a woman overcoming nicotine withdrawal

Smoking Cessation: How to Overcome Nicotine Withdrawal

Nicotine, a highly addictive drug found in tobacco products, creates a chemical dependency when used over an extended period of time. In other words, the body develops a strong need for a certain level of nicotine at all times. During a period of abstinence from tobacco, as occurs during smoking cessation, your body will start to go through the painful process of withdrawal.

Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from nicotine is characterized by symptoms such as:

  • irritability
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • increased appetite
  • moodiness
  • anxiousness
  • dry mouth
  • intense cravings
  • frustration
  • trouble sleeping
  • drowsiness
  • fatigue
  • trouble concentrating

Managing these symptoms can prove to be a daunting task for those who are trying to give up tobacco. Don’t give up; though it’s impossible to eliminate them completely during smoking cessation, there are things you can do to minimize the symptoms as much as possible.

Overcoming Nicotine Withdrawal

Below are seven tips for overcoming nicotine withdrawal:

  1. Exercise
    Since nicotine is a natural mood enhancer, sometimes giving it up can cause you to feel mildly depressed at first. The best way to combat this is by replacing it with a more positive activity that produces the same effect. Exercising releases natural endorphins that help you feel good both physically and mentally.
  2. Accountability
    When your withdrawal symptoms and cravings for nicotine seem to be getting the best of you, sometimes it can be helpful to have someone you can call who will remind you why you are undergoing smoking cessation in the first place.
  3. Hydrate
    Increased circulation and metabolic changes after during smoking cessation may cause excess sweating. Drinking plenty of water can help to keep you cool, and it had additional benefits such as digestive health, higher energy levels, and clearer complexion.
  4. Incentivize
    Using short-term goals to keep yourself motivated can help you maintain a positive outlook when you start to feel defeated. Celebrating small smoking cessation benchmarks, such as one week, one month, and so on, can help keep your eyes on the ultimate goal of being tobacco-free once and for all. There are even apps for your smartphone that can send you daily reports and reminders of how many years you are adding to your life by abstaining from tobacco.
  5. Relax
    For a lot of people, smoking cigarettes is a form of stress relief. It’s important to remember though that there are countless other methods for relieving stress, such as meditating, listening to music, reading a book, or even cleaning.
  6. Environment
    If you are constantly surrounded by other people smoking when you are trying to quit, this can make it significantly harder to quit. If you are choosing to be tobacco-free, try to surround yourself with people who have this in common. If there are people in your life who consistently smoke, ask them to try to abstain from doing so while they are around you. You might even inspire them to quit as well.
  7. Distraction
    Finding another hobby to distract you from your withdrawal symptoms can be hugely beneficial. If you choose something that can otherwise enrich your life, such as cooking or eating healthy, then the benefits will be even greater.
Last Updated: April 16, 2020