Coping with caffeine withdrawal?

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Gradually reducing caffeine intake can ease withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, irritability, and muscle tension. Psychological aspects, such as missing daily routines, can also cause heartache and depression, but switching to decaf drinks and distracting oneself can help. Symptoms usually last for a week or two.

The first week is usually the hardest for people experiencing caffeine withdrawal. For this reason, you might try gradually cutting back on caffeine until your body adjusts, rather than eliminating it from your diet all at once. Headache is the most common symptom, which can usually be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. You may also want to get some extra sleep during this time, which can help with feelings of grogginess and irritability.

Caffeine is an addictive substance. As such, caffeine withdrawal symptoms can occur when it is abruptly stopped. Gradually tapering off the stimulant can make symptoms easier to manage. If you’re a coffee drinker, this can be accomplished by mixing caffeinated coffee with the decaf variety for a few days, so your body gets used to the smaller dose. So, you can try switching exclusively to decaffeinated drinks or eliminating them altogether.

If gradually decreasing your caffeine intake isn’t possible, or isn’t desirable, your caffeine withdrawal symptoms will likely be more troublesome at first. Headache is the most common complaint, especially in the first two days. In addition to pain relievers, you may want to try getting a massage or spending time in a hot tub to relax sore muscles and ease the tension caused by withdrawal.

While many caffeine withdrawal symptoms are physical, there are psychological aspects as well. For example, many people wake up in the morning and head straight to the coffee pot to enjoy their first drink of the day. Skipping this activity can cause heartache when these people make the decision to cut caffeine out of their diet.

In addition to drinking coffee, consuming hot tea or soda can be part of a daily routine that many people look forward to in the morning and throughout the day. Suddenly giving up this part of the ritual can produce surprising psychological effects, such as depression. To deal with this problem, you can switch to decaf drinks so you don’t feel deprived of your favorite drink. If you find yourself thinking about missing caffeine, try distracting yourself with pleasurable activities. While it can be difficult to focus your attention elsewhere, rest assured that caffeine withdrawal symptoms usually don’t last more than a week or two.

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