Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms & Coping with Nicotine Withdrawal

Physical withdrawal from nicotine is a temporary condition, but it can cause a fair amount of discomfort while it lasts. The nickname of having "quitter's flu" has been given to this phase of smoking cessation because nicotine withdrawal symptoms often mimic a cold or a mild case of the flu. Understanding what to expect and following the pointers for coping will help you move through this stage more easily.

The following list contains commonly reported symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Most people have some of these, but rarely all of them. While each person will go through this process a little differently, for most people, these discomforts are short-lived. It's always a good idea to check in with your doctor if you're concerned about a physical reaction you're having to smoking cessation, or if nicotine withdrawal symptoms persist.

Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Cravings to smoke
  • Irritable, cranky
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Constipation, gas, stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore tongue and/or gums
  • postnasal drip
  • Tightness in the chest

Coping Skills for Nicotine Withdrawal : The five D's

  • Delay until the urge passes - usually within 3-5 minutes
  • Distract yourself. Call a friend or go for a walk.
  • Drink water to fight off cravings
  • Deep Breaths - Relax! Close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep breaths
  • Discuss your feelings with someone close to you or at the support forum here at Smoking Cessation.
    Other Ways to Manage Nicotine Withdrawal Include:
  • Exercise. Get a little every day. Even a 15 minute walk will work wonders to help you feel better and reduce cravings to smoke. Top 10 Reasons to Start Walking
  • Get more rest. Sleep is a great tool when we first quit smoking. If you're tired and can manage it, take a nap. On the other hand, if you're experiencing insomnia, try taking a long walk several hours before bed.
    Managing Insomnia When You Quit Smoking
  • Relaxation. Time alone to read a good book. A hot bath at the end of the day. Whatever makes you feel pampered and relaxes you is a great choice.
  • Reward yourself. Do something nice for yourself at the end of every single smoke free day you complete early on. Acknowledge the hard work you're doing to quit smoking!

Don't let nicotine withdrawal scare you!

Remember - nicotine withdrawal is a temporary phase of quitting. The fantastic feeling of freedom and control you'll get when you successfully beat this addiction is worth every bit of effort you give to quitting, and then some.

You are worth it!

Terry Martin




Ifyou smoke...

  • you will be twelve times more likely to die from lung cancer
  • you will be ten times more likely to die from some form of lung disease
  • you will be ten times more likely to die from cancer of the larynx
  • you will be six times more likely to die of heart disease
  • you will be twice as likely to die of a stroke

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