Excessive caffeine consumption can lead to dependence.
People have long used caffeine to treat migraine and general pain due to its ability to reduce blood flow, especially in the brain. However, consuming too much caffeine can also trigger headaches.
Reducing or quitting caffeine after regular consumption can cause intense, migraine-like headaches in some people.
As a fat- and water-soluble molecule, caffeine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier where it constricts, or narrows, the blood vessels. Constricting the blood vessels causes a reduction in blood flow, which can help reduce migraine pain.
Reducing or quitting caffeine suddenly will allow the blood vessels to suddenly grow, increasing blood flow. This dramatic increase in blood flow can cause painful, throbbing headaches similar to those of migraine.
Headaches due to caffeine withdrawal can vary in length and severity. People can use caffeine to treat these headaches, but they should be careful not to consume more caffeine than they were previously.
Headaches should subside once the brain adapts to the change in blood flow.