Dr. Mom explores signs of coffee withdrawal
Dr. Mom explores signs of coffee withdrawal

Generally speaking, caffeine consumption is safe and has some health benefits provided it is consumed in moderation.  But because coffee is a psychoactive drug, the brain can develop a tolerance and physiological dependence in some people who use large amounts.  There are signs of coffee withdrawal that your body may go through if stop drinking coffee, after you have been consuming large amounts of caffeine for a long period.

Current medical evidence does support that coffee withdrawal (caffeine withdrawal) symptoms can occur when stopping the use of caffeine after heavy and prolonged use.

Cutting back, or stopping caffeine after prolonged caffeine use can result in some unpleasant symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.  Have you ever experienced a bout of irritability, headaches, or difficulty concentrating and knowing you just NEED that cup of coffee to pick you up???  This may be a sign that you are in coffee withdrawal. 

What are the symptoms of coffee withdrawal?

The onset of caffeine withdrawal usually occurs within 12-24 hours of your last cup of coffee.  Headache is the most common symptom of coffee withdrawal, but other symptoms to look out for include:

  1. Headache.
  2. Marked fatigue or drowsiness, decrease in energy
  3. Dysphoric mood, or depressed mood
  4. Irritability.
  5. Difficulty concentrating.
  6. Flu-like symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or muscle pain/stiffness).

The severity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on the amount of caffeine you have been using, as well as the abruptness by which you stop drinking coffee. 

If you are looking to cut back, or stop using caffeine, a slow reduction of coffee intake over 1-2 weeks may make the process more bearable. 

Thinking of cutting back your coffee intake?

50% of chronic caffeine users will experience symptoms of caffeine withdrawal if they stop.  If you are a heavy coffee drinking, it may be more helpful to reduce your coffee intake gradually, over time.  Gradual reduction will help ease the symptoms of coffee withdrawal (caffeine withdrawal). 


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