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Best Way To Beat A Caffeine Addiction? 1337

ethanms writes "I'm pretty sure that I'm addicted to caffeine... I get nasty headaches if I skip coffee and soda for a day. If I go even longer, then the headaches get worse and I start to become (even more of) a pain in the ass to those around me. Within five or ten minutes of a cup of joe or can of Mountain Dew the headache is gone and I feel fine... There's plenty of advice out there for dealing with addiction, but I'm really interested in how other /. users have managed and controlled their own caffeine intake, especially considering how heavily it is pushed by many development / engineering communities. 'Just drink more' isn't really the answer I'm after either."
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Best Way To Beat A Caffeine Addiction?

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  • Mental discipline (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brahmastra ( 685988 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:36PM (#7855194)
    How about just stop taking caffeine, nicotine, or whatever it is you are addicted to (if you wish to stop that is).
  • by Goalie_Ca ( 584234 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:36PM (#7855198)
    Just stick it through and soon enough you'll be free. Learn to drink water instead.
  • by James A. C. Joyce ( 733782 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:37PM (#7855209) Homepage Journal
    And don't suddenly stop your intake. Reduce it gradually, in transitional stages. This can be difficult, but it's worth the patience.
  • by herrlich_98 ( 267669 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:38PM (#7855215)
    Ask your doctor rather than ask Slastdot.
  • Worked for me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nuxx ( 10153 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:39PM (#7855222) Homepage
    The best way I've found is to taper off your caffeine usage to maybe half a cup of coffee per day, then just stop.

    Yes, it sucks. Yes, you'll get headaches for four to five days. And yes, you may end up with some weird flu-like symptoms after about a week.

    But, after all the feeling-like-crap for a while, you'll be over it. You just have to deal with it.
  • try dilution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chloroquine ( 642737 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:40PM (#7855238) Journal
    Why not try reducing your caffeine intake slowly. In a manner similar to people trying to quit smoking, change the mode of caffeine intake - instead of drinking coffee or soda, switch to those caffeinated mints and then limit yourself to a specific number of them a day. As the weeks pass, reduce that number.

    Alternatively, dilute your fully caffeinated coffee with decaf. Start with a 3caf:1caf mix and then bring that down to 1:1 and then 1:3 and so on.

    Good luck.

  • Physical activity! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FartingTowels ( 553440 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:41PM (#7855253)
    Start running/jogging an hour a day, every day -- this should be enough to get you going when you feel sleepy or tired.
  • by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:43PM (#7855272)

    Drink lots of water.

    Take Bayer aspirin (contains a little caffeine) or Aleve to help with the headaches. (Motrin didn't help - YMMV.)

    Do not set your alarm - sleep as long as possible on the day you decide to quit. If I slept through the normal caffeine-consumption period (usually morning) I felt better. I don't know why.

    Oddly enough, going cold turkey (vice gradually decreasing caffeine intake) worked better for me.

    Good luck!

  • by I Be Hatin' ( 718758 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:44PM (#7855289) Journal
    How about just stop taking caffeine, nicotine, or whatever it is you are addicted to (if you wish to stop that is).

    I suppose that would work, but have you ever had a caffeine-withdrawl headache? Maybe spending an indefinite amount of time with piercing pain in your head sounds okay to you, but I'd imagine ethanms would rather find a less painful alternative.

  • by gid-goo ( 52690 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:52PM (#7855365)
    Cut the amount you drink in half every other day. So if you have a normal mug you fill up only drink half that tomorrow. Do that for a couple of days and then cut that in half as well. When it gets ridiculous switch to green tea for a while. After a couple days of mild headaches you should be good to go. Takes a week or two depending on how bad your addiction is. The hardest thing was how tired I felt after quitting. That lasted for a week. Somebody said it was because adrenal function gets screwed up by coffee but I don't know. At least it's easier than cigarettes. I quit smoking 8 years ago and it is still hard to control my impulse to grab a smoke.
  • by TexVex ( 669445 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:53PM (#7855368)
    I've withdrawn from both fairly recently. My advice to you is, just deal with it for three or four days, then no more problem. That even applies to going cold turkey off cigarettes.

    I experienced headaches from the caffeine withdrawal, so I took ibuprofen. Drinking lots of water helps. Like, one to two gallons a day. You'll urinate a lot, but there are worse things that can happen.

    Nicotine withdrawal was...interesting. First you have to be serious about wanting to quit. You are going to feel like crap. But, truth be told, having a common cold feels worse. So just be prepared to deal with it. I went cold turkey. I couldn't sleep on the third night, so I felt extra crappy on the fourth day. But by the fifth day there were no more symptoms AT ALL. For this reason, and because every single other person I know who quit smoking did it by going cold turkey, I strongly advize not buying any nicotine gum or patches. Just show the guts it takes to freaking quit, and do it.

    I feel that most addiction withdrawal pains are psychological. I still think about lighting up every now and again. But it's not a craving -- it's just a little part of my years-long habit poking its head up out of the hole I buried it in to say "hi" every now and again.
  • by Saeger ( 456549 ) <farrellj AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:54PM (#7855383) Homepage
    Caffeine is a relatively benign drug to give up, wouldn't you say?

    I've given up hard liquor, cancer sticks, and a lot of sugarwater, and I'm not even 30 yet. But caffeine (and THC)? Never. What do you gain by giving up such a benign altered state? Nothing.

    If you give up caffeine, before you know it you'll be eating granola bars and drinking prune juice on your way to a boring grave.


  • Wean yourself off (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WolfVenge ( 238254 ) * on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:56PM (#7855407)
    The best way I have found is to wean myself away. The biggest problem I faced was habitual. To this day, I like to have a hot cup of something to drink in the mornings, and throughout the day.

    The trick I found was to swap in a cup of hot tea to replace a regular cup of coffee, every now and again. Continue this until you feel your intake of caffeine is right. One cup of coffee, on average, has about 130 mg caffeine. The same amount of hot tea has about 40 mg caffeine. While you are trying hot tea, make sure to sample various different flavors of tea. Of the teas that are readily available in most American supermarkets, the brands made by Bigelow are very good samples.

    My personal favorite, also very common in Europe, is Earl Grey. Lipton makes a fairly decent pre-packaged variety of this tea.

  • try this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by .@. ( 21735 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @06:57PM (#7855418) Homepage
    Switch to Yerba Mate.
  • by mixmasta ( 36673 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:00PM (#7855439) Homepage Journal
    Nah, he's right, although not very descriptive.

    Yes, he(the poster) can do it. Best to ease off of it though, gradually. Drink lots of water and pop a few ibuprofen to get through the headaches.

    Pay attention to your .sig and notice that we do have control of our own destiny, despite what the TV may have brainwashed you into believing. If someone can't do it alone then they need to get help, which he is starting to do here, it is nothing to be ashamed of.

    First decide you want to be free of caffeine, find how to get there (a road map), and excecute. Sounds like mental discipline to me. Stop being a pussy. =)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:02PM (#7855455)
    water is pretty good, and widely available.
  • Get the flu (Score:4, Insightful)

    by legojenn ( 462946 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:02PM (#7855457) Homepage
    I finally broke a caffeine addiction that I have had since University a decade ago. Just get sick so bad you are near death. You won't want to eat for days. Don't worry about the craving beacuse you will be only semi-conscious anyways and the kitchen, Bridgehead, Starbucks, etc will all be too far away. Even the smell of food, will make you run for the loo. When you get mobile, you will be dehydrated. You will probably prefer to drink water as it hydrates you, I mean it is its job. By the time you are feeling better, eating, moving, breathing, your body will have forgotten about coffee. Drink another one at your own peril and don't get a flu shot.
  • by The Step Child ( 216708 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:08PM (#7855496) Homepage
    The DSM is a changing animal...Wasn't it in the DSM III where homosexuality was considered a disease?
  • by abhisarda ( 638576 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:12PM (#7855523) Journal
    drink tea!
    Im not kidding. Instead of giving up coffee completely..
    substitute one cup(or 2) of coffee with tea the first week... and so on until you're drinking only tea.
    And then gradually cut down to 3 cups of tea a day.

    Look around for good quality tea []). You might have to experiment a bit.
    For caffeine and flavor, I'd suggest black tea. You can make it the same way you make coffee
    but strain the concoction a second time through the filter.

    Understand that caffeine and sugar are a killer combination. Both of
    these(alongwith a sedentary lifestyle) accelerate the onset of diabetes.
  • by nester ( 14407 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:13PM (#7855527)
    sorry, this country expects people to work for things. if you're disabled, there's social security. however, if you're a bum who refuses to work, why should anyone pay for that person's well being?

    unfortunetly, the reps and dems both like to take money from citizens and giving it away to certain people. at least, so far, socialist medicine hasn't been enacted.

    btw, some people don't need or want it!
  • by CapnCarrot ( 655580 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:17PM (#7855562)
    I tried to taper off caffeene for about a year. I went from 2 20oz bottles of Mtn Dew to 1, then one half. Suddenly I was back up to two again. Finally I just quit cold turkey. It sucked mightily, I got the caffeene headaches, etc. After about a week I was ok. Now I just drink water or juice at work.
  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:19PM (#7855586)
    Not to be mean or anything, but I don't know that taking advice from someone who drinks 12 diet cokes a day on how to quit caffeine is wise. Since you keep going back to it, it's clear you've never managed to figure out how to really get over your addiction. Sure, you know how to get rid of the physical addiction, but the mental addiction still kicks your ass. Of course, in your case, you're probably not just addicted to caffeine, but also aspartame, which is well known to be highly addictive.

    I quit smoking 3 years ago. I broke the physical addiction 3 or 4 times when I tried to quit in the past, but the mental addiction always caught up to me. It took a good year or two before I stopped getting "cravings," usually situational, but they did get much less severe after the first 5 or 6 months.

    It's really all about willpower, and it is very very hard, especially if you have are naturally predisposed to addictions, but it can be done. For most people, it takes a major addiction-related occurrence, like cancer or diabetes, to give them the willpower. Luckily, that wasn't the case for major motivation was cigarettes going past 2 bucks a pack.
  • Re:try dilution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ByteMangler_242 ( 618623 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:23PM (#7855605)
    I would like to say that both posters above hold truth. Addiction is two-pronged: Physical and mental. Caffeine is a bad one physically (headaches, shakes, loss of concentration) but also mental (melodramatic: I need my cup of joe, I am too tired to even function, and the whole Freudian oral fixation).
    My approach: Cut back slowly (1-2 months) to reduce physical dependence, but then go cold turkey. This then makes it a mostly mental break, with less severe phyical withdrawal.
    The parent mentioned Penguins, which I like, but some people can't stand the taste. 3 penguins = 1 can cola. Also think No-Doz or generic equiv., very cheap aternative. One pill = 2 cups coffee, and 1 12 oz Dew can = aprox 1/2 cup coffee. You can cut them in half for the end phase. I like pills since you can be certain of dosage, unlike coffee which tends to go up and down, especially if you are not the coffee brewer for the office. Plus, a pill popped first thing in the morning breaks the mental addiction to the cup in your hand ritual, but leave out the shakes.
    Just remember, the mental side is what makes you slip up when you hit the cold turkey phase, and good luck!
  • Cold Turkey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zaren ( 204877 ) <> on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:30PM (#7855663) Homepage Journal
    That's how you beat it.

    When my son was first born, my Mountain Dew habit went from a few cans a day to a few 2 liters a day (plus a few cans from the school vending machine, plus a Big Gulp on the way home...). After that, I got a job where one of the perks was a soda fountain - all the Pepsi / Coke products you could guzzle, at no charge! Geek heaven, it was... until I realized that not only was I an unbearable bastard on the weekends as I came down off of my buzz, but I'd put on another ten pounds. (My wife later informed me that she was getting ready to leave me, and take the kid with her, because of my non-caffinated attitude problem.)

    So after sitting down and thinking about it one day and figuing out that I could cut over 1000(!) calories a day out of my diet by quitting the Dew, and make myself an easier person to be around on top of it, I quit. No coming down gradually, no easing off, I just stopped. In the middle of the week, at that. I made sure to warn those around me about it, to keep them clear of me, and I also made sure to replace the Dew with water - LOTS of water, since I got 90% of my daily fluids from that yellow nectar.

    Holy flurking shnitt, did I have a doozy of a headache! Lasted me two days! But by the weekend, I was in pretty good shape. I made a few mistakes after that... like drinking it again about a week after I'd "quit". I got right back on the train with the very first drink; killer headache the next day. It took a few trips like that before I realized I couldn't touch the stuff AT ALL for a LONG time after I'd quit.

    So now, 2+ years later, I can hardly stand the taste of Dew - something I thought I'd never say :) I can have the occasional cola and suffer no ill effects the next day. Moderation is the key once you cut the ties. A little taste isn't going to kill you, but I know that if I put down a 2 liter in one sitting, I'd be back on that train again.

    Just quit the stuff cold turkey. Your body, and the people around you, will thank you for it.
  • by fzammett ( 255288 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:32PM (#7855673) Homepage
    I think it was a Saturday Night Live skit with Bob Newhart. Meant to be funny of course (and it was), but at the same time it's the single best piece of serious advice I've ever heard for anyone addicted to anything.

    STOP IT.

    That's it. Don't gimme all this psychobable, don't gimme all the physiological reasons it's not that simple, because it f'ing is.


    If you don't want to drink soda any more...

    STOP IT.

    It you don't want to touch yourself 10 times a day...

    STOP IT.

    If your a crack whore...


    Cigarettes shortening your life?...


    Your a 400 pound fat-ass that's about two porkchops away from a heart attack?...

    Say it with me...

    STOP IT!

    Just stop being a weak-minded fool, deal with the discomfort that will probably result from going cold turkey, and get over it all. JUST F'ING STOP IT. NOW!!
  • by xigxag ( 167441 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:34PM (#7855694)
    The problem with "quick web searches" is that you wind up googling up a lot of misinformation.

    In fact, there is no strong medical evidence that people under normal circumstances need to drink large quantities of water.

    See here. []

    and here. []

  • by cybermace5 ( 446439 ) <> on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:53PM (#7855808) Homepage Journal
    The upside that you have to look forward to is that you won't be nearly as tired all the time, and thus you won't feel so much like you need the stuff. And, of course, on the occasions when you do really need it, a little will go farther than you could possibly imagine now. (I typically have about a half cup of coffee maybe twice a month and it really kicks my ass, and I am NOT a small guy).

    There are other interesting effects from stopping caffeine intake.

    One is the effect on perceived intellectual quickness, or alertness in other situations. Caffeine is supposed to increase your mathematical abilities temporarily; I did a couple experiments nearly half a dozen years ago when I was studying for the SAT. Two cups of coffee immediately before the test increased my score by approximately 30 points. I had about three cups before that actual test and came away with a 1530 composite.

    Since then I have been almost constantly drinking coffee and caffeinated sodas. I never really thought about it much, because going without coffee always seemed to be more trouble than it was worth. Headaches? Sleepiness in class or work? Slower thinking abilities? Why bother? However I seemed not to have something I had while growing up and hating coffee. It seemed that I had less motivation and creativity than I usually did.

    A month or two ago I stopped drinking caffeine for about a week, mostly due to not bothering to stock up. Of course I went through the horrible mornings and pounding headaches, but after a couple days they were gone. And suddenly I felt more alive, I could focus on tasks, and I was able to learn things more quickly. I taught myself PHP and MySQL and built a community website complete with my own secure login and session management system, and I'm an EE not a programmer. It was great.

    I did some research and found out the reason for the headaches: caffeine constricts blood vessels in the brain. When you go off caffeine the blood vessels begin to expand back to their former size, and you feel the increased blood flow as a pounding, stabbing headache. Well, the brain is a organ that needs nutrients and oxygen to operate, and I have to assume that reducing blood flow to the brain might affect the overall performance. Sure, as a temporary stimulant, caffeine has a positive effect, but I think that long-term it actually reduces what you are capable of.

    I'm sitting here slurping down a caffeinated soda right now, my fourth or fifth one today. Should probably convince myself not to go down the soda aisle on my next shopping trip.
  • by bluGill ( 862 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @07:53PM (#7855809)

    Juice. Real 100% fruit juice. Not the sugar water that a lot of what is sold next to juice is. I find Nantucket Nectars brand is worth the extra cast because the are not from concentrate. (but hard to find) McDonald's used to have Apple Juice that was very good too (not from concentrate), but I haven't been there in years so I don't know.

    Water is also good. I have a RO filter in my house, and find that water is most of what I drink. (I know a few people who live where tap water is good, but what I get from my taps isn't) It takes getting used to, but you can.

    Gotta watch resteraunts. You are expected to order soda, coffee, or alchahol. Don't fall for it. Some have excellent Lemonade, but others just have a lemon flavored soda. Unfortunatly to get my free Sub at Subway I have to order a soda, no matter what I really want. (No surprize, to a resteraunt the ice is the most expensive part of a glass of pop)

    Unfortunatly once you quit the easy addictions like sugar water and caffine your tastes improve. I've become a food snob. I read the labels looking for sugar, caffine, and find I'm more concerned with 100% natural ingreatiants... I buy Greek Olives from the Deli and love them. (other olives are not touchable) I've expirimented with Organic foods, and in many cases find that they are btter (though not all, and I don't blindly belive in organic like some). I make my own pizza and bread from scratch (sourdough). I'm not a good cook, but everyone thinks I am because my worst meals are still homemade and have flavor (compared to what they buy).

    That isn't to say I don't sometimes have junk food, but I try to control it.

  • by replicant108 ( 690832 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @08:13PM (#7855937) Journal
    "I do about a six-pack of Diet Coke a day, but I don't seem to show any signs of addiction"

    Yes you do.

  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @08:16PM (#7855953)
    It took about three months before I wasn't really tired in the mornings.

    I had to stop, like that, because of a medical diagnosis. Well, I could have continued but the consequences were unspeakable.

    The same diagnosis turned around pretty much everything, health-related, in my life. I changed my diet and started going to the gym every morning.

    The gym was really the secret for me. I've been a sworn night person for my entire life. After a month or two at the gym, my body got convinced it was supposed to fire up at 6:30am every day and started taking care of itself.

    It's convinced me that there are morning and night people, just not in the permanent, unalterable way most people think of it. Your metabolism shifts very slowly to suit what you do with your body. If, like most coders, you do next to no exercise during the day but regularly push your body to perform coding jags late at night, your metabolism will have shifted to suit that time of day. If you cut out the late nights and start pushing your body to the gym every morning, it will convert over.

    The only problem is, it takes a good month or two of serious commitment. I always swore people who said what I just said were full of it - but then I would try it for a couple of weeks, or go to the gym two mornings a week while sneaking in several late nights. Once I had to completely switch over, it happened relatively quickly.

    So, caffine is one way to get going in the mornings. Alternatively, get to the gym, every morning, without fail, and cut out the late nights, for two months. If, like me, you lose 10% of your body weight in the process, the attention from women'll more than make the effort worthwhile.

    Just one request: Leave it a couple of months. Those of us who go regularly already have to put up with the New Year's Resolution crowd for the next six weeks. ;)
  • by Hein_or_Henk ( 629782 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @08:20PM (#7855985)

    The article starts like this:

    For the smoker, nicotine has a positive effect on attention, cognition and mood."

    So in other words the positive effects are there only for the already addicted smoker who is suffering the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    This is probably similar to the effect coffee drinkers perceive when they have their first cup of the day. It's as if a mist clears in your head and you can think clearly again. This mist however is something that only coffee drinkers experience and is a coffee withdrawal symptom. People who do not drink coffee do not have a mist in their heads to clear up.

    So be smart just don't smoke!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, 2004 @08:27PM (#7856019)
    Your links are suspect:

    1. The both reference the same article.

    2. One is a subscription service, I prefer info to be open.

    3. From your link "Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, that is they increase urine production, but much of the water in beverages that contain them does get used by the body." The definition is a diuretic is a substance that increases the production of urea, so to return urea to normal levels additional fluid is needed. Liquid used in them is used by the body, and more is needed too.

    4. From "" link "Valtin thinks the notion may have started... er... so he doesn't have any justification other than quoting one line of a report which didn't advocate what he suggested it did.

    5. ...there is some evidence that the risk of certain diseases can be lowered by high water intake, the quantities needed for this beneficial effect may be less than 8 x 8.... Well by high he only means 2 litres, make of that as you will. So he accepts the risk of disease can be reduced, he back-tracks by saying only those people susceptable, but do you know ehat diseases youe are susceptable to? Diabetes only affects those susceptable to it, do you know if you are? Better safe than sorry?

    6. ...thirst begins when the concentration of blood (an accurate indicator of our state of hydration) has risen by less than two percent, whereas most experts would define dehydration as beginning when that concentration has risen by at least five percent. Those that are seriously dehydrated lose their thirst.

    7. In the end this is the belief of one lone doctor, vs the entire medical world. A bit like SCO claiming UNIX rights, no? Well, SCO have a much better founded case.

    8. What are the problems with drink water he mentions? 1. ...possible exposure to pollutants, especially if sustained over many years like breathing air, try to drink clean water like you breath clean air. 2. frequent urination, which can be both inconvenient and embarrassing assuming 2/3 of what is drunk is urinated, that makes about 1.5 litres, which is what... 4-5 trips to the loo? 3. expense, for those who satisfy the 8 x 8 requirements with bottled water then drink from the tap, or refil a plastic bottle from the tap if a bottle must be used 4. feelings of guilt for not achieving 8 x 8 if you believe his diatribe there will be a feeling of guily from drinking water. Why feel guilty if not achieving 8*8, just sit down for a minute and drink a few glasses, only procrastination causes guilt/stress.

    This doctor is a loony, you, sir, are even more of a loony for not being able to criticise and see flaws in their arguments.
  • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @09:11PM (#7856225) Homepage Journal
    Best way to quit is to substitute coffee with something like sparkling water and starting an exercise regime.

    you sound like someone who's never had a cup of coffee in his life.

    if yr a caffeine addict (as i am) you know that during withdrawal you are too debilitated to type let alone exerise.

    now, i've quit coffee twice successfully in my life (and returned voluntarily and deliberately) and have developed a "formula":

    • take a week off work - and everything else.
    • take a lot b-complex vitamins. four b50's a day shoud do it
    • make liberal use of vasoconstrictor spray. something with xylo in it like otrivin.
    • ibuprofen combined with the xylo will releive most of the sinus headaches.
    • if you can get melatonin, get it. this will get you over the withdrawal insomnia.
    • drink lots of water. sparkling's okay - i'd suggest s'pelgrino or grolschteiner (sp?)
    • if this fails try again with a mild antidepressant. st. john's wort for instance or if you want something stronger you can get wellburtin from your doctor for "quitting smoking". be careful with antidepressants though! and remember they take a couple of weeks to "pack".

    good luck!

  • by dipipanone ( 570849 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @09:34PM (#7856348)
    All things considered, the positive effects of cocaine outweigh nicotine by a mile

    Let me guess -- you haven't actually been around a lot of hard core cocaine users have you? Still at that honeymoon phase perhaps?

    and it wouldn't be all that much more expensive

    Yup, definitely still at that honeymoon phase -- snorting a quarter gram a week or so isnt that expensive. Lets just hope you get bored before you freebase all the equity in your house as a number of my friends have. Then we'll see how expensive you think it is...
  • Different Drug (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Unregistered ( 584479 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @09:46PM (#7856431)
    Smoke pot. It'll make the headaches go away and isn't addictive.
  • Re:cut your dosage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheLittleJetson ( 669035 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @09:51PM (#7856462)
    Rather than switching to decaf, I'd recommend switching to black tea. Tea contains a special chemical (the name illudes me at the moment) that slows the absorbtion of caffiene into your system. This is why tea gives a long, mellow stimulant effect, and coffee gives a strong buzz followed by a "down" period.

    Worst case just quit and deal with the side effects. Headaches and irratability are pretty tollerable considering the withdrawls from other substances (opiates, for example: muscle spasms, stomach cramps, projectile vomiting, dilusions, loss of bowel control...)

    Chances are you're more psychologically addicted than physically -- though this is nothing to laugh at, as psychological addiction is what keeps heroin users coming back (after they've de-toxed). However, realizing that it's all in your head is a great step towards ignoring cravings of addictive substance/activity.
  • Taper Off (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @09:57PM (#7856492) Homepage
    > There's plenty of advice out there for dealing
    > with addiction, but I'm really interested in how
    > other /. users have managed and controlled their
    > own caffeine intake...

    I had to give up a 10 cup a day habit last spring for health reasons. I tapered off over three days. I had a few minor headaches, but nothing serious.
  • by DarkMan ( 32280 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:18PM (#7856607) Journal
    It's not specific to cola.

    In Canada, fruit flavoured juices are not allowed to have caffine added.

    On the other hand, vegetable flavoured juices are. Thus cola's (flavoured from the cola nut, which is, apprently, a vegtable), and Irn-Bru (ordiginally a Scottish concoction, various vegetables) are avaialble caffineated.

    Mountain Dew is the only well known fruit flavoured normally caffineated soda. (Well, I've never seen any others, and I'm a label reader to a freakish extent).
  • by nanoakron ( 234907 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:19PM (#7856610)
    Well, interestingly...caffeine is a noncomeptitive antagonist - i.e. it doesn't compete at the same cell-surface binding site for it's adrenergic (i.e. adrenaline and noradrenaline) agonists.

    Instead, caffeine (and other methylxanthines such as theophylline) act by blocking cyclic-AMP degeneration by intracellular phosphodiesterases. This was kinda what Pfizer were looking for when they stumbled across viagra (sildenafil) - a cardiac specific phosphodiesterase which they could inhibit to increase the affect of circulatory adrenaline on myocardium.

    So...what are the take home messages - caffeine in high doses will act like other adrenergic agonists...and will to some extent mimic such 'evil and hated' drugs as cocaine in its actions (note to government: ban immediately!!! panic now - there's no time for rational thought).

    I don't deny caffeine addiction exists - I recently treated a young guy admitted with cardiac chest pain whose only vice was 15 cups of coffee a day for the past 5 years. Like any other addiction process, it will take a long time to overcome and each time you see a coka cola it may prove hard to resist.

    But there are no drugs that immediately come to mind that would help the immediate withdrawal process....perhaps you could discuss the situation with your doctor and ask for low dose diazepam for particularly bad situations. Most reasonable GPs would give it to you in the UK - I don;t know about the US however.

    But, best wishes with the new year ahead, and just be thankful that the only thing you've likely wrecked so far are your teeth. Just stop now before it gets worse.

    Best wishes,

  • Re:Easy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:33PM (#7856691)
    Get out there and ride a bicycle. Pick some nice hills. You'll cuss yourself silly. Lots of benefits for your heart and lungs. After a while, no more headaches. You can still drink coffee, but you will lose weight if you ride several miles a day, and spend some time doing that.
  • by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @10:49PM (#7856768)
    I get up first in the morning and make the coffee. She asked me to get her off of caffeine without the headaches, and I did it. It took about three weeks.

    I simply mixed decaf beans in with the "leaded" beans gradually over time until they were 100% decaf. Like I said, I did it over about three weeks, maybe 80:20 for 5 days, 60:40 for 5 days, etc. The day I told her she was completely decaffeinated, she was surprised. No headaches, no side effects.
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday January 01, 2004 @11:54PM (#7857161)
    A year later I couldn't find anything to drink but a coke so I tried one and couldn't stand the taste.
    I found it an acquired taste. For the first year I couldn't stand it unless it had alcohol in it, but now I like it far too much. I didn't drink it until I was an adult, and it worries me a bit to see people giving coke to young children in prams - a bit of caffiene probably has a significant affect on someone that small.
  • Re:Actually, no. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, 2004 @11:55PM (#7857170)
    I've noticed dehydration is a very common trigger for many people. So often people don't even think about it. It's the first thing I suggest they try.

    Drink more water and less of the things that prevent water retention (eg. caffiene and alcohol).

    Very, very common in my experience.
  • Re:cut your dosage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SScorpio ( 595836 ) on Friday January 02, 2004 @12:42AM (#7857522)
    You've never been addicted to caffine have you?

    I would get headaches, irratablity, muscle spasms, and stomach cramps. I would also feel just plane drained and I felt like I had not energy what so ever. This was if I didn't drink any caffine for the day. A can of pop would clear them up in about 5 minutes or so.

    The way I got off it was just go cold turkey. Be sure to drink lots of water, and juice also helps. In about a week your body should have all the caffine flushed out of it and any withdrawls should be completely gone.

    An interesting side effect I had way that after about 6 months of no caffine just drinking a can of Pepsi gave me a major buzz. I'm not currently living caffine free but my intake is down to one 20oz a day with lunch, any maybe a glass or two with dinner when I go out to eat once or twice a week.
  • by greenhide ( 597777 ) <> on Friday January 02, 2004 @04:12AM (#7858499)
    You're just too damn bored with whatever it is you're trying to pay attention to.

    Yeah, well, tragically, life isn't all that exciting, generally.

    And it's much more useful to go through life being able to cope than lolling around doing nothing because of all the darn boredom.

    I have a pretty strong form of ADD, and it isn't all boredom. I mean, I think I would be conscious of being bored all the time, wouldn't I? Or would I really be sitting there, desperately trying to focus on a task that was very important to me, but finding myself unable to do so, just because it was somehow boring?!?

    Oh, and don't forget overstimulation, the flip side of ADD, when you're getting too much input, and so you freak out. Some people with ADD I know would shut down completely under too much stimulation, and become unable to take in *anything*. Me, I just freak out and get really nervous and uncomfortable. For me, one of the scariest sounds ever is the chatter in a cocktail party. It's too many voices all at once.

    And then there's hyperfocusing. I guess I was too "bored" by the outside world to hear if anyone was speaking to me while I was reading a book? There was seriously a time when someone would have to grab my head and stare into my eyes to get my attention while reading.

    I guess it's frustrating when people say that ADD is not a real disorder or a real problem. "They're just too smart. Put them in more challenging classes, and they'll pay attention." "They're just hyper; that's normal in someone his age." These are all somewhat plausible explanations for a 10-12 year old, but not for someone in their 20s.

    Here are the problems I've noticed as a result of ADD, both in myself and in many, many others with ADD that I have encountered: lack of organizational skills (cleanliness is boring), lack of social skills (having friends is boring), being impulsive (thinking before acting is boring), lack of focus (getting things done is boring), anger issues (dealing with emotions in a healthy way is boring), problems with empathy (relating to others is boring), not paying attention to surroundings (the whole frikkin' world is boring!), lack of focus even when performing crucial tasks, like driving a car (not crashing is boring).

    I could go on and on, but I feel that calling people with ADD "bored" is like saying that alcoholics are just really thirsty, and if only you gave them the right kind of liquids they wouldn't have a problem anymore. The fact that alcoholics drink a lot of liquid is only a side-symptom of their need to get alcohol in their systems. People with ADD feel bored because they don't know how to focus their attention to the task at hand. In essence, the complete opposite of what the parent is saying.

    I would heartily agree that drug companies, like all companies, are out to make money. But I disagree that everyone who shells out money for ADD medication doesn't actually need it.
  • by reverend0 ( 560833 ) on Friday January 02, 2004 @08:18AM (#7859119) Homepage Journal
    I quit caffeine about 5 years ago. I have recently started again but in much smaller doses. When I quit I was drinking two 2-liters a day. Most miserable two weeks I ever had. But I just quit. Took vitamin C, and B to try to help. Worked to some degree. But a steady dose of aspirin did the trick.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, 2004 @09:05AM (#7859250)
    That's another issue. When I drank coke all the time I thought Gatorade was too bland and didn't have any flavor. After a few months of dedicating myself to water a glass of gatorade tastes like pure sugar to me. Suddenly I don't crave sweets as much. Cakes, cookies, candy - they all seem a bit overpowering.

    This goes true for changing diets as well. I used to be a soda addict so I know what you're going through. I also changed my eating diet a couple yeras ago and it has a similar affect.

    I used to eat burger/fries/pizza basically not watching what I eat. But I took on a controlled diet and exercise, eating healthy and exercising regularly. As usual, sodas were too much and caffinated drinks had an affect.

    But, it also affected foods, deep fried foods became disgusting. You start tasting the oils off foods which essentially turns you off. Fast foods all taste disgusting and full of oils and chemicals. Kinda made me wonder how I didn't taste them before. Then I noticed how easy to get unhealthy food; fast food's everywhere and typically much cheaper than healthy food. Heh, plus most unhealthy snacks can last longer than fruits.

    I tell you what, it feels good to eat healthy. I felt more alert and awake and was able to maintain a regular sleeping schedule.
  • by SlashSim ( 229766 ) on Friday January 02, 2004 @12:36PM (#7860660)

    Uh, have you ever tried smoking "one or two" cigarettes a day? I've been off the tobacco for eight weeks as of this very morning and I know from prior relapses that I'm only one cigarette away from a pack a day habit.

  • Drink tea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by William Tanksley ( 1752 ) on Friday January 02, 2004 @01:44PM (#7861207)
    Okay, the correct answer is "go cold turkey", because switching to tea will still give you some of the withdrawal symptoms -- coffee is really, really nasty stuff, even decaf. But anyhow, tea will provide a good substitute, a good habit-filler, and is apparently not addictive (although anything will become a habit if you do it enough).

    You'll ingest a fraction of the caffeine, you'll get less of the other nasty stuff that's in coffee (caffeine isn't the only 'upper' in coffee), and you'll get some positive benefits -- antioxidants, tooth decay slowing, bad breath reduction, and so on.

  • by peterpi ( 585134 ) on Friday January 02, 2004 @02:50PM (#7861718)
    I went on holiday, and the apartment didn't have any coffee. I'd noticed how much coffee I had been drinking a few weeks before going, so decided it would be a good time to just stop.

    I was tired and had a headache for a few days, but it didn't matter because I was just lying on the beach all the time :) By the time the holiday was over, I didn't have any craving for caffeine, and I've been on the decaf ever since.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller