8 month recovery

Carmen, Caffeine Withdrawal-The Truth (Facebook)

"I have always been an avid caffeine drinker. Coffee, pre-workout and some soda was part of my daily life. After my youngest was born, I would drink a Venti Vanilla Latte with an add shot from Starbucks. I was then introduced to a drink that would be my go to for the next five years, four shots of espresso over ice in a Grande cup. I stopped in 2017 after a caffeine overdose. Here is my timeline with symptoms and when they say it takes 7-14 days to withdraw, it a LIE.


1-5 weeks: I woke up with anxiety that lasted all day long. Insomnia, it literally felt like I had drank 4 shots all day long as I was not tired at all. Heart palpitation every morning when waking up, felt like I was having a heart attack. No appetite, I lost 20 pounds since I did not want to eat at all. Constipation, maybe because I was not eating but I could not go #2 at all. Dizziness when standing up. Headaches were not too severe but they came and went. Depression was mild. Within this time frame I felt like I was dying and that this was going to be the new me for the rest of my life. I developed agoraphobia since I feared having another panic attack. I researched and googled every hour of the day. It was not until my Husband told me that I must be going through withdrawals since I had not drank coffee nor alcohol since that day. Three weeks in I stumbled across caffeine informer and the withdrawal symptoms. . . scrolled to the bottom and was mind blown when I seen all the comments. I WAS NOT ALONE. 
6th week is where the insomnia and heart palpitations went away but the anxiety still very present. Brain fog and depersonalization were now present. 
7-11 weeks: Anxiety still present every morning and depression became worse. I had low mood and no motivation to do anything.
12-14 weeks: Anxiety had gone away the last 10-11 weeks but then came back with a vengeance which made my depression worse. Everything scared me and I just wanted to die. I am being 100% honest because I want the world to know the effects this had on not only myself but others as well. In consuming caffeine we raise our dopamine levels. Once raised on a daily basis it becomes damaged and when you stop 'using' they drop, which leads to major depression. This is something that is never talked about. 

In all honesty, about the 8th month is when I felt myself again with no symptoms creeping back up.

This by far has been the hardest battle of my life. Caffeine is a DRUG. A legal one.

12-18 month recovery

Anonymous, Reddit.com (edited for clarity in brackets)

"[Age] 38, drank for maybe 10 years? Several monsters and caffeine tablets a day. Honestly [recovery took] like 12-18 months. It started to get a lot easier at 6-9 months. It sucked because I’d still get days as bad as the beginning even after the year mark. I educated myself on PAWS and spoke to many people that assured me that I would be fine providing that I didn’t turn to another drug. I experienced the same physical symptoms and mental symptoms as somebody coming off illegal stimulants. I’m glad I chose to ignore the people on this forum who said that I must have had underlying issues. Never had depression before this incident. And now I’m probably happier on a whole than anyone I know."

Full recovery at 15 months

LT,

Caffeine Informer.com Comments

"Hang in there everyone! I’m in month 15 of being caffeine free and am finally back to my normal self. Actually I am much better than I have ever been. I have clean energy now. I used to always get tired throughout the day and feel like I needed a nap, but instead I just drank more caffeine. I also needed 8 hours of sleep each night to feel like I was rested at all. Now I am awake and alert, at my best the whole day. I don’t require nearly as much sleep and wake up really easily. I will say in addition to giving up caffeine I really started becoming more intentional about what I ate and drank and increased my exercise routines. I pretty much only drink water now and avoid anything with caffeine-sodas, tea, chocolate-nothing. It has been an extremely challenging year. I’ve had most of the symptoms everyone has discussed, anxiety attacks, brain fog, severe depressive/catastrophic type thoughts, elevated blood pressure, blurred vision, heart palpitations, etc. and they came in waves. Things were noticeably better after month 6 but the symptoms still came and went until I hit the 12-13 month mark. Incredible to think that something most people consume on a daily basis could affect our bodies like this but it certainly does. At least for a certain percentage of us. . . So you are not alone, what you are feeling is not abnormal when it comes to caffeine withdrawal. Stay the course, it will be worth it!"

Improvment continuing at 1 year

LT,

Caffeine Informer.com Comments

"It got better and better every month. . . month 10 and 11 did start to get easier, but I still had some setbacks and that would mess with your head mentally thinking there was something seriously wrong or I was never getting over this. But the symptoms continued to lessen and this 12 month they have been very minor if nothing at all. But I don’t think there really is an exact timetable."

Feeling great at 2 years

Nathan,

Caffeine Informer.com Comments (edited for brevity)

"It took me around 14-15 months to be free of caffeine. I'm 2 years free of it now. I feel great. The improvements that I noticed after that point didn't stop though, but I just felt so normal I just got on with life. My advice is to people once you're 'in the clear' just get on with your life. . . Like I said once you get to about 14 months, you'll be just fine. Most of the people that quit the same time as me haven't returned since they got to about 12 months. I think that says a lot."

Improving at 20 months

Arthur,

Caffeine Informer.com Comments

"Once you get to 20 months you are completely in the clear. I'm at 2 years ;) things are gonna be wonderful trust me. Better than you could have imagined. I feel better now than I did before this started. I wake up happy every day and feel normal. . . By month 18 I was generally feeling pretty well and normal and by month 22 I was exactly back to myself and even better than before. Everything got A LOT easier at months 12-14. And yes I get ZERO dizziness now."

Back to my old self!

Shareen,

Caffeine Informer.com Comments

"I am back after being 1 year and a half caffeine free~! I still see some people here that I've been with this journey. This year for me is also a year of healing. To be honest, if there is a great advice from me is to ignore the symptoms if you're experiencing anxieties. Mine triggered a panic attack because of all the pain that I experienced (headache, reflux, brain fog etc). I can say that I am living my life happily! I am back to my old self. I can travel and enjoy life. I gained a new hobby as well. I am not meditating and it also helped me. I drink teas nowadays, citron teas, warm milk. I do eat chocolate and I still get headaches from those! Just be patient and you'll get there. Step by step, day by day. Once you're okay, you'll def say that I am right and it does get better :)"

Please don’t let people tell you that you have some kind of disorder.

Malcolm, Reddit.com/decaf (full link below)

"Despite being fine (actually pretty amazing) for a while now it still angers me when I see people tell others that the thing they were addicted to was masking/hiding some kind of mental condition. It can be incredibly discouraging. If you quit caffeine and you have waves of symptoms that go and reappear over weeks/months please, please understand that this is your body trying to regain homeostasis. I’m now over 2 years and suffered for 12-18 months before feeling normal again. I even noticed benefits after that point in regards to things like enjoyment and certain emotions coming back. In fact I think I still see improvements gradually now. During my experience I reached out and spoke with over a thousand people consisting drug addicts, endocrinologists, neuropharmacologists etc, from all over the world. On skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, forums. The first 18 months is absolutely crucial when quitting an addictive substance. The body has a remarkable ability to heal and balance itself out again. . . That is because, given enough time, the body and mind return to its factory settings. . . Time will heal you."

2.5 months to feel good again

Comment (anonymous) from Quitting Caffeine Facebook Group

"Took me 2.5 months the first time I quit to feel good again. I read it can take 3 months for dopamine levels to normalize again. I also thought something in my brain was broken. But at 2.5 month it was like a switch was turned and I felt amazing. At first for a short while, then longer and longer until I felt great and energetically stable all day long. There were small glimpses of feeling good. Short moments where I suddenly good again. Such a relief. Then those moments will become more frequent and longer lasting. It's really weird, I guess it's the hormones balancing again. I read about many others with the same sort of experience."

1 year 2 months to feel normal

Comment from Cato's video, Youtube

"It took about a 1 yr 2 months to feel like my normal self again, this was truly a scary experience I can only imagine what someone with a heavy drug addiction goes thru, if your going through it, remind yourself it’s a process your body must go, you’ll come around."

Experience from other drug use

Comment from CaffeineInformer.com

"I have prior experience with hard drugs and by the time I had got to 2 years not only had my depression and anxiety basically 100% gone, I felt amazing and reborn. I am following a similar path with caffeine and expect it to take the same amount of time. It also took me 2 years when I quit cigarettes with VERY similar symptoms. Time is a healer."

Comparison to heroin withdrawal

Comment from CaffeineInformer.com

"I went through heroin withdrawal and had lingering symptoms for just under 2 years and so did several of my friends. . . dopamine secretions normally take 18-24 to completely recover and behave normally. I'm 21 months caffeine free and I can't remember the last time I felt this good. Probably ever."

9-12 months

Comment from Quitting Caffeine Facebook Group

"I honestly thought I was dying for 9 months then it was about another 3 months before I stopped feeling any withdrawal symptoms. It was the worst year of my life but I'm glad I did it. I've been caffeine free for nearly 5 years now. I never want to go through that again."

Recovery in 5 months

From Caffeine Symptoms.com (unfortunately the site is no longer live but archive link attached here)

1.5 years to recover

From Reddit/decaf

Time will heal you

From Reddit/decaf

150 days caffeine free

From Reddit/decaf

6 months without coffee

From Reddit/decaf

365 days caffeine free

From Reddit/decaf

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