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Nicotine Detox

Cutting Out Nicotine for Good

Nicotine is one of the mist highly addictive drugs on the market. While nicotine clears the system in about 24 hours, cravings can persist for weeks and months. Plus,  the list of 7,000 other chemicals found in cigarette smoke can make the detoxification timeline more complicated.

  • What can you expect during nicotine detox?
  • Is there anything you can do to make your body heal faster?
  • What makes the detoxification process more comfortable?

We review here. Then, we invite your questions about nicotine detox at the end.
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What Is Nicotine Detox?

Detoxification is a medical protocol during which doctors supervise the removal of chemical toxins (nicotine) from the body. The term “medical detox” defines medical supervision in the safety of a controlled and drug-free surrounding. This surrounding can be either a licensed detox clinic, or an addiction treatment center.

The ultimate goal of drug detox is to limit or avoid medical risks caused by the repeated and long term use of nicotine. The second goal of rehab is to prepare people for further treatment where they will continue working on the psychological aspects behind their addiction. Inn fact, drug detoxification is only the first step in addiction recovery.  It is best followed by outpatient treatment, including psychotherapy. While many people don’t consider the mental aspect of nicotine dependence, you MUST change thoughts and beliefs if you want to remain nicotine-free for any longer period of time.

Nicotine Detox Protocol: What Happens In Detox?

Smoking cessation programs are usually run by local organizations or outpatient hospital programs. There are also several residential nicotine detox treatment programs available in the U.S. They include a combination of individual and group counseling, medications to relieve withdrawal, exercise such as yoga, walking and swimming, nutrition counseling and stress management.

If needed, doctors can prescribe medications to help lower the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. These meds are prescribed for short-term use only, and they include:

  • Varenicline (Chantix/Champix)
  • Clonidine (Catapres)
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban)

During recovery, no tobacco or nicotine is allowed. After the withdrawal phase is complete, the patient will go through counseling. These individual or group therapy sessions allow the patient and therapist to discuss healthy stress relief strategies and exchange tricks on how to avoid future addictive behavior.

How Does Nicotine Detox Feel?

Detox and withdrawal are frightening to many who abuse nicotine.

  • How will withdrawal feel?
  • Will detox be uncomfortable, painful, or embarrassing?
  • How will you handle the stress and emotional pain of life without nicotine?

The truth is that detox is different for everyone. The duration of nicotine withdrawal varies, but on average, the acute physical syndrome is worst during the first month of abstinence. Detox usually begins within a few hours of the last dose of nicotine. Common symptoms include:

  • anxiety
  • concentration problems
  • depression
  • increased appetite
  • intense cravings for nicotine
  • irritation
  • problems with psycho-motor skills
  • restlessness
  • slower heart rate
  • trouble getting or staying asleep (insomnia)

In order to overcome these fears you will need:

  1. Strong will.
  2. 100% devotion.
  3. Professional help.

What Is The Criteria For Entering Inpatient Detox?

Medical detox is an organized inpatient nicotine withdrawal service. It is provided by medical and nursing professionals that take care of people 24-hour. During a person’s stay at a licensed detox clinic, doctors nurses and other medical professionals will observe, evaluate, and monitor the person’s response to treatment and his/her progress.

Medically managed inpatient detox for nicotine dependence is recommended for those who need to stay in a controlled environment and be under medical surveillance. According to the Department Of Mental Health And Substance Abuse Services, a person should enter inpatient detox if they meet the following criteria:

1. Are older than 18 and struggle with substance intoxication and medical complications.
2. Experience withdrawal symptoms that are severe enough to require primary medical and nursing care services on a 24-hour basis.
3. Have medical complications that cannot be safely addressed in outpatient setting.
4. Are diagnosed with nicotine dependence and/or struggle with co-occurring mental health disorders.

Symptoms Of Nicotine Detox

Physical symptoms:

  • coughs
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • sore throat
  • sweating
  • tingling in the hands and feet
  • weight gain

Psychological symptoms:

  • anxiety
  • concentration problems
  • depression
  • intense cravings
  • irritability

Duration Of Nicotine Detox?

The duration of nicotine detox varies. Factors such as the length you were using nicotine as well as your body’s individual response to the absence of nicotine determine the dynamic of detoxification itself. Still, it generally usually takes two weeks for nicotine withdrawal symptoms to subside. During the first week withdrawal symptoms are usually most intense and then they gradually start to fade away.

If you manage to stay clean from nicotine for a month, then the road ahead becomes much easier. The intense cravings, the emotional roller coaster, and the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal slowly but surely begin to disappear. Being nicotine free for one month without is a big accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself if you manage to make it.

However, nicotine addiction treatment and recovery can be ongoing throughout your life. It takes a lot more than just passing a detox program to quit nicotine. Sobriety is an ongoing process, and requires your forever consciousness and hard work to maintain it. Some people relapse and reach for cigarette, even after several years of being nicotine -ree. If a craving strikes, remember how much energy and effort you’ve invested to get where you are. Do not throw your success so lightly and refuse to surrender to a moment of weakness. Remain strong and nicotine free.

Nicotine Detox Methods: Which Is Most Effective?

1. Nicotine detox at home

There are many ways quit using nicotine, including self-managed care. For example, one option is to quit with the help of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). NRT involves the use of products that provide low doses of nicotine, but none of the toxins found in smoke. The goal is to relieve cravings for nicotine and ease your withdrawal symptoms. Your primary physician can also prescribe other types of medicines to help you quit. But, you don’t have to be alone in detoxing from nicotine, ask your family members, friends, and co-workers for help and support.

2. Cold turkey detox

If you decide to just quit at once, know that this can be uncomfortable. Keep in mind that there are many addictive toxins in cigarettes, other than nicotine, that increase the chances of heart attack, stoke and other serious problems. When going cold turkey it takes about 72 hours for nicotine to get out of the system. There are some diet changes you can make that can help you make it through this crucial time.

3. Detox clinic with medical supervision

The bottom line: It is hard to quit using nicotine on your own. It’s most hard to break all the habits created around smoking. To help users quit nicotine dependence and/or addiction there are many outpatient and inpatient treatments. Smoking cessation programs may IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES FOR SUCCESS. These programs are offered by hospitals, health departments, community centers, work sites, and national organizations.

NOTE HERE: Medically guided nicotine detox programs have proven to be very effective at helping people quit nicotine for good.

 

 

Nicotine Detoxification Questions

Still have questions about nicotine detox? We welcome your questions and comments in the section below. Feel free to share a personal story and tell others how it went for you. Also, if you are thinking of detoxing or are going through detox now, don’t hesitate to ask for support. We try to provide personal and prompt responses to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: NCBI: 4 Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances: Nicotine
Smokefree.gov: Do I Have Nicotine Withdrawal?
MedlinePlus: Nicotine and tobacco
ODMHSAS: Medically Managed Inpatient Detox

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