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Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Coping Through The Withdrawal Symptoms of Quitting Smoking 
We got a submission from one of our readers: a story about overcoming the symptoms of quitting smoking. It's not easy to give up this habit, and many people find themselves struggling with withdrawal. However, as this story demonstrates, it is possible to make it through the tough times and enjoy smoke-free living!

For a long time the fear of nicotine withdrawal symptoms have held me back but I finally decided to finally take the plunge and quit smoking. Although I have always known about the risks associated with the habit, it was not until recently that I really started to notice the effects that smoking was having on my health and my ability to do normal day to day things.

There are numerous products on the market that claim to be able to help you quit smoking gradually such as nicotine patches and nicotine gum and these come highly recommended by many people. Yes they may help to minimise the cigarette cravings and smoking withdrawal symptoms. I on the other hand decided to go cold turkey and really was not expecting the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking.

The Time Period of Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Before I quit smoking, I spoke to my doctor about it and he told me that the nicotine withdrawal symptoms were going to affect me the most during the first few weeks. He did tell me that I could expect them to last for around six months but that this was different for anyone. He assured me that in the long run this would definitely be worth it.

I was worried about doing this without the help of medication or nicotine replacement products so I opted to try a homeopathic remedy to help with stopping smoking. This helped a whole lot and came with a program to follow. Initially I experienced the following smoking withdrawal symptoms:

  • Tobacco cravings – I must admit though that these got better as the weeks progressed.

  • Anxiety – I always used to smoke a lot when I felt stressed so I think the feelings of anxiety have always been there and it is only because I now had to deal with them that this nicotine withdrawal symptom has been heightened.

  • Headaches and nausea – Although I didn’t actually get sick, I did feel quite queasy, and a headache usually accompanies this so I’ve been told.

  • Cold-like symptoms – I coughed a lot during the first two weeks after quitting smoking, although I know this is because my lungs were gradually starting to heal themselves.
The smoking withdrawal symptoms I mentioned above were really strong during the first week of quitting, especially on the first and second days. The only ones that have carried on for longer are the feelings of anxiety and the tobacco cravings. I am determined not to give into though as if I do decide to just have one cigarette I know I will have to start again from scratch.

smoking withdrawal symptoms

The Smoking Withdrawal Symptoms that You Could Experience

Aside from the nicotine withdrawal symptoms I mentioned above, there are actually a lot more than can be experienced. The amount of symptoms you experience and the length that you experience them for will generally be down to how much you used to smoke, with heavier smokers having it a lot harder than light smokers. Everyone is different though so whether you experience these (and how long you experience them for) will be down to you individually.

  • Constipation and Flatulence

    Constipation, diarrhoea and flatulence are all symptoms that are usually experienced during the first two weeks after you quit. This is because the lack of nicotine can cause the digestive system to slow down. The best way to deal with this symptom is by eating fibre rich foods and exercising until your body gets back to normal.

  • Feeling Irritable

    This symptom is related to the nicotine cravings as by forcing yourself not to smoke you are guaranteed to want to even more. This is one of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms that unfortunately is said to last for between two and four weeks but there are some things that you can do to make yourself feel better. Firstly if you drink coffee or any other drink that is high in caffeine, lowering the amount that you drink can help to sminimise your feelings of irritability. Secondly, finding something else to occupy your time can stop you thinking about smoking as much. Try not to do something too strenuous during the first few weeks and also try to keep away from any environments where you used to smoke a lot.

  • A Lower than Normal Level of Concentration

    Nicotine increases alertness so it goes without saying that removing it from your body can cause you to have trouble concentrating. This is a normal nicotine withdrawal symptom and usually lasts for between two and four weeks. There is no easy way to deal with this symptom although trying to relax before doing something that requires concentration has been said to help some people.

  • Tiredness and Insomnia

    Stopping smoking will encourage you body’s metabolism to return to normal and with this can come feelings of tiredness as well as insomnia. The best way to combat tiredness is to try and have a few power naps during the course of the day to refresh yourself mentally. Insomnia is the opposite problem but doctors do advise trying to make your sleep routine as relaxed as possible. Taking a hot bubble bath infused with lavender can make you feel sleepy and help you to relax. These nicotine withdrawal symptoms can last for a month or even longer in some cases.

  • Depression

    Although you may not realise it, nicotine has the same qualities as an anti-depressant; so, when you stop smoking, you may begin to feel depressed. If you start to feel the effects of depression after quitting smoking it is a good idea to speak to your doctor who who can monitor the severity of it or point you in the direction of someone to talk to until you start to feel better. This symptom is most common in people who have a history of depression.

  • An Increased Appetite

    Every quitters nightmare - weigh gain. There are a number of reasons as to why quitting smoking can cause you to have an increased appetite. Some people say that their senses are enhanced just two days after quitting and this encourages them to eat. Other people mistake the nicotine cravings for hunger.

    As nicotine actually works to increase your metabolism too, it is a lot easier to put on weight as the nicotine levels decrease in your body. The advice I would give is to just let your increased appetite take over for the few weeks that you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms and then as it gets back to normal, start reducing your food intake and increase exercise or activity levels to rid yourself of the excess pounds.

  • Shortness of Breath

    This is one of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms that is experienced for a good reason (even though it may not feel like it at the time). If you feel short of breath or have a tight chest, this is because your body is ridding itself of the mucus that has accumulated on your lungs over time. This can feel really horrible but trust me, in time you will feel a lot better! If you experience this symptom, try and drink a lot of fluids and get plenty of rest. The good news is that this should not last for more than one week.

    What you must remember is that whilst you will experience one of more of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms mentioned above, you will feel a lot better as time goes on. Stopping smoking is the best way to prolong your life and prevent some forms of cancer and other diseases. By putting in the effort to stop smoking now you are doing your body a huge favour. If I can do it, I’m sure you can too. Good luck!

    More Resources To Help You Quit Smoking

    Nicotine Detox

    Quit Smoking Mainpage

    Helpful link to Easily Quit Smoking Ebook

    Review of how 'Smoke Deter' works - a herbal Stop Smoking Remedy.

    Share Your Nicotine Detox Ideas and Experiences

    Have you had any experiences doing a Nicotine Detox? Share it! Do you have any tips or tricks that helped you get through the dreaded first days? How did you keep your mind focused and your hands busy? Are you trying any products or books that have helped you stop smoking? We'd love to hear from you.

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