Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Masochism, Caffeine, and Sympathy for Addicts Everywhere



I'm giving up caffeine for health reasons, and today is my second day. The blinding headache hit around noon yesterday, so I fired up Le Google and went to type in "caffeine withdrawal headache treatment." I got as far as the word "withdrawal" before Le Google in its infinite wisdom completed the phrase for me. Obviously a common problem. Can't you just see millions of agonizing, coffee-deprived people around the world hunching over their computers and frantically typing in caffeine withdrawal headache treatment?

The funny thing is, I never even drank coffee until recently; I simply didn't like the taste of it. Thanks to all those years in England and Australia, I was however seriously addicted to black tea until I broke that habit about five years ago. Then I discovered lattes. Mmm. But I was still careful not to drink it often until my mother went in the hospital last year and I was staying awake 36 and 48 hours at a stretch. After that I got in the habit of having a (giant) latte every Saturday and Sunday morning as a treat (although if the opportunity offered at any other time, I usually grabbed it. My favorite coffee shop, pictured above, is just down the street.) As my caffein addiction mounted, I slid back into the habit of drinking English breakfast tea all day long. Now I'm going cold turkey again. Aren't you glad you're no where near me?

I know it will all pass. Perhaps someday I will even be able to have a latte without suffering the same disastrous results as an alcoholic who falls off the wagon. But oh, the pain. Oh, the longing. What I wouldn't do for just one sniff...

Pardon me while I go make a cup of herbal tea.

13 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I've still managed to avoid the coffee habit, but I do have a caffiene addiction, from colas. I get the headaches when I quit.

cs harris said...

Charles, the articles on treating the headaches did mention colas. Evidently something like 70% of all sodas, not just colas, are loaded with caffein.

neurondoc said...

Caffeine withdrawal headaches can be a bitch, but they do go away.

One of the sneakiest caffeinated sodas is Sunkist -- positively bursting with it...

Steve Malley said...

I'm pretty sure that without regular infusions of Hot Dark Glory, there'd be nothing left but a clump of dust!

A tip of the hat to your strength and resolve. And a trip to the kitchen to top up my mug*...




*(by 'mug' I mean a mop-bucket with a handle welded on the side)

Essex said...

It took me about two weeks to detox from my 6 cup a day habit- though the intensity of the headaches did get better after a few days. The problem is that I like the taste of coffee, and I foolishly thought that I could stick to a cup a day after over a year of decaffeinated life. I am back to drinking a lot more coffee than that! At this time in my life, I am just not sure I want to go thru the caffeine withdrawal again. I have a somewhat prickly personality at baseline, but I was an absolute bear off caffeine. Well, maybe one day I will try again when I am isolated in the Antarctic or something. . .

Pax Deux said...

I am one of those coke (a-cola) addicts! But my children finally called my bluff. When they were younger, I used to say "Soda is only for Mommy." My husband rolled his eyes. Now they are old enough to point out how "terrible" it is for me -- grrr. So Lent came, and Coke left our home. I slept over 30 hours the first two days after I gave it up. Headaches set in after. But now I only feel a twinge when I go by the coolers at the Delis...

cs harris said...

Neurondoc, I've discovered that sugar helps, at least temporarily. Not a good discovery. And I did not know that about Sunkist. Wow.

Steve, drink a bucket for me, will you?

Essex, TWO WEEKS? Noooooooooo....

Pax Deux, There was a time I was addicted to Coke. In college, I'd drink it first thing in the morning to help me wake up and never realized it was the caffeine I was craving. I obviously have an addictive personality.

Anonymous said...

I was great until about 4 years ago when we moved to the Pacific Northwest. Before that, only a cup in the morning. Now, living in drizzle and mist for many months of the year, I'm a latte-aholic. My husband still thinks it is the milk I crave, since I won't drink it straight.....hmmmm...maybe he has a point. Good luck - Sabena

orannia said...

Good luck. I don't drink coffee, but I do drink far too much Coca Cola!

liz fenwick said...

Good luck...have done it before but reverted back.

Does it mean you are giving up chocolate too?
lx

cs harris said...

Sabena, thanks. I spent many years in the drizzle of Washington and Oregon. I could never give up my lattes if I were there now!

Orannia, thanks. I'm amazed at how many people have said they don't drink coffee but get there caffeine from colas.

Liz, I'm giving up chocolate temporarily until I get over the hump, but not permanently. There is only so much one can do in the name of health.

Chap O'Keefe said...

Three cups of black tea and one cup of coffee per day. Other drinks are usually fruit juice, plus water and soft drinks (sodas) in especially hot weather. I think I have the caffeine under control ... but then I've never tried to give it up!

cs harris said...

Chap, I was totally blindsided by that headache when I tried to give it up, because I was only drinking a couple of cups of tea, with the lattes mainly on weekends--a far cry from the 12 cups of tea a day habit I used to have.