I’m going to get straight to the point. Energy drink withdrawal is without a doubt one of the worst things I have ever experienced. For as long as I can remember my loved ones have encouraged me to cut down on my energy drink intake. I’d seen the videos on Facebook, I’d heard the warnings from mental health professionals, but nothing anyone said was enough. I had to be ready, it had to be my choice.
I’ve tried and failed on several occasions to at least cut down my caffeine/sugar/energy drink consumption.
Every single time I tried, I’d end up right back where I started within hours. At my worst, I was drinking 5-6 cans of energy drink a day. I was addicted. When people think about addiction, they instantly think about drug and alcohol addiction. Many don’t consider energy drink addiction to be a ‘proper’ addiction, but if the withdrawal is anything to go by, I can assure you it is.
My energy drink addiction was impacting nearly every aspect of my life, especially my mental health. I hated how dependant I was on energy drinks, but as a single, self-employed mum of two, energy drinks were often the only thing that got me through the day. The amount of money I was spending on cans of Monster Energy each day doesn’t bear thinking about, but I didn’t care, I just needed my fix.
I think my nearest and dearest always thought that I wouldn’t stop until something major happened, such as a health scare caused by the amount of Monster Energy I was consuming. Thankfully I’ve managed to avoid any scares, but recently I’ve become acutely aware of the damage energy drinks are doing to my body despite suffering with no symptoms of any major issues.
I’m 25-years-old, my life has only just begun.
I want to see my children graduate and watch my daughter walk down the aisle. I may have felt healthy, but if my energy drink addiction had continued any longer, I could have easily become a ticking time bomb. So I decided enough was enough. I didn’t go cold turkey, I cut down slowly but surely. Going cold turkey would have made me hideously unwell. As the only adult in our home, I needed to be fully functional for the sake of the children. Especially as they are currently enjoying their first school holiday of the new school year.
Cutting down wasn’t easy. I felt an intense dread when I reached the end of the last can in the house. I hit a few bumps in the road. The amount I was drinking crept up again, but eventually I managed to get down to 3 cans a day, then 2, and then just one. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It really wasn’t…. in fact it was one of the most horrendous experiences of my life.
Energy drink withdrawal is intense. As soon as I began to cut down I suffered from excruciating migraines. I felt sick, shaky and sweaty for days. My anxiety reached an all time high, I was edgy, angry at the world and myself for reaching this point. All I wanted to do was sleep, but instead I had to fight against what my body was telling me and get through the day as best I could.
Day two and three of energy drink withdrawal were the worst. I couldn’t eat, even looking at food made my stomach turn. The migraines intensified. All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep until I stopped feeling quite so awful. On day three, I physically vomited 3 times. All of this, and I was still drinking one can a day. It was then that I realised quite how addicted I had been.
Day four wasn’t easy, but compared to days two and three, it was a walk in the park.
The headache lessened, the shaking reduced, and my body began to enjoy food once more. I savoured every last drop of the single can I was allowing myself, I didn’t want to go back to where I had been just a week previously.
It’s been five days now. I’m still drinking one can a day and will continue to do so until I feel ready to stop completely. There were moments during the last five days when I considered giving up, the only thing that stopped me from running to the supermarket and purchasing every can available was my children and my friends and family. I knew that the moment I upped my intake again I was putting myself at risk of stomach ulcers, a mental breakdown or even a heart attack.
I’m immensely proud of myself, despite feeling physically and mentally exhausted. If I can do it, anyone can. If you are reading this and you know that your energy drink consumption is more than just a habit, please, take my advice and do your best to reduce your intake. It won’t be easy, energy drink withdrawal never is, but I promise you it will be worth it.