02.09.2009 Withdrawal symptoms of smoking

Physical withdrawal from nicotine is temporary, but it can be uncomfortable while it lasts. The following list contains commonly reported symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Most people experience some of these, but rarely all of them. Each person goes through this phase of recovery from nicotine addiction a little differently. But for most people, these discomforts are short-lived. Check with your doctor if you're concerned about a physical reaction you're having from quitting smoking, or if nicotine withdrawal symptoms persist.
Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Cravings to smoke
  • Irritable, cranky
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Constipation, gas, stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore tongue and/ or gums
  • Postnasal drip
  • Tightness in the chest
The Five D's
  • Delay until the urge passes - usually within 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Distract yourself. Call a friend or go for a walk.
  • Drink water to fight off cravings.
  • Deep breaths - Relax! Close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep breaths.
  • Discuss your feelings with someone close to you.
Ways to Manage Nicotine Withdrawal Include:
Exercise. If you're unaccustomed to exercising, start slowly. Take a 15-minute walk once or twice a day, and work up from there. Choose activities that appeal to you, so you'll do them consistently. Exercise reduces cravings to smoke while helping you feel better in general.
Get More Rest. As a smoker, your body was used to taking in not only nicotine, but all of the literally thousands of other chemicals in cigarette smoke. The stress of abruptly cutting off that supply, as unhealthy as it was, can leave us feeling tired and wilted. If you're fatigued and can manage it during the day, take a nap or go to bed a little earlier than usual if you need to. It will do you good. On the other hand, if you're at the opposite end of the spectrum and find yourself unable to sleep (which is common also), try taking a long walk or exercise several hours before bed.
Managing Insomnia When You Quit Smoking
Take e Multivitamin. Consider adding a good multivitamin to your daily regimen for the first few months after quitting tobacco. It will help offset nicotine withdrawal symptoms and replenish depleted nutrients.
Relaxation and Rewards. Take time alone to read a good book. Indulge in a hot bath at the end of the day. Whatever pampers and relaxes you is a great choice. Quitting smoking is hard work early on, and when we take the time to recharge our batteries, we put ourselves in the best possible position for continued success.

Constipation, gas, stomach pain

Constipation is caused when intestinal movement decreases for a brief period.
It will normally last for several weeks.
Solutions and relief:
  • Drink plenty of water (6-8 glasses of water daily)
  • Add roughage to diet (fruits, vegetables, and whole grain cereals)
  • Exercise e.g. walking

Cough, dry throat/mouth, nasal drip

This is caused from your body getting rid of mucous which has blocked airways and restricted breathing.
Solutions and relief:
  • Drink plenty of fluids including cold water; fruit juice and tea
  • Cough drops or gum


Your body is getting extra oxygen like it hasn't seen for a long time which is causing the dizziness.
It will last several days and will go away.
Solutions and relief:
  • Get fresh air and go for a walk
  • Change positions slowly


Nicotine is a stimulant and because your body is no longer getting it, it may feel weaker.
2 to 4 weeks.
Solutions and relief:
  • Get extra sleep and more exercise
  • Take naps
  • Don't push yourself if you feel tired when you first wake up
  • So some moderate exercises and take a cool shower
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day to speed up the healing process


Nicotine affects brain wave function. This can influence sleep patterns and dreams about smoking are common.
Roughly 1 week.
Solutions and relief:
  • Take a hot relaxing bath
  • Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, pop) after 6:00pm
  • Try relaxing at bedtime with a glass of warm milk, deep breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Work on a hobby

Irritability, grouchy, tense

The body is craving for nicotine. Tobacco smokers are in a chronic state of nervous stimulation. Many of the symptoms quitters experience are the result of the nervous system returning to normal.
It normally lasts for 1-2 weeks.
Solutions and relief:
  • Take deep breathes
  • Go for walks
  • Exercise
  • Use relaxation techniques
  • Chew nicotine gum
  • Cut down on coffee and pop

Lack of concentration

The body needs time to adjust to not having constant stimulation from nicotine.
1-3 weeks
Solutions and relief:
  • Change activities
  • Get some fresh air
  • Exercise
  • Deep breathes
  • Listen to music, watch TV
  • Do more physical activity
  • Cut down on coffee and cola
  • Plan workload accordingly
  • Avoid situations that may trigger your desire to smoke

Tightness in the chest

It is probably due to tension created by the body's need for nicotine or caused by sore muscles from coughing. Part of the recovery process may be the lung's attempt to remove mucus and tar. The normal mucus transport system will start to reactivate itself, which can initially cause coughing.
It will last a few days.
Solutions and relief:
  • Deep breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Be patient and wait it out! Your body wants to return to normal

Weight gain

Weight gain from quitting smoking is very normal for most people and you can expect to put on 5-10 pounds over the period of several months. Remember that this extra weight gain is a lot better than continuing to smoke.
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