Nicotine withdrawal is a group of symptoms that occur in the first few weeks upon the abrupt discontinuation or decrease in intake of nicotine. Symptoms include cravings for nicotine, anger/irritability, anxiety, depression, impatience, trouble sleeping, restlessness, hunger or weight gain, and difficulty concentrating. A quit smoking program may improve one’s chance for success in quitting nicotine. Nicotine withdrawal is recognized in both the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and the WHO International Classification of Diseases.
Withdrawal symptoms make it harder to quit products with nicotine and the methods for quitting smoking , and reducing nicotine withdrawal Usually the symptoms include irritability, anxiety and difficulty concentrating. Depression and insomnia are the least common. Sometimes people go through constipation, cough, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, impulsivity, fatigue, flu symptoms, mood swings, mouth ulcers, and increased dreaming. Cessation of nicotine usually increases eating and weight, decreases memory, decreases the ability to pay attention and concentrate on tasks, and decreases heart rate. Cessation of tobacco can also require changes in levels of various medications.
Gradually reducing nicotine intake causes less withdrawal than abruptly stopping. Another way to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms is to provide the body with an alternative source of nicotine (nicotine replacement therapy) for a temporary period and then taper this new nicotine intake. Other medications used for quitting smoking include bupropion, varenicline, nortriptyline, and clonidine. Non-medications treatments such as increased exercise can also reduce nicotine withdrawal. Many behavior changes such as avoiding situations where one usually smoked, planning ahead to deal with temptations, and seeking the support of friends and family are effective in helping people quit smoking, but whether this is due to reduced withdrawal is unclear.
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