On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, what could be the ideal topic to discuss than nicotine withdrawal symptoms and how to deal with them while trying to quit smoking! Let’s know what are the nicotine withdrawal symptoms and some tips to overcome these symptoms to make your ‘Quit Smoking Mission’ successful!
How Nicotine Makes a Smoker Addictive?
It’s not that a smoker doesn’t know the harms of nicotine or the benefits of stopping smoking, but it’s the lack of control on one’s will and the difficult situations encountered while trying to quit smoking that he/she is again and again unsuccessful in the mission- Quit Smoking. The frustration gets to such a level that a smoker starts finding the reasons for smoking and often ends up counting benefits of nicotine. Innumerable researches have, however, established the fact that nicotine is harmful for health. Why else was it used in insecticides in the past? The stimulant effect of nicotine is responsible for its addictive quality which make a person nicotine dependent and s/he finds it utmost difficult to quit smoking. It’s difficult but not impossible. It’s difficult till the level where you fight off the nicotine withdrawal symptoms!
What are Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms?
When you try to quit smoking, you will experience flu like symptoms, sometimes referred to as Quitter’s Flu. During this period when you are trying to quit smoking, you might experience various physical as well as psychological discomforts. But the good news is that, all these are short lived. Here is a list which contains the common nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Smokers trying to stop smoking may experience one or many of these symptoms of nicotine withdrawal but it is rare that they experience all of these symptoms.
- Craving to smoke
- Irritability and mood swings
- Difficulty in Concentration
- Sore throat
- Stomach ache/ gas
- Dry mouth
- Sore tongue and/or gums
- Post-nasal drip (PND or Upper Airway Cough Syndrome (UACS)
- Chest Congestion or Tightness in the chest
- Increased appetite (feeling hungry often) and/or weight gain
- Restlessness or boredom
How to Deal with Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms to Quit Smoking?
It’s easy if you want to think of it that way and it’s difficult if you opt to think it differently! It is always good if you plan before hand the ways to quit smoking by reading a lot and also by sharing information with people who have already quit smoking or those who are in the process of quitting smoking. When you see that what you are experiencing is a normal thing that happens while trying to give up smoking, you will feel better and hopefully more determined to quit smoking.
5 Things to do when there is Craving to Smoke!
Delay the act
It’s a matter of only about 5 minutes when this urge to smoke will go away. Repeat constantly and remind yourself that the urge is about to go just in 5 minutes!
Distract yourself and engage in other activity
To let the craving for smoking pass, do what you like (other than smoking!). For example, you can go for a walk without your packet of cigarette and your wallet too. You can call your friends and talk to them. You can read a book you were planning since days to read.
It helps in fighting off the craving for smoking. Apart from this, water will also help fight off other symptoms of nicotine withdrawal like constipation, cough and unusual hunger. You can also have a refreshing glass of fruit juice but stay away from alcohol. It might trigger the urge to smoke!
Close your eyes and try to concentrate on your inhaling and exhaling process. Breathe slowly and deeply while noticing the fine process of air going into your lungs and coming out of your nose. This will relax you and also let the urge to smoke pass away.
Talk to someone
Talk to someone who cares for you and sincerely wants you to quit smoking. It can be your family members, friends or someone from your support group with whom you have earlier discussed about quitting smoking.
Other Tips to Deal with Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal
Have Balanced Diet and Multivitamin Supplements
When you quit smoking, your body gets into the process of detoxifying itself. To flush out the toxins, your body would need extra energy. So, eat a balanced diet including healthy foods. Also take a multi vitamin substitute after consulting with your physician because you need it to fight off the fatigue – one of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. You should stock up your fridge with some healthy snacks to binge on. Stay away from junk food as you might also be prone to weight gain when trying to quit smoking Some of the examples of such healthy foods include grapes, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, watermelon pieces, fresh berries, low-fat yogurt, low fat pudding cups etc.
Exercise to Fight off Mood Swings
Depression and mood swings combined with irritability are common signs of nicotine withdrawal. To fight them off, you must exercise but make sure to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regime. However, mild exercise like walking can be done by anyone. Start with slow walking for 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a day and then increase the duration as well as speed of your walking. Brisk walking for about 40-45 minutes is good for anyone- a smoking quitter or a non smoking person! Exercise release pleasure chemicals into your body compensating the joy feeling that you got from smoking!
Reward Yourself to Stay Motivated
If you have been able to not smoke for the whole day, reward yourself at the end of the day. You can take a hot bath or watch a movie or have a special dinner or buy flowers for yourself or go for window shopping at your favorite mall! When not smoked for a whole week, celebrate the week end either with family or just yourself. Go to spa, host a party, play with kids- anything that will make you happy!
Take Extra Sleep
Nicotine stimulates your body extraordinarily and when trying to quit smoking, you might get fatigued like never before. Don’t be disheartened, this is a temporary phase and will also go away. Meanwhile try to take extra sleep. If possible, take a power nap in the afternoon. If that’s not possible, go to bed a little early than usual. If, however, you face difficulty in sleeping, go for long walks a couple of hours before your bed time or listen to soothing music before going to bed.
All these tips to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms can only help you to quit smoking if you sincerely internalize them. Just reading and then forgetting will never do any good to you. Remember that nicotine withdrawal is a temporary phase that will definitely pass. And you can’t even think of the joyous moments that come with the feeling of having one’s life in one’s own control! Just take a step forward- Quit Smoking- for YOU if not for anyone else!