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Cold Turkey, continued

Hi! I'm Reinder Dijkhuis, and I'm a cafeinist. I'm trying to quit, but I fell off the wagon a few times during the weekend. I've been dry since Sunday evening though.

Seriously, my aim isn't to quit drinking coffee altogether, but rather to be able to do without it on most days, so I'm not that bothered by having a cup during Saturday's cycling or on social occasions. However, it does slow down the withdrawal process, so now I've got less severe withdrawal symptoms, but they last longer. I'm able to work, though, and in fact I'm producing comics at my prior rate of one a day again.

I've been reading up on caffeine withdrawal at the FAQs.org caffeine FAQ, which I really should have done before quitting. They recommend a slow cutdown, and warn that withdrawal symptoms can get quite nasty if you quit cold turkey:

Regular caffeine consumption reduces sensitivity to caffeine. When caffeine intake is reduced, the body becomes oversensitive to adenosine. In response to this oversensitiveness, blood pressure drops dramatically, causing an excess of blood in the head (though not necessarily on the brain), leading to a headache.

This headache, well known among coffee drinkers, usually lasts from
one to five days, and can be alleviated with analgesics such as
aspirin. It is also alleviated with caffeine intake (in fact several
analgesics contain caffeine dosages).

Often, people who are reducing caffeine intake report being irritable,
unable to work, nervous, restless, and feeling sleepy, as well as
having a headache. In extreme cases, nausea and vomiting has also been

...I must be an extreme case. But as the worst of it was behind me by the time I read this, I've for the most part stayed the course. I am also allowing myself more sleep and I'm exercising more, as recommended in the FAQ. I'm still somewhat restless and sleepy, but my concentration is better than it used to be during the off-peak moments of the day's caffeine cycle (say, two hours after the morning's last cup).

I miss the smell of it in the morning, and the ritual of making it with my breakfast. I don't miss getting woozy at noon at all.

At the studio, Jeroen and Danja countered my assertion that the first day symptoms were worse than quitting smoking. I never knew that that caused headaches too.

In fact, what the first day reminded me of most was a really bad alcohol hangover, including the heavyness in the muscles and the dry mouth. But then I'd never had an alcohol hangover that wasn't compounded by caffeine withdrawal, because sleeping it off always resulted in me not getting my morning dose in time. Not that I ever intend to have a serious booze hangover again either, mind.

Comments (5)

Good luck in the ongoing battle! :)

Thanks. I think it's all uphill from here, though.


"Not that I ever intend to have a serious booze hangover again either, mind."

You're not serious are you? Tell me you're not?


Way to go Reinder. I've been off caffeine for about six months and I can tell you it gets easier... eventually.

cmkaapjes: Hush, I've got to set a good example as a public personality.


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