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deni's avatar

Why do I have this reaction when I drink caffeine?

Asked by deni (22607points) August 13th, 2014

Ok so I am 25 and have been drinking coffee for probably almost 10 years now on and off but for at least the past 5 years I’ve drank it every morning and throughout the day. I have always had a low tolerance for it and almost as time goes by it seems my tolerance for caffeine becomes even lower. For example: A half a mug of coffee is usually ok with me as long as I eat something with it, and even then if I’m not constantly eating throughout the day, I will “feel” the coffee usually like 4–6 hours later, get terrible jitters, become hot and sometimes irritable, and this will generally last until I put something else considerable in my stomach. If I have a full cup of coffee, god watch out, my days are numbered. I’m semi joking but not really, I accidentally drank a little more coffee than normal a few days ago and was at yoga probably 6 hours later and thought I was going to pass out.

Now the question you ask yourself is WHY DON’T YOU JUST STOP DRINKING COFFEE? Well, I do like the boost it gives me, although I feel mine is far delayed compared to most people. Getting up and drinking coffee does not immediately make me feel awake like many people claim it does for them. Normally my energy boost from the coffee comes hours later, but before the jitters and irritability. I also still drink it because on days I have tried to forego coffee, I have ended with terrible headaches which I can only assume are from not drinking it? On any of those occasions I haven’t done anything else out of the ordinary. These headaches are bad and so I figure ok, I’ll just keep drinking coffee then, geez. Sounds pretty stupid when I write it out, but regardless that’s what I’ve done.

So, lately, it’s been kinda getting worse it seems. Today, I drank yerba mate for the first time since I heard it gives you caffeine but is healthier and wouldn’t result in all the negatives that the caffeine in coffee gives you, or whatever. (If it matters I did not use the bombilla and gourd method but just had a teabag) So, I drank it, felt normal but not caffeinated for the 2 or 3 hours after I had finished it. In fact I felt tired. Then, I began feeling really really hot. It was a hot day out to begin with but I love the heat and can usually handle 110 degrees no problem. It was probably only 90 but I had a wet face and I was just sitting in the shade, reading! I’d had plenty of water and had eaten, and then I became extremely irritable. I was sort of having trouble focusing and I was just so hot, and so irritated about everything. My boyfriend was playing the guitar in our living room and I was so annoyed by it I seriously had to leave the house.

WHAT IS GOING ON??????????????????????
I assume the answer is JUST STOP DRINKING CAFFEINE! But I wonder if there is anything more to it, anything I can do to lessen these bad effects, or if anyone else has this reaction to caffeine? Please, any insight would be really helpful! Thanks!

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14 Answers

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I experienced the same thing when I started drinking coffee.

The effects dwindled to nothing over time.

dabbler's avatar

Your nervous system could be getting exhausted by the time you feel those effects, from having the foot on the accelerator all day.

Also water, coffee is a diuretic and will pull water out of your system, if you aren’t getting enough water – on top of being java’d up – that can feel bad in all the ways you describe.

They say B-complex supplements can fortify the nervous system, or eat more foods with B vitamins…

elbanditoroso's avatar

Acid. Coffee has some acids in it that build up over time and upset your stomach unless you dilute them with food or drink.

If you can’t go cold turkey – which is probably advisable – then it least cut down by a good percentage. Not all in one day, but over a couple of weeks,

I have had the same issues you do. I used to drink 6 cups a day, and it made me feel awful. Now it’s one a day. No problems.

deni's avatar

@elbanditoroso But isn’t it bizarre that I don’t even usually drink a full cup a day? I could see how on 6 or more cups of coffee your body would be going crazy, but such a small amount always seems to me like it should be okay. It rarely is though!

I’m not going to have any tomorrow and we’ll see how I feel. Just gonna try to be even more active than I am normally and give myself those natural highs, ya know. Ha.

LornaLove's avatar

You could have become sensitive to caffeine.

jca's avatar

Try avoiding it for a week or two to get it out of your system. Actually, try to avoid all caffeine (tea, coffee, colas). Then, try having a cup of caffeinated tea and see how you feel. Try going from no caffeine for a week or two to a little caffeine, and then after a few days of the tea, try a small cup of coffee. See how you feel with the coffee vs. what you know of how you felt with no caffeine for a few weeks.

Kismet's avatar

Caffine is a stimulant drug.
The headaches you are getting when you go off it is simply a withdraw.

There is a chance you are experiencing caffeine toxicity, and your body simply cannot take the amount you continually put in it.

Try to slowly decrease the amount you drink until you are able to switch to another “caffeine replacement” OR try to quit for a short amount of time so you aren’t as dependent on it.

deni's avatar

This is my 4th day without caffeine. I feel supreme!

jca's avatar

@deni: Are you still caffeine free?

deni's avatar

@jca YES! And probably for a very long time if not forever!

LuckyGuy's avatar

How are you making out? Feeling better? .

deni's avatar

Yes! Wow, almost 6 months later, no caffeine whatsoever. Since abandoning the habit I have never felt that way again, shaky, irritable, nervous…I have more energy and have delved deep into the world of herbal tea….and what a fun world it is. I am happy to be off caffeine :) tho i still do savor the smell of it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

That is great news! How long did it take for the headaches to stop?

Thanks for keeping us informed. Certainly your info will help others.

deni's avatar

@LuckyGuy Strangely enough I think I only had a mild headache the first day. Weird right? Although to be fair the amount of caffeine I was intaking was low, so maybe thats why, but then it is hard to understand why at the same time it affected my nerves and brain so much!!

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