Smokeless tobacco withdrawal Timeline
- Anger: It has been found that nicotine can help individuals cope with negative emotions. In many cases, people turn to using products that contain nicotine to help them deal with anger-provoking situations. It is no wonder that when the person stops using nicotine, they can get very angry. This is because they no longer have their nicotine to lean on to help them deal with a difficult situation.
- Anxiety: Many people that quit nicotine feel extremely anxious, to the point that they feel as though they might have an anxiety disorder. This intense anxiety has to do with the fact that while you smoked or used tobacco products, they elicited a calming response in your brain. Since you no longer have that “calm response” being generated, you may feel intense anxiety or nervousness as part of withdrawal.
- Blood pressure changes: Since smoking causes your blood pressure to increase, it is common to experience a temporary dip in blood pressure as your body recalibrates itself to normal. This should fix itself relatively quick.
- Chest tightness: Most people experience temporary chest tightness for the first few days of withdrawal. It should be noted that this typically does not last for more than a week. It is thought that relaxation techniques can help with this pain.
- Concentration problems: It has been noted that nicotine actually improves cognition. This is because it acts in part as a stimulant. When people quit nicotine, they may experience problems with concentration and “foggy thinking.” This is a result of decreases in dopamine as well as a lack of stimulation. Other people may experience confusion and/or memory problems, but these are less common.
- Constipation: Roughly one out of every six individuals that are withdrawing from nicotine experience constipation. Since nicotine stimulates bowel activity, you may experience the opposite when quitting the substance.
- Cravings: These may be intense for nicotine or tobacco products during your withdrawal. For most people the cravings tend to get easier as each day passes. It is common to experience cravings even after three months. Usually the first 90 days are the most difficult to deal with the cravings, and things get easier beyond the 90 day marker.
- Depression: Individuals that use nicotine products may experience an antidepressant effect as a result of the stimulating properties. Depression is a very common withdrawal symptom to experience over the course of the short and long term. During the short term (days), depression may feel like grief, and over a longer term (weeks) your outlook may be pretty pessimistic.
- Diarrhea: Some people have extremely bad gas as well as diarrhea when they quit nicotine. The gas may cause burps, farts, and obviously a lot of uncomfortable bowel movements. It is recommended that if you are dealing with diarrhea as a withdrawal symptom, that you pick up Imodium (an over the counter medication) to help.
- Drowsiness: When you quit using nicotine, you may notice that you feel excessively drowsy throughout the day. This is especially common in the early stages of withdrawal. Your body is trying to get used to functioning without the stimulant. Other related symptoms that you may experience include lethargy, tiredness, and excessive sleepiness.
- Fatigue: This goes hand in hand with the drowsiness that you may experience. You may have no energy and feel exhausted all day. Your energy levels will eventually return to normal as you continue through the withdrawal process.
- Headaches: Some people experience minor headaches, while others feel as if they are experiencing a full blown migraine. Take the time to relax and make sure you have some over the counter headache relief if they become difficult to deal with.
- Heart rate changes: When you stop using nicotine, there is evidence that your heart rate will change. When you use nicotine-based products, your heart rate increases. When you withdraw from these products, your heart rate may experience a temporary drop.
- Increased appetite: Nicotine is a well known appetite suppressant. Many people claim that they started smoking and lost a lot of weight – this is true for many. However, when withdrawing from nicotine, many individuals experience significant increases in appetite. They may actually experience food cravings and really want to eat.
- Insomnia: For certain individuals the process of withdrawing from nicotine is so stressful, that they cannot sleep at night. They may have extreme insomnia and really bad cravings for nicotine, especially during the early stages of withdrawal.
- Irritability: When you begin withdrawing from nicotine, you may notice that you become very irritable. It is common to feel frustrated and hot tempered during your withdrawal process. Little things may easily annoy you – just realize that this is part of the process.
- Loneliness: This is usually a result of the fact that an individual is now not using tobacco products with social contacts. The individual has to now find other, new social outlets so that they don’t feel as lonely. The loneliness may be overwhelming, especially early on in the withdrawal process, but it will improve over time.
- Nausea: Everything may evoke feelings of nausea – and it may feel as though you have flu-like symptoms for your first few days. Recognize that the nausea is your body’s way of attempting to readjust itself to life without the drug.
- Restlessness: Some people become very restless and experience “impatience.” This is because they don’t have their “fix” to help calm down the brain. They don’t know how to psychologically or physically cope without the drug. The restlessness may be so extreme that the person seems to find things to do just to take his or her mind off of the nicotine.
- Sore throat: Some people experience a slightly sore throat when they withdraw from nicotine – especially if they are smokers. This is merely a physical symptom that goes away over the first week or so during withdrawal.
- Stomach pain: Many individuals experience abdominal pain and/or pain in the stomach area when they first quit. This shouldn’t last longer than a week.
- Sweating: It is common for the body to sweat more than average during withdrawal. You may notice heavy night sweats and even sweats during the day. For some individuals, this is their body’s natural way of detoxifying.
- Tension: The entire body may feel “tense” and overly stressed. This tension is somewhat normal and will subside within the first week or so of withdrawal. Try to make sure that you do something relaxing – it will help with the tension.
- Time perception changes: During early stages of withdrawal, many individuals have experienced distortions in time perception. Time may seem as though it is passing at an extremely slow rate during the early stages of withdrawal. One craving may feel as though it lasts hours even though it only lasted a few minutes. This will improve as time continues to pass.
- Tingling in hands/feet: You may notice that when you stop using nicotine that your hands and/or feet start to tingle. This is a normal withdrawal symptom that many people experience.
- Vomiting: In some extreme cases, a person may actually vomit as a result of the nausea that they experience during withdrawal. In general, the vomiting is likely not going to last more than a few days. This may be uncomfortable to deal with, but a necessary part of the process.
- Weight gain: People gain weight as a result of increased appetite associated with nicotine withdrawal. When individuals are on nicotine, it acts as a stimulant and therefore typically decreases a person’s appetite. When they withdraw, their full appetite comes back and they may gain weight. The minor weight gain is not usually a major concern – things will eventually stabilize.
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