Nicotine is one of the most common addictive substances you can stumble upon. Most people know at least one person who smokes. And unfortunately, smoking is a habit that is hard to escape. Particularly when it comes to people who have smoked for most of their lives, you can expect it to be difficult for them to stop smoking altogether. Believe it or not, but it’s just as addictive as drugs like heroin or cocaine, even if the effect is not as dangerous.
Nicotine withdrawal is something many smokers will go through if they ever try to give up on their unhealthy habits. It can get so bad that some will go back to smoking not long after. Others will try multiple times to quit this addiction.
So, what is nicotine withdrawal and how will it manifest? Moreover, what are the benefits of quitting nicotine and how can you get help? You can learn everything about that below.
About Nicotine Withdrawals
It’s not a surprise that nicotine is affecting your body. It doesn’t affect just your lungs, but rather multiple parts of your body. These include your metabolism, brain, blood vessels, heart, and even your hormones. That being said, once you start being addicted to nicotine, you are allowing it to affect your body.
But that’s not where the disadvantages stop. On top of affecting a variety of organs, tobacco also has carcinogens, more specifically around 70 of them. Therefore, someone who smokes regularly will put themselves at higher risk of cancer.
Many people know the consequences and still, they keep smoking. Others attempt to stop smoking for good, but it’s not as easy as they’d like it to be. Nicotine withdrawal can occur in most people, and it will make it much harder for them to stop smoking because they’re not getting their daily nicotine intake.
Nicotine withdrawal is something that comes with physical and mental symptoms as a result of the body not getting nicotine, and of the nicotine leaving your body. These symptoms are temporary, but they can be very difficult to handle for some people. They are signs that the body is starting to recover from the smoking addiction that was normal for years.
What The Withdrawals Look Like
Even if it’s been a few weeks since you started smoking, you will still feel the effects of quitting nicotine. That being said, it doesn’t matter if you have been smoking for years or decades – you will still experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Although, in the latter situation, the symptoms may be even more intense.
When experiencing nicotine withdrawal, the person will deal with multiple mental, emotional, and physical symptoms. The longer you’ve been smoking for, the longer the symptoms may last, and the more intense they’re going to be.
Usually, the first week after you quit smoking is going to be the worst. Days 3 through 5 might be the most intense ones, and the urge to grab a pack of cigarettes and fall back into the pit of addiction is very high. This usually happens because the nicotine has cleared out of your body. As a result, you can get cravings, insomnia, and headaches. Once you get over this part, it will all start to feel better, although there may still be mental and emotional symptoms.
Mental Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal
Mental and emotional symptoms of quitting cigarettes are very much real, and you will experience them for a while. Of course, everyone will be affected differently, so not every single person quitting cigarettes will always have the same effects. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mental symptoms:
- Irritability – After quitting nicotine, you might start feeling irritable for a while. This is only normal, especially if you’re dealing with physical symptoms as well.
- Depression – Some people will deal with depression, which will last up to a month after they quit smoking. However, it might last for much longer if you have a history of depression and anxiety.
- Anxiety – Anxiety might occur since smoking is a relaxing habit for most people. And once you quit that, you may get a boost in anxiety.
- Mental Fog – As your body is clearing itself of the toxic substance, you may find it hard to concentrate on things.
Physical Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal
Physical symptoms will easily be felt during nicotine withdrawal. Some may deal with one or two symptoms, while others may have to go through more. Everyone is different, after all. Here are the most common physical symptoms you may experience:
- Headaches – This tends to be the first withdrawal symptom that people experience. Headaches are very common, but they’re usually mild.
- Appetite Changes – What many people notice after nicotine withdrawal is that their appetite gets a boost. You might start eating more than usual. This is because cigarettes reduce hunger as they contain dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals that are known to decrease hunger. Many might even gain some weight during the first two weeks due to the appetite.
- Cravings – Many people will start craving the thing they gave up on – nicotine. Cravings might start as soon as 30 minutes after your last cigarette, so you can imagine it can get worse in the days to come.
- Fatigue – Without nicotine, you may start feeling tired, as nicotine reduces tiredness usually. It’s also possible to experience insomnia.
- Coughing – Once you quit cigarettes, you might experience coughs as the respiratory system is cleaning itself.
- Constipation – Constipation is another symptom that might occur for the first month after quitting cigarettes.
Timeline For Nicotine Withdrawals
Here’s the timeline for nicotine withdrawal so that you know what to expect:
- 30 minutes – 4 hours – You will instantly crave cigarettes.
- 10 hours – Your body will crave nicotine and you’ll feel restless, and even feel sad.
- 24 hours – Appetite increases, and you may get irritable.
- 2 days – Headaches may start to occur.
- 3 days – Nicotine is usually gone, and you start being anxious and getting cravings.
- 1 week – If you made it up to a week, you should be proud of yourself and keep avoiding the temptation.
- 2-4 weeks – You may start getting better, which means that the appetite will slowly become normal, and your anxiety, depression, mental fog, and cough will disappear.
- 5 weeks – You have to keep being mentally strong.
Coping with Nicotine Withdrawals
Here are some ways to cope with the symptoms of withdrawal:
- Start doing some exercises
- Quit medications like Zyban, Champix, as it’ll reduce the symptoms
- Talk to professionals who can help encourage you to keep going
- Try nicotine replacement therapy like patches, mouth spray, and other such things
Learning ways to get better
You need to learn some ways to get better. These include:
- Finding support from family and friends
- Getting more sleep
- Try distracting yourself with other activities
- Reward yourself when reaching goals
- Eat healthier
- Drink more water
- Create a quit journal
The Benefits of Quitting
Ever wondered what the benefits of quitting nicotine are? The positive effects include:
- A much better vision
- Clear skin
- Clean mouth
- Thinner blood
- Less risk of heart issues
- Lower cholesterol
- Decreased risk of cancer
- Stronger bones and muscle
- A stronger immune system
How Do I Get Help With Nicotine Addiction?
Quitting nicotine is not always easy, so you may need help along the way. This is why nicotine rehabs exist – to help people like you quit nicotine addiction and start living a better and healthier life. Once you seek help from rehab centers, you will get expert support and will go under effective treatment, which is usually a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.
Nicotine addiction affects the life of anyone experiencing it, so quitting nicotine is the best option. However, nicotine withdrawal is real, and it’s important to know the symptoms and how to deal with them. We hope our article will help you seek the help you need so that you can cope with the withdrawal.