Quitting Smoking: Preparing for Nicotine Withdrawal
The smoker's body is used to getting regular doses of a powerful drug called nicotine. When the body no longer gets the nicotine it craves, the smoker often goes through an uncomfortable, temporary process called nicotine withdrawal.
Understanding the symptoms of withdrawal before your quit date can help you to prepare for them, and help you tailor your plan to overcome them. You may feel lightheaded, dizzy, and have tingling or numbness in your arms and feet. Although unpleasant these changes are healthy due to better blood flow and will go away over time.
You may cough more often because your lungs are cleaning out the waste left by cigarettes. Again, this is a good thing.
You may feel irritable or have mood swings. Hunger, food cravings, difficulty concentrating or sleeping and constipation are also possible. The worst of these are over in a few days, but some degree of symptoms may continue for three to four weeks.
Talk to your healthcare provider about what healthy steps you can take to cope with withdrawal. This may include medication for headaches, irritability, or other symptoms.
Both exercise and relaxation techniques may help. And munching on healthy snacks - vegetables, low fat or whole wheat crackers - and drinking lots of water can also help.
When you prepare to quit, make sure you prepare for withdrawal. Knowing the symptoms, and planning what you can do before you are faced with them, will help you get over this difficult time a little more easily.
Animation Copyright © Milner-Fenwick