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Dealing With Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal

Common feelings and symptoms associated with nicotine withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety - Many people experience anxiety after quitting smoking. I did, in fact just thinking about quitting brought on feelings of anxiety such as fear, worry, and apprehension. If you are experiencing anxiety after quitting smoking try taking deep breaths and stay away from drinks with caffeine in them. Exercising and maintaining a proper diet can help with anxiety caused from nicotine withdrawal. In order to help relieve the anxiety I was experiencing, at work I would take walks at my regularly appointed smoking times. I would also remind myself why I was quitting.  Additional resources; Handling anxiety after quitting smoking

  • Constipation - If you experience constipation after you quit smoking, you should increase the amount of water you are drinking and consume more high fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables.

  • Cigarette cravings - it is almost certain that after you quit smoking you will have cravings to smoke a cigarette. Remember most cravings will pass within 3-5 minutes. Stick it out. Whether I was having a nicotine craving or a habit cravings they did tend to pass quickly. The only time I really hard a difficult time with the cravings is when I was stressed out. I just needed to continually remind myself of why I was quitting and stick to my guns. Visit my page on managing cravings to learn more.

  • Depression - After quitting smoking you may find times where you feel depressed. If you do, do things that are uplifting and find ways to laugh. Exercise may also be effective against depression. I would watch old 70's sitcoms for a good chuckle. I also started a regular routine of exercise that I feel was very helpful with combating withdrawals. It is hard to want a smoke after working out, it doesn't feel natural and it sort of defeats the purpose of exercising.
    If you are concerned about your depression visit you local doctor for advice and possible medications that can help with depression such as Wellbutrin and Zyban. Additional resources; Handling depression after quitting smoking

  • Difficulty thinking - Finding it hard to concentrate can also be a symptom of nicotine withdrawal. When you encounter difficulty thinking after quitting smoking try to take a walk, practice a breathing exercise, or change tasks.

  • Headache - If you experience headaches after quitting smoking find ways to relax and take pain medication if necessary.

  • Increased appetite - After you quit smoking you may find your appetite has increased. This is natural after quitting. To minimize the amount of weight you gain stay away from sweet and fatty foods. Eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. I found it helpful to portion out my healthy snacks that way I did not sit down and eat the whole bag. I would usually eat nut and dried fruit. Trail mixes worked well for me. I stayed away from fast food and chips for awhile because they are very fattening and would usually increase my cravings to smoke.
    Visit our section on eating tips for more information on managing your weight after quitting smoking.

  • Irritability - This is a common nicotine withdrawal symptom after quitting smoking. You can better manage the feelings associated with irritability by taking walks and deep breathing. Additional resources; Handling irritability and frustration after quitting smoking

  • Lightheadedness - If you experience lightheadedness after quitting smoking sit or lay down for a little while, it will pass.

  • Nausea - Feelings of nausea may come and go quickly.

  • Sleep problems - After quitting smoking you find it hard to sleep at night. Avoid taking naps in the day and don't drink beverages with caffeine in them in the evening. Find ways to relax, use your imagination. I found that there were times that I would sleep better than I ever slept before then the next week I could not sleep at all. The good thing is my sleeping pattern returned to normal within a short period of time. I may of used a sick day during my sleepless week to sleep in and get some rest.
Buproprion pills (which don’t contain nicotine) such as, Zyban or Wellbutrin can help relieve withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor for more information to find out if one of these medications is right for you.

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