Main Symptoms Of Nicotine Withdrawal Syndrome

Of course, nicotine withdrawal syndrome causes uncomfortable symptoms, but you should never lose sight of the fact that they are temporary. The benefits of quitting smoking last for the rest of your life.
Main symptoms of nicotine withdrawal syndrome

Nicotine withdrawal syndrome causes a number of uncomfortable symptoms for former smokers. Manifestations vary in intensity from one person to another. However, in general, there is a feeling of physical discomfort, nervousness and anxiety.

It should be noted that nicotine is a very addictive drug. Consumption of this substance causes dopamine to be released in the brain, and this hormone increases the feeling of well-being. Therefore, the body reacts negatively to the absence of the drug.

After all, nicotine withdrawal syndrome poses no health risk. Its symptoms affect up to 85% of people who decide to quit smoking, but everything can resolve in 4 to 12 weeks.

Nicotine Withdrawal Syndrome Symptoms

The intensity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms varies from person to person.

The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal syndrome are very varied, but without a doubt, the most characteristic is the urge to smoke, which can appear in the presence of a stimulus, such as watching another person smoke, or without an apparent cause.

The good news is that the urge to smoke dissipates in 15-20 minutes, so just manage this episode and everything will be fine. The first two or three minutes are the hardest. This symptom is known as craving and usually lasts for six to eight weeks.

Other symptoms of nicotine withdrawal syndrome are as follows.

physical symptoms

The main physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal syndrome are:

  • Increased appetite
  • Cough
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • coryza
  • Sore throat, tongue or gums
  • chest tightness
  • Weight gain
  • Slower heart rate or bradycardia
  • Constipation
  • hypotension

mental symptoms

In addition to physical symptoms, nicotine withdrawal syndrome also causes intense mental symptoms, such as the following:

  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Irritability
  • difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia and difficulty sleeping well
  • anger and frustration
  • Depression
  • discouragement
  • Bad mood

Why does it happen?

As we have already mentioned, nicotine is a substance that causes a strong addiction. When nicotine is consumed, there is a transient release of endorphins. This activates the brain’s gratification circuits and causes a temporary feeling of euphoria.

Simultaneously, dopamine levels increase, causing a feeling of well-being. This lasts less when nicotine is consumed than when other drugs are ingested. All of this together reinforces nicotine consumption behavior.

Substances from cigarettes enter the lungs and then enter the bloodstream. In about 10 seconds, they reach the brain and the pleasant sensation occurs, which quickly dissipates. The brevity of this cycle induces a greater consumption of nicotine.

Nicotine withdrawal syndrome is the result of chemical dependency on this substance. Smokers get used to the presence of this chemical in the body and feel discomfort when not ingesting it. Therefore, uncomfortable symptoms arise.

How long do the symptoms last?

The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal syndrome last from 4 to 12 weeks. Rarely less or more than that. The common thing is that if a person stops smoking, he will eliminate the nicotine that is in his body within 24 hours.

The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal syndrome appear within the first 12 to 24 hours without smoking. Desire episodes, as noted above, are very intense for about three minutes. They then disappear for about 10 minutes and reappear again until they complete 20-minute cycles.

The most difficult phase is the first two to three weeks of abstinence. However, the urge to smoke keeps coming back for several months and sometimes years. The other symptoms gradually disappear, and if you learn to control the urge to smoke, you will be able to quit smoking for good.

Tips for Coping With Withdrawal Syndrome

Recommendations to stop smoking
Quitting smoking is possible with willpower and determination.

There are many smokers who want to quit smoking but quit because of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is very important to learn to control these symptoms to reach your goal. Following are some important tips to achieve this.

Identify the triggers

There are some factors that act as triggers for tobacco use. They are different for each person, but some are very common among smokers, such as:

  • the beginning of the day
  • feel stress
  • drink coffee or tea
  • consume alcoholic beverages
  • Feeling satisfied after eating
  • be worried or bored
  • Being in the company of other smokers

Knowing the factors or elements that trigger the urge to smoke is very valuable to take precautions against them. They can’t always be worked around, but being aware of how they work on nicotine withdrawal helps to get around them better.

Manage episodes of desire

This is one of the main elements in overcoming addiction. The first thing to do is remember that these episodes are temporary. They arise and intensify, but then disappear and are less and less common.

During these episodes, you can choose one of the following measures:

  • Chewing something helps to dispel the urge to smoke. It is best to opt for carrots, apples, sugarless gum or something similar. This does not contribute to weight gain.
  • Breathing exercises. Sometimes it just takes a deep breath in and out. If possible, relaxation techniques or yoga are excellent for dispelling the craving.
  • Replacement Products. The doctor may recommend the use of some products in place of nicotine, depending on each case.
  • Medicines. The use of certain medications, under medical supervision, can help control these episodes.

Manage Uncomfortable Emotions

The most common is that when you stop smoking, emotions of anger, frustration and irritability arise. This is most intense in the first week and usually lasts for another three or four weeks.

The best way to dispel these emotions is to exercise regularly. Just take a walk at a brisk pace. Meditation and relaxation techniques are also helpful. Likewise, consumption of coffee, tea or other stimulant beverages should be avoided.

Anxiety and depression at work

It is advisable to make the decision to stop smoking at a time when the first two or three weeks can pass without stressful stimuli. It would be even better if it were possible to spend time alone and in a peaceful environment.

Physical activity, relaxation techniques and avoiding stimulating drinks are highly recommended measures. It is also worth taking hot baths and doing pleasant activities. Nicotine substitutions are very convenient.

It is advisable to make simple and pleasant plans like going to a concert, theater play or something similar. We also highly recommend talking to friends about positive topics. If emotions are too strong or out of control, it is best to see a doctor.

Diet and weight control

It is common to gain weight when quitting smoking. The best thing is to maintain a well-balanced diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables. Ex-smokers tend to look for sweet foods; however, it is better to avoid them.

It is also advisable to drink water frequently. In fact, when you feel like smoking, it’s highly recommended to drink a glass of water. It is important to emphasize the benefits of regular physical exercise, which, in this case, also help with weight control.

Nicotine withdrawal syndrome is temporary

Quitting smoking is an excellent decision that is always worth working for. Although nicotine withdrawal syndrome brings many discomforts, they don’t match the benefits of quitting smoking.

The ex-smoker might think that the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal syndrome are temporary, but the benefits of quitting are long-lasting. Everyday without smoking is an achievement and announces that easier days to face will come.

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