT although sometime at the begging of October i felt so good i started drinking tea again namely black tea with milk no sugar up to 4 times per day, people say its only tea and cant cause withdrawals but after reading your internet page and quickly thinking back apart of me thinks that what happened to me in 20122 may have all been triggered by caffeine including now not being able to tolerate gluten! note throughout these times of suffering i had no help i emailed a few people i never got a reply and to be honest at the time it was that bad i didn’t want to live anymore! so i started drinking caffeine again in October and i quit because i started towards late October to feel very ill like just poisoned drained and not myself so i stopped last Wednesday and i had a headache for a few days and my body on and off has been feeling like its humming all over my brain fog is through the roof and i feel very lightheaded and dizzy ive had 1 panic attack where my heart was racing and been in a very bad mood today i feel dizzy weird and like my eyes are cloudy! to keep a not of how i started to feel ill i wrote it down in my note pad with some exact dates but when reading the insert please remember that i didn’t really think caffeine was the primary colprate so i mainly focus on the ingestion of gluten its only now i think it could all be the caffeine (Yorkshire tea) after reading your excellent internet article so here is the insert ……………………………..

    insert from my notepad on my computer ………..tuesday the 11th is the day where it all begun my mum had brought me mustard and also some cornflakes! so for dinner we had bbq chicken with wedges i used half a tub of mustard which is what contained the gluten later that day
    i felt very bloated and ill and also depressed and lathargic, typically what it feels like to be glutenated!wednesday thursday and friday went past and on these days i felt glutenated and i accepted this! on friday night i had
    some beers and as per usual after drinking them i decided to have somthing to eat which happend to be some ham from a tub of ham chunks i later found out that these ham chucnks also contained gluten! saturday the 15th of november
    and i felt extra hungover! on sunday i felt like crap kind of and my roast dinner made me feel bloated and kind of messed up on sunday night! monday the 17th came and i felt ever so sligtly better or so i thought, i had run out of
    sainsburys tomato soup so decided to have a can of heinz tomato soup filled to the brim with msg! later that night was the illest i had felt in a long time! i felt so weird and depressed that i was forced to drink a late night
    beer to bring me out of the feeling although momentaraly boosting my hapiness or masking the depression i started to feel very ill and had to go to bed i started drinking lots of water and managed to fall to sleep but it was hard
    as i felt very ill tues 18th wed 19th thu 20th and friday the 21st saw me feeling very ill everyday and it was friday the 21st i went to TCs house to drop him some bits and a tv, on the way there i didnt feel very well atall but neverless
    when i got home the beer soon masked the ill feelings that i had been having! the next day i felt hungover which also is good at masking how bad you feel so i just felt hungover on saturday the 22nd on sunday i felt ill again and just
    still felt like crap monday 24th tuesday 25th i felt like crap so i decided on wednesday the 26th to give up caffine i skipped brekfast on wednesday and went down to get two keys cut at around 12 i felt i had to run home because i felt
    like i was going to faint i felt pretty ill the rest of that day and the next two days after that i felt like my bosy was huming and attributed it to caffine withdrawal and also getting over the gluten and possibly the msg! by friday
    the 28th my body still felt huming from quitting caffine and gluten ect but ealry evening i actually felt a little bit better! the hangver on saturday wasnt that bad and felt ok pretty much all of saturday the 29th! sunday the 30th
    of november feeling like i still maybe getting over the caffine a little bit but overall feeling close to normal! monday and tuesday 1st and 2nd of december feeling the best i have felt since it all
    begun! 7 days free of caffine and
    within 1 more week i should fully be over the gluten and caffine withdrwal ect!

    So what do you think ? lol im sure this makes for an interesting read but i really do hope you a stranger can help me in someway thanks sean ……joe ps i apolagise for terrible puncuation and spelling ect my mind is not correct at the moment :(

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Joe,

      Glad you found this article – because I have been through what you went through. Slightly different circumstances, but the same issues and trust me, I was in HELL. But I feel amazing now. And you can too. I know exactly what you need to do and I have detailed it below.

      First, I believe that your intolerance to gluten and other foods is not the cause of your problems, but a SYMPTOM or the REAL problem. The REAL problem is that you have an overactive amygdala (the control center of fear and anxiety in your brain) & nervous system. Possibly stuck in high alert mode. Believe it or not, an overactive nervous system will cause you to become sensitive to almost ANYTHING. Including caffeine, Gluten, alcohol and more. This is why sufferers of MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) often find relief from retraining their amygdala and calming their nervous system.

      I believe tat each time you began to feel great again, was because your nervous system began to calm. But then you started drinking caffeine again, which is a HUGE nervous system stimulation, and for anyone who is sensitive – it can be a disaster.

      What you need to do:

      If you really want to feel great, for the long term,

      1) Give up caffeine and never touch it again. It’s not for you my friend.

      2) Stop drinking, at least for the next 3 months – your body and mind hate you right now. You are in such distress and drinking caffeine and drinking alcohol are the worst things you can do for your nervous system. You are just beating it up. You need to allow it to heal. You need to stop drinking.

      3) Eat a healthy diet, but don’t worry too much about it. Get lots of veggies, healthy fats and hardly any sugar. Stay away from gluten, not because it’s the cause of the problem, but because it is an added irritant. Veggies, Eggs, avocado, meats, black beans, sweet potatoes, butter, cheeses are all good ideas.

      4) Meditate – You have to do this man. This will change your life. It is the single most effective way to calm your nervous system. Twice a day, 20 minutes. In two weeks you will feel like a new man.

      5) Optional (But HIGHLY recommended): Use Dr. Gupta’s Amygdala retaining program. This program saved my life. It is designed to cure people of chronic fatigue syndrome, which is the result of an overactive amygdala and nervous system. The body gets stuck in high alert (fight or flight) and the battery (your energy) just continues to drain. This program retrains your amygdala to be back to normal, and it’s amazing.

      Trust me Joe, I had debilitating anxiety. Having to go to the ER over and over because of it. (Stemmed from a bad panic attack on a weed brownie) It resulted in years of hellish symptoms, and then chronic fatigue like no one should ever experience. I beat it, and if you want to do the same you have to commit and make it happen. You can feel great 6 months from now. Or you could be in the same spot, drinking and feeling like crap. It’s up to you.

      Goodluck dude, and please let me know how it goes.

      Reply
  108. Bill

    Hey, it’s me again. Just wanted to give an update. I am 3 days into no caffeine. Today seems a little bit better. But, the past couple weeks as I’ve been weening myself off of the drug, I’ve been waking up with headaches and dull aching pain in my neck (like I have had the past 2 years), but no it seems MUCH worse than before. So, that makes me think my neck achiness and tension headaches has something to do with the caffeine I was ingesting daily. My eyes have been throbbing, and then it will seem to go away, and then come back again. I sleep pretty well though, so that’s good. Thanks to everyone who has posted, since they are all really encouraging to hear that I’m not the only one who is trying to do this. I’ll comment on my progress more next week.

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      It’s just an increase in bodily stress from going off caffeine. With caffeine withdrawal it typically gets worse before it can get better.

      The caffeine did not make your neck ache, it was stress. But now you’re just under more of it.

      Reply
  109. Jack

    Hey bill :)

    I had the same neck aching to but now its gone and I am kinda 85% healed but still more to go and as Sean mentioned above eat well and try to lift weights and drink lots of water at least a gallon a day and try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep..Try not to think about the withdrawal watch a movie hear music and try to get it out of your mind and it will pass…I passed 85% of it this way and be patient….Hope you get better bro :)

    Reply
      1. Jack carver

        Hey Sean :)

        I wanted to email you if you don’t mind because I want to ask for tips about the foods and other stuff.

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          Hey Jack,

          It would be easier for me if you registered a name at the forum and I would be glad to talk with you there. This gonna laugh soon as well but it’s free to post in now, let me know if you have any issues.

          Reply
          1. Jack carver

            Yes I did get a link for confirmation and I did confirm…..Sent a long private pm too.

          2. Sean Russell Post author

            Okay yeah I saw it, sorry I didn’t specify but if you don;t mind creating a thread in the caffeine section with your question it would be there to help and benefits other people.

            If you’re not okay with that I will answer your PM – let me know.

          3. Jack carver

            Yes I will create a thread soon about my journey and progress and some questions so I make sure I am on the right track and others to can see my progress and there progress too :)

          4. Jack carver

            Hey Sean :)

            I think cold turkey method was a bad idea and it seems I am very sensitive to caffeine and my symptoms lasted long..i should have tapered from 600 mg to nothing and I think my withdrawals would not be intense like this….physically I am not tired but mentally my head Is racing and my sleep is very light not deep rem sleep like before and I am worried it would effect healing as I have my last two stressed out balloons but with jittery and anxious feelings that makes it hard to sleep so I am kinda worried about recovery if I am not getting good REM sleep….melatonin doesn’t work for me anymore even on high dose….Is it normal that sleep gets very light later vs deep earlier before???

            Hope I am on the right track and that is a good sign but kinda worried about my sleep getting very light only 7 hours but still feel my head racing and tired but physically I am great for now

          5. Sean Russell Post author

            Hey Jack, just give it time. Your sleep will return to normal. You are probably having an adverse reaction to now being so accustomed to melatonin. Like I said, don’t take anymore melatonin and let your sleep recover naturally. It takes time. But it sounds like you are on the right track. You are healing even if you think you’re not having REM.

            Some tips for sleeping are here:

          6. Jack carver

            Hey Sean :)

            Well yes my sleep got very light vs past months which was deep because physically I was tired so it was easy to go to deep sleep before…I got melatonin for the deep REM sleep as my natural light sleep is getting back to normal but it worked first time I tried it but left me with side effects then it stopped working…. my natural sleep before caffeine was very light and it seems I am getting back to normal in the sleep but still not recovered yet from caffeine withdrawal and deep REM sleep is important so I can recover so I was kinda worried if it would effect my recovery because I am light sleeper by nature.

            Thanks for the sleep article will check it out…Just wanted to make sure I am on the right track.

            Thanks Sean :)

  110. joe

    thanks sean that makes much more sense than anything i have been told about my state before! like right now i feel just like a low grade hum of nervousness and im not worried or anxious about anything what you have said makes perfect sense and that is exactly how i feel like my nervous system needs to not be stimulated by all these things i will never drink caffeine again and will quit alcohol immediately! would like to be able to have a couple of drinks here and there in the future like Christmas day ect if its not every weekend would that mess my nervous system up ? thanks so much for your help i think you have hit the nail on the head! i have bookmarked this page and will be keeping you posted/updated cheers mate joe

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      No problem Joe,

      Like I said, I know exactly where you’re at. This is why you feel the fatigue as well, because you are being constantly drained by your nervous system being on overdrive. I think that you may definitely be able to enjoy a few drinks one day again. Although it may take a year of dedicated self discipline and lifestyle changes for everything to calm down. These things take time. You may find that you are a better man without the alcohol, I did.

      Some more things to add, Magnesium Oxide 400mg a day is great for your nervous system. And Fish oil will help your brain a lot. Other than that, I wouldn’t worry about supplements too much if you are getting solid nutrition. Exercise is good after you start to feel better. At first it may be a little much for your body to handle. So start slow and it’s good to exercise 20 minutes each day eventually, nothing too strenuous though until you can handle it.

      Reply
      1. joe

        thanks Sean! well its Friday night and im not having any booze id rather feel better than drink! i appreciate it may take a long time to fully recover but what about this horrible hum i feel through my whole body that’s normal ? and i would hope it goes kind of quickly! cheers mate

        Reply
        1. Sean Russell Post author

          The hum will go away, but you may see a doctor just in case. Remember, I cannot give medical advice. sounds like a frazzled nervous system to me though.

          Reply
  111. TD

    When I started drinking coffee years ago, I distinctly remember my legs burning badly hours after drinking. Kind of a deep aching, burning sensation in my legs. With hindsight, I now attribute it to the distinct vasoconstricting effects of caffeine. For years following, as I consumed coffee on a regular basis, I noticed a regular painful burning of my legs — nearly a constant symptom.

    Now, having been off coffee for a while and having gone through many of the classic withdrawal symptoms, I’m having quite severe pain in my legs. I am now wondering if this is the veins reacting to the lack of the constricting and are perhaps now being more dilated as they adjust to normal.

    Anyone else experience anything remotely similar to this or can you confirm this theory? Caffeine has a very strong effect on veins/blood flow, and since the classic “caffeine withdrawal headache” is simply the veins expanding in your head, why wouldn’t you be susceptible to vein-reaction symptoms elsewhere?

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      It’s quite possible TD, but I haven’t heard of this yet. But everyone is effected differently.

      How long have you been off caffeine?

      Reply
  112. TD

    About 5 weeks or so. I remember when I first started drinking years ago, I had this horrible leg pain every night that when I had been drinking coffee in that morning. I am extremely hypersensitive and have some chronic pain issues.

    I just looked past the “reaction to caffeine” and pushed through it because I liked the stimulatory effects. Stupid. This reaction started the day I started drinking caffeine so I am wondering if it will take months to have my veins settle down after stopping caffeine. If your brain can take months to get back to normal (as you say above), what is to say that your body can take a long time to regulate as well? I’ve seen lots of people that say it takes them months for their bowels to start functioning normal again, so I don’t think it would be without reason for veins to be the same, assuming they had been negatively impacted by caffeine.

    Reply
  113. joe

    ok hi sean and everyone! small update, yesterday and today Sunday i have no hum but only a horrible kind of dizziness that comes at around 4pm before dinner with clammy palms! it feels like im walking on a boat or an uneven floor and my coordination is not right when i stand up it takes a couple of seconds to get my balance and then when walking i feel more comfortable holding the walls, is this like a temporary hypoglycemia kind of thing or what? its kind of worrying! other than that overall i generally feel slightly better especially now that hum has gone! one again thanks…..joe

    Reply
    1. Zac

      Joe,

      I had that early on, and still (at 5.5 months off) get that “room is crooked” feeling when I’m stressed out.

      I’m not a doctor, but I hypothesize in the early weeks of being off caffeine that it has to do with one’s declining caffeine level stopping the vasoconstriction effect caffeine has in the blood vessels in one’s head, the increased blood flow (if it is indeed that) makes one feel lightheaded, maybe because of pressure on the inner ear(?).

      Anyway, I don’t know if that is really the cause, but you are not alone in having the symptom.

      Reply
      1. TD

        Zac – I agree with your hypothesis. I’ve even read in books that the caffeine affect in the head is due to the vessels being constricted or “enlarged”. Your body simply has been conditioned to a different environment and you are drastically changing it with the cessation of caffeine.

        That is why I posted what I did (above) about the affects in other areas of the body. Caffeine doesn’t just affect vessels in your brain; those are just the most noticeable areas with withdrawal. I’m having horrible leg pain/burning now after several weeks of withdrawal.

        Reply
        1. joe

          in relation to your legs burning and my whole bodied hum i know what it is ive had it before and i am going to get rid of it! i was told what it was when i suffered from anxiety in 2012 for a couple of months! its basically your blood vessels trying to basically settle down after a surge of adrenalin and or after quitting caffeine! which is why i don’t feel anxious i just feel this whole bodied hum/buzzing sensation which makes me worry more creates more adrenalin and here people you now have your vicious circle! so ignore the feeling accept it is from adrenalin and just slowly get over it in your own way but most importantly break the circle and don’t worry about it which is what i have been doing! here is what reminded me of it i shall insert what a guy wrote on a different forum which triggered my memory as i had the leg hum/burning sensation before and it went permanently now its back all over but like a low grade buzz kind of feeling here is what he said………This can absolutely be caused by anxiety and I get it occasionally. (Especially when I used to have panic attacks bad). I am surprised your doctor didn’t tell you what causes this.

          I am sure I do not have to tell many of you, but anxiety/panic is directly related to the fight-or-flight reaction, which is caused by your adrenaline secrections. Everyone has this feeling at some point in time, but it is usually in an approprate situation – like if one felt threatened for instance. It is when your adrenaline gland starts working over time for no real reason that this is considered a disorder.

          Adrenaline serves a great purpose that is pure raw instinct and it protects your body in many ways (again, it is supposed to be for appropriate situtations). It lowers your blood for one (sometimes it raises it as well). It does this in case you get an injury, say you get cut – if your blood pressure is lower, you lose less blood at a slower rate. The tingling senstation comes because your adrenaline causes your blood vessels in your extremites to constrict. This serves a two-fold purpose – 1.) again, you lose blood slower if you were to get injured and 2.) it pushes more blood to your vital organs. Sometimes, if you get the feeling in your hands especially, and you can normally see your veins in the top of your hands, you can look at them and see that they are tiny. It is amazing what our bodies can do on their own.

          This is similar to when your leg goes to sleep or something like that. It is not so much that the blood flow is cut off, but it is just moving slower and in less quantity. It is normal to feel this in your lips and extremities, but it can be felt all over as well (including internally). However, I am not too sure that your heart would get tingly as well. It is more than likely the area (skin, muscles, etc.) around the heart that is experiencing this. You may just be perceiving this to be actually in your heart. I know that with anxiety, we sometimes (many times) mis-diagnose ourselves through self-scanning. I hope this helps. anyway with caffeine withdrawal and the normal anxiety that comes with it and all the adrenalin that’s caffeine causes its normal to have the after adrenalin feeling and also easy to get stuck in it for a while hope this helps someone as i know it well defiantly help me! – joe

          Reply
      2. Sean Russell Post author

        Sounds like an anxiety symptom Zac, since it comes on when you’re stressed. Your nervous system is still recovering, and stress can do crazy things!

        Reply
      3. Jack carver

        Yes zac it is the anxiety from caffeine and I do have ear pressure because of the stressed out balloons in my head so don’t worry about it….Its part of the caffeine withdrawal hope you get well bro :)

        Reply
  114. Zac

    @TD – Thanks for the affirmation. I have gotten the burning sensations in my limbs and face during stress situations too, so I can see the connection.

    @Sean – Agreed. Thanks. The anxiety has been the worst part.

    @Joe – My pleasure. I hope you continue to feel better, best to you and yours.

    Reply
  115. Paul

    Hi all — 5 weeks clean! Although some of the worst symptoms are gone, here is what I still suffer with:

    -very mild headaches — really not a bother anymore
    -random occurrences of brainfog/confusion/light-headedness
    -anxiety is very low, but I have morbid depression… just feel like there is no point to anything. also very irritable! my poor wife and kids
    -constant post nasal drip
    -random aches/pains all over… sometimes I will have a stabbing pain in my right arm, then my left thigh will hurt for 20 mins, etc… so weird.
    -I have some chronic pain issues and I feel like they are very, very escalated right now
    -digestion is still way off… not total diarrhea or constipation, just NOT normal

    I am typically very hypersensitive to supplements, medications, etc… I’m still shocked at how long it is taking to return to normal. I don’t feel like dying anymore but still feel like shit.

    Reply
  116. Bill

    Hey All,

    3 Days In..

    For the past 2 weeks I’ve been weening myself off of caffeine. The reason I’ve started this is because I’ve had really bad tension headaches for the past 2 years. It starts in my neck and it feels not just tight, but like crampy, and then it crawls up my head, and it is all the time! So, I thought why not try “no caffeine.” It can’t hurt, since caffeine is known to be problematic to muscles and what not.

    Well, for the past 2 weeks of going down in caffeine, I’ve had basically a tight, crampy headache. And the past 3 days I’ve been completely off of caffeine, and I don’t want to go back. But in the past 4 or 5 days or so, I have woken up with a headache (tight in my neck and head, and some pain behind my eyes, but not throbbing though.)

    I guess I just need encouragement, because I really want to live a life free of these tension headaches. Is there anyone out there who has found relief from Chronic Tension headaches after stopping caffeine? And if so, how long did it take to notice your head feeling better after stopping? Thank you…

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey Bill,

      You have to give it time. And for one – I don’t think that ever going back on caffeine will help your tension headaches at all. But being off it definitely can. Not saying it is the cure all, but it will help, and may possible fix it – its hard to say.

      Try eating well, exercise and meditation. These will all help.

      Reply
  117. TD

    Sean — do you understand the non-linear pattern of withdrawal? I had experienced daily improvement for 7-10 days after starting withdrawal a month ago. Starting to feel “somewhat” normal. Then a few days ago, brainfog, light-headedness, anxiety and minor headache came rolling back in like a freight train.

    Kinda messes with your mind and throws you for a loop!

    Reply
    1. Sean Russell Post author

      Yeah I know,

      It is known that withdrawal of this nature is extremely non-linear. But the point is that your bad times will start to get less intense and shorter overtime.

      Reply
  118. Paul

    This is starting to get very frustrating. I had a nice improvement about 10 days ago and for the past 5-7 days, I’ve had a severe kickup of anxiety, brainfog, light-headedness, etc… I have not touched caffeine since I stopped nearly six weeks ago. How could I experience a solid week of improvement only to topple back down again? :(

    Reply
    1. Bill

      Paul,
      Hang in there. I feel your pain. I’m going through some of the same things. I will feel way better, and then all of a sudden, I will have some major symptoms that really depresses me. Stay strong and stick it out. Remember, it can take months before you fully recover. Caffeine is POWERFUL! Dangerously powerful. Take care and hope you feel better soon.

      Reply
      1. Paul

        Thanks, Bill. This is very tough because at six weeks, my logical brain tells me that I shouldn’t be feeling this anymore. And then I start worrying about what horrible ailment I have in my brain to give me these symptoms. What sucks is that in early December, I was at a point where I wasn’t even thinking about it anymore, I was feeling so much improved. Now, I feel like I slipped back to the beginning.

        Reply
    2. Sean Russell Post author

      Hey Paul,

      All normal stuff. The process is very un linear and while it’s annoying it is just the way it is. The way it will go is that the better periods will start to get longer and the bad periods shorter until they are gone all together.

      Reply
      1. Paul

        Sean – thanks a ton for the reply, man. Yeah, it was a bit of a stressful weekend, which seemed to kick it off a bit. Still feels like it came out of nowhere. I hate the non-linear state of this recovery as I have a bit of an OCD mind and it just seems…wrong…

        You are right in the better periods… my first “window of happiness” lasted about 48 hours. This last one was a good week, I’d say. It is the shitty days/weeks between them that messes with my mind.

        I re-read your own experience (at the top of this page), and it definitely gives me encouragement! Your own withdrawal definitely took some time for recovery to be complete…

        I just gotta be patient and hang on tight… at least I’m not at the beginning of this thing. Thanks again, for the encouraging words.

        Reply

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