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Quitting Caffeine

"Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid and a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants, as well as enhancing the reward memory of pollinators. It is most commonly consumed by humans in infusions extracted from the seed of the coffee plant and the leaves of the tea bush, as well as from various foods and drinks containing products derived from the kola nut. Other sources include yerba matéguarana berries, guayusa, and the yaupon holly." Wikipedia

"Coffee is still the most significant source of caffeine, and it has been suggested that roughly 80 percent of the world's population drinks coffee every day. Americans consume about half of the world's supply of coffee - on average, drinking one thousand cups of coffee per person per year!So what does this have to do with hunger? Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine (250-700 mg.) during the day can lead to anxiety, hypertension, insomnia and nervousness - all things that may trigger stress-related emotional eating. Why? Because excessive caffeine intake overstimulates the central nervous system, and the body responds by causing the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which tells the body to increase its energy stores by consuming calories.
Additionally, caffeine may also increase hunger cravings because it stimulates insulin secretion, which reduces serum glucose (i.e. blood sugar), thus leading to increased increased hunger."- Source

Here is a list of the top ten withdrawal  symptoms to expect if you quit caffeine. Most people don't realize that it's actually a drug and very addictive. Like any other drug if you try to stop doing it you will experience withdrawal   They can be so severe that they are almost as bad as alcoholic withdrawal  - which can result in seizures and death.

I decided I was going to go 2 weeks without any energy drinks and thought the withdrawal would only last for a couple days. Last night I felt like I was depressed and wanted to die - which is really strange since a couple days before I was at about as good of a place I've ever been. So what happened? Could not having an energy drink for a couple days really make me THAT sad and hopeless? When everything else in my life is great? I had a head ache  and have been sleeping in past 1pm and figured I had already gone though the withdrawal symptoms but this morning I woke up with a really sore neck, that it hurts to turn my head! WTF. I've also been almost unable to focus on doing things that I was actually unable to NOT focus on doing last week! This is some fucked up shit and I do not like it.

Thankfully I did a little goggling and came across this site: I already knew what the symptoms were but it helped to re-confirm that it was the lack of Caffeine and not my life that was punching me in the face. What's even more interesting isn't the article but the comments from people about the article. I've included some highlights but suffice to say - caffeine is a bigger problem than most people realize. I would go so far as to say that it's probably the cause of the majority of depression and anxiety people are experiencing - which they then treat with other drugs - and then treat those symptoms with yet other drugs. ETC ETC ETC. A very bad cycle which I am getting myself out of.

Another thing I noticed in the comments that I had been experiencing but wasn't sure if it had anything to do with caffeine - is food cravings! I was getting really hungry - even after I had just eaten - like STARVING - and I couldn't figure out why. The only difference seemed to be the amount of caffeine I had had earlier in the day. It was like once it wore off at night I would get super munchies. When I didn't have caffeine or that much then that wouldn't happen or if it did the hunger was irrelevant and not like I was a starving zombie.

So anyways. It may be of interest to re-evaluate your own caffeine consumption. Also to think about how soda is being given to children and why Starbucks and every drink that contains caffeine is so 'popular.

This is a really weird comment. I had the exact same thing happen to me. It was my right eye and it felt like there was something behind it. It was so bad I had to get an ice pack and Advil. It's strange that it would cause the same sensation in exact same place...

"Unfortunately, I did get the caffeine headaches that come along with quitting coffee. On day three was the worst -- felt like there was something in my brain behind my right eye."

Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms: Top Ten

-I've been overreating on a regular basis.  I'd just get really bad hunger pangs.  Also, I'd need to eat huge portions to stop being hungry, to the point of being uncomfortably full many times.  Then I'd just get hungry again after two hours.Recently I've quit drinking one of my favorite things, coffee.  Since then I've noticed I'm not getting these really sharp hunger pangs.  I've also noticed that I'm not needing to eat huge portions at every meal in order to feel sated.
I'm drawing a connection between the two.  The thing is I really like coffee.  :(
Does anyone have any experience with this?  That is coffee causing you to need to eat huge/double portions to get rid of hunger or causing extremely sharp uncontrollable hunger pangs?
I can definitely say that I relate to this. After a decade of using various forms of caffeine, including coffee, energy drinks, and workout supplements, here is what I've found:
At first, my appetite decreases, just like what most people feel. However, as I start to come down I feel like my appetite is through the roof! This happens every time I have caffeine, and sometimes leads to massive overeating. I don't seem to have this problem on days when I don't consume caffeine. I'm a relatively healthy guy who watches my caloric intake and drinks plenty of water. I know that drugs affect different people in different ways, but as far as I'm concerned, I consider caffeine an appetite stimulant. -Source


I am a recovering alcoholic. And as with most of us we substitute coffee for alcohol. I would get up immediately and start pounding coffee although I hated the taste and it felt horrible in my stomach. I would continue this all day and night. I recently quit coffee cold turkey and am experiencing a marked lack of energy and motivation. I feel certain though that in a day or two after I learn how to cope with life without coffee that I will be the better for it. And I would encourage all of you recovering from alcoholism to abstain from coffee and cigarettes - because they are drugs too.

    • Steve  Brian 

      I'm a recovered alcoholic of 20 years sober and recently quit caffeine due to anxiety I experienced late in the day. One reason I quite is because I was feeling it was getting in the way of my 12 step spiritual progress.
      I am feeling lethargic and unmotivated but more serene. I'm going to stick with it and hope over time my motivation will return. Quitting is mainly for peace of mind, serenity and also because it made me urinate much more frequently. Need to do it for health and spiritual health.
      I can focus my thoughts better and am much more at ease with the world when off the coffee, it really brought out and intolerant and angry side of me as well. It's a drug and is a lie. No wonder Starbucks does so well. It's a drug.

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          Beatrix Phocas  Steve 

          I was off caffeine for about a month once and I remember my brain working in a way I wasn't used to. My memory was better, I could focus much better and even my normal speech patterns (syntax) seemed better (to me at least), and I didn't have the daily 2:00 p.m. crash I had come to loath.

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              Milkshake Man  Beatrix Phocas 

              Try going cold turkey from the computer!
              Not just the internet, the computer itself!
              ..if you really want to see crazy withdrawls.

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                  walkeasy  Beatrix Phocas 

                  yes. i have recently started drinking coffee and at first i was a super human but after a few weeks, i slowly slipped to below par. I figure its the lack of good quality sleep. after a few months, i am still below par. I am stopping now. switched to tea this week and had green tea this morning with less than 20mgs. i have a headache. anywho, i encourage you to challenge yourself and in the process better your self!

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                    Wolfe  Steve 

                    MAtter of fact, Starbucks is so popular, (and so addictive...) because it contains MUCH more caffeine than most other coffees. A regular cup contains around 200 milligrams and a venti is around 400mgs. That's why some people are addicted not just to coffee, but to Starbuck's coffee!

                AJ  Becky 

                I have been nearly caff-free since 98 (at 20yrs old). I drink decaf tea, if I go for a soda I only get the caff-free kind (I know what store/fast food place has them).
                It was hard for mom and me both. I was given tea and soft drinks at 1 year old (prob before). Now my dad drinks 3 2L bottles of Mnt Dew daily. He says he can't stand the taste of caff-free. My son was drinking them with him and at 3 he was having violent outbursts - to the point of beating us in the head. Cleared him off caff and he is much calmer (but still has severe sleep issues, sometimes staying up 22 hours straight).
                My dad is bipolar and has major anger issues, I have begged him to quit, but maybe reading some of this regarding what caffeine can do will help him make that decision


                I've spent 20 years addicted to caffeine (primarily coffee), coming off it now and then, going back on it, repeat pattern. I'm in my 40s now and I think i'm quitting it for good. I say "think" because the siren call of freshly brewed black coffee is strong. Very strong. I've quit probably a 12 to 20 times - not quite annually -- longest lasting about 3 months. What is increasingly shaping my commitment to quit is 2 things - what my life on coffee has become, and the escalating severeness of the withdrawal symptoms.
                First - life on coffee -- I wish I was that person who could drink 1 or 2 cups forever satisfied, but I'm not. Coffee has diminishing returns for me, such that 1 or 2 cups don't do it, and I want MORE. Some people function perfectly well with coffee. I love it, but I'm not that person. I'm not that guy drinking 14 cups a day, but I easily down a pot a day, and when things get really bad, down a Coke for the afternoon crash. More worrisome, was that I couldn't maintain any kind of energy level to permit exercise -- I just felt burnt out all the time. If I didn't exercise first thing in the morning, I'd be too wiped to do it later. And, I've found that coffee increasingly messes with my blood sugar in a way that I'm constantly starved for bagels, pretzels, chips -- garbage carbs -- especially at night, after dinner. I'm athletic enough, even in middle age, that it hasn't been disastrous for my weight, but it's going that way. Mentally, I enjoy the kick, I don't get panicky or jittery, and I'm productive as hell with work, but I'm not in the moment -- especially with any semblance of will power for food choices.
                Off coffee, I have more consistent energy levels -- consistently even and consistently higher. My mental clarity is more centred, albeit lacking that heightened sharpness caffeine brings. I don't think my production is any different workwise. My appetite, however, is not as rampant, and I make way better food choices -- much more fresh stuff and lower portions all around.
                Re withdrawal. I'm currently on the 5th day coffee-free. I almost always go cold turkey, but have lately needed a trigger -- this time was a solid flu bug that laid me in bed for 2 days. perfect, because the tylenol i was taking for fever dealt with the worst aspects of the headache. and the "blues" or feeling of hopelessness i get when i quit coffee (i.e. life isn't worth living - not in a truly suicidal way, but true blahs) weren't so pronounced -- i was already sick. What's become worse over the last few years is the leg aches -- holy sh!t - I need to medicate or I can't sleep. My legs, primarily hamstrings, glutes, and a bit in the hips, throb with a nervy aching pain that counter-irritants like heat and massage will not alleviate. Tylenol works and that's it. I'd noticed this in past years, but not to the same extent. Last year, when I quit, I thought -- this is really pronounced, and this time, it's off the hook. It's what's convincing me I've got to quite the black liquid of death -- it's obviously wreaking havoc with my nervous system and pain receptors. I feel like I'm quitting junk or something, lying in bed in pain, sweating, unable to sleep. Past experiences usually have this ending magically at the six to eight day mark, but this time it can't come soon enough.
                Anyway, that's my experience - maybe you'll find a bit of yourself in there, maybe not. The reason I've written it is that the process of distilling my experience with something that's basically a benign drug addiction, will convince me, more than anyone, that I should live my life without it. Good bye coffee, I'll miss drinking you, but not what you're doing to me.



                "...but unless you’re giving up caffeine for medical reasons why would you ever want to?"
                1) The source of my caffeine is accompanied by high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, and a barrage of other crap. I get my caffeine from soft drinks, and some neon colored ones that are particularly bad.
                2) When my habit becomes really strong, I schedule my day around getting the next bottle. Sometimes it is because I know I need it to prevent a terrible headache that undoubtedly comes no later than 24 hours after my last consumption. Even if I am not going out any other time during the day, I will go and get some pop somehow. Fountain is the better method, personally.
                3) Thus, the substance controls ME. I do not control what I consume, what I consume has taken control of me. It takes control of my body, and it takes control of my behavior and schedule. Not to mention the effects of every other ingredient other than the caffeine that I am taking in.
                So that is why I want to. Honestly, it is a struggle I have dealt with for a few years, not to mention almost the lifetime beforehand of not giving it much thought. When there is a dealer on every corner and sometimes places in between, it is so easy to get sucked back in. I have tried to withdrawal from soft drinks before (and they are always caffeinated, I only drink 3 flavors/.brands or so.), but somehow I weaken and get back into the habit. I am on my second day of an inadvertent withdrawal (though I planned to start one this week). Solidarity with those of you who have the same struggle.

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                    Chris Lang  Becky 

                    You nailed it Becky - it's true. This has been a subtle thing to me as well. Recognizing that I had to get my fix, and going out in order to get it. I knew it was controlling me. I'm now on day 3 without caffeine. Still headaches, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and a bit of sore muscles. But, hoping and praying this time - I'll never go back.

                    Caffeine addicted 

                    Other Caffeine use symptoms:
                    Gives me lots and lots of unpleasant gas.
                    Dries up my feminine intimacy lubricants.
                    Increases alcohol use.

                    Shannon Ross 

                    Don't give up!! I almost did because I felt so bad, but I feel so much better now. I used to have a diet Coke or Dr.Pepper in my hand all waking hours. I only drank water to brush my teeth. I tried to lose weight but couldn't. Then I read about not only the caffeine being bad for you, but the artificial sweetners fooling your body into retaining the weight. I decided to give it 30 days...ONLY water. After 3 days of continual headaches, nausea, sore joints and absolutely no energy, I almost gave up. When I woke up the 4th morning my headache wasn't as bad and the nausea was gone. I got on the scale and had lost 5 pounds. It's now day 21, the headaches stopped after 5 days and I have lost a total of 12 pounds! I feel so much better and it amazes me that I'm saving so much money (I was paying over $2.00 at lunch and dinner for soft the mid meal drinks). The weight loss really surprised me as well. So if you're going through the first few days right now, stick with's SO worth it in every way! Good Luck


                    I have finally admitted to myself it is an addiction. I can't go two hours without pain without caffine.....time to detox...

                    Jordan Culbreth 

                    theres no possible way i could quit drinkin caffeine i have migraines puke and everything when i dont have it. i have to drink 7 or 8 shots of expresso a day to get by it all stemmed from drinkin diet mountain dew when i worked at a job years ago i drank 2, 2 liters a day. worst mistake i ever made


                    Green iced tea, has just a hint of caffeine and is not as bad for you. You can use 6-8 tea bags per gallon of bottled water. My husband has been addicted to coffee on and off for decades. When he gets up to a pot or two of coffee a day, I mix his coffee with water process decaf, half and half. When he has too much coffee he become very angry, yells, and slams doors. This is not his normal personality. This time it was really bad, so I switched him to 100% decaf, and now he thinks he is sick, yikes. I'm going to add some regular back into his coffee jar. I'm only doing this because I love him so much.


                    i'd add nausea to worst withdrawal symptoms. i can't live without my coffee. today i didn't have to go to work and overslept and missed my normal time of drinking coffee. my head will explode in a second, i find it difficult to drink my large cup of coffee because of the nausea. of course i already took my caffeine pill in order to speed the process of getting rid of the headache and all. i admit i'm extremely addicted, making coffee in right hours is the most important thing in my day, can't live without caffeine pills in my bag. it may sound little stupid cause it's not an illegal substance like most of the drugs, but i feel trapped in my caffeine addiction. and since there is no bad influence on my health from drinking seas of coffee, apart from troubles in keeping my teeth white and ostheoporosis in the future and my rising blood pressure - i can't find any good reason to get rid off it. the only problem is to live to avoid withdrawal. and believe me, i'n not exaggerating ;)
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