Quit Smoking Withdrawal Symptoms

When you want to quit smoking withdrawal symptoms often scare people out of quitting. When you engage in any behavior for a long time, it can be really hard to change it. This is made especially difficult if this behavior provides some sort of physiological addiction the way cigarettes do. 

Quit smoking withdrawal symptoms are often perceived to be a lot worse than they really are. That’s not to say that it isn’t hard to quit – it absolutely is. It’s important to realize though, that the withdrawal symptoms are manageable – you can quit smoking. It’s really important for people to realize that quitting is possible. 


Cigarette and the addiction to smoking kills almost half a million people per year in the United States. There are so many other health problems that are directly related to and caused by cigarette smoking. Quit smoking withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to deal with, but it’s better than dealing with the inevitable negative consequences of continuing to smoke cigarettes.

So what are the most effective ways to quit smoking?

The most common and well-known method to quit smoking is by using smoking cessation products, such as Nicorette gum, patches, or lozenges. These nicotine replacement products are used to help you stop smoking over a period of time. The idea is to have less nicotine in your body as time progresses, and to get down to a place where you are able to quit altogether. For some people, this seems to work a lot better than trying to quit smoking cold turkey. Regardless of the way you try to quit, it is probably inevitable that you are going to experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms. If you want to quit smoking withdrawal symptoms are just part of the challenge. These nicotine replacement products may help with your cravings and some of your symptoms, but chances are you will still experience them. It's important to note that these products can have negative side effects, so it's always a good idea to speak to your doctor and make sure you're going about quitting in the safest way. 

What about medication?

There are currently 2 medications to help you quit smoking that are approved by the FDA. These medications are Chantix (varenicline tartrate) and Zyban (buproprion). These, unlike the nicotine replacement products, cannot be bought over the counter but instead must be prescribed by a doctor. Chantix binds to nicotine receptors in your brain to produce some of the effects that smoking cigarettes would. The idea is that this will decrease some of the cravings and the quit smoking withdrawal symptoms someone may be experiencing. It also blocks the effects of nicotine if someone starts smoking again while taking this medicine because it is already binding to the nicotine receptors, therefore not allowing the nicotine to bind to any receptors and produce the intended effect. Zyban is not understood as well as Chantix, and it’s still unclear why exactly Zyban helps people quit smoking.

Should you quit smoking cold turkey?

One of the other most common ways to quit smoking is cold turkey - pick a day and just stop smoking without using any medication or nicotine replacement products, Some people find this to be a better method than slowly weaning themselves off of cigarettes. A lot of research has been done on the best ways to quit smoking, and it's generally found that people who quit smoking cold turkey tend to go back to smoking cigarettes again. Everyone is different, though. For some people, just stopping might work. Some find it more preferable than prolonging the experience by weaning themselves off of cigarettes. If you are going to quit cold turkey, it is still incredibly important that you have some sort of support system to help you if you are struggling with cravings or withdrawal symptoms. 


When you wean yourself off of cigarettes, you may experience milder withdrawal symptoms, but they will last much longer than if you just quit smoking cold turkey. The quit smoking withdrawal symptoms you experience when you quit cold turkey may be more intense, but they will also subside more quickly. It's really up to the person to decide what is going to work best for them. If one method doesn't work, that doesn't mean you have to give up. It just means you have to keep looking for something that works for you. 


One of the most cited advantages of quitting cold turkey is avoiding the cost of medication or nicotine replacement products - they add up and can become very expensive. In the end, though, what's most important is that the method you choose works. Most likely, the money you save once you stop smoking for good is going to outweigh the money you spend on medication or cessation products. 

Other tips to quit smoking 

Other ways to stop and deal with quit smoking withdrawal symptoms are to have a support system. When you are trying to quit or change any habit/behavior, if you are held accountable by someone other than yourself, it is easier to stay on track. If no one knows you are trying to quit, it’s going to be hard for anyone to help you. Let your friends and family know that you are trying to quit and let them be there to help you if you are struggling.


Most people find it beneficial to set a specific quit date. Without a set date, it's easy to keep smoking and just continue to say that you are going to quit soon. Let your friends and family know what this date is so they can help you stick to it. 


Identify your triggers - are there certain times or certain places where you were much more likely to smoke a cigarette? Keep this in mind, and try to combat it with something else. Chew gum, have a soda or candy with you to keep your mouth occupied. If you can avoid your triggers without too much trouble, that will be very helpful. Most people will identify unavoidable triggers though, such as driving or lunch breaks at work. Have someone you can call in these moments to help you get past the cravings you may experience. 


Set little milestones and reward yourself when you reach them. Whether your first goal is to get through 1 hour, 1 week, or 1 day without smoking doesn't matter. Only reward yourself if you truly reach the goal, though. 


Remember that if you slip, that doesn't mean you've failed. You can always start over. It is very common for people to slip up a few times before they are able to quit for good. Don't use this as an excuse, but don't get discouraged and give up. 


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