Why is 'Quitting Smoking' Hard for Many People?
On average, a smoker who smokes 20 cigarettes daily can get about 200 hits of nicotine per day, and over 70,000 hits a year. This is partly why smoking is so addictive. Your brain is constantly demanding for the next nicotine hit for its “feel good” effect. And, you need more and more nicotine to feel normal. With both physical addiction and psychological habit, cutting off the regular feed of nicotine will cause your body experience physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
People are wrongly used cigarettes as a quick and reliable way to boost their outlook, relieve stress, and unwind. Maybe, smoking is a way of coping with depression, anxiety, or even boredom, but quitting is actually a healthier way to cope with those feelings.
Common Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
Nicotine is a chemical in cigarettes. Smoking increases the number of nicotine receptors in your brain over time and you will need more nicotine to satisfy them. When you stop smoking and those receptors don't get nicotine, you may feel uncomfortable and crave cigarettes. This is called withdrawal.
Common symptoms are:
• Cravings for cigarettes
• Food cravings
• Irritability, frustration, or anger
• Anxiety or nervousness
• Difficulty to concentrate
• Increased appetite
• Increased coughing
• Constipation or upset stomach
• Decreased heart rate
You may feel unpleasant with these withdrawal symptoms, but remember that these feelings are only temporary. They will vanish and you will get better in a few weeks as the toxins are flushed from your body.
How Long Do Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
After you quit smoking, nicotine is out of your body in next 72 hours. But, you need to take time to get over withdrawal. Physical symptoms usually reach their peak 2 to 3 days after you quit and go away within 1 to 3 months. It usually takes times (at least 3 months) for the brain chemistry to return to normal after quitting. And, the last two symptoms to go usually are irritability as well as low energy.
You should take into account some effective smoking cessation program within this long adjustment period. Therefore, some doctors recommend to wean nicotine off slowly by the nicotine replacement therapy.
Tips: Avoid These Common Triggers during Your 'Quit-Smoking' Journey
Avoid hanging out with smokers. It’s like a crack addict hanging out with crack addicts. Even these smokers are supportive with your decision, they are still a high-risk environment for you at least the first several months.
Stay away from alcohol as people normally smoke when they drink. Or, you can try switching to non-alcoholic drinks or drink only in the places where smoking inside is prohibited. Otherwise, try snacking on nuts, sucking on a straw, or chewing on a cocktail stick.
Never hesitate to reply “No thank you, I don’t smoke anymore.” Smoke-free areas like shops, movie theaters, and restaurants are good environments. You can also try to keep your hands busy by playing a game on your phone, eating a healthy snack, or squeezing a stress ball.