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How can I avoid headaches associated with caffeine withdrawal?

Dr. John Preston, PsyD
Psychology Specialist

If you are using amounts of caffeine that exceed 750 mg per day, you’ll need to gradually reduce your daily consumption in order to prevent caffeine withdrawal, which causes symptoms of headache, jitteriness and, interestingly, insomnia. You can withdraw gradually by reducing your caffeine intake by 25 percent the first week and by a similar amount each week thereafter. For example, if you’re consuming 1,000 mg of caffeine per day, the first week your goal would be to cut back to 750 mg per day. The next week, decrease it to 500 mg per day, and so forth. If you experience symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, then reduce your rate of reduction; for example, reduce your intake by 100 mg per week.

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Depression 101: A Practical Guide to Treatments, Self-Help Strategies, and Preventing Relapse

When you have depression, it can feel like there's no way out. To begin changing the way you feel, you'll need an arsenal of proven techniques for lifting your mood and preventing relapse. The...
Dr. Michael Breus, PhD
Psychology Specialist

Headache associated with caffeine withdrawal is extremely common and in some cases may be difficult to control. In fact, in some cases caffeine withdrawal may even induce migraine. These headaches usually occur when caffeine is stopped in a short period of time (also known as  “cold turkey”). Thus for anyone who wishes to eliminate caffeine from their diet it is usually recommended that they slowly reduce caffeine with a caffeine taper, so as to avoid withdrawal and withdrawal headaches. An example of a caffeine taper might be to continue with your normal volume of beverage, but mix ¾ caffeinated and ¼ decaffeinated for 1 week. Next go to a ½ and ½ mixture and then to ¼ caffeinated and ¾ decaffeinated. The go every other day for a week and then off. If headaches begin at any point, consider normal headache relieve medications. If nausea or vomiting occur, consult your doctor or hospital ER.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.