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I quit caffeine (TMS impact)

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Hedger, Aug 7, 2021.

  1. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    Since the TMS work has improved my condition so much last 9 months, I decided to dig into another problem - caffeine. The reason I´m writing about it here is that with this endeavor my hip/back pain came back with a vengeance, and depression symptoms.

    Nicotine background
    Earlier in my life I used nicotine (not smoking). First in University and quite much. Quit for about 5 years, then started using it periodically a few months here and there during stressful times at work etc. + some when partying. Two years back I quit it for good and haven't had any since. It took over a year to become completely normal again with dopamine levels etc. I also got severe back ache first months when quitting (I now understand it was TMS since I used nicotine to avoid my feelings and pressure myself a lot).

    Caffeine use
    I found myself using caffeine the same way! During calmer periods I had 2 coffee/day, and when more stressful it could range 4-6 coffee/day. I have responsible job and young kid (and one more on the way) so the stressful times kept increasing. I got 2 month vacation this summer so decided to just quit. Here is what happened so far:

    Day 1-3: Reducing 500mg/day to 200 mg/day
    Small headache. Some back/hip pain coming back. Low energy.
    Day 4-7: Reducing 200mg/day to 50 mg/day
    Severe headache. Significant back/hip pain. Low energy
    Had a fight with my wife on day 7. Cried like crazy for 30 min - felt much better afterwards.
    Week 2: Caffeine free
    Small headache like one more day - then gone. Back/hip pain getting better. Irritable. Low energy. Low quality sleep.
    Week 3: Caffeine free
    Moderate back/hip pain still. Low energy. Trouble sleeping. Extremely low motivation. Depression mood on/off. Irritable sometimes.
    Week 4: Caffeine free
    Some back/hip pain still. Low energy. Depression mood every now and then.
    At second half of the week I started sleeping better, like better than before I quit!
    Last days I could feel my self really getting into rest-mode, completely relaxed when I sat down after lunch for example. This is very encouraging! With this, my mood also started to improve. I feel more at ease than when drinking coffee half of the time now. Still very low energy though.
    Week 5: Caffeine free
    Starts tomorrow.

    My view:
    - It will take at least 3 months to reset my brain chemistry (dopamine etc.). It will take 9-12 months to be completely normal.
    - The acute symptoms like severe headache etc. is as they say: gone within about 1 week. But there are many long term recovery symptoms!!
    - Caffeine acts as an adenosine-receptor antagonist to keep you more alert (not sleepy). That's the main message we get. But more and more research show that it also mess with your dopamine systems. It also increase your cortisol, adrenaline etc. How easy is it to be in "rest and repair" if you keep injecting this stimulant into your system?! For me, not easy at all. It´s a fucking stimulant! And it mess with brain chemistry and nervous system. I´m motivated to reset my system from this. I´ll keep you posted on the progress.
    GODUCKSjr and JanAtheCPA like this.
  2. GODUCKSjr

    GODUCKSjr Newcomer

    I dropped my caffeine intake drastically with the pandemic. My anxiety was getting really bad and especially in the mornings. It really helped. I still drink half of a small iced coffee in the mornings just to keep the headaches away.
    Hedger likes this.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Anytime I cut back any medication I take, I have a relapse of TMS. I don't understand why that is, but I've seen it happen repeatedly for the last 7-8 years.
    Cap'n Spanky, Kittyruns and Hedger like this.
  4. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    Ellen, I think this is a very important and complicated question. I´m going to speculate a bit on this from my view:
    Let´s postulate that feelings are the root cause for a number of things, here with some examples:
    Feelings (sadness, rage, fear etc.) causes lower serotonin etc. -> You get a depression (Here when you get a anti-depressant drug you are actually just medicating the symptom, not the cause)
    Feelings causes higher cortisol, adrenaline etc. -> You get anxiety and so on
    Feelings causes other TMS symptoms, like back ache.

    Now say you mess with any of these systems by using an external stimulant. Alcohol is classic example that pushes on so many different chemical systems in your body (e.g. Dopamine) and have for ages been used instead of facing our feelings. Many systems then get altered chemically after a while if you over-use alcohol and when you quit it feels awful (depression, anxiety etc.). Not only do you have to face the chemical effects of your distorted internal system that is dependent on this "drug" when the "drug" is removed, you also have to face all the feelings you have pushed away. That is why Alcoholic Anonymous have all the steps of going through feelings etc, but also helping another persons and so on. It seems important to both face the feelings and to start building on things that the body is actually evolved to do. Our bodies are designed to help us repeat actions that are in our best interest (by all these neuro transmitters). And stimulants/medications mess with this!

    Dopamine: Feeling of accomplish something you are set out to do (crossing of to-do list e.g.). Hit a goal - YES! Purpose: That we get stuff done. Example: Eating release Dopamine so that we want to gather food and survive.
    Serotonin: Feeling of pride/status etc. Recognition from others. Is designed to reinforce relationships. Examples: Teacher-student, Parent-Child, Coach-Player, Boss-employee. Like when your child graduates, you both get large hit of serotonin - You are proud of your child and the child is proud of himself (e.g. also happy by making you proud).
    Oxytocin: Feeling of love, trust etc. Feeling of safety in company, belonging. Examples to get it: Hug, touch, perform acts of kindness/service/generosity (even witnessing others do it).
    Cortisol: Feeling of nervous, stress (and anxiety) - designed to keep us alive (fight or flight). Senses get hyper attuned (and at high levels paranoid) to look for danger - focuses you.

    Back to TMS when quitting substance: Now say that you are taking a medication affecting your serotonin level, masking a lot of feelings you have. Then you quit, boom. These feelings try to surface. How to repress them? TMS symptoms. I think same with Dopamine releasing substances etc. This is just a theory I wrote now, but makes sense to me.

    Off course companies want us to drink coffee (free at work). It releases Dopamine and Cortisol, making you motivated and focused. But what about long-term effect of messing with the systems?

    More and more people I meet are Dopamine addicts. Many things release Dopamine. Some a bit less dangerous, like cell phone addict's (social media etc.), some medium with nicotine, and some dangerous with gambling problems, drug addicts, alcoholics or similar. Regardless, I get irritated when a person rather look at a phone notification constantly than enjoying my company.

    It´s so refreshing when you meet persons operating more in the serotonin and oxytocin domain. They are relationship oriented and selfless. They understand that if they sacrifice some of their time and energy on you, they also get rewarded with these internal feel-good chemicals. Like a mentor feels good when helping an apprentice. And it re-enforce bonds and make everyone happy. Off course they also use Dopamine: good food, get things done etc. But as their bodies were designed to do!!

    Note: Buying things with money and showing it off can also release serotonin ("raising your status"). This is however not a good way of operating since it is not reinforcing any relationship, so might leave you with loneliness.
  5. Hedger

    Hedger Well known member

    Week 5-6 Update
    - Some back/hip pain still. Now starting to close in on as low as before I quit (almost nothing).
    - Low energy
    - Short term memory is not as good, I forget daily things more.
    - Less focused

    + Sleeping deeper/better
    + Dreaming much more (!). I think this is one part of emotional handling in our brains.
    + Much calmer sense of being
    + A lot less worrying and fear in my mind

    It´s now on week 7. Generally I like my mood regulation better and general feeling, but I do look forward to getting better energy, motivation and focus back up again. Hoping it will improve significantly at week 12 or similar.

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