As we already know, smoking is harmful to health, but once trapped, we are not able to get rid of the habit of smoking. The leading cause is nicotine, which is very addictive and difficult to quit. As compared to heroin or cocaine, nicotine is not dramatic, but it is equally addictive. Before leaving finally for good, many smokers try nicotine withdrawal many times before.
From your heart to blood vessels, you can experience the effect of nicotine in all the parts of your body, including the brain. When you experience a nicotine withdrawal, your body craves for it, and you turn irritable.
Although the nicotine withdrawal lasts for a month, you have to fight a mental battle against for many more coming months.
What is Nicotine?
Nicotine is a chemical containing nitrogen. It is made using several plants, especially the tobacco plant. It is as addictive as heroin, which is an illegal drug. On inhaling the nicotine for the first time, there is a release of epinephrine hormone in your body, which activates the sympathetic nervous system, rapid your breathing, raises your blood pressure and heart rate.
It is a stimulant drug that elevates the message travelling from the brain to the body. Within just 10 seconds of inhalation, nicotine reaches the brain and releases dopamine, which is responsible for motivation and pleasure.
How Does Nicotine Withdrawal Work?
The power and addictiveness of nicotine can be assessed from the fact that even if you smoke for a few weeks, you are bound to undergo withdrawal at the time of quitting smoke. The symptoms of the removal also last depending on the factors:
- How long you smoked?
- How many cigarettes do you smoke in a day?
Nicotine withdrawal effects mentally, physically as well as emotionally. The initial three to five days are worst when the nicotine is clearing out from your body, and your brain regularly sends the signals for nicotine leading to discomfort, anxiety, and severe cravings for smoking. You can also experience insomnia and headaches.
After one week, the physical symptoms start fading, and you begin experiencing emotional consequences such as anxiety, irritability, and depression.
What Are The Physical Withdrawal Symptoms Of Nicotine?
There are several factors that affect the physical withdrawal symptoms of nicotine, such as how long you smoked and how many packs of cigarettes in a day. Once you quit, here are some of the common physical withdrawal symptoms:
Mild dizziness and headache are some of the common side-effects of nicotine withdrawal. These symptoms start with the first day of withdrawal.
once you quit smoking, just in a day or two, your appetite shoots up dramatically. As cigarettes contain the hunger-suppressing chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, once they started getting out of your system, your craving for food increases. Most of the people experience cravings for sweets and carbs, leading to the rise in body weight by 5 – 10 pounds in just one week.
As nicotine act as a brain stimulant and makes you feel active by rapidly passing the messages from the brain to the body, its withdrawal makes you feel drowsy and tired. You might also experience insomnia or anxiety.
it can also be a side-effect of quitting nicotine in some people.
The cravings for nicotine are the longest cravings that your mind and body strive for. However, each craving lasts for 15-20 minutes, but it comes frequently. You should avoid triggers like avoiding the people who smoke or alcohol to get through these cravings.
You could experience the cough lasting for several weeks. It is because your respiratory system does not get adequately cleaned when the nicotine is around.
What Are The Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms Of Nicotine?
There are some mental/emotional nicotine withdrawal symptoms which one faces as follows:
Irritability: It is one of the typical withdrawal symptoms which goes away gradually. As your brain consistently indicates for nicotine and your body does not receive, you feel irritated. Fatigue and constant headaches also attributed to irritability.
Anxiety: Smoking helps in relieving stress. Hence, once you quit smoking, your anxiety levels reach their peak. You can start struggling with anxiety from the third day you quit, and it lasts for weeks.
Mental fog: When the nicotine leaves off your body, ultimately, you may experience the mental fog for a short duration.
Depression: Starting from the first day of quitting, depression lasts up to one month or more. If you are facing a problem with anxiety and depression before quitting the smoke, you should consult your doctor beforehand.
What Are The Treatments Available For the Nicotine Withdrawal?
As your body undergoes tremendous nicotine withdrawal side-effects, there are specific treatments available for the nicotine withdraw to ease your withdrawal journey as follows:
Bupropion and Varenicline are some of the medicines used for quitting nicotine. While the former is used as an antidepressant and reducing the nicotine cravings earlier blocks the effects of nicotine withdrawal and also leads to lessening cravings for nicotine.
Nicotine replacement therapy
This therapy induces the use of chewing gums, tablets, skin patches, mouth spray, or inhalator instead of cigarettes. You can use a combination of methods instead of one to derive more fruitful results. This treatment also induces your chances to quit by 60%. With this therapy, you can gradually decrease your nicotine intake.
If you are suffering from severe psychological consequences of nicotine withdrawal, counseling can help in assessing the triggers and the steps to be taken for their prevention. It is effective, along with other therapies.
What Are The General Tips For Coping the Nicotine Withdrawal?
As we know, nicotine is highly addictive. Hence the decision to quit smoking is not easy to proceed with. Here are some of the general tips which help in coping with nicotine withdrawal
- List down all the benefits of quitting smoking. Whenever you have a nicotine craving, read down all the benefits.
- Avoid a group of people or friends who smoke
- Discard the triggers like a matchbox, lighter, pack of cigarettes, etc.
- Keep yourself busy with your hobbies
- Prepare yourself mentally about the withdrawal symptoms
- Exercise regularly to discard the frequent cravings
Stepping towards a healthy life has never been easy. But it’s high time to choose long-lived health over momentary pleasures!
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