Right, it's time to kick the habit.

Hi, my name is Kit and I’m a caffeine addict.

(I know, it’s a cliché, but it works).

I don’t generally drink that much - rarely more than 2 cups a day, more often one. This may not seem like a lot, but I do tend to drink it fairly strong. More importantly, I need the cup of coffee in the morning.

Recently I’ve noticed that I’ve become unusually irritable (That’s not to say I’m not normally irritable, just more so than usual). This has coincided quite precisely with the resumption of my caffeine addiction, so I’ve decided that giving up coffee would be a good idea. Even if it’s not causing my irritability it’s still a good idea.

The problem is that last time I gave up coffee, and recently when I’ve had to miss my morning cup, I’ve had pounding headaches. So far I’ve managed to escape with only a dull ache, but I suspect it will get worse (I’ve been less than half a day without it).

So, who else has had experience giving up caffeine? Do you have any tips? Also, it’s nice to have a hot drink to start my morning with and I’d prefer not to just switch to decaf. There aren’t many normal teas I like, but I do like some herbal varieties.


I’m pretty much caffiene free so I can’t help with the kicking the habit part. As for alternative hot morning drinks, may I suggest hot apple cider.


I cut back over a few days instead of going cold turkey. I was only drinking one cup at the time, though I’d been at the two-cup level as well. I went down to half a cup for about a week and then one Saturday morning, about 11:30, realized I did not have that horrible caffeine headache. I was free!

I drink the stuff occasionally, but not on a regular basis.

Second the hot apple cider idea. Another hot drink, surprisingly enough, is hot lemonade. I got addicted to the stuff at the Etc., a local coffeehouse. Good stuff.

Hi Kit! No helpful advice, but I can offer my empathy. I too, am a caffeine addict.
I usually drink around 4 - 5 cups of coffee a day, unless I’m working late in which case it’s more like 6 or 7.

I too get the horrible headaches in the morning. If you find anything that works, for the love of god let me know!

I still enjoy my caffeine, but speaking from experience in quitting smoking cigarettes I can offer that immediate cold turkey isn’t the best way to go.

I’d advise cutting down daily consumption for a short time and/or switching to a drink with less caffeine in it, and then when you think you have a handle on it, just wake up one morning and don’t have any more.

When I quit smoking I had to be sure to have plenty of hard candy around to occupy my mouth, but for caffeine, perhaps a bottle of ibuprofen would be better to have handy. Maybe even decaf coffee? I always wondered what it was for…

in my humble opinion, the best substitute for caffeine is nicotine… although that’s just me. good way to get rid of one addicition is to replace it with another.

speaking of which does anyone share my view that almost all people have addictive personalities, be it addicition to substances or activities eg shopping. or addiction to love, for example.

Let me start by saying that my addiction to caffeine makes some crackheads look good. I start each morning with four shots of straight espresso. During the course of the day, I drink roughly 12-15 cans of diet Pepsi, and between four and six cups of coffee.

I begin to feel odd forty-five minutes after my last caffeine dose. My initial symptoms include dry mouth and muscular aches. If I go more than six waking hours without caffeine, I become lethargic. The next morning, I wake with the Aura that traditionally preceeds a migraine for me. If I do not consume caffeine soon, the full migraine soon occurs. The headaches last three or so days, at which point I’m through the bad stuff, and can continue on caffiene-free.

I would hazard to guess that my expreinces qutting caffeine, the three times I have, are amongst the worst. My method each time involved replacing the caffeine liquid intake with a caffeine-free liquid, usually water or lemonade. After the first three days, I felt much better- more awake, more alert. I also slept considerably better and considerably less. Thus, it is worth it. It’s just hard. Really hard.

I reccomend replacing the morning coffe with a herbal tea. Also, watch what you eat or medicate with. Many headache medicines also contain a large dose of caffiene, making the point of quitting coffe rather moot. Also, chocolate contains similar stimulants.

Good luck!

My father recently quit smoking, and he’s also cut back on his coffee drinking a LOT, because he used to pair it with a cigarette in the morning and after dinenr, and now it either induces a nicotine craing, or he just hates the taste of it! Since he quit drinking alcoholic beverages about 10 years ago, now that he’s quitting cigarettes too, he likes to complain about being “In my 50s, surviving off of nicorette and 0.5% beer, and now I can’t even have coffee!”

On the plus side, he finds food tastes better, and for the first time last week had the amazing realization at just how BAD cigarette smoke smells (we went to a restauraunt and were going to wait in the ajoining bar until we got our table, but HE couldn’t stand the smell!)

Anyways, sorry for the hijack, but your comment made me want to share!

Thanks for the suggestion of the warm apple cider. Unfortunately I don’t drink alchohol, so that one doesn’t really work. (Not to mention I hate the taste of cider).

I’ll give some herbal teas a try. I have a bunch of them lurking in my cupboard which I haven’t touched in a while - coffee rather supplanted them as my drink of choice during the day, and I never really tried them as a morning drink for some reason.

Unless I absolutely can’t, my preference would be to quit cold turkey. I find it much harder to cut down on things than to give them up - cutting down allows me to rationalise extra intake when tempted. I may start having a glass of low caffeine soda or something during the day 'though to keep the headaches away. We’ll see.

nij: Well, umm. Thanks for the suggestion. I’d rather have my eyes nibbled out by angry fire ants than smoke, but thanks anyway. :slight_smile:

banks: Thanks for the warning. I tend to avoid headache medicine unless I can’t avoid it: I’m rather prone to mild headaches, so I tend to set the minimum headache level for medication pretty high. I’ll be careful not to overmedicate 'though - I certainly don’t want to become a headache medicine addict.

Incidentally, I’m reminded of a Greg Egan quote - “Widespread caffeine addiction says a lot about the early 21st century.”

Thanks for everyone’s support,


I think there are some American-British translation issues here. American cider is non-alcoholic (unless specifically identified as “hard cider”). It’s a sort of cloudy, unfiltered sweet apple juice, and it’s yummy, especially when served warm with spices; I don’t think this would work as well with alcoholic cider.

Hot “lemonade” – in the British sense of a Sprite-like soda – probably isn’t a very good idea either.

I quit caffeine a few times. It takes at least two weeks for me to get over it. What I really hate is the dragged out, sleepy feeling that I have all day when I quit. But I am very sensitive to caffeine, whereas my brother can drink coffee all night and still fall asleep. We are so different.

The last time that I was successful, I reduced the amount of coffee that I used by a small fraction each week. Then I even switched to caffeine tablets from the drug store so that I could KNOW exactly what dosage I was taking (and I stopped taking any other form of caffeine at the same time). I cut the pills into halves, then quarters, then slices.

I gave my body lots of time to adjust to each new dosage. It took about 8 weeks, but was relatively painless. And it worked.

American cider is non alchoholic? I didn’t know that. Thanks. I did know what you meant by lemonade 'though. (Actually I’m half American and thus have a rather confused vocabulary. If I said lemonade I would mean the American version).

It’s very odd… I seem to be almost totally without withdrawal headaches. I have a very slight dull ache, and my brain feels foggy, but certainly not the pounding headaches I had last time.