Caffiene Addiction

Does anyone know how addictive caffiene is in relation to other substances (nicotine, alcohol, drugs, Krispy Kreme’s)?

What are the withdrawal symptoms of caffiene and how long do they last?

I currently drink a 44oz diet coke, a 12 oz coffee, and a 44oz tea each day and I’m considering stopping cold turkey. I’m just trying to gauge how terrible it will be and for how long.



My answer comes only from personal experience and not from any scientific research I’m aware of, but maybe this will be helpful.

I’ve quit caffiene cold turkey twice. The first time I avoided it for a year before getting hooked again. The second time I quit was the last and I’m still not drinking caffiene as of now (three years). Both times I did it over a weekend. I was in the habit of drinking 6-8 20 oz. Cokes a day, plus tea and anything else I could get, so it was a pretty strong habit. When I quit, I stopped Friday afternoon. Saturday was bad with pretty strong headache and craving for a Coke. I avoided headache medication because I think a lot of them contain caffiene as well. Sunday still not feeling very well, but better than Saturday. Monday I felt physically better, but still wished I had a Coke to drink. It gets easier and easier from there.

I’m really glad I made the effort. I’ve been much healthier since I did it. Good luck and I hope this helps a little.


I drink about 5 - 6 cups of coffee and a couple sodas every day. The few times I’ve gone without for any length of time I get the most horrible headaches, feel utterly groggy, and the dehydration starts to kick in.

The best thing you can do is to drink lots and lots of water – it eases the headaches and rehydrates you.

People are so different.
Many people report headaches.
I feel really lousy and sleepy for two weeks.

I cannot quit cold turkey. I did succeed by keeping a small chart, and reducing the amount of caffeine I was taking gradually over two months. Otherwise, I cannot STAND the withdrawal of cold turkey.

Good luck.

I quit cold turkey. Worst headache of my life for an entire week. Afterward, felt great, and haven’t gone back. If you already suffer from headaches or blood pressure problems, you might wanna see a doc.


I am physically addicted to caffeine. It’s really stupid, because I get nothing at all (as far as I can tell) out of drinking caffeinated as opposed to non-cafffeinated beverages, but I managed to get myself addicted somehow and there it is. My symptom is a massive, crippling headache after about 48 hours without caffeine.

For a couple of years I tried doing without, which worked most of the time but would occasionally result in a crippling headache about 48 hours after having a cup of what was supposed to be decaf in a restaurant.

My current solution (which I got from my brother-in-law, who has the same problem) is to have one cup of caffeinated coffee each morning and then switching to decaf.

I’ve been addicted off and on since high school, and have quit a few times just to keep myself from getting too dependent.

Different people react differently. With some people, it takes a serious daily habit a long time to get them actually addicted. With some people all it takes is a soda a day for a coupla weeks. Some people have really bad withdrawal, some people don’t.

I always stop cold turkey when I quit, but I’ve learned to go to my doc first for some painkillers. The first time I quit, during high school, the withdrawal headaches made me so tense that I was getting tension headaches as well, and the two combined for the worst head pain I’d ever had (or ever would have, until I discovered migraines). Ended up on Fiorinal, which does have caffeine but less than I had been drinking.

Let me tell you, it’s no easy thing to go without caffeine for several months when you work at Starbucks and get the stuff for free.

Holy crap, I know people who do it but I still find it hard to believe someone can drink that much soda/coffee/tea in one day, every day!

Anyway, try to measure how bad it feels to have a headache for one week vs. the crippling pain of kidney stones or chronic urinary tract infections. Drinking a gallon of Coke (6-8 20 oz.) AND tea, etc., or 100 oz. combined Coke, coffee, and tea a day is just about the surest way I know to develop debilitating urinary issues. I know lots of people who drink half that amount and still have chronic UTI’s and/or kidney stones. It’s NOT worth it–when you’ve seen a 250+ lb. manual laborer (tough guy) curled up on the floor crying like a baby from kidney stones, or have to drive a friend somewhere and she has to stop to pee every 3 minutes, no exaggeration, you’re likely to be inspired to drink more water.

I was hooked for years, then I quit cold turkey and had no problems at all. No headaches, no cravings, etc.

Do you have a cite for a link between Coke and kidney stones?

I ingest about 6 mg of caffeine per kg of body mass per day. I have quit “cold turkey” on two occassions, in order to answer this very question. My side effects were very mild headaches for about 48 hours. As always, though, I continued to drink a lot of fluids.

I tried to ask about caffeine and kidney stones in a previous thread. No good evidence came up either way, IMO, but all of the circumstantial evidence pointed to there being no link.

The times that I’ve stopped drinking coffee suddenly, I’ve had the same basic symptom everyone else has - very bad, nausea-inducing headaches for a few days.

However, if I wanted to stop drinking coffee, I wouldn’t even try to quit cold turkey. I don’t find it at all difficult to cut back a little slower - X cups for 2-4 days, X-1 cups for the next 2-4 days, and so on, down to 1 cup, half cup, then no cups. I’ve done this before with no withdrawal symptoms or side effects whatsoever. (But I actually like coffee, not just for the caffiene, so I always end up drinking it again.)

festivus’ eclectic mix of beverages might make the metering a little trickier, but I bet gradually reducing the portions of tea and cola wouldn’t be too hard.

As a person that is allergic to caffine, let me teel you that there are more things that have caffine in them then just sodas, tea, coffee and the like. Most people don’t realize that tomatoes that a source of caffine as does chocolate.
I used to drink several quad-shots lottees a day and soda and the such. Now a days even if i look at a cup of coffee I will start having breathing problems.
My with drawls were the same as everyone elses; headache, groggy, mood swings from hell, etc…
Best of luck and just remember that it is trickier then you would think to cut it out completely.

I will be glad to smack upside the head anyone who tries to argue whether or not soft drinks contain sugar. . .

Which brings us to

(bolding mine)

Urine should ideally be light in color (almost clear, somewhat yellowish), and not foul or sweet in odor. After drinking a gallon of soda a day, I find it hard to believe (no cite, but from personal experience in drinking varying amounts of different liquids throughout my lifetime) that the urine would be anything but dark and possessive of a rather noticeable odor. . .you can’t possibly think that’s healthy for your body, can you?

troub, that’s all fine, that caffeine and sugar are bad for your urinary system, but many propose that the water that’s in caffeinated beverages does more good than the caffeine does harm. GNC says:

The problem with soft drinks, coffee, tea, etc. is not necessarily the caffeine. People seem to think that all soda is is caffeine and water. There is a LOT of sugar in soft drinks especially (coffee and tea vary according to taste of course). Not only the sugar, but your body has to filter out everything else–colorings, phosphates, everything you see on the label besides water.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my soda (and beer, and coffee, and anything else), but a gallon a day is unquestionably unhealthy. One of the articles I linked to above actually says the average is about 1.5 12-ounce cans a day, with the *most avid consumers of all * (12-29 y.o. males) drinking 2.5 12-ounce cans a day. My consumption generally falls somewhere within that range (18-30 oz. a day), but I also drink LOTS of water. LOTS of water.

Oh yeah, well, sugar contains lots of empty Calories, and nobody is questioning that an extra 2000 Calories a day has health risks. I was specifically asking about Diet Coke.

Achernar, notice they mention specifically coffee and tea, which unless you load it down yourself generally don’t contain nearly the amount of sugar that soda does. In terms of UT health, I was primarily referring to the OP and Jammer, who related their habits of drinking about 100-160 oz. of soda a day. Most of the people I know (anecdotal, I know) who have had UT problems were serious soda drinkers (who hated to drink plain water for some reason). . .I know a couple of longtime hard-core coffee drinkers who have had no such problems.

Achernar, I was typing while you posted your last reply. . .I was replying to your “but many propose that the water that’s in caffeinated beverages does more good than the caffeine does harm.” post, not your “sugar contains lots of empty Calories.”

The OP does mention diet Coke, and it’s a good question whether aspartame induces the same kind of reaction (increased insulin production, etc.) that sugar does (diabetics?)–but it’s still another substance to be filtered out.

Except fot the soft drink aspect (drinkings gallons of undrinkable crap a day), I don’t really understand why anyone, once “addicted,” would feel the need to go “cold turkey.” I mean, what for? Is it out of a moral distaste regarding being “addicted”? Is caffeine–say, the amount you get out of 2-3 cups of good java a day–that ruinous to your health? What ARE the health benefits of NOT drinking coffee, other than the virtuous feeling one might get from not being “addicted”? I suppose if you live a life that is not routine–like crossing deserts or exploring the Amazon–it might be nice not to have to “depend” on that jolt in the morning. But for most of us, life is a routine. What harm does two or three cups a day cause to one’s health?