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How Long Does it Take for Caffeine Withdrawal?

by
author image Brenda Barron
Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.
How Long Does it Take for Caffeine Withdrawal?
How Long Does it Take for Caffeine Withdrawal? Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

What Caffeine Does to the Body

Caffeine affects the body in a variety of ways. It stimulates the central nervous system, improves mood and creates feelings of alertness, reduced fatigue, boosted endurance and mental activity. It speeds up the heart and constricts the blood vessels. Gastric upset is also common if you consume a lot of caffeine, especially in the form of coffee. Over 100 mg a day is considered a lot and can contribute to insomnia, agitation, headaches and tremors.

Understanding Caffeine Dependance and Addiction

It's fairly easy to become dependent on caffeine. Dependence is basically a very mild addiction to caffeine. This consists of three specific attributes, including developing a tolerance to the substance, a need to intake more to feel the same effects and suffering from withdrawal symptoms when you quit using it. Many people remain dependent on caffeine because it often acts as a cure to its own withdrawal symptoms.

The Withdrawal Process

If you quit taking caffeine cold turkey (without slowly reducing how much you ingest), you'll likely suffer from withdrawal symptoms. The most common symptom of withdrawal is a very bad headache. In fact, these very intense headaches can feel similar to a migraine. This initial headache can last up to 48 hours. Other withdrawal symptoms can last up to a week; these include fatigue, malaise, lethargy, irritability, anxiety, nervousness and tremors.

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