Sudden nicotine withdrawal has a number of effects on the body and the psyche. To increase the chances of smoking cessation success, consumers of nicotine-containing products should find out in advance what withdrawal symptoms await them and how long they will last. We will explain what the typical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are and how you can best reduce them.
What is nicotine withdrawal?
With regular consumption of nicotine-containing products, the body develops a dependency. The dependence is noticeable in that consumers develop an ever-increasing craving for cigarettes or other products with nicotine. They lose control over the number of products taken and have to take an ever-increasing amount to achieve the same effect.
Over time, our bodies create more nicotine receptors in the brain that bind nicotine to them. The more receptors there are, the more nicotine is needed. Tolerance development occurs and the usual amount is now insufficient to achieve the same tobacco effect on the mind as stress relief. If a consumer abruptly discontinues nicotine-containing products, withdrawal symptoms appear.
When does nicotine withdrawal begin?
Nicotine has the ability to suppress negative feelings such as stress, anxiety and irritability. When smoking is stopped, our cells become irritated by the absence of nicotine and react with the typical withdrawal symptoms. Consumers feel stressed, are easily irritable and have problems concentrating. Withdrawal symptoms from smoking last from a few days to a few weeks. Decisive for the length of a nicotine withdrawal are the amount taken and the duration of the dependence.
The individual phases at a glance:
- A short time after the last cigarette, the effect of nicotine recedes and the body demands a refill.
- After about ten hours without a cigarette, consumers feel increasingly restless.
- After 24 hours, irritability increases and appetite becomes stronger.
- After two days, nicotine depletion begins and many sufferers complain of headaches.
- After three to five days, the nicotine in the body is completely broken down and the craving for the next cigarette also subsides. However, some smokers report anxiety during this time. In many cases, smokers also cough more often, as the cilia start to grow again.
- After two to four weeks, smokers feel as if they have no energy and can do not concentrate well.
- After five weeks, nicotine addiction should be over, but even here the brain can send signals from time to time and ask for a cigarette.
For most smokers, the first five days after nicotine withdrawal are the worst. With time, the withdrawal symptoms decrease and the body regenerates.
What are the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal start only a few hours after the last cigarette. The intensity of symptoms varies, and some smokers even report no symptoms or very few symptoms. Common symptoms include inner restlessness, depressed mood, fatigue, nervousness, irritability, increased appetite, and poor concentration.
How to reduce nicotine withdrawal?
Those who want to stop smoking have two options: Either consumption is stopped abruptly (cold turkey) or the amount of tobacco is gradually reduced. Gradual withdrawal does not put quite as much strain on the body and mind and has higher chances of success. To achieve a reduction in nicotine, you can take snus instead of cigarettes, for example. The amount of nicotine varies and you can gradually reduce it until your body no longer needs nicotine at all.
Conclusion - Nicotine withdrawal has effects on body and mind
Nicotine withdrawal has a number of effects on the body and mind. The body becomes accustomed to the regular supply of nicotine and reacts irritably to the cessation of smoking. Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal begin within hours of the last cigarette and last for varying lengths of time. Common withdrawal symptoms include headaches, nervousness, anxiety and increased irritability. Since cold turkey is stressful for many, a gradual reduction in nicotine should be attempted.