An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the DrugAbuse.com Forums?Join or

The Headaches

Discussion in 'Withdrawal Symptoms' started by Joyner, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. Joyner

    Joyner Member

    Has anyone dealt with the headaches of withdrawal from a caffeine addiction? I have a friend who attempted to end her addiction to Coca Cola, cold turkey. The reason is that she drank so much Coca Cola, usually cracking one open first thing in the morning and worked through six packs throughout the day. Especially in our region of the country, people are known for additions to drinking "coke." Eventually, the "coke" began to work its way into the lining of her stomach and caused ulcers. Her doctor basically informed her that it was like pouring down battery acid. Not to mention the wear it was causing the enamel of her teeth. And the caffeine in addition to all the sweet tea she was drinking has been a bit much.

    However, suddenly quitting has caused a new issue in the form of chronic headaches. So much that she can swing from sobbing spontaneous to unable to concentrate at work. Is it possible that your brain becomes so used to caffeine, it needs it to survive? How long does the headache stage last?
  2. eveliner

    eveliner Senior Contributor

    Well, it's not common only to this specific withdrawal, but to almost all of them. I know that chronic headache is common when you're trying to quit anything that you've been addicted to for a long period of time. I know that I was having very serious headache when I tried to quit smoking. Tell your friend he'll be fine. I don't really know how much it would last though... it varies from individual to individual.
    Joyner likes this.
  3. Joyner

    Joyner Member

    Thank you for your reply. I would like to know what causes the headaches. Maybe it's the dependency your brain has had on the substance for so long. It's more than just psychosomatic though - it really is a physical migraine that makes them hard to see light, unable to think, and hard to interact with others. I sincerely hope it gets better for anyone who has to get through this.
  4. MoxNRDA

    MoxNRDA Member

    The symptoms she is experiencing is most likely from caffeine withdrawal. Caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor (it constricts blood vessels) in the brain, and a sudden lack of caffeine intake after chronic use leads to vasodilation (blood vessels getting less constricted), which causes headache.
    Joyner likes this.
  5. Joyner

    Joyner Member

    Wow I appreciate the insight into what actually happens. I wonder if all of that constricted blood vessels is really horrible for your body in general. It doesn't sound too great. Maybe we should focus on making sure not to intake to much caffeine period. And perhaps there is a way to wean off of it slowly so that the headaches are less severe. Thanks again for sharing this info.
  6. jeremy2

    jeremy2 Community Champion

    Caffeine addictions can be very powerful. Headaches are just some of the withdrawal symptoms that you have to live with. It's just a matter of time before they subside and eventually wear off.
  7. danjon

    danjon Senior Contributor

    Your friend might think about reducing her caffeine intake in an incremental fashion, using something other than Cola as a source of caffeine. Maybe brew a strong coffee, then reduce the strength over time, maybe a few weeks, until she's ingesting very little, and this might help in acclimating her body to a caffeine-free state.
  8. Apollo545

    Apollo545 Active Contributor

    Yes, headaches from caffeine withdrawal can be worse than a migraine and I have dealt with them on occasion. The best way to stop this is to wean yourself off of caffeine. Slowly reduce how much you have and be sure to drink plenty of water. Headaches can also be a sign of dehydration which caffeine tends to do to your body.
  9. PingPongCall

    PingPongCall Active Contributor

    To be fair on this topic, you technically get headaches form anything once your body doesn't have it after consuming it for so long. Like soda and cigarettes. It's the worst.
  10. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    Thanks for the tidbit. I have learned something new today. I have asthma and there was a time my mom encouraged me to drink some pop for the caffeine that's in it. I must if have at least 3 one liter pops that day. Never again. My sides felt all weird, maybe I was bloated? But pop addiction is no joke and expensive. 6 cases of pop a day? Just wow.
  11. denise13337

    denise13337 Active Contributor

    Headaches is one of the basic withdrawal symptoms, I would be really concerned if she started getting gittery/shaky hands. If I can make a suggestion has she tried a 'coca cola placebo' I know this because my friend has done it. Try adding some flavour and sugar to carbonated water if it's the carbon she's addicted to it will help with her coke withdrawal symptoms.
  12. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    Ah, I'm struggling with this right now - I drink far too much coffee and have honestly got a dependence on it - if for some reason I don't have the regular amount of cups of coffee I normally do a day, I get massive headaches...

    I think it's one of those situations where it's best to do a gradual decrease rather than just stop completely, which is what I'm trying to do.
  13. Rosyrain

    Rosyrain Community Champion

    I get huge migraine headaches when I am forced to go cold turkey away from caffine and it is horrible. The only thing that remedies the headaches are drinking a cup of coffee or taking migraine medication, which has caffine in it. I do not think people should stop drinking coffee cold turkey, but should gradually cut back on the cups you drink per day. I have been known to put down a couple of pots when I am super sleepy. You could try reducing your intake down by half and then go from there as your body adjusts.
  14. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    Sadly there is not much you can do when trying to quit this kind of addictions cold turkey. My mom's aunt died as a result of long term coca cola consumption... she drank that stuff daily instead of water. So naturally she ended up damaging her kidneys. She lived really long considering the damage though, but I never lose the chance to tell this story, so people are more aware of how harmful coca cola is.