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8 Common Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal


Updated June 11, 2014

Nicotine withdrawal can trigger a whole host of physical and psychological symptoms that leaves ex-smokers feeling both physically ill and mentally stressed and anxious. While most people will experience some discomfort commonly associated with nicotine withdrawal, there are steps that can be taken to minimize them. Use the tips below to help you know what to expect as you move through this phase of smoking cessation, and read the selected personal stories to see how others have managed as well.

Remember: nicotine withdrawal is a temporary condition. Better days are ahead.

1. The Urge to Smoke

Stubbed out cigarette in ashtray
Adam Gault/OJO Images
Prepare for the inevitable urges to smoke that come for all of us when we begin smoking cessation and you'll find you can successfully manage this intense (but temporary) phase of recovery from nicotine addiction.

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2. The Urge to Snack

Perhaps one of the most common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, the urge to eat is due to a number of things. Chemical changes taking place in the body affect us, and most ex-smokers feel a psychological need to replace the hand-to-mouth action of smoking with something else, and that is often food.

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3. Sleep Disturbances

Sleep disturbances are a common symptom of nicotine withdrawal. From insomnia to feelings of lethargy that leave you wanting to spend the whole day in bed, quitting tobacco can throw your normal sleep pattern out of whack.

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4. Cough

It can be alarming to develop a cough after you stop smoking, but it is not out of the ordinary. Take a look at why this happens and how to evaluate whether the cough might be more serious than a symptom of nicotine withdrawal.

5. Stress

While smoking cessation will eventually allow you to reduce the stress in your life considerably, initially it increases stress. Learn what you can do to minimize the effects of cessation-related stress while you're going through nicotine withdrawal.

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6. Constipation

A common, but not often discussed side effect of smoking cessation involves our digestive system. Learn what you can do to manage the constipation that can come with nicotine withdrawal.

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7. Junkie Thinking

Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable nicotine withdrawal symptoms originates in our minds. Junkie thinking is that inner voice that tells us it's alright to smoke just one cigarette or just for tonight. While it is difficult to manage, junkie thinking is a phase that will pass with time, as long as you don't smoke.

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8. Dizziness

Dizzy, light-headed feelings are common complaints new ex-smokers often express. Learn why this happens and what you can do if you experience this symptom of nicotine withdrawal.

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