The two biggest struggles of people trying to quit smoking are nicotine withdrawal and smoking cravings. Given the strong physical and mental impact, these two hurdles are notorious for causing people to just give up on their journey toward ending this unhealthy habit.
If you feel that you are going through the same thing, you might just need some help. Here are effective tips that you can easily follow to release you from your cravings or your nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
More often than not, smoking cravings are going to happen. They are unavoidable, just like any other habit that you want to break. Why? For one, you’re very much used to doing it. Finish a meal, and you suddenly feel a powerful craving for a cigarette. Get up from your desk to take a break, and all at once, you want to light up. Certain times of the day, certain places, and even particular foods can spark a strong urge to smoke. It’s extremely hard to go through them.
Then again, there are a few things you can do to release the pressure when you are faced with a smoking craving. For one, you can have a light snack when the craving arises. Headache and hunger are other symptoms that go along with cigarette cravings. Several small, nutritious snacks during the day can keep your blood sugar steady and give you something healthy to do with your hands and your mouth. Try snacking on a handful of nuts or a piece of fresh fruit.
You can also try to chew gum as it can help out with the oral fixation that smokers associate with smoking. If you have had been smoking for years, you most probably are used to putting something in your mouth (i.e. a cigarette) as part of your smoking ritual. As such, chewing gum can be really effective as an alternative whenever you feel the urge to smoke.
Sometimes, something as simple as taking deep breaths and relaxing yourself can be effective in case a craving kicks in. Just stop what you are doing and take about 10 deep breaths. Go outside if you can and think about filling your lungs with fresh air. These deep breaths can relax you and decrease some of the anxiety associated with nicotine withdrawal.
Drinking water is also good for you as it has a calming effect on cigarette cravings for most people. However, try to avoid drinks like coffee or alcohol that you may have associated with smoking in the past.
For those who want to quit but are still attached to the oral fixation of their smoking habit, you might go for smoking e-cigarettes or also known as vaping. E-cigs, especially those dry herb vapes, emulate the effect of smoking, but they carry way less danger when compared to the actual thing. They can help you with your smoking when you really feel the urge and just want to smoke something.
Additionally, many psychologists have found out that friendly help or counsel can also help in alleviating smoking cravings. Getting support from others is an important part of quitting. Calling a friend can get your mind off smoking. You don’t want to be alone when dealing with cigarette cravings, especially when you know that there are others who can help.
On the physical level, the struggles of quitting smoking are tilted toward nicotine withdrawal. Simply put, your body physically craves for the nicotine from your smokes, and if you suddenly quit smoking, your body will react negatively as it lacks the nicotine that it now highly requires. This is something that cigarette quitters really find difficulty dealing with.
The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can begin within the 30 minutes of your last use of tobacco. Symptoms depend on your level of addiction. Factors such as how long you used tobacco and how much tobacco you use on a daily basis impact the severity of your symptoms.
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include:
- intense cravings for nicotine
- tingling in the hands and feet
- nausea and intestinal cramping
- coughing, sore throat
- difficulty concentrating
- weight gain
Since it is already a physical symptom, it’s best if you can contact your doctor first to discuss ways to manage your withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor might be able to provide you with access to prescription medication or information about support groups in your community.
Then again, several different treatment options are available for nicotine withdrawal. Over-the-counter nicotine replacement medications such as nicotine gum and skin patches, or prescription nicotine replacement methods such as inhalers and nasal sprays, can help reduce symptoms by slowly decreasing the amount of nicotine in your body. Treatment may also include the use of non-nicotine prescription medications such as Chantix.
Most smokers report that one reason they smoke is to handle stress. This happens because smoking cigarettes actually relieves some of your stress by releasing powerful chemicals in your brain. Temporary changes in brain chemistry can cause you to experience decreased anxiety, enhanced pleasure, and alert relaxation. Once you stop smoking, you may become more aware of stress. Everyday worries, responsibilities, and hassles can all contribute to stress. As you go longer without smoking, you can get better at handling stress, especially if you learn stress reduction and relaxation techniques.
It could also help if you can pinpoint the causes of stress in your life (your job, family, or money) and identify the stress signals (headaches, nervousness, or trouble sleeping). Once you pinpoint high-risk trigger situations, you can start to develop new ways to handle them. Know the causes of stress in your life (your job, traffic, your children, money) and identify the stress signals (headaches, nervousness, or trouble sleeping). Once you pinpoint high-risk trigger situations, you can start to develop new ways to handle them.
As soon as within 24 hours of quitting smoking, you may feel tense and agitated. You may feel a tightness in your muscles—especially around the neck and shoulders. Studies have found that anxiety is one of the most common negative feelings associated with quitting. If anxiety occurs, it builds over the first three days after quitting and may last 2 weeks. This is another symptom of nicotine withdrawal.
In this case, it would be helpful if you can strengthen your mind. Set aside some quiet time every morning and evening, like a time when you can be alone in a quiet environment. You can also engage in physical activity, such as taking a walk. Try meditation or other relaxation techniques, like getting a massage, soaking in a hot bath, or breathing deeply through your nose and out through your mouth for 10 breaths.
When all else fails, you can always ask your doctor about nicotine replacements, such as nicotine patches. Zyban is a good example
Zyban (bupropion) is used to help people stop smoking by reducing cravings and other withdrawal effects. Approved in 1997, Zyban acts on chemicals in the brain to ease nicotine withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for smokers to resist the craving to light up. The pills are usually taken twice a day for a period of seven to 12 weeks. Take note, however, that it is best if you take doctor’s prescription as this is not the kind of drug that you just take orally without the guidance of a medical professional.