Understanding Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Understanding Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Becoming aware of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms will help you get past them. The bad news is that you will most likely experience real physical nicotine withdrawal symptoms that are uncomfortable to say the least. Nicotine is a drug, and for most smokers, this is a drug addiction to nicotine. Nicotine is a drug that affects many parts of your body‚ including your brain. Over time‚ your body and brain get used to having nicotine in them.

The good news is understanding that your body is detoxifying and getting rid of nicotine and other poisonous chemicals out of your system and that most of these symptoms will gradually disappear within a short period. Learning how to manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms will help you feel better and help you with those stronger cravings.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually are the strongest in the first week after quitting smoking. Most smokers don’t like how nicotine withdrawal feels. So some people start smoking again to feel better. The first week after quitting is when you are most at risk for a slip. As part of our stop smoking program, our guidance and counseling will help you get you prepared and know what to expect so you can stay smoke free and not relapse.

Signs of Recovery Tips to Help How Long
Craving for a Cigarette

Cravings are most frequent in the first few days after quitting. Remember that generally cravings only last twenty seconds to two minutes. To get through cravings practice the 4 D’s: Drink water, Distract yourself, Deep breathing, Delay your smoking urge.

1-7 days
Dizziness

Light-headedness, dizziness or faintness are common symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine. As a smoker, the carbon monoxide from the cigarette smoke prevented a healthy supply of oxygen from reaching your brain. After quitting, oxygen levels increase to normal which may cause dizziness.

2-12 days
Dry Throat/Mouth

This occurs as your body gets rid of mucous that has blocked airways and restricted breathing. Drink plenty of water; use cough drops, gum or sugar-free candy.

2-3 days
Increased Appetite

After quitting, you may confuse nicotine cravings with hunger pangs. You may also have a better sense of taste as the nerve endings in your mouth and nose regrow. Thus, you may feel like eating more. Take control of your appetite – be careful not to replace cigarettes with food. Have healthy, low-fat snacks readily available and drink plenty of water.

1-4 weeks
The “Blues”

Many people who quit go through a process of grieving – very much like losing a job, a friend or anything of value to you. Exercise is the best tool to improve your mood. To get started try a brisk 15-20-minute walk. Other suggestions include talking to a friend, journaling, or volunteering in your community.

2-3 weeks
Irritability

Be aware that you may feel irritable after quitting. This is caused by the body’s craving for nicotine. Distract yourself by engaging in a hobby or exercise. Reward yourself for the progress you have made – go out for dinner, watch a movie, or buy yourself a special treat.

2-4 weeks
Feeling Tired

Nicotine is a drug; it is a stimulant that gives you a lift. This symptom will lessen over time and your energy level will increase.

2-4 weeks
Increased Coughing

This is a sign that the natural cleansing system in your lungs is working better. Your body is clearing and detoxifying the mucous that has blocked airways and made it difficult for you to breathe. Drink plenty of water.

2-4 weeks
Insomnia

Nicotine affects brain wave functioning and may change your sleep patterns. It is common in the first few days after quitting to wake up frequently during the night. Coughing during the night may also contribute to wakefulness. Some people find an evening walk, exercising, reading, or cutting back on caffeine helpful.

2-4 weeks

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