The symptoms that you will experience when you try to quit smoking are part of a group of symptoms known as nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine withdrawal takes place when you have developed a physical and / or psychological dependence on smoking and you make an attempt to abruptly quit or seriously limit your smoking all at once. The decrease of nicotine being administered to the brain can lead to various symptoms of withdrawal that are challenging to cope with and equally as challenging to treat.
What is Nicotine Withdrawal?
People who become dependent on nicotine as a result of smoking cigarettes, tobacco or otherwise using tobacco products will find it difficult to quit because they will immediately begin to feel symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can last for a few weeks or for months depending on the extent of the addiction and the length of time that an individual smoked cigarettes or other tobacco products.
Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal
The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal will typically last somewhere between a couple of weeks and a couple of months. The most difficult to cope with symptoms typically take place within about 24-48 hours from the last nicotine dose and last for about two weeks. These symptoms include:
- Intense cravings for nicotine products
- Anxiety or irritability
- Depression or sadness
- Difficulty sleeping, insomnia or nightmares
- Feeling tense or frustrated
- Difficulty concentrating
- Weight gain
The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are not dangerous and they will not last forever! The best way to cope with the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and to effectively overcome the withdrawal symptoms is to steer clear of the nicotine, remain abstinent and try to do what you can to change your thoughts and behaviors. You could take on a new hobby, exercise or otherwise try to stay busy to help you stop thinking about the cravings that you are having.
Treatment for Nicotine Withdrawal
If you are trying to quit smoking and can’t seem to kick the effects of nicotine withdrawal, there are some treatment options that may help. Smoking cessation classes or counseling as well as support groups are common for those trying to stop using tobacco products. These programs will assist you in your attempt to quit smoking and can work to provide you with follow-up care that will help you to stay on track to meet your goal of refraining from the use of tobacco products in the future.
Willpower, though not the only treatment for nicotine withdrawal and smoking addiction, is very important when you first make your attempt to quit. There are medications that can be used and other forms of therapy that may help to improve your odds but overall, you have to remain committed to staying sober and to getting well if you really want to quit smoking.
Smokers must develop cognitive and behavioral tools to help them avoid cigarettes even when they feel like they are stressed, sad, anxious, happy, or otherwise needing to smoke. People smoke for all different reasons so it’s important for each smoker to determine what his or her reasons are for smoking in order to effectively develop methods of learning how to cope with these situations without the use of tobacco products.
If you or someone you love is addicted to nicotine, keep in mind that the best way for you to overcome withdrawal symptoms will be to remain abstinent from the nicotine use long enough to allow the withdrawal symptoms to run their course. It may take a few weeks before you really start to notice a difference but in the end you will feel much better.