5 Common Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal
Congrats! On this page, in particular, knowing that you are here means you are one step closer to quitting smoking and would like to learn more about nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Or better yet, maybe you have already quit and are looking to see whether the withdrawal symptoms you are suffering from are usual.
What is nicotine withdrawal?1
Nicotine is a stimulant drug that accelerates the transmission of messages between the brain and the body. In tobacco products, it is the primary psychoactive component2. As nicotine departs your body, you will experience a variety of physical, mental, and emotional effects. Your body and brain become accustomed to nicotine when you use tobacco products. It is a very addictive substance. The lack of nicotine in your body can create unpleasant sensations if you reduce or stop using nicotine-containing items. Some symptoms include the desire to smoke again, nausea, headaches, and irritability2.
Find out everything you need to know about Nicotine, here.
What are the nicotine withdrawal symptoms?
You need to know that your decision to quit smoking is bound to enhance your overall well-being. However, since your body has developed an addiction to nicotine, a stimulant drug present in tobacco, you will experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms3. Below are five common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and some methods to comping, based on the CDC4.
1 - Feeling agitated
When you quit smoking, it's fairly usual to feel agitated or grumpy. Many people who have never smoked are aware that this is a necessary element of stopping. It can be comforting to know that this is usual.
Methods for coping: Remind yourself that you're probably feeling this way because your body is adjusting to life without nicotine. Remind yourself why you're quitting by taking a few deep breaths.
2 - Struggling to maintain your concentration
It's not uncommon to find it difficult to concentrate in the first few days after quitting. Methods for coping: Try to be gentle with yourself, especially in the first few days after quitting. If at all possible, limit activities that need intense attention.
3 - Gaining weight5.
When you stop smoking, it's natural for your hunger to grow. Also, your body may not burn calories as quickly as it should. Because all that smoke isn't dampening your senses of smell and taste, food may even be more enjoyable! You may also eat more to relieve the stress of quitting or keep your hands and mouth occupied.
Methods for coping: If you're hungry in between meals, look for low-calorie snacks that will keep your mouth and hands occupied. Also, any form of physical activity is preferable to none. Finally, slow down your eating and concentrate on enjoying your meal. This can assist you in recognizing when you are becoming full.
4- Having a hard time sleeping
When you first quit smoking, it's usual to have difficulties sleeping6.
Methods for coping: Limited coffee, tea, or other caffeinated beverages, avoid doing so in the late afternoon or evening. Caffeine stays in your system longer when you stop smoking. Also, if you're using a nicotine patch, try removing it an hour before going to bed. The nicotine in the patch might sometimes interfere with your sleep. Finally, try limiting TV and cellphone time before you sleep, among other stimulants that might interfere in your sleeping pattern.
5 - Feeling anxious and/or depressed
After quitting smoking, some people experience mood swings for a brief period of time. Smoking has the potential to make you feel better in the short term, but this is because nicotine in cigarettes relieves withdrawal symptoms, not because it helps with anxiety or depression. Returning to smoking is a terrible method to deal with withdrawal symptoms and mood swings! The good news is that after a few months of not smoking, people's anxiety and sadness levels are often lower than before they smoked.
Methods for coping: Some ways to cope with these nicotine withdrawal symptoms are to be active in your life, to make a schedule for your day, to connect with supportive friends and family, to reward yourself for your efforts, and to speak with a medical professional if the need arises.
Also read: Nicotine Myths & Facts, here.
What does the nicotine withdrawal symptoms timeline look like7?
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually appear a few hours after your last nicotine dose. They reach their peak or are at their most intense, on the second or third day after quitting smoking. Every day, your symptoms will improve slightly, especially after the third day of stopping. Withdrawal symptoms from nicotine can last anywhere from a few days to many weeks.
What can you do about nicotine withdrawal symptoms7?
When you're ready to quit smoking, talk to your doctor about the drugs that can help. Nicotine replacement treatment can aid in the alleviation of withdrawal symptoms. There is a small quantity of nicotine in replacement treatment, but none of the cancer-causing compounds or other chemicals found in tobacco products. Withdrawal symptoms are relieved by this modest amount of nicotine. You'll feel healthier and more at ease, making it easier to give up tobacco products. You can find nicotine cessation aids in gums, inhalers, and patches, among others.
Find NICORETTE® Freshmint Gums, which come in both 2mg & 4mg, have been proven quite effective to help smokers quit smoking.
On a final note, do not forget to commend and reward yourself for your decision and for each passing minute that you do not open your cigarette pack to smoke! You have made and continue to make great success!
Remember, the nicotine withdrawal symptoms are only temporary, but the damage of smoking is close to permanent!
Check out all the facts & myths you need to know about Nicotine & Myths of Nicotine Replacement Therapy, here.
Our aim at Nicorette is to help you quit smoking for good. Find more blogs from our medical professionals and understand why you should embrace your smoke-free journey with us.
- 3McLaughlin, I., Dani, J. A., & De Biasi, M. (2015). Nicotine withdrawal. The Neuropharmacology of Nicotine Dependence, 99-123.
- 5O'Hara, P., Connett, J. E., Lee, W. W., Nides, M., Murray, R., & Wise, R. (1998). Early and late weight gain following smoking cessation in the Lung Health Study. American journal of epidemiology, 148(9), 821-830.
- 6Jaehne, A., Loessl, B., Bárkai, Z., Riemann, D., & Hornyak, M. (2009). Effects of nicotine on sleep during consumption, withdrawal and replacement therapy. Sleep medicine reviews, 13(5), 363-377.
- 7Shiffman, S., Patten, C., Gwaltney, C., Paty, J., Gnys, M., Kassel, J., ... & Balabanis, M. (2006). Natural history of nicotine withdrawal. Addiction, 101(12), 1822-1832.
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