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5 Withdrawal Symptoms and How to Help Manage Them

Giving up anything can be hard—that evening snack, your weekly manicure, or your dream of becoming a professional basketball star—but giving up smoking is more than just an emotional adjustment. Many experience physical withdrawal symptoms, some of which peak during the first few weeks of your quit.

Keep in mind that discomfort you may experience in those first few weeks after quitting may fade with time. In the meantime, GetQuit® is here to offer you support. Below are 5 common withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking, and tips on how to deal with them. Talk to your healthcare provider for advice and support and know that you are not alone on this journey.

Trouble sleeping

Can’t catch a wink? Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Alcohol can also disrupt the sleep cycle, so skip the evening glass of wine and opt for water, juice, or decaffeinated tea. Exercise may help you get some rest as well. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Irritability

Not feeling like your best self? Keep active, limit your caffeine intake, and go easy on yourself. Make time for your favorite sports, a hot bath, or a relaxing yoga class. This is where telling your family and friends that you’re quitting smoking comes in handy. If they know you might not be your best self, they may be more patient and let you vent a little.

The blues

It’s possible to get the blues due to nicotine withdrawal. If you’re feeling down, keep yourself active. Get out of the house—see friends, maybe join an intramural sports league, or sign up for a class. Remember that some people go through this, and keep the goal of your new smoke-free life prominent in your thoughts. If you develop symptoms of depression or have symptoms that do not go away, contact a healthcare provider for support.

Increased appetite

After a smoker quits, a few extra pounds may show up on the scale. Food may also taste better as your taste buds recover, so you may be tempted to eat a bit more. On average, the extra weight is 6 to 10 pounds. If you’re worried about weight gain, work with your healthcare provider to develop a diet and exercise routine.

Urges to smoke

Did you know that the urge to smoke usually passes in 3 to 5 minutes, whether you smoke or not? Remind yourself that your urge will pass, and you just need to get through the next few minutes. Try chewing on vegetables, tough fruits (like dried apples), gum, or hard candies. Talk to your healthcare provider about options that can help you manage urges to smoke.