If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.

Power Through Nicotine Withdrawal

Trying to quit tobacco and feeling unsure how to handle nicotine withdrawal? You’re not alone! While nicotine withdrawal symptoms can look and feel different for everyone, learning the common symptoms and how to address them can help you power through uncomfortable times. Let’s find out how to do that! 

What is nicotine withdrawal?

Nicotine withdrawal happens when your body is not getting the nicotine it once did from tobacco products and has a reaction as a result. The type of reaction and how long you have the symptoms varies based on how long you used tobacco and how much nicotine you consumed. Symptoms can start as soon as 30 minutes after using a tobacco product and last anywhere from a week to a month. But the longer you stay quit, the less the withdrawal symptoms will occur. Your body will get used to not having the nicotine from tobacco.

Common symptoms of withdrawal are:

  • Mood swings
  • Feeling restless
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Being in a bad mood or feeling edgy
  • Tired
  • Sadness or depression
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite like feeling more hungry
  • Stomach issues like constipation or diarrhea

Wait – it sounds like you’re describing a tobacco craving?

It’s similar. A craving is an urge to use tobacco and can sometimes be part of the withdrawal process. Cravings are often set off by something that makes you want to use tobacco (aka a trigger) and happen even after you’ve gotten through the nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Help me power through these symptoms, please.

If you plan on using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to help you quit, talk to your health care provider about an option that’s best for you to quit successfully.

You got it. Nicotine withdrawal may feel uncomfortable but know that your health is not in danger from these symptoms. When symptoms happen, remind yourself that the feeling will pass and they will come less and less often the longer you stay tobacco free. 

Use some or all of the following tips to deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms:

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a deep breath or meditate
  • Drink water
  • Distract yourself with a hobby or game on your phone
  • Call or text a buddy
  • Remember your reasons for quitting when the quit gets tough
  • Stay positive!

Handling nicotine withdrawal isn’t easy, but knowing how to recognize the symptoms before they happen can help you get through those challenging times. Remember, feeling uncomfortable during the withdrawal means you are that much closer to conquering tobacco once and for all.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or Text 838255. You can also call 911.