I quit caffeine a few days ago in an effort to improve my overall mental health.

Caffeine is clinically shown to worsen depression and anxiety. Here’s a quote from one study:

Chronic excessive caffeine consumption leads to the development of caffeinism, a syndrome which includes increased anxiety, depression, frequency of psychophysiological disorders, and possibly degraded performance.”

Having had bits of all of the above, I’m done.

I love coffee and Diet Coke—but I want to be the absolute best version of myself for the people in my life and I’ve come to believe that mental health is central to that.

I know that when I’m feeling depressed or anxious, I’m worse as a husband, dad, friend, manager, and coworker.

As someone also overcoming an addiction to making new things, I know I also have a tendency to constantly get myself into stressful situations, often feeling trapped by my own ambition. If there’s something I can do to be able to be more at peace as I deal with the real anxieties of life, I’m all in!

Curiously, I find it much easier to do this based on my experience of being diagnosed with Celiac Disease 7 years ago and having to painstakingly avoid exposure to wheat/gluten. After just a couple weeks, cutting out gluten made me feel better than I ever had. (Unfortunately, doing this also made me more sensitive so there are more painful consequences now when I am accidentally exposed.)

What if removing caffeine could have a positive impact as well? The science seems to point that direction. How could I not try it?

What about withdrawals?

Yep, they’re legit.

Right now, I’m about 48 hours into withdrawals after quitting cold turkey. Kristi thinks I’m crazy for not stepping it down lightly, but I would rather just go all in and be serious about it, even if it’s a bit painful.

The withdrawal symptoms in the first 36 hours were pretty intense. I expected the headache—but I didn’t expect it to cause me to, well, discard the entire contents of my stomach. The headache grew more and more intense to the point of waking me up in the middle of the night. It eventually went away in the very early morning. Not sure if it was the ibuprofen finally kicking in or the withdrawals fading.

I’m currently just feeling groggy with a light headache. Compared to yesterday, I’ll take it! My only worry is that the withdrawal dissipated because my body anticipated a morning cup of coffee.

We’ll see how it goes!


Have you ever quit caffeine? How did it go for you? Was the benefit noticeable? I would love to hear about your experience. Write me or ping me on Twitter.