When giving up smoking, most people will only experience the worst symptoms for as little as a few days or up to a couple weeks. However, beyond physical symptoms, cravings for nicotine can last much longer. We’ll take a look into typical withdrawal symptoms and how long they last.
The Withdrawal Timeline for Nicotine Addiction
After using nicotine for a long period of time, the user’s brain will become accustomed to the presence of nicotine. Once they quits smoking, the body will take some time to get used to not having nicotine anymore. Don’t fear the process; the effects can be rough at first but they do get better as time passes.
In the first few hours after the last dose of nicotine, common withdrawal symptoms can include:
- trouble concentrating and thinking clearly
- increased appetite
- slowed heart rate
- intense cravings for nicotine
After a few weeks without nicotine some withdrawal symptoms may stick around, however it depends on the individual. If the person experiences strong anxiety and/or depression related to giving up smoking, they may be more likely to have attention and sleep disturbance, cognitive performance changes, and restlessness. Increased appetite is one symptom that can hang around, too, which can sometimes result in weight gain. While all of these symptoms will eventually go away, cravings for cigarettes may last longer.
The official name for nicotine withdrawal, nicotine withdrawal syndrome generally is the worst during the first month of abstinence. Again, this can vary per person, and in some cases only last for 10 days after quitting.
The good news about nicotine withdrawal syndrome is there are methods to help. Behavioral treatments and medications can help many smokers quit for the long-term. Popular medications to treat nicotine withdrawal include:
- Smoking cessation medicines, like Chantix. While these are non-nicotine based medications, they act on the part of the brain affected by nicotine. This can be prescribed by doctors, and is helpful in easing withdrawal symptoms as well as blocking nicotine effects should the user begin smoking again.
- Antidepressants are often used to help quit smoking. Bupropion, or Zyban has been approved by the FDA.
- Nicotine replacement therapy is popular for those giving up cigarettes. Nicotine gum or patches are available without a prescription, and contain enough nicotine to help treat withdrawal symptoms.
One thing to remember when giving up nicotine is that cravings can occur months, even years after quitting smoking. For help, call Treatment Now today at xxx-xxx-xxxx.