14 Common Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking, side effects

The 3 Week Diet

Normally, the first 2 weeks after you quit smoking are the most difficult stage of your smoking cessation program. As soon as 4 hours after your last cigarette, you’ll start to feel a variety of withdrawal symptoms. It usually takes 8 to 12 weeks before you will feel comfortable with your new lifestyle. The common withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to headaches, nausea, anxiety, and cravings for cigarettes. African-American-Woman-Feels-S-44442757These symptoms may vary from one smoker to another as your body may react differently. Nicotine, the notorious chemical found in tobacco, creates an addiction, so your body develops a certain dependency and requires a particular amount of nicotine all the time.

Once the concentration of nicotine falls below a certain level, your body will start to undergo nicotine withdrawal. The withdrawal from nicotine is normally unpleasant and very stressful, but they are only temporary. Most of the symptoms will peak about 48 hours after your last cigarette and are completely gone in about 6 months. Below is the list of common nicotine withdrawal symptoms most smokers experience after they quit.

Unexplainable Anger

It is part of the withdrawal process. You just feel it and it doesn’t necessarily have to have a reason. You have to accept it and express it safely. It is best to deal with the situation rather than suppress your anger. What you feel inside may create a tension which may trigger you to smoke. Consider taking a walk or practicing deep breathing exercises to calm your emotions down.

Restlessness and Boredom


You may find yourself wanting to light up a cigarette while waiting for a ride. This is normal, try to keep yourself busy. Read books, newspapers, or do crossword puzzles while waiting for a bus. Don’t let yourself caught in an idle time – do some extra chore or work.

Gas, Constipation, and Stomach Pains

When you quit, you may suffer from constipation and stomach pains due to the decrease of intestinal movements. This normally lasts for a few weeks. Drink 8 glasses of water daily and increase you fiber intake.

Dry Throat, Nasal Drip, and Cough

Don’t panic, this is normal as your body is trying to expel the mucous trapped in your airways. This is a sign that your body is recovering. Drinking lots of water will help.

Cravings


Nicotine is very addictive. Cravings normally peaks 2 days after you quit. Try to keep yourself and your thoughts busy. Constantly remind yourself why you want to quit.

Depression


Some smokers would experience depression when they quit. Quitting smoking is hard and can get into your emotions. Find a support group that can help you deal with your emotions better. It can be your spouse, friends, or professionals who can understand how you feel and the things you’re going through.

Dizziness

Your body is not used to the extra oxygen it is getting after you quit. It may take a while before the dizziness goes away. So when you feel dizzy, you may want to take a short walk and get some fresh air.

Fatigue

Nicotine is a known stimulant. You remove it and you’ll feel a bit sluggish. This lasts for 2 to 4 weeks. During this time, it is best that you get enough quality sleep and extra naps. You may still feel tired when you wake up, but doing some exercise may help address the problem.

Headaches

Your brain is recovering, so you may feel series of headaches during the first few weeks of quitting. A warm bath will help you feel better. Some meditation techniques might be helpful as well. Increase your physical activities and reduce your coffee intake.

Increase of Appetite

Your cigarette cravings can be mistaken for hunger pangs. This is simply a

DID YOU KNOW?

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are not permanent and would slowly wean as your body recovers and return back to normal. These are mere small sacrifices for a short period of time so you can rip the benefits of health for your lifetime. Stay focused and nicotine-free.

craving for oral stimulation which you normally get when you puff cigarettes.  Be prepared with low-calorie and low-fat snacks and drinks.

Insomnia

Nicotine withdrawal can affect your sleep patterns. Avoiding caffeinated drinks and doing relaxation or meditation techniques before you sleep will increase your chance of a restful sleep.

Lack of Concentration

Your body needs time to get used to not having nicotine. You may feel lack of focus or concentration as your body craves for nicotine stimulation it used to get. Changing your activities and keeping an active lifestyle will help lessen your desire to smoke.

When the symptoms hit their peak, remind yourself of the reasons why you want to quit and the benefits you get from it. Tell yourself that the discomforts you’re feeling are mere fraction of the pain you’ll feel if you don’t quit (painful surgeries due to tumor extraction, chemotherapy, etc.). These withdrawal symptoms are not permanent and would slowly wean as your body recovers and return back to normal. These are mere small sacrifices for a short period of time so you can rip the benefits of health for your lifetime. Stay focused and nicotine-free.


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