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Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms: How to Reduce Them?

Regular coffee drinkers may develop symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. This is because the body becomes dependent on caffeine.

Removing it from the diet can trigger withdrawal symptoms that start 12 to 24 hours after the last caffeine intake and can last two to nine days.

Caffeine withdrawal is a known medical condition and can affect anyone who consumes caffeine regularly.

However, caffeine acts as a stimulant drug, affecting neural activity in the brain and increasing alertness while decreasing fatigue.

In this article, you will learn about caffeine withdrawal symptoms and how to reduce them.

Caffeine Withdrawal Headache

A headache is a common caffeine withdrawal symptom. The caffeine in coffee can affect the brain depending on how often you use it.

With occasional use, it may relieve headaches and increase alertness. However, daily use of caffeine can cause a narrowing of blood vessels in the brain, slowing blood flow.

Decreasing or stopping caffeine intake enables blood vessels to open and improves blood flow to the brain. This sudden shift in blood flow can lead to painful headaches (1, 2).

How long do caffeine withdrawal headaches last? Withdrawal may differ in duration and severity as the brain adapts to an increase in blood flow.

Most people suffer headaches after 12–24 hours of reducing or eliminating caffeine, with the most severe symptoms occurring between 16 and 51 hours.

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms might last anywhere from 2 to 9 days (3).

Difficulty Focusing

Caffeine is the world’s most popular stimulant drug, commonly used for increasing focus and concentration.

People who do not receive their regular dose of caffeine may experience difficulty in concentrating.

However, caffeine affects the adrenal glands by producing the adrenaline hormone as part of the normal stress response of the body.

In addition, it boosts the activity of dopamine and norepinephrine, stimulating neurotransmitters in the brain.

These responses can increase blood pressure and stimulate the brain, resulting in enhanced alertness and better concentration (4, 5, 6).

Fatigue

Caffeine boosts energy and decreases fatigue by blocking adenosine receptors, a neurotransmitter that can make you feel tired.

Cutting it from your diet can cause fatigue, which is defined as low energy and the inability to perform common tasks.

This is because caffeine is addictive and fits so well into your brain’s adenosine receptors. How long does caffeine withdrawal fatigue last?

Caffeine withdrawal fatigue can occur after 16 hours of discontinuing its use and can last up to nine days.

Some people who highly depend on caffeine may experience fatigue after six hours of abstaining from caffeine.

The stimulating effects of caffeine can last for four to six hours (7, 8, 9).

Anxiety

The effects of caffeine on anxiety are complex and can affect every individual differently.

For instance, high doses of caffeine can trigger anxiety by increasing heart rate and blood pressure, but cutting it out of your diet can also cause withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety.

This is because of the drastic change in hormone production, such as cortisol and epinephrine, which affect the brain’s chemistry (10, 11).

Depressed Mood

Caffeine can block adenosine and increase alertness and mood improvements. Adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that serves as a central nervous system depressant.

Under normal circumstances, it promotes sleep and decreases alertness. If you drink caffeinated beverages daily, quitting them can induce a depressed mood until your body adjusts.

One study in individuals who consumed caffeine discovered that consuming 0.68 mg per pound (1.5 mg per kg) of body weight resulted in a more positive mood compared to the placebo.

In addition, many studies have associated frequent consumption of caffeine with a decreased risk of depression (12, 13, 14).

How to reduce caffeine withdrawal symptoms?

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms should last only two to nine days. The maximum withdrawal symptoms can occur within 16–51 hours after cutting it out of your diet.

Although these symptoms are temporary, they can be uncomfortable and may make life hard. Fortunately, there are a few ways to decrease these unpleasant side effects.

Try the following tips to decrease or prevent caffeine withdrawal symptoms:

  • take pain killers
  • reduce caffeinated drinks
  • drink plenty of water
  • eat nutritious food
  • get plenty of rest
  • naturally, boost energy
  • perform exercise,

Conclusion

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms can occur in anyone who consumes caffeine daily and then discontinues its use.

Headache, poor concentration, depressed mood, low energy, and anxiety are common symptoms that might last two to nine days.

By reducing your caffeine consumption, staying hydrated, getting plenty of sleep, and boosting your energy, you can easily prevent caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

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