Saturday August 23rd 2014

Nicotine withdrawal duration

Nicotine withdrawal sucks.

If you have quit nicotine before, then you know that some of the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine can be unpleasant. But you can get through it!

Withdrawal symptoms are strongest in the first 7 days after quitting, but can persist for months later. For most people the worst of withdrawal symptoms only last a few days to a couple weeks. Here, we present a timeline for an average nicotine withdrawal period so that you can know what to expect. Your questions, comments and vents are welcomed at the bottom.

The first day

Nicotine withdrawal begins 20 minutes after your last dose of nicotine. Strongest cravings for nicotine usually occur first thing in the morning, as the body has been without nicotine for hours while sleeping. Withdrawal is THE sign that your body and brain are getting used to the absence of nicotine.

Cravings usually begin within an hour or two after you have your last cigarette, peak for several days, and may last several weeks. Because most people slip up in the first days to week after stopping, plan nicotine withdrawal help for withdrawal symptoms of nicotine during this period to increase the odds that you stay stopped.

The first week

When you quit using nicotine, withdrawal symptoms are strongest in the first 7 days after you quit. Many people just can’t handle how they feel after they quit and start smoking or using tobacco again to feel better. Some common physical symptoms present during this time are usually:

  • constipation
  • decreased heart rate
  • difficulty thinking
  • headache
  • increased appetite
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea

However, mental symptoms can also be present. Feelings of anxiety, irritability, anger, or depression can feed into cravings to use nicotine. In fact, many people describe the urge to use nicotine during first week of quitting as an almost physical craving for the drug. Using medicines to help manage withdrawal symptoms such as cravings can get you over the hump. Even without medication, withdrawal symptoms do subside over time.

The second week

During the second week off nicotine, physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal tend to subside. However, habitual cravings and urges to use nicotine are still present. Many people, places, events, moods and things can trigger the behavioral urge to use nicotine. It is important that you know how to handle these triggers and have a plan for managing strong urges to use nicotine. The more resources you have during this time, the better. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to get personalized help quitting, support and coping strategies, and referrals to resources and local cessation programs.

The third week and on…

The physical symptoms acute nicotine withdrawal usually only last a few weeks. The symptoms that persist for weeks to months after you quit nicotine are urges and cravings to use nicotine. In most cases, urges do not disappear until you practice resisting them for many times. As the days pass, the cravings for nicotine will get farther apart. Occasional mild cravings may last for 6 months.

Questions about nicotine withdrawal duration

Withdrawal symptoms are usually worst during the first week after quitting. From that point on, the intensity usually drops over the first month. However, everyone is different, and some people have withdrawal symptoms for several months after quitting.

If you have questions about coming off nicotine, or need support…please leave us a message below. We answer all legitimate concerns with a personal and prompt response. Plus, we can do research to help you find answers to your questions. Just know that you are not alone! And you can do it!

Reference sources: Forever Free: A guide to remaining smoke free, Coping with Urges
Smoke Free [dot] gov
CDC Smoking and Tobacco Use: How to Quit
National Cancer Institute: How To Handle Withdrawal Symptoms and Triggers When You Decide To Quit Smoking

Photo credit: respres

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22 Responses to “Nicotine withdrawal duration
baghavanhj
9:46 am December 23rd, 2011

iam fully addicted to nicotine ,, iam not able to mingle with family friends …

i tried to quit also .. but with drawl symptops are more ,, not able to cop UP .. give some suggestion to cop UP ..

regards,
baghavan j

1:19 pm December 23rd, 2011

Hi Bhaghavan. Thanks for your question. Can you help clarify, ease? Are you asking about how to cope with withdrawal, or how to promote cough and expectoration of mucus during withdrawal?

Shayna
4:25 pm May 25th, 2012

I have quit smoking cold turkey for 7 days and had a smoke this morning because of too much stress at home.

On a scale of 1 to 10 ( 10 being worst) my withdrawals are between 5 and 7.

Will my one smoke start over my nicotine withdrawals?

Thank you,
Shayna

11:44 am May 28th, 2012

Hi Shayna. You probably haven’t compromised much if you’ve only had one smoke. In fact, some doctors recommend having a nicotine gum, patch or spray on hand during withdraw in order to help manage the physical symptoms. The idea is to gradually reduce your dosage until you wean off completely. If you’ve gone cold turkey, and had one smoke, one cigarette will deliver nicotine to your brain in a more intense way, but it shouldn’t start the withdrawal process over completely. The trick is to get beyond the last-last smoke and stay away. Check out smokefree [dot] gov for more tips and ways to stay away from cigarettes during withdrawal.

Karen
6:50 pm September 15th, 2012

I have quit smoking now for 22 days, I can’t stop eating, I will eat and eat until the shakes are gone! Today I’m trying the medifast diet that I did last year but I almost feel like if I smoke then I can loose weight. Will this feeling tapper off or am I going to become really fat

1:50 pm September 16th, 2012

Hi Karen. Weight gain is common in people who stop smoking. An increase in calorie intake can only be countered with regular physical exercise or other healthy ways which burn calories (sitting in a sauna, jacuzzi or steam room, for example, if your heart is healthy). I’d suggest that you find alternatives to eating when you feel a craving come on. Have you tried calling a smoking hotline yet? Have you gone for a walk until the craving passes? Now that you’ve made one healthy lifestyle change…you may need to change others to support it.

Suzi
7:54 pm November 5th, 2012

I stopped smoking 5 years ago today, but for the past 5 years, I have been using (and addicted to) the nicotine inhaler. I have been unable to wean myself off, and though I have been unable to find any negative long term effects of nicotine, I KNOW it no doubt, is not healthy for me. Any suggestions as to how to stop the inhaler? Do you have any info. re: long term effects of nicotine via inhaler? Thankyou Suzi

11:26 am November 6th, 2012

Hello Suzi. As you probably already know, use of nicotine inhalers can be accompanied with many side effects such as rritation in the mouth and throat, cough, a change in the way things taste, pain of the jaw, neck, or back, a runny nose, tooth problems, sinus pressure and pain, headaches, pain, burning, or tingling in the hands or feet, and intestinal gas. I’d suggest that you consult with a doctor about your use of the inhaler. There may be other options (nicotine gum, spray, etc.) that you can use as you taper, but eventually you need to go through nicotine withdrawal in order to get over the dependence. Also, check into the national toll-free number, 800-QUIT-NOW ( 800-784-8669) for more information and assistance in quitting. And smokefree[dot]gov.

JOE
5:59 pm November 13th, 2012

I am a professional ” QUITTER” !
I have tried to quit smoking so many times…I have lost track.
Nicotine has a powerful grip on me. Smoking for over thirty years….and trying to quit for tha last 10.
Cold turkey…..patches…..cutting down……whatever the method….
IT SUCKS !! :(

I am at day four after stepping down with the patches.
4 days with no nicotine…..can’t focus…..and will eat anything.
My wife wants to kill me……
It’s easier to just give in….and feel normal again.
Months of this ahead of me??
Weeks and weeks of withdrawal?
I am DOOMED !

11:47 am November 15th, 2012

Hi Joe. You gotta believe that you can do it, man! The biggest part of taking control of cravings is the belief behind your will. Check into the program of SMART Recovery to learn some ways that you can strengthen your resolve and get your psychological power in place as you undertake this life-long quest to self-mastery. Good luck!

Sandip
12:15 pm November 26th, 2012

I have quit smoking one month back. I have no craving for smoking but suffering a lot from physical pain.
have physical pain in my chest (tightness), muscle twitching in my chest, feeling feverish sometimes, hypertension, anxiety.
Already a month is over but the symptomps still persist. Visited all docs cardio, pulmo, psy. Taking medicine for hypertension, aspirin Please give some insight! when will this end? Please suggest some home remedies.

Chaos Seed
7:02 am November 28th, 2012

guys for all who wanting to quit smoking..please read allen carr’s -easy way to stop smoking. i read it and it has helped me ..god bless you all and good luck,,,it really easy people . just dont be afraid and you will be fine…

Julias
11:45 am January 20th, 2013

I have quit smoking for 21 days now. However I went out on the weekend with friend and could not stop smoking. Will that offset my attempt to quit.

Bo
8:13 am January 26th, 2013

Stopped smoking for 10 weeks…smoked most of my life off and on…mostly on, anyways I’m so lightheaded and my mind confused..never had this before when I quit other times. I get so pi–ed off because of this…anybody else get lightheaded for this length of time? Hmmm maybe its CHEMTRAILS!!!!

Des
12:55 am March 11th, 2013

Have tried everything in the past, hypnosis, Gum, Zyban, Patches, alan carr, electric cigarette, etc etc. This time cold turkey. My downfall in the past has always been around weeks 4 to 8 where I get hit with a major depression and incessent cravings 24 x 7 for weeks. This time I didnt cave and started hitting the gym. 10 weeks now and feeling great and the little worrying wheeze in my chest has gone completely. Not saying im out of the woods but as someone who has smoked 30 a day for the past 30 years what I am saying is in the here and now it would be harder for me to put a cigarette to my mouth than not to.

Sean Ben
7:31 am May 3rd, 2013

Quiting smoking is not very easy task and it requires efforts as nicotine addiction is such that it is difficult to be given away, but if using vaporizers device will help definitely in quiting.

debbe
2:26 pm April 15th, 2014

My second day without a cigarette! Yea Me~ really want to stop- I do want to gain a few pounds ( booty pounds ) and breathe a little easier. My lips are dark from cigarettes, dark circles under my eyes, pallor skin and dry hair. I am really trying hard – hope I make it through! I hope I can get through withdrawal……

Vikram
10:36 am May 8th, 2014

Thanks for all the informations !!!

Naomi
3:19 pm June 11th, 2014

I’ve been a smoker for 15 years and just stopped cold turkey 3 days ago. I can totally empathize with the frustration of falling back into the nicotine trap as this is my 4th serious attempt to quit. The last time I quit, I stopped smoking for 2 years. This time has been surprisingly easy for me (so far) and while I might be jumping the gun, I do feel pretty determined so I want to share what I’m doing different with you ~ hopefully it helps!

Naomi
3:25 pm June 11th, 2014

Woops ~ I submitted sooner than I wanted to… Anywho ~ I watched the documentary on Youtube for Allen Carr’s “The Easyway to Stop Smoking”. It’s excellent, watch it if you haven’t seen it. Totally cheezy but the method works! I’ve watched it 3 times now and every time I get the “itch” of nicotine withdrawal, I just tell myself that I’m starving that little monster inside me that is nicotine addiction, and soon that monster is going to die, soon I’ll be free of it. It helps a lot to change the way we think about our relationship with nicotine. Us smokers, we’re JUNKIES, and nicotine is not doing anything for us! The sooner we’re free from it, the better off we will be. It’s really important to try to quit cold turkey, and not use any replacement nicotine. The sooner we get rid of the nasty stuff, the sooner we’ll be free. This morning I woke up feeling so great, I realized it was because I didn’t smell that nasty smell on myself, and I wasn’t distracted with getting my first “fix”. Of course the symptoms aren’t pleasant (I’ve had a headache for 3 days), but what’s a week or two of unpleasantness if we can get our lives back? GOOD LUCK!

andrea
7:13 pm July 27th, 2014

Hi my name is andrea and ill just get straight to it my whole quit smoking journey has been HORRIABLE. 1st i started these patches which i believe i would have been bett off going could turkey because now i feel like if i don’t have a patch im going to die, i developed anxiety and ocd thanking my anxiety is so damn bad im frightened half of the day i take hydroxozine for my anxiety but who the heck want to take pills in order to get threw the day , im not sure if its because or the path or just over all quitting period i constantly feel like ill either have a heart a tack or my breathing isnt normal and ill die i have very bad muscle spams at night and anxiety that make me afraid to sleep,,,,, this stuff has really messed me up i have moved to the lowest patch 7mg with hope that doing this for a week then getting completely off will help my symptoms im seriously going crazy im n and out the doctor EVERYDAY I HAVE BEENGoing threw pure hell someone please help me WITH CALMING MYSELF AND LETTING ME KNO IF THESE SYMPTOMS ARE NORMAL OR WHAT N HOW LONG WILL THEY LAST

andrea
7:17 pm July 27th, 2014

Oh i had been a smoker for about 10 years and i havebeen off since june 102014

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