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Symptoms Of Caffeine Withdrawal

Caffeine can be described as a stimulant or even a drug that is present in many beverages and even some forms of processed food. Like any other drug, caffeine can be very addictive. In fact, people who consume high amounts of caffeine every day, in the form of coffee, cola, bitter chocolate or even tea, do not realize that they are addicted to the substance, until the time that they do not get the daily dose that they are used to. The extent of addiction becomes evident when they go through the withdrawal symptoms that are normally associated with drugs. Caffeine withdrawal is not necessarily dangerous or serious.
However, it can lead to some symptoms that are very unpleasant. Some of the most common symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are:
  • Depression and irritability: Caffeine withdrawal depression and irritability are quite common if you do not get the required amount of caffeine for a while, which is a few days. Ironically, while caffeine addiction can lead to severe depression, caffeine withdrawal can worsen the condition, and you may appear to be more depressed and irritable than normal.
  • Fatigue or tiredness: The lack of a stimulant that you are used to, may definitely lead to tiredness or fatigue.
  • Headache: This is one of the worse symptoms of caffeine withdrawal that can also cause of lot of pain and discomfort. They could occur if you sleep in late, causing you to miss your regular morning coffee. Unfortunately, most people treat a caffeine withdrawal headache by drinking some tea of coffee, i.e., having some more caffeine. However, if you are trying to quit caffeine, this solution may be far from helpful, as it only prolongs the problem. If ignored, these headaches go away on their own, Alternate means of curing a caffeine withdrawal headache should be explored and adopted.
  • Loss of concentration: The lack of caffeine can affect your ability to focus on matters, to make decisions and to concentrate on things. A person suffering from caffeine withdrawal also tends to get distracted very easily.
  • Nausea: Caffeine withdrawal nausea is usually experienced by people who have a very high level of dependence on caffeine. The nausea can be severe enough to lead to vomiting too. Fortunately, this symptom is not very common in most caffeine addicts.

Caffeine withdrawal usually becomes prominent anywhere between eight to twelve hours after your last dose of caffeine and it normally reaches its peak anywhere between 24 to 48 hours. In fact for some people, caffeine withdrawal symptoms could last for about a week, based upon a person’s level of dependence on it.

Treatment For Caffeine Withdrawal

  • Caffeine withdrawal treatment can involve the use of simple remedies that are aimed mainly at reducing and controlling the symptoms. The trick is to be able to control the amount of caffeine you ingest in the long run, as a low to moderate consumption will prevent caffeine dependency. There are a number of ways that the withdrawal symptoms can be lessened.
  • Over-the-counter medicines can be used to alleviate caffeine withdrawal headaches. Other remedies like taking a nap, having a cup of peppermint tea, drinking a lot of water or getting a massage may help in getting rid of a withdrawal headache.
  • In order to reduce severe withdrawal symptoms, you could try taking the gradual approach. Don’t make a direct switch from caffeinated drinks to the decaf ones. Instead, begin by cutting down a quarter of your caffeine intake and replace it with decaffeinated products for a few days. Slowly, increase the portion of decaffeinated beverages and decrease the amount of the caffeinated ones. Adopting the slow method should reduce the number and severity of caffeine withdrawal symptoms you experience, making it easier for you to deal with them.
  • Set up a routine and stick to it, so that your body, which is already trying to adapt to the lack of caffeine, does not have to get used to any more changes.
  • Getting over any addiction is not easy and it requires a lot of patience and determination to stick to your resolve.
Submitted on January 16, 2014