Nicotine Withdrawal - Managing the Symptoms Part 1

How Does Nicotine Withdrawal Affect Me?

If quitting cigarettes (or cigars) was easy, then probably many more people would stick with their decision to lay those nasty sticks down. But, the truth is that quitting can be really tough and if the symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine are particularly brutal, then the smoker/ex-smoker may just throw in the towel and call it a day. Some of the more common nicotine withdrawal symptoms experienced include:

· Irritability and mood swings

· Cravings for smoke

· Insomnia

· Fatigue

· Restlessness or boredom

· Depression and loneliness

· Weight gain/overeating

· Chest tightness

· Constipation and stomach pain

· Cough, post-nasal drip

· Fatigue

· Headache

· Lack of concentration

· Dry mouth

There are a number of uncomfortable symptoms associated with smoking cessation and most people experience some but rarely all of them. The good news is that virtually all of the symptoms you may have won't last long. Once the addiction to nicotine is broken, the symptoms subside. If for some reason a physical reaction linked to quitting is particularly bothersome or doesn't go away, check in with the doctor.

How Can I Deal with the Symptoms of Withdrawal?

We'd like to offer some coping tools that may be useful in overcoming the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. As a matter of fact, you may like them so much you just make them a part of your daily practice. Good habits are always a great way to neutralize bad ones - and smoking is a bad habit.

1. Journaling is an incredible way to keep track of your progress and to remind yourself why you have chosen to quit smoking. By writing in a journal you reinforce your resolve to follow through with your decision. You can begin by making your first entry a list of the reasons why you're quitting and why you should quit. Keep a small notebook with you to write down any more reasons you discover as you go through your day and then add them to the list. When you feel tempted to smoke, bring out the list to remind yourself why you don't want to smoke. Your journal is a record of your personal journey and something to look back at when temptation arises.

2. Up your water intake to help your body deal with a few of the physiological discomforts that accompany nicotine withdrawal. Your body is two-thirds water weight and every organ and cell in it depends upon water to function. You can go without food for many days, but you'll die within about 10 days without water. Along with flushing out the toxins your body is releasing when you quit smoking, water helps with:

· Constipation

· Coughing

· Hunger

· Cravings

3. Eat healthy foods. One thing that most people encounter is an increase in appetite when they quit smoking. Some of it may just be the need to have something in the mouth - but the need for more calories to support the hard work your body is doing releasing and ridding itself of toxins is definitely linked to smoking cessation. Treats are okay, just be careful about what kind of treats you're eating. Choose foods that are good quality fuel foods rather than sugary, high-calorie-low-food-value junk food items. Take a good multivitamin to help restore nutrients to your depleted body and to help keep up energy.

4. Some type of exercise should be included in your daily routine. Your physical health will obviously benefit but it also positively affects your state-of-mind. One of the best ways to control mood swings, depression, and even insomnia is to get adequate exercise. However, before heading off to an intense gym workout, check in with the doctor to be sure you don't have limitations that would slow your progress. Start slowly and be patient. You can begin with walking for just 15 minutes a couple of times a day and gradually build from that point. Swimming, weight training and other types of fitness routines can be added. The release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones, helps to boost your metabolism and mood and makes exercise a choice and not a chore.

Be sure to read about more ways to manage withdrawal symptoms on this site.