Every time you smoke, nicotine is inhaled into your lungs. The bloodstream absorbs the nicotine and it is distributed all around the body. The body adjusts chemically as it gets used to having nicotine in its system. So when you stop smoking, your body will react because it is used to having nicotine being present in the body. Nicotine withdrawal syndrome is what this reaction of the body is called.
Your body will immediately start to repair itself as soon as you stop smoking cigarettes. As your body works to remove the accumulated nicotine, you may on the other hand experience some or all the effects brought about by nicotine withdrawal.
Symptoms that can be felt during this phase can range from mildly to extremely uncomfortable.
Nicotine withdrawals are temporary. 1 to 2 days after the person quits smoking is the peak of the withdrawal symptoms which usually last between a week and a month. It is recommended that you talk to your doctor especially if you have a very strong addiction to cigarettes. Your physician may advise you to undergo a nicotine replacement therapy or take a smoking cessation pill that can help relieve you with the symptoms of withdrawal. Experiencing these withdrawal symptoms is just a sign that your body is recovering from the negative effects of nicotine. So once you quit, positive changes will then start to take place. Some of the physical symptoms you may experience after you quit smoking are the following:
- Warm feet and hands – Your blood circulation will start to improve within the first 2 weeks to 3 months after you quit smoking and your body will still continue to recover in the weeks and months that will follow. You may experience a tingling feeling in the hands and feet.
- Fatigue and general tiredness- from mood changes (anxiety, depression, restlessness, irritability and nervousness are just some of the feelings experienced during withdrawal)and from changes to your sleep patterns. Your metabolism is also slowed down by the lack of nicotine but will soon return to normal.
- Weight gain-eating habits change and most people report that food smells and tastes better and they have a heightened awareness of taste and smell. Many people gain weight after quitting. There is an increase in appetite.
- Digestion and bowel problems- such as cramps, constipation and nausea.
- Cold symptoms- Coughing, sneezing and a sore throat and sometimes mouth ulcers appear.
- Sweating, rapid heart rate and headaches are other physical symptoms that may be experienced when quitting smoking.