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Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Millions of individuals have personal experience with how difficult it is to quit smoking. Nicotine is addicting, which is why it is restricted. Even though nicotine’s high is not as intense as heroin or cocaine’s, nicotine is addicting, and when you quit using it, you go through serious nicotine withdrawal symptoms. This is why it usually takes numerous attempts to quit smoking for good

Nicotine withdrawal is a real thing. This is why so many smokers attempt to quit several times until finally succeeding.

In 2018, only 7.5 percent of the 21.5 million people in the United States who attempted to give up smoking were successful.

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It is not that the others didn’t put out sufficient effort.

Nicotine has an impact on every part of your body, including your cardiovascular system, as well as your metabolism, hormones, and brain. You suffer through withdrawals when you don’t have it any longer. If you don’t get your nicotine fix, you will become restless.

Nicotine withdrawal normally lasts about a month, but the psychological battle against cigarettes can last much longer.

Symptoms like headaches, weariness, restlessness, and sleep disruption might linger for several weeks, with the worst of it occurring in the first week.

You can improve your chances of surviving nicotine withdrawal and weaning yourself off cigarettes for good if you follow the correct plan, which may include a combination of pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter therapies, lifestyle modifications, and counseling.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms may last from a few days to many weeks, based on how long you have been smoking and also how many cigarettes you smoke per day.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include physiological, cognitive, and behavioral manifestations. The first week will always be the most difficult, especially days 3 to 5. When the nicotine has fully left your organ system, you will begin to experience cravings, headaches, and insomnia.

The majority of exacerbations occur within the first 2 weeks after quitting. Physical symptoms will begin to fade if you can get through that hurdle, but you will still be coping with emotional and mental issues like depression, anxiety, and restlessness. After a few weeks, those will likewise taper off.

Everyone is different, and withdrawal symptoms vary depending on a variety of factors, such as how often or how many packets a day you smoked. But, for the most part, when you stop smoking, you can anticipate having the following physical issues:

Appetite. Your hunger will increase for a day or two after your last cigarette. Nicotine attaches to brain receptors, causing the neurochemicals dopamine and serotonin to be released more readily. These two molecules suppress hunger, so once they are gone, you will crave more food. Many people discover that they eat to cover the hours they used to spend smoking. Sadly, you may find yourself craving more carbohydrates and sweets. The first two weeks are the most difficult; most people will gain 5 to 10 pounds when attempting to stop smoking.

Cravings. The most difficult symptom to deal with is nicotine cravings, and they can begin as soon as thirty minutes after your last smoke. Each urge will last 15 to 20 minutes, and they will come in waves. You will have to work difficult to prevent triggers (such as consuming alcohol or being near smokers) and develop techniques to get it through each need.

Cough. When nicotine is present, your respiratory system struggles to clean itself. You will most likely have a cough for several weeks while your body works things out.

Dizziness and headaches. These are generally mild, and they are the first symptom of withdrawal to appear and the first to fade away.

Fatigue. Nicotine is a stimulant that wakes you up, therefore you will be tired if you don’t have it. However, you will feel restless and may experience sleeplessness.

Constipation. Constipation can be an annoying side effect during the first month.

The extent to which you are affected emotionally and mentally when you stop smoking, like physical problems, will vary from person to person. But presume you’ll have to cope with all or some of the following symptoms of withdrawal:

Anxiety. Because smoking decreases stress, quitting might cause anxiety to spike. It usually appears about three days in and can linger for a few weeks.

Depression. It can begin the very day you quit, but it usually goes away after a month. However, if you have a background of depression or anxiety, your symptoms may last longer, and you may need further treatment from your physician to control them.

Irritability. As you struggle with the bodily symptoms, you may have a quick temper or even become enraged from time to time. It’s perfectly natural and should go away.

Mental fog. As the nicotine fades off and exits your body, you’ll probably find it difficult to concentrate.

Here’s what to expect once you’ve finished your last cigarette:

Thirty minutes to four hours: The nicotine’s effect will fade off, and you will begin to desire another cigarette.

Ten hours: You will be uncomfortable, physiologically needing a smoke, and unsure what to do with yourself. You can be depressed and hopeless.

Irritability sets in after 24 hours, and your appetite rises.

Two days: As the nicotine exits your body, you will have headaches.

Three days: The nicotine should have dissipated by now. Your desires will fade, but your anxiousness will increase.

One week: You got to the end of the week. You have made it through the toughest part. Enjoy a sense of accomplishment. Continue to stay away from such triggers.

Two to four weeks: You’ll still feel tired, but your mental fog will dissipate and your hunger will decrease. Depression, cough, and anxiety will all improve as well.

Five weeks later: The task now is to maintain good mental health.

Nicotine withdrawal does not pose a risk of death. However, once you stop smoking, you may experience certain physical or mental changes.

Weight gain and increased hunger

Your sense of taste and smell will return to function normally once you give up smoking. While it is a good thing, you may find that you feel hungry more frequently than you would before you started smoking. Furthermore, some people start to seek high-fat, high-sugar foods, even if they didn’t consume such foods when they started smoking.

The following suggestions will help you control your urges and lose weight:

  • Hunger pangs
  • Hold your urges for a few minutes, drink some water, divert attention with anything else, or practice deep breathing.
  • Snack on raw almonds, carrots, or low-fat yogurt for a nutritious snack.
  • Use a straw or a toothpick to keep your mouth and hands occupied.

Slow down your eating. Take pleasure in the flavors of your cuisine.

Avoid watching TV or other forms of distraction while eating. Remember to distinguish between when you are hungry and when you are simply bored.

Exercise. Even a little walk around the street can aid you in losing weight.

If you’re worried about your weight, talk to your health care physician. They might be able to point you in the right direction.

Mental health changes

Mental health difficulties may also be present in some people. People who have previously experienced depression may suffer a recurrence. Individuals who have suffered bipolar disorder or other substance use disorders may also experience this.

Nicotine withdrawal depression is usually very transient and passes with time. Depression is a treatable disorder, but it remains unattended, it can be life-threatening. If you have a history of mental health issues, speak with your doctor about how to cope with your symptoms while quitting smoking.

You will suffer nicotine withdrawal regardless of whether you quit with NRT or quit cold turkey. You won’t be able to prevent it, but you will be able to go through it in almost all cases. Here are some strategies for dealing with common symptoms of withdrawal.

Sore throat and dry mouth

Drink lots of fluids, chew sugarless gum, or eat sugarless confectionery.

Look for sugar-free chewing gum.

Look for sugar-free confections.


Take baths or do some breathing exercises. You can also use over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).

Sleeping problems

One to two hours before night, switch off or set aside electronic gadgets. Make a bedtime routine out of reading, showering or having a nice bath, or listening to relaxing music. Before going to bed, have a glass of warm milk or herbal tea and avoid heavy meals and caffeine. Get more information about how to sleep better naturally.

Concentration problems

Take a lot of breaks. Make sure you don’t overdo it. Make to-do lists and provide plenty of time for chores to be completed.

The most difficult element of stopping smoking is usually surviving nicotine withdrawal. Most people will try to quit multiple times. The farther you try to quit, the better your chances are of succeeding.

There are a variety of circumstances in your everyday life that can make you want to smoke. These circumstances can exacerbate nicotine withdrawal symptoms. The following are examples of triggers:

  • Being in the company of other smokers
  • Being in a vehicle
  • Becoming agitated
  • A cup of coffee or tea
  • Consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Bored with your life
  • Conversing on the phone

Recognize your triggers and try to stay away from them as much as possible. Nicotine withdrawal effects usually fade quite soon. The majority of symptoms subside within a week.

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After the withdrawal symptoms have passed, you may still have long-term desires for cigarettes. For long-term success, you’ll need to control your desires.

Most people can control their urges by avoiding stressors, exercising moderately, and doing breathing exercises. Cravings can be reduced by finding relaxation techniques, such as:

  • Play some music.
  • Take up a new pastime.
  • Take a stroll.
  • Visit your friends and relatives.

Another useful idea is to replace smoke with gum, carrots, or hard candy. These can help to reduce the psychological desire to smoke.

Nicotine is a highly addictive substance found in tobacco smoke products that have euphoric effects.

Since these pleasurable effects are fleeting, the urge for nicotine increases when they begin to fade.

Nicotine withdrawal occurs when a person stops using nicotine, forcing the body to adjust to not having the substance in its system.

When people who have smoked heavily quit, they may have more severe nicotine withdrawal.

When it comes to quitting, you don’t have to give it a go all alone.

Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, along with lifestyle adjustments, can all help you stop smoking successfully.

Consult your doctor to identify the best course of action for you. A mix of treatments is frequently the most effective.


Doctors usually only give medication to those who have a serious nicotine addiction. Nicotine withdrawal has been demonstrated to be helped by these medications.

Varenicline: This medication blocks nicotine’s effects on the brain, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking.

Bupropion: An antidepressant medication that also helps to lessen nicotine withdrawal symptoms and cravings. 

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT):  Small quantities of nicotine are present in nicotine replacement treatments, but none of the other poisons contained in cigarettes are present.

These might be able to help you satisfy your cravings while also easing withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine patches: These patches (which are commonly worn on the shoulder, upper arm, or back) supply a continuous amount of nicotine through the skin and may aid with symptoms of withdrawal. Nicotine patches are present in 3 strengths: 7, 14, and 21 micrograms; the proper dose is determined by how much you normally smoke. Wear only one patch at a time unless your doctor tells you to.

Gum with nicotine: This gum accomplishes two goals: it gives nicotine to quell a craving, keeping your mouth occupied, making you less likely to smoke. Nicotine gum is available in 2 strengths (2 milligrams and 4 milligrams); the amount you take is based on when you first smoked and how often you smoke. As you are weaning yourself off nicotine, you can gradually reduce the dose.

Whatever you relate to smoking is a stimulus. It is beneficial to become conscious of what actions cause you to smoke to treat nicotine withdrawal.

The following are examples of common triggers:

  • Consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Drinking coffee or tea
  • Watching TV
  • Driving
  • Listening to music
  • Taking a break from work
  • Finishing a meal
  • After having sex
  • Making preparations for bed
  • Changes in your way of life

Once you have decided to quit, it is critical to make lifestyle modifications that will help you control your urges.

Take into account the following:

  • Increase your water intake.
  • Reduce your tea and coffee consumption.
  • If you smoke while drinking, you should avoid alcohol.
  • Have a plan in place for when cravings strike.
  • Increase your physical activity.
  • Create a list of reasons why you want to quit.
  • Acknowledge yourself for successfully overcoming your desires.

Sadly, there is no simple solution to the problem of nicotine withdrawal.

However, here are some suggestions for dealing with nicotine withdrawal:

Establish a smoke-free environment by implementing the following steps: Smokes, ashtrays, matches, and lighters should all be removed from your home. Smoke-scented clothing should be washed.

Divert attention: If you have a strong desire to smoke, finding a diversion like physical exercise, watching television, playing computer games, or conversing with a friend can be highly beneficial.

Distance yourself from prompts: Stay away from smokers and avoid activities where you would normally smoke.

Do something to occupy your hands: You may buy a stress ball or simply keep a pen or paperclip for doodling with you at all times. Some people take up knitting as a pastime.

Chewing on a straw, a toothpick, or sugar-free gum to help you break the habit.

Become a member of a support group: Talking with others who are quitting can help you communicate and analyze your feelings while also allowing you to feel supported.

Although there is no way to completely prevent nicotine withdrawal, the symptoms can be reduced with the correct medications and nicotine replacement therapies.

If you’re using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), such as nicotine patches or gums, you may have to increase your dose to aid with addictions and symptoms.

If you’re taking a prescription drug, talk to your doctor before increasing your dosage.

Individuals who want to quit smoking frequently try multiple times before succeeding.

Establishing a treatment plan that considers both the psychological and physical components of nicotine addiction might assist you in staying on track.

Your doctor can assist you in developing a stop plan, discussing and prescribing drugs, recommending nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and connecting you with other services like support networks and psychologists that specialize in substance abuse and nicotine.

Despite your strategy, having a solid support network of experts and friends can help you succeed significantly.

Apart from the physiological effects of nicotine on the body systems, a holistic upscale inpatient or residential rehab is required to deal with the various emotional, behavioral, and mental aspects of addiction. A premium luxury withdrawal treatment center with 5-star resort-like amenities including private rooms, a picturesque naturalistic environment designed to enhance healing with a swimming pool, massage, and spa treatments is your best bet at overcoming nicotine addiction and recovering from nicotine withdrawal.

The inpatient and residential luxury withdrawal treatment offer high-end alternative treatments like acupuncture, yoga classes, equine therapy, and aromatherapy among others which helps provide healing through a whole-body approach.

The upscale luxury rehab for nicotine withdrawal is specifically designed for athletes, celebrities, and other high-ranked officials with utmost care for confidentiality. You will be served gourmet chef-prepared meals that are well-balanced in nutritional values. The inpatient and residential high-end luxury withdrawal treatment provide the expertise of high-standard psychologists, addiction therapists, and clinicians from all around the globe. An outpatient program can be availed on demand for specific cases of nicotine withdrawal.

If you or a dear one is struggling with nicotine withdrawal, contact us right away to know more about the premium inpatient, residential, and outpatient luxury withdrawal rehab for nicotine withdrawal. 



The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


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