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How to Quit Tea (Gradual vs Cold Turkey)

How to Quit Tea (Gradual vs Cold Turkey)

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There is no denying that tea has been, and still remains, one of the world’s most popular drinks. Tea has its roots in history, and it will likely remain an incredibly popular drink for decades to come.

However, despite how popular tea is, there are some problems with it. The largest problem with tea is that it is a major contributor to caffeine addictions, which can make it incredibly hard for people to focus on what they need to do throughout the day.

At first, you might wonder if caffeine really is addictive, and if it is, why it isn’t controlled as much as other addictive substances might be, but the truth is that just about anything can become an addiction if someone is in the prime mindset for it, especially a substance that has a direct effect on the brain.

When people consume enough caffeine on a regular basis, their brains will adapt to having that caffeine in their system, meaning that the moment there isn’t the “right” amount of caffeine in the body, someone might begin feeling the effects of it.

One of the best ways to break the cycle of addiction and detox from the caffeine is to stop consuming products with caffeine in them, and this includes tea. Naturally, this isn’t going to be easy or pleasant for anyone to go through, so you will want to be certain that you have an addiction to caffeine before giving up tea.

After all, if you aren’t addicted to caffeine, then there’s really no reason to remove tea from your life.

What Is a Caffeine Addiction?

An addiction to caffeine is much like an addiction to any other physical substance. Your body, especially your brain, adapts to functioning with a certain level of caffeine’s stimulating properties, so that when the caffeine eventually leaves your body, your brain feels deprived and as if it cannot function without the caffeine because its “normal” has been altered to include that caffeine.

The signs of a caffeine addiction are also quite similar to that of other addictions to substances. The symptoms can include the need to drink more caffeine than you once used to, as the same amounts of caffeine no longer have the same effect because you built up a tolerance, as well as noticeably drinking more tea than other people around you, especially if there is enough for people to comment on it.

Caffeine, as a stimulant, will have effects on your body if consumption is prolonged long enough. This means that if your addiction to tea is bad enough, it will lead to noticeable health problems and eventually doctor’s orders to stop consuming tea.

It doesn’t have to take long to reach this point of needing tea in your life, and if you are someone who is prone to developing addictions, this can mean that you have to be mindful of watching for the symptoms of it.

One of the biggest signs that you need to give up tea is when you start feeling withdrawals because you missed a cup of tea at your usual drinking times. Withdrawals for tea and caffeine won’t reach the same hospital-requiring levels as alcohol and other substances, but they certainly won’t be pleasant.

Recognizing Caffeine Withdrawal

When it comes time to quit tea, you need to be prepared for the withdrawal symptoms as your body tries to adjust to the lack of stimulants in it. The symptoms will be worse if you choose to quit tea cold turkey, but you will still experience them even if you wean yourself off tea.

In a sense, the withdrawal symptoms of a stimulant will be almost the opposite of what people experience while on it. Some of the symptoms include headaches, fatigue, a depressed mood, and irritability.

This is because, as a stimulant, caffeine will constrict the blood vessels in your head, and when you stop drinking tea, those blood vessels will loosen up, allowing more blood in your head, and this can often come across in the feeling of a headache.

Additionally, because a stimulant, well, stimulates your brain, without it, your body will have to adjust from the heightened levels it had experienced before, leaving you sad and tired, which can also lead to irritability.

Other symptoms of caffeine withdrawal will be almost an excitement of your brain and nervous system, as your body tries to compensate for adjusting from its previous normal to a truly normal state. These symptoms will come across as anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and tremors.

People often drink tea to help them focus, and without that stimulant helping you focus on the task at hand, you will notice your ability to concentrate decreases dramatically until your body adjusts.

Anxiety comes from the fact that your body was used to operating with the stimulant in your system, and when that is cut out, your body will sense that something is “wrong” or “missing,” which can absolutely make one feel anxious.

The tremors will typically appear if you are more dependent on tea and tend to be less common, but it is still a symptom to be aware of. It generally comes from your body trying to adapt to the lack of a stimulant in the blood and brain once the caffeine is cut out of your life.

With all these symptoms to pay attention to, you might be worried about the right way to start quitting tea, which may lead you to wonder what the “right” way to do it is.

There are two main methods of quitting tea that people go with: weaning themselves off it and quitting cold turkey. It is recommended to wean yourself off it, but some people might want to grit their teeth and bear it, quitting tea all at once.

Quitting Tea Gradually (Recommended)

It is often recommended that if you are dependent on caffeine and tea in your life that you ease yourself into a new normalcy of not having tea.

This will prolong the amount of time you experience the withdrawal symptoms as you gradually reduce the amount of tea you drink, but the withdrawal symptoms will not be as severe as you slowly lessen the amount of caffeine your body has.

As you might be able to imagine, the process for this is to begin slowly cutting down on the amount of tea that you ingest in a day. If you have a habit of drinking tea in between meals, you might start by cutting that out first, but still keeping the tea with meals so that you still have some tea in the day.

Each person will have a different method of finding areas where they can cut tea out of first, so there is no single method to try that will work for everyone. You should start by first eliminating the least important cups of tea from your day.

An example of this is how many people will drink tea in the mornings to kick start their days, so this would be considered a more important cup of tea, so by comparison, a cup of tea with lunch may be more redundant, especially if you drink a pick-me-up tea in the afternoon when things start to slow down, meaning that you could start by cutting out the midday tea first.

Again, each person has a different lifestyle, so finding the tea in the day that is “least important” may be different per person.

Your overall goal with this is to begin reducing the amount of tea you take in by about half a cup every two to three days. Where that half-cup comes from is not as important as the amount you reduce so that you can keep things even.

The two to three days time between reducing the amount of tea you drink will allow your body and brain to adapt, slowly, to this change so that you do not feel the full brunt of the withdrawal all at once.

While it may not be enjoyable to try and track how much tea you’re at, it will be worth it when you don’t have to experience particularly bad or noticeable withdrawal.

This, however, brings you to the main drawback of weaning yourself off tea at a gradual pace. Not only does it take a fair amount of time, especially if you drink a considerable amount of tea, but it also requires you to be precise and track the amount of tea per day that you can have so that you can ration your remaining tea to the most important parts of your day.

When you are already combatting some degree of withdrawal symptoms, this won’t be easy to do and it can quickly become frustrating, but it is important to remain strong in your resolve to fully quit tea so that you are not as dependent on it and the caffeine that it brings you.

Quitting Tea Cold Turkey

This method of quitting tea will be quick and rough, but that means that you won’t have to worry about tracking the amount of tea that you are allowed to have at a specific point.

At the same time, the withdrawal symptoms will be much more noticeable because there will be a drastic decrease in the amount of caffeine that one has in their body when you stop drinking tea all at once.

This is, without a doubt, the fastest way to quit tea, though it is also the most troublesome, especially if you are heavily dependent on tea. In a sense, it will be the most effective way to see the tea’s full influence on the body, but this is not something that is easily prepared for.

In fact, some people, especially people who know that they are dependent on tea, will have to plan for their quitting of tea so that the worst of the days will fall on times when they do not have to work or can take time off without too much trouble.

Additionally, if you are planning to quit tea in this manner, you should prepare for some of the worst side effects in advance.

You will want to first make sure that you quit drinking tea at a time where you can afford to have a loss of production for the first three days. The symptoms of withdrawal will continue beyond this, but this is generally the worst period of the symptoms.

You will also want to have pain relievers to counteract the headaches, as well as preprepared meals and food that you can easily eat, as chances are that you won’t be feeling up to making your own food and it may not be safe for you to drive.

You may also feel tired and fatigued enough that you will want easy-to-digest foods, such as soup, that you don’t have to give too much thought to.

Depending on your situation, you will also want to inform family, friends, coworkers, and maybe even your boss so that they can expect the decrease in productivity and prepare for the time when you may not be able to work.

Again, the level of how bad you might feel will depend on just how heavily dependent you were on caffeine, but at the same time, this is one of the quickest ways to truly detox from caffeine and tea.

You will also want to be prepared for exactly how unpleasant this is going to end up feeling. One of the biggest problems with trying to quit tea cold turkey is the fact that it can feel bad enough that people will go back to tea quickly, which will only make it more difficult to quit in the future.

If you are planning to quit drinking tea cold turkey, then you need to be prepared to see the whole thing through, no matter how tough or unpleasant it might be.

If you are worried you might not be able to stand through the whole quitting process, it might be better for you to consider quitting tea gradually, even if tracking how much tea you can drink at a time becomes boring and mundane.

Quitting tea is absolutely possible, and in many ways, will be extremely beneficial for your health (mentally and physically) in the long run.

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Wednesday 16th of June 2021

Thanks for this. I quit both coffee and tea recently. While no headaches, the fatigue is there especially in workouts this week and a few digestive feelings.


Tuesday 22nd of June 2021

Hi Kurt, Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you are at least a few days into quitting, so things should start feeling better soon!