Nicotine Withdrawal and How to Properly Manage the Symptoms

Oct 30, 2013 by

Around 86 percent of all lung cancer deaths in the UK are caused by smoking tobacco, a worrying statistic taking into account the fact that ten million adults in the UK are smokers – 21% of men and 19% of women. Globally, more than five million deaths a year are caused by smoking tobacco, and if this trend continues – more people are continuing to take up smoking despite information informing them of the health risks – this figure is expected to increase to eight million deaths per year by 2030.

If the health statistics aren’t shocking enough then there’s the fiscal aspect of smoking to take into account. According to the ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) fact sheet released in July 2013, ‘a 20 a day smoker of a premium cigarette brand will spend about £2,900 a year on cigarettes’. This is a shocking amount of money to spend on an addiction that offers nothing but an early grave, and that’s without taking into account how much smoking costs society – estimates of how much smoking costs taxpayers range from £2.7 billion – £5.2 billion annually.

Nicotine addiction and withdrawal

Nicotine, the drug in tobacco, is addictive and responsible for the withdrawal symptoms that smokers experience. Nicotine is an extremely poisonous drug, in addition to being highly addictive, and the symptoms of withdrawal include anxiety, cravings for tobacco, headaches and nausea. Furthermore, many smokers also experience irritability and restlessness, and many also experience a craving for food which frequently results in weight gain.

Fortunately for smokers who’d like to quit, nicotine withdrawal symptoms are temporary, and the symptoms will have disappeared completely within 6 months with the first week being the most difficult. What’s more, unlike withdrawal from alcohol and certain drugs, nicotine withdrawal symptoms aren’t dangerous and won’t harm abstaining smokers.

Generally, the first few days and weeks are the hardest, though there are a number of methods that have proven extremely effective at helping smokers overcome their craving for nicotine. This is because many symptoms are psychological, so in addition to addressing the issue of physical addiction to nicotine, smokers trying to rid themselves of the habit may also need to take measures to alleviate the psychological symptoms, which include finding something to do with one’s hands, a common symptom experienced by many smokers that adds to the restlessness they often experience.

Managing the symptoms of withdrawal

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be managed to a great degree but you’ll need to prepare yourself if you’re serious about quitting. Many smokers have found that switching to an electronic cigarette is a great way to start the quitting process, though you must be aware that this less damaging alternative won’t, however, assist you in ridding yourself of the addiction because they still contain nicotine.

Keeping yourself busy and occupied during the first few weeks is among the most helpful advice that can be given, and you’ll also need to prepare yourself for, amongst other things, anxiety, depression and restlessness. Bear in mind that this is temporary and that as time goes by the withdrawal symptoms will lessen and eventually cease to exist.

Avoid excessive snacking as this will only result in weight gain. If you feel the need for a snack opt for a piece of fruit or something similar, and avoid snacking on crisps and fatty foods. Also be aware that your body may experience metabolic changes after quitting smoking and that to counter these changes you’ll need to keep hydrated, so drink plenty of water and keep cool.

In addition to metabolic changes that could result in sweating and dehydration, your body may also experience circulatory changes like tingles, as well as headaches, though these aren’t always the result of circulatory changes and could also be the result of anxiety and craving brought on by nicotine withdrawals. Deep breathing exercises have been found by many smokers to assist with anxiety, craving and headaches, and don’t overlook the benefits of light exercise.

You might also find it beneficial to look into soothing activities before bedtime, and if you find yourself becoming confused or worked up, take a minute or two to calm down – this is where deep breathing exercises really prove beneficial.

About the Author

Established in 2012, FreshMist is a reliable provider of electronic cigarette kits in the UK. Their range of products use exclusively blended ingredients and flavourings.

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