Common Symptoms and How to Deal with Them

Nicotine is a powerful and addictive drug. Whether you smoke or chew, chances are the brand you are using has made the tobacco product more addictive during the growing and/or manufacturing process. It’s also likely that you have been using tobacco for a long time, meaning your rituals and routines have become an important part of your daily life. We all know quitting isn’t easy, but overcoming your nicotine addiction is the key to quitting successfully.

While quitting, nicotine withdrawal and recovery symptoms may feel unpleasant. But these are common, temporary and none are life-threatening. Stay positive. These symptoms are part of the quitting process and a sign that the body is healing from the damage done by the tobacco products. A symptom can last a few minutes, a few hours or a few days. If symptoms worsen or do not improve, consult with your doctor.

Here are some of the physical and psychological recovery symptoms you may experience and how to cope with them:

  • Symptom
  • Reason
  • Coping Strategy

Hunger

An increased appetite is normal after you quit. Food actually smells and tastes better now. And what feels like hunger pangs may be the stomach readjusting after years of swallowing nicotine-laden saliva.

Drinking water may reduce the feeling of hunger. Also, keep healthy snacks around.

Constipation

Nicotine is a stimulant that increases metabolism. After quitting, the body’s ability to have bowel movements may decrease.

Drink plenty of water and consume fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, bran and fruits.

Perspiration

The body is cleansing away years of processing toxic chemicals found in tobacco products.

Drink plenty of water.

Dizziness & Light-Headedness

Carbon monoxide withdrawal is believed to cause slight tremors and mild headaches.

Deep breathing and exercise will help.

Itchy Hands & Feet, Sore Scalp

Smoking impairs circulation, which is now returning to normal after you stop smoking.

Exercise gradually.

Insomnia

After quitting, you may be tired but sometimes unable to fall asleep. This is temporary.

Practice deep-breathing exercises and relaxation techniques before going to bed. Herbal teas, a warm bath or a glass of warm milk before bed may also help. Keep in mind that this symptom tends to be temporary. If serious insomnia persists, please consult your doctor.

Sleepiness

This need-for-rest period is part of recuperation, signifying that you were being “burned out” by the stimulants in tobacco.

Exercise and plan for extra sleep.

Irritability

You may feel deprived, and as a result even little things are bothersome or annoying.

Reward yourself for quitting.

Anger

Anger used to be a trigger for a cigarette. After you quit smoking, it may be challenging to know what to do with your anger.

Learn constructive ways to release anger, such as exercise or talking it out.

Crying & Grieving

You may need to grieve the fact that you have stopped smoking. There may be other sad feelings which had been repressed that are now coming out.

Recognize that these emotions were repressed for some time. Allow these feelings to come out in a safe place so that you don’t feel vulnerable in public.

Giddiness & Laughter

If negative emotions had been repressed, then it’s probable that positive emotions had been repressed too. This may cause unusual giddiness and unexpected laughter.

Enjoy the positive emotions as they surface.

Information provided on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider when you have any questions regarding a medical condition.