Diet Coke Withdrawal

Diet Coke withdrawal refers to the symptoms associated with caffeine dependency from the consumption of Diet Coke. A no-calorie drink such as Diet Coke contains more caffeine than regular Coke to make up for lack of sugar content. Regular Coke contains 35 mg per 12 oz serving while Diet Coke contains 47 mg per serving. While caffeine withdrawal is not as severe as withdrawal from other drugs or alcohol, it can create problems.

Diet coke with straw and ice (Image: Siraphol/iStock/Getty Images)

Caffeine Addiction

Caffeine dependence occurs when your body needs caffeine to perform normal daily tasks. While this dependency is not an official addiction recognized by medical and psychiatric authorities, it is documented as to how caffeine dependency works. The brain uses neurotransmitters to direct information through chemical reactions. The neurotransmitter works like a puzzle, requiring the right postsynaptic neuron receptor shape to catch the transmitter. In dependency and addiction, an introduced chemical mimics a neurotransmitter. In the case of Diet Coke, caffeine mimic adenosine. With long-term use of caffeine, the body stops producing adenosine, which is required for metabolic function of most everything the human body does. Remove caffeine and it will take time for the body to replenish natural adenosine resources.

How Much Diet Coke

One Diet Coke per day is not likely to create a long-term dependency. It takes approximately 100 mg of caffeine daily to start experiencing caffeine withdrawals. Assuming your only source of caffeine is Diet Coke, it would take approximately two drinks per day to become susceptible to withdrawal. For those who drink super-sized drinks from a fast-food restaurant or convenience store with more than 32 oz. of soda per serving, caffeine dependency is likely. Of course, each person's body responds to chemicals differently.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Symptoms of Diet Coke withdrawal often include drowsiness with a headache and fatigue. A person might have trouble concentrating at work or school and become depressed, irritable or anxious. In extreme withdrawal cases, a person might experience flu-like symptoms including vomiting, muscle aches and chills. If an impairment of psychomotor or cognitive abilities is extreme, medical attention should be sought. Withdrawal may range from two days to a week.

Reducing Diet Coke Without Withdrawals

Caffeine withdrawal can occur simply because a person forgot or were otherwise unable to grab the midday Diet Coke. Within hours, a headache may accompany a sluggish afternoon. This is easily remedied by consuming a Diet Coke or other caffeine source. For someone trying to stop soda consumption, withdrawal requires a plan of attack to minimize affects on daily activities. Reduce caffeine consumption slowly, perhaps by reducing one Diet Coke per day for one to two weeks. A slow reduction allows your body to adjust to the chemical imbalance. Plan on reducing or eliminating Diet Coke during periods in which you don't have a lot of responsibilities or activities. Weekends or vacation give you the time to get extra sleep and deal with the effects of withdrawal.

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