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Quit Smoking Withdrawal

Symptoms you might encounter

Symptoms of smoking withdrawal include:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of agitation or frustration
  • Feelings of anxiety, nervousness, or restlessness
  • Having trouble thinking clearly
  • Hunger pangs or weight gain

Not everyone experiences these symptoms. Those who do might exhibit one or many and the duration of the symptoms may vary. The following medicines may help with the conditions.

Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Ed. (1994). American Psychiatric Association. Washington, D.C.

Medicines That Help With Withdrawal (NRT)

The first step is always the hardest and this is especially true when you try to quit smoking. The body undergoes nicotine withdrawal and causes you to feel strange. You feel dull, tense and restless; this is normal and usually lasts a few weeks. Many people are unable to cope with these feelings and succumb to smoking again. The first week is the crucial period as the feelings of withdrawal are the strongest and many people slip up in the first 7 days. You may wish to try these medicines to lessen the effects of nicotine withdrawal:

  • Nicotine inhaler
  • Nicotine lozenge
  • Nicotine nasal spray
  • Nicotine patch
    replaces nicotine in the bloodstream without the need for cigarettes. However, not every smoker can see an effect in using such nicotine replacement. There may be some side effects such as skin irritation, nausea, and heartburn.
  • Nicotine gum
    is an alternative to nicotine patch, but it is not as reliable as nicotine patches in releasing a steady amount of nicotine into the blood.

These medicines can increase your chances of quitting successfully if used correctly. Consult your doctor for recommendations but remember: Medication can help lessen cravings and withdrawal, but quitting will require willpower.

Here is additional information about the various medicines. Nicotine Gum, Patch, Inhaler, Spray, and Lozenge (NRT) .

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) refers to nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays, and lozenges. That's because they take the place of nicotine from cigarettes. NRT is effective at lessening your urge to smoke but a prescription is needed to purchase the inhaler and nasal spray. However, you can buy nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and nicotine lozenges off the counters.

Consult your doctor, dentist, or pharmacist to see if this medicine is right for you. Make sure to use it correctly if it is prescribed to you. Thinking About Using NRT?

  • These medicines have known side effects and certain people should not use NRT without a doctor's help. Pregnant women are a good example.
  • Patience is the key. Using NRT can take some getting used to even when used in the correct manner. Follow the instructions and give it some time.
  • Don't mix tobacco and NRT. Having one or two cigarettes while you use the gum, patch, nasal spray, inhaler, or lozenge is not dangerous, but your goal is to quit smoking for good. Use NRT only when you are ready to stop smoking. If you do slip up and smoke a cigarette or two, don't give up on NRT. Keep trying.
  • Use the full dosage of NRT in the instructions. Don't skip or use less than what the instruction states and don't stop your NRT after you first stop smoking.
  • Slowly reduce the amount of medicine. But don't stop completely until you're ready. You can set up a schedule with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Keep some of the medicine with you after you stop using it. This way you'll be ready for an emergency.
  • Wait a half hour after using the gum, lozenge, or inhaler before you eat or drink anything acidic. Acidic foods and drinks can keep nicotine gums and inhalers from working. Acidic foods and drinks include tomato sauce, tomatoes, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, coffee, soda, orange juice, and grapefruit juice.

Other Medicines and Therapies

Bupropion SR pills

Bupropion SR is a medicine that contains no nicotine. You need a prescription to get these pills. They seem to help with withdrawal and lessen the urge to smoke. There are known side effects when using bupropion SR pills. These include dry mouth and not being able to sleep.

People who aren't suitable for this medication:

  • Heavy drinkers
  • Pregnant women
  • People who have seizures
  • People with eating disorders

Clonidine Therapy

Antihypertensive drug that may be useful in controlling nicotine withdrawal symptoms.


They are used as substitute for nicotine to ease withdrawal symptoms. Researches highlight that heavy smokers are more likely to fall into depression than nonsmokers.


Acupuncturists insert tiny needles into the smokers' bodies at prescribed points to alleviate the urge to smoke. Research has shown that the success rate of the technique is around 33 percent.


Self-hypnosis therapies are common ways to help smokers to quit smoking.


Since many smokers light cigarettes due to stress, meditation comes in handy for it helps smokers to relax their mind. All thoughts are emptied, whereby relaxing images flow in the mind with all the muscles softened and relaxed.

Avoiding Weight Gain

Gaining weight when you quit smoking is a common concern for people who want to quit smoking and some people even let this concern deter them from giving up the habit. While it's true that many smokers put on weight when they quit, the gain is usually small. According to the California Smokers' Helpline, the average weight gain is only five pounds.

Weight gain is not an immediate consequence of quitting smoking. It is instead due to people eating more. In actuality, it is substitution of one form of self-soothing or oral gratification for another. Weight gain can be circumvented or minimized if smoking cessation is accompanied by a moderate increase in physical activity and a plan that incorporates alternative coping strategies. So eat a healthy diet, stay active, and don't let weight gain distract you from your main goal: quitting smoking.

Here are some tips to help you keep the weight off after you've quit:

  • Nurture yourself.
    Instead of turning to cigarettes or food when you feel stressed, anxious, or depressed, learn new ways to soothe yourself.
  • Eat healthy, varied meals.
    Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit your fat intake. Seek out low-fat options that look appetizing to you and you will actually eat. Avoid alcohol, sugary sodas, and other high-calorie drinks.
  • Drink lots of water.
    Drinking lots of water (at least six to eight 8-oz glasses) will help you feel full and keep you from eating when you're not hungry. Water will also help flush toxins from your body.
  • Take a walk.
    Walking is a great form of exercise. Not only will it help you burn calories and keep the weight off, but it will also help alleviate feelings of stress and frustration that accompany smoking withdrawal.


  1. Revise on what actually went wrong.
  2. Revise on what you have not done.
  3. Seek medication support.
  4. Just start again. You haven't failed. Some people have to quit as many as eight times before they are successful.

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