It’s no myth: caffeine is addictive.

I never used to doubt this, but I used to doubt the possibility that I was addicted. I mean, could one, two or three cups of coffee a day really result in an addiction?

The answer is yes, and I learned this the hard way.

It wasn’t until I was broke and travelling Australia that I realized my coffee addiction was real. Coffee is a completely different experience in Australia (I’ll delve into this later in another blog post), but basically it’s incredibly expensive and finding drip coffee machines  in that country is about as easy as finding a lost earring after a pub crawl.

So, between affording a place to stay, food to eat, or coffee to drink, coffee quickly got cut from the budget. At first I didn’t think this would be an issue, but I started getting really bad headaches and felt incredibly irritable a lot, which is unusual for me. I didn’t connect the headaches and irritability with coffee right away, but when I did it made complete sense.

Headaches and irritability are two of the main symptoms of coffee withdrawal. Other symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depressed mood
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness

The good news? Symptoms usually only last a few days.

I stopped drinking coffee cold turkey, which heightened the severity of these symptoms. If you plan on quitting coffee, don’t do what I did. Slowly remove coffee from your diet. If you usually drinking three cups a day, cut that down to two for a few days, then one for a few days, then stop. Your body will slowly adjust to the lower caffeine levels and will be ready for it to stop completely.

Of course, if you consume caffeine in products other than coffee (i.e. pop, sweets, etc.) this may affect how your body responds. Either way, figure out how much caffeine you consume in a day, then over a week or two slowly remove it from your diet.

If that doesn’t work, you can do what I did: lower your accommodation budget and start drinking coffee again!