Can caffeine withdrawal lead to a shortness of breath?

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn More*
Photo by Cassidy Kelley on Unsplash

Caffeine addiction is a serious concern, often taken too lightly, that affects millions of people worldwide without realization. While the issues surrounding caffeine intake pose a serious threat, completely cutting the substance out can also cause minor problems that people quitting should know more about.

By better understanding the withdrawal symptoms, you will be able to help your body through its detoxification process as well as avoid falling victim to the cycle of addiction again. Within this article, we will address and explain the symptoms you can expect from your caffeine withdrawal journey.

Each person’s process will be different, you may only experience minor issues for a few days or you may encounter more than two weeks. Whatever way your body handles it, it’s important to understand this is only your body working to return to normal, it will only benefit you. 

Caffeine withdrawal- battling to breathe?

Because Caffeine naturally binds to and blocks adenosine, allowing neurotransmitters to cause chaos within your brain, your body has to counter it with a dose of adrenaline to ensure the brain and body corporate accordingly. Adrenaline entails a variety of benefits, as commonly used and seen in the medical field, but the domino-force-affect of synthetic stimulation can have its own complications. One of the many benefits of Adrenaline in the medical field is that it can open up the airways, but this benefit becomes lost in translation as you cut off your daily dose of caffeine. Your body now has to adjust back to its normal and natural output levels, additionally causing short breathing from anxiety, which will see your airways gasping for adrenaline. The lack of ‘airway booster’, caffeine, may cause some strain around breathing for the first few days as the body adjusts, but will ultimately lead to a better and more stable breathing regime. Most of the withdrawal symptoms are also symptoms of addiction, only extra emphasizing the fact your body is returning to a more original and organic state of health. Because your body has become acquainted with regular caffeine use and increased adrenaline, it will take some time to reset and repair. 

It may tingle 

A lot of addicts report feelings ‘tingly’ after consuming caffeine, the same can be said for those withdrawing from the substance. Caffeine induces a tingling sensation by attacking the nerves. Caffeine depletes your Vitamin B absorption and maintenance, which promotes red blood cell growth and nerve functionality, which would explain the tingling feeling throughout your body. As you begin to withdrawal, your body will still be experiencing this deprivation of Vitamin B but without the stimulation to hide it, you will continue to experience the symptoms of addiction on your journey to recovery. A vitamin B complex should help promote intake and absorption, as 

well as subside some of the symptoms. Another reason you may experience tingling is due to caffeine’s constrictive properties when it comes to your blood vessels. Caffeine constricts your blood vessels, narrowing your bloods’ path, as well as restricting blood flow to certain extremities, another side effect of synthetically formulated adrenaline. As your body begins to experience a lack of caffeine, your blood flow will increase, which may expose you to a ‘throbbing’ feeling throughout your veins and body. Although your addiction has to be quite severe to risk this symptom, many recovers report experiencing tremors and throbs throughout different limbs. As stated above, it would be greatly beneficial to ensure your body is stocked up on the necessary vitamins to follow through with recovery. It may be a shaky road at the start, but you’ll have more nerves once you stop. 

Stuck on the toilet again 

Although there is not a lot of scientific consensus around why caffeine gets your bowels going, many default it as their morning mover. A big cup of joe in the morning will clear you out for the whole day, as many detail their experiences as diarrhea. It is stipulated that caffeine acts as a stimulant to your stomach and intestines, causing an electro-muscular response, almost pulsating them to say. These convulsions push through waste that has not yet processed or solidified, ensuring you have a seat on the white throne after a single sip. While regular bowel movements may sound like a good thing, that fact does not stand true with ‘stimulative’ laxatives. Not promoting bowel movements, but rather pushing unprocessed waste. But quitting caffeine won’t get you off the loo that soon, as your symptoms of addiction follow you into recovery yet again. Your bowels can no longer process your complex meals under the same or an unstrained time frame, meaning that the build-up is bound to handle. Your trips to the toilets through withdrawal may be longer. You should experience constipation for the first few days, or potentially up to three weeks, but it’s just your body returning to natural form. Excessive constipation can also lead to diarrhea as the different build ups of fluid do not or can not fuse, resulting in a really uncomfortable day of release. It best to add in some fiber to your diet, to combat constipation, and in turn diarrhea. By avoiding constipation, and assisting in adaption, you may be able to ensure good bathroom breaks throughout your recovery. 

Caffeine in common medicines 

We’re going to take a short moment to explain that it’s hard to not consume caffeine, whether it be through fruit, coffee or chocolate consumption. One of the main uses and implementations of caffeine is seen in the medical sector. As already stated above, caffeine creates adrenaline through the cancellation of other hormones, Adrenaline offers a lot of health and emergency benefits in regards to health. It’s already been discussed that users of Caffeine may experience short intervals of opener airways, increased blood pressure, faster catalyzation of other hormones, among many other things. But Caffeine offers more medical relief than just an EP-pen, aside from the adrenaline boost, it also manipulates the way the brain distributes 

dopamine. Caffeine works very similarly to cocaine with dopamine, the brain hoards onto the release Dopamine instead of further distributing it to your body and while this may hold benefits for some, it’s generally not a great idea to deprive your body of Dopamine while exposing your brain to an excess amount over time. By disorientating your Dopamine through caffeine use, you make it harder to enjoy a day without your fix. But making your brain happy isn’t its only benefit in the human mind. Caffeine has been and is still being used very commonly in over-the-counter headache tablets worldwide. Caffeine is usually mixed in with aspirin or ibuprofen to simultaneously ensure a reaction that will subside your headache. By narrowing the blood vessels and speeding up the heart rate, in cooperation with aspirin blood thinning, caffeine allows for better blood flow to the brain and around the body. Caffeine has been especially helpful to people suffering from a rare condition known as hypnic headaches, offering a healthy alternative to better their everyday lives. There are clearly benefits of caffeine, no doubt about that, but excessive use of any substance can and will cause issues in your usual operations. It’s best to let a doctor assess and prescribe you, to avoid harming the body further. 

Sweat it Out 

One of the less common, but still understandably uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms you may experience is excessive sweating. Caffeine is known to trigger ‘the sweats’ as it elevates the heart rate and displaces blood, this extreme and synthesized change in your body causes a faster heart rate and strained body which will in turn sweat. But the shouting doesn’t stop when you quit caffeine, as many Reddit users and forum commenters have voiced their concerns about their shaking and ‘sweating insanely’ upon stopping. This is only a reaction to your body stabilizing its heart rate and blood management. Many stimulants pump adrenaline, which we have discussed speeds up the heart rate and moves blood, which can trigger ‘fight or flight’ through the release of norepinephrine. Because your body has become used to the constant and quick changes in your ‘fight or flight’ mode, by moving blood mainly to the legs or arms as well as boosting your heartbeat, it will take a while for your body to adjust back to normal. The sweating and heart convulsions can be explained by your body working to properly distribute blood and re-learn a ‘normal’ beat. Most withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of consumption, only because the body is undoing what caffeine messed up, so don’t sweat it if you’re still sweating. 

Feeling fatigued 

The most commonly reported and crippling symptom on our list is fatigue, and while it may not sound so bad compared to the shaking or sweating people above, fatigue causes issues of its own. It’s to be expected that the body will be fatigue, as to not have its daily dose of adrenaline and dopamine, as it combats the increased amount of Adenosine transmitters. These adenosine neurotransmitters are responsible for your tiredness, acting as a repressor of excitement after a certain hour. Adenosine levels in your brain increase throughout the day as you experience 

different things and emotions, being fully loaded once nighttime falls, as the levels then decrease while you sleep to ensure you have an excitable morning and day ahead. Caffeine binds with the same receptors that adenosine does, blocking them from reaching the brain, this has its effects over time. Adenosine will create more receptors as it becomes accustomed to your caffeine schedule, which means you will need to consume more to ensure the same benefits. As you withdrawal from caffeine, these additional Adenosine receptors remain on the brain without the excess stimulation, your energy is bound to crash. It’s like a little kid whos had too much sugar, except nobody is helping or pitying you so it’s a harder come down. Functioning adults need energy to work and live, so it’s advised to drink green tea to elevate energy levels without introducing excess caffeine into your system yet again. Most people report adjusting back to usual energy levels much later into recovery, roughly 7-11 days, so it will be a tiring but healthier journey forward. Ensure you’re staying hydrated and eating enough to counter fatigue, it may also be advised to introduce vitamin supplements into your daily routine to better assist your body in stabilization. 

Breaking your back to quit 

As if cutting caffeine out wasn’t a pain already, cramps, muscle stiffness and aches are commonly reported. Because caffeine displaces the body in your body through multiple methods, as well as narrowing blood vessels and pumping blood faster, your body will take some time to adjust to normal. All this displaced blood will have to work its way around your body a few times for it can fully disburse and repair. Another aching issue will come from the growth of your blood vessels, as the stimulant leaves your body, you will experience throbbing as your blood pushes through these narrow paths. All these issues are sure to follow you through your sleep, as caffeine levels continue to affect you up to a week later, within turn results in insomnia and broken sleep. Sore joints and a broken back won’t help with the fatigue either. There are many reasons people report an aching back after quitting caffeine, whatever your reason may be, a warm water bath or ibuprofen should help subside some of the pain and strain. No matter how much it hurts to stop, it only hurts because you started. To gain a healthy body back, there has to be a little pain. 

Please do not feel discouraged by the withdrawal symptoms listed above, as most can be easily relieved, its best to give your body the best. These symptoms are so similar to the ones experienced after consumption, your body just doesn’t have the stimulation to hide the issues, so why further the harm being done to your body just to avoid the above? The longer you cave to your caffeine cravings, the harder it will be to cut out of your life. There are many ways to benefit from caffeine, just not in excessive doses. Many doctors boast the benefits of introducing decaf and green tea into your life, especially if your body is addicted, to counter other high caffeine content options. Recovery is never going to be easy, but the sooner you start, the easier it’ll be. Remember to stay hydrated; eat nutrient and glucose-rich foods; and sleep well while in recovery to speed up the process and make it easier on you. Good luck with quitting caffeine, we wish you the best and are so happy to have been part of your journey!