Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Stages Of Smoking Withdrawal

People can quit smoking with support and hard work.

Cigarettes and the nicotine in them cause chemical changes in the brain, which result in an increased desire for continued usage. In 1988, the U.S. Surgeon General released a report confirming the addictive properties of nicotine and compared this addiction to drugs, like cocaine and heroin. Many individuals who have quit both smoking and other addictive substances successfully claim that it was much harder to quit smoking. Withdrawal symptoms begin within three hours after the last cigarette and last about a week. Withdrawal symptom severity differs according to the length and amount of cigarette use.

Nicotine Cravings

A cigarette smoker develops an addiction to nicotine, and smoking withdrawal from nicotine can be both physical and psychological. To assist with cravings, nicotine supplements such as a skin patch, nasal spray, gum or inhalers help. Medications such as Wellbutrin, Chantix, Zyban or even anti-depressants can help a smoker get through this phase.

Physical Stages

Physical symptoms can be the most difficult part of withdrawal. Brain neurotransmitters become accustomed to nicotine stimulation. Coughs, sore throat, chest infections, cold and flu symptoms and dry throat, mouth and lips all combine to make this aspect of withdrawal stressful. The anticipation of these physical discomforts has caused many smokers to delay or give up when thinking about quitting.

Mental Stages

The mental effects of smoking withdrawal can be the most difficult to cope with for many people. Some of these symptoms include impatience, restlessness, anxiety, frustration or tension. During withdrawal, the addict may struggle with concentration, become irritable or suffer with depression.

Sleep Issues

Additional withdrawal stages include drowsiness, troubling dreams, nightmares and overall sleeping difficulties. Daily exercise will assist the smoker in developing new sleep patterns.


Smoking relaxes nerves in the brain by increasing blood flow. The decreased blood flow results in headaches after the smoker quits. Extra water consumption will assist in combating headaches.

Weight Gain

Quitting smoking increases the likelihood of weight gain along with an increased appetite. After quitting smoking, smokers may snack more frequently. However, weight control measures, including additional or intensified exercise, should counteract this. The health implications of weight gain should not prevent a person from quitting smoking.

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