8 Common Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal

Nicotine withdrawal can trigger a whole host of physical and psychological symptoms that leaves ex-smokers feeling both physically ill and mentally stressed and anxious.

While most people will experience some discomfort commonly associated with nicotine withdrawal, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the symptoms. The tips below will give you a head start on what to expect as you move through this phase of smoking cessation.   


I just need some time off...
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Smoking urges come with the territory when you are recovering from nicotine addiction.  Learning how to manage those impulses will help you go from feeling powerless to knowing that you can manage this short but intense phase of smoking cessation.

More Reading:  4 Steps to Defeat the Urge to Smoking



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New ex-smokers reach for food when they're craving cigarettes.  The reasons for this are more involved than simply looking for a replacement for smoking. Chemical changes taking place in the body due to smoking cessation are partly responsible. How can you avoid overindulging when you quit smoking?

More Reading:  Easy Healthy Snacks



Happy woman laying on bed
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Sleep problems are a normal side effect of nicotine withdrawal, and can run the gamut from quit-related insomnia to needing extra sleep during the course of a day. Don't let it throw you.  If you slept well before you stopped smoking, this temporary upset will smooth out soon.

More Reading:  14 Natural Sleep Aids



Mature woman coughing
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It can be alarming to develop a cough after you stop smoking, but it is not uncommon. Take a look at why this sometimes happens and how to evaluate whether the cough might be more serious than a symptom of nicotine withdrawal.



Stressful day at the office
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Smoking cessation will reduce the stress in your life considerably, but not until you've gotten the nicotine out of your body. Learn what you can do to minimize the effects of cessation-related stress while you're going through nicotine withdrawal.

More Reading:  10 Tips to Manage Stress When You Quit Smoking



Severe morning stomach pain. Debica, Poland
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Upsets in the digestive system that result in constipation are a common complaint among new ex-smokers. Use the tips in this article to help you manage this uncomfortable symptom of nicotine withdrawal.

More Reading:  Foods that Help with Constipation



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There is an inner voice that batters at us incessantly to go ahead and light up once we've quit.  This is called junkie thinking.  It will pass in time as long as we learn how to recognize and redirect these unhealthy thoughts of smoking.

More Reading:  Common Rationalizations for Smoking



woman holding her head
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This is a less common symptom of nicotine withdrawal, but some ex-smokers do experience lightheaded/dizzy feelings when they first stop smoking. Learn why this happens and what you can do about it if it's happening to you.


A Word from Verywell

There is no question that for most of us, nicotine withdrawal is an intense experience that we'd prefer to skip if it were possible. Unfortunately, we have to go through it to get through it. That said, this phase of smoking cessation doesn't last forever and with a little knowledge about what to expect, you can learn to manage the discomforts you experience. Proactively participate in your recovery and take each smoke-free day as it comes. Don't get ahead of yourself and worry about never smoking again. Just focus on today and resolve to make it through smoke-free. The benefits that await you are more numerous than you can probably imagine. Smoking was attached to nearly everything we did, and once we stop, the advantages touch most aspects of our lives in a positive way.

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