Long time readers of my blog know that I have a love/hate relationship with coffee. Once every couple years I would cut out coffee for several months just to have it slowly creep back into my life again (this is what happens when you have another coffee drinker in the house).
My dependence on caffeine was at its worst recently, peaking at 3 cups of coffee per day, from lack of sleep and caring for a 14 month old. For the last 6 weeks, I’ve actively started my plan to reduce my dependence on coffee. My caffeine reduction plan is a slow process that minimizes my caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
This post is a discussion on caffeine withdrawal symptoms and the amount of caffeine in other drinks if you are looking for a coffee substitution. Tomorrow’s post would be a detail discussion of my caffeine reduction plan.
What are the caffeine withdrawal symptoms?
Non-coffee drinkers sometimes do not understand the physical pain that coffee drinkers experience when they stop drinking coffee. If you drink several cans of Coke a day, you might be just as addicted to caffeine (you just get your caffeine from another source).
The more caffeine you drink, the more you become accustomed to it. And the harder it becomes to give up caffeine.
Depending on your personal caffeine tolerance, you might start to get shaky and sleepless with one cup of coffee (this was my reaction when I was initially started drinking coffee in college) or it might take you three cups to have the same reaction (where I am currently at after 10 years of on and off coffee drinking).
But no matter where you are at in the caffeine tolerance scale, common caffeine withdrawal symptoms include: headaches; sleepiness; a mental fog, which could cling all day; and irritability. For me, dealing with the caffeine withdrawal headache is the worst.
You can find out more about the long term impact of caffeine here.
How long do the caffeine withdrawal symptoms last?
Over the years of my multiple on and off relationship with coffee, I realize that the duration of your caffeine withdrawal symptoms depends on how long you have been drinking coffee and how much you are currently drinking.
When I was only drinking one cup of coffee a day, I replaced my coffee with several cups of tea and suffered the caffeine withdrawal headache for about 2 weeks. The other caffeine withdrawal symptoms usually disappeared a couple weeks later. By the end of the month, I no longer needed any caffeine to jumpstart my morning.
Now that I am at 3 cups of coffee a day, I suspect that it would take a good 2 months to get rid of my coffee addiction. I am 6 weeks into my caffeine reduction plan and I still suffer from mild withdrawal symptoms.
I have friends who are regular tea drinkers who also suffer from caffeine headaches when they forgo their tea. And tea barely even register in the caffeinated drinks Richter scale. In my opinion, caffeine is an addictive substance, especially in an society such as ours that believe sleep is a luxury.
Amount of caffeine in coffee and tea
Before you can create your own caffeine withdrawal treatment plan, it is important to understand the amount of caffeine found in various drinks.
Here are the approximate amounts of caffeine in various 8 ounce drinks:
Dripped coffee – 150 mg of caffeine
Instant coffee – 60 mg of caffeine
Black Tea – 50 mg of caffeine
Green Tea – 25 mg of caffeine
White Tea – 15 mg of caffeine
Soda (coke, 3/4 of can) – 23 mg of caffeine
Energy drink (Rockstar, 1/2 a can) – 80 mg of caffeine
If you are interested in the caffeine content in other drinks, you can check out the database at Caffeine Fiend.
As clearly illustrated, one 8 ounce cup of brewed coffee has more than double or even triple the caffeine content of these other caffeinated drinks.
At 3 cups per day, I am drinking 450 mg of caffeine! No wonderful my caffeine withdrawal headaches are more severe when I reduced my coffee this time.
Tomorrow is a detail post of my caffeine reduction plan. Stick around to read about how I went from 3 cups of coffee to 1 cup of coffee with minimal caffeine withdrawal headaches.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health. If you like what you are reading, please share this with your friends.
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