Once you stop smoking, you will experience a number of physical symptoms as your body withdraws from nicotine. Nicotine withdrawal begins quickly, usually starting within thirty minutes to an hour of the last cigarette and peaking about two to three days later. Withdrawal symptoms can last for a few days to several weeks and differ from person to person.
Common nicotine withdrawal symptoms include:
Unpleasant as these withdrawal symptoms may be, they are only temporary. They will get better in a few weeks as the toxins are flushed from your body. In the meantime, let your friends and family know that you won’t be your usual self and ask for their understanding.
Coping with Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
|Craving for cigarette||Most intense during first week but can linger for months||Wait out the urge; distract yourself; take a brisk walk.|
|Irritability, impatience||Two to four weeks||Exercise; take hot baths; use relaxation techniques; avoid caffeine.|
|Insomnia||Two to four weeks||Avoid caffeine after 6 p.m.; use relaxation techniques; exercise; plan activities (such as reading) when sleep is difficult.|
|Fatigue||Two to four weeks||Take naps; do not push yourself.|
|Lack of concentration||A few weeks||Reduce workload; avoid stress.|
|Hunger||Several weeks or longer||Drink water or low-calorie drinks; eat low-calorie snacks.|
|Coughing, dry throat, nasal drip||Several weeks||Drink plenty of fluids; use cough drops.|
|Constipation, gas||One to two weeks||Drink plenty of fluids; add fiber to diet; exercise.|
Adapted with permission from Overcoming Addiction: Paths Toward Recovery, a special health report from Harvard Health Publications.