Smoking Withdrawal Symptoms

headache from nicotine withdrawal

Nicotine withdrawal often causes headaches.

Smoking tobacco products such as cigarettes can lead to a number of symptoms associated with physical dependence and subsequent withdrawal. Smoking withdrawal symptoms, though not necessarily dangerous, can be very difficult to cope with. What most smokers do not even realize is that the symptoms of cigarette or nicotine withdrawal begin to take place within hours after the last cigarette was smoked. Most smokers attribute these feelings to the need to smoke another cigarette when the real problem at hand is withdrawal.

Tobacco withdrawal causes the body to go through a number of changes including adverse changes in the dopamine production within the brain which is responsible for making people feel happy. Reduced levels of dopamine when cigarettes are not smoked result in a craving for the spike that comes from nicotine and result in the user resorting back to a habit of smoking in an effort to fulfill a craving and desire to feel good.

Smoking withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Intense cravings for nicotine
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Restlessness
  • RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome)
  • Depression and feelings of hopelessness
  • Drowsiness or difficulty sleeping
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares that seem realistic
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Increased frustration and anger
  • Difficulty concentrating

Unfortunately, smoking withdrawal symptoms are a necessary part of quitting and they are not easy to cope with. In fact, these symptoms are often the reason why smokers who try to quit fail and resort back to their old habits. While it can be difficult to cope with the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, it’s important to remember that these symptoms will not last forever! The nicotine withdrawal timeline typically only spans a period of about two weeks for most people upon which the feelings of withdrawal gradually become reduced to a more bearable and controllable state.

Getting Help for Withdrawal

There are various methods of treatment that can help with smoking withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine replacement gums, patches and other products can help ease cravings and certain medications can also work. Support groups are ideal for those trying to quit and looking for some group help or to hear what others have done to be successful in their efforts to quit smoking. There are even paid programs now that encourage smokers to remain abstinent from cigarettes and which provide benefits to those who do quit and who abstain from smoking for various milestone periods such as 30 days, 60 days and longer. Getting help is really just a phone call away!