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Nicotine Withdrawal – What Is It And How To Control It

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Nicotine Withdrawal

It is interesting to see that in the front of tobacco people are not the same, because some people do not ever start smoking, others start late and others can not stop. Another interesting fact is that  women, although starting to smoke later than men, developing a greater degree of dependence and more difficult to quit the habit. Therefore, it is important to know that behind of our will or motivation there is also a biological reason that influence the easily passing over short-term effects of quitting smoking.

Nicotine withdrawal

Nicotine withdrawal

To explain this diffrent reaction from the same product, the researchers appeal to genetics research. They are three classes of genetic factors that may determine vulnerability:

  • Genes involved in metabolism of tobacco substances. Some people carry a altered versions of a gene that encodes the cytochrome P450, which is a small protein that participate in the degradation of nicotine. Because of this mutation, nicotine is degraded more slowly, persists longer in the body and the people who carry this altered version of the gene  smoke less and quit more easily.
  • Genes that encode nicotinic receptors . Alteration of this genes cause a moderate or a late smoking addiction.
  • a multitude of genes that play a role depending on the response to environmental factors (stress, taste, smell, etc.) which can turn into genetic factors of tobacco dependence.

What is nicotine withdrawal?

Nicotine withdrawal  is defined as all symptoms that appear after interruption of nicotine intake after a long use. The symptoms can be explained by the fact that nicotine is a true drug which cause a disrupt in brain function, resulting a physical and psychological dependence.

Generally, smokers tend to exaggerate the disadvantages of smoking cessation and minimize the benefits (health improvement, physical performance, external appearance).

Withdrawal manifestations are multiple and depending on the person, because there are smokers who have not had any symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, as there are people who have severe forms of nicotine withdrawal. The symptoms are ephemeral, with have a peak at 48-72 hours and then decrease gradually in three or four weeks.

After quitting smoking, a person can experience different sensations:

a) Psychical:

  • Acute need to smoke is the most frequent and most typical symptom of nicotine withdrawal. It is a result of the decreased blood concentrations of nicotine. It is manifested by episodes of short duration (1-3 minutes), apparently without a special reason, which can occur even several months after quitting smoking. The intensity of the symptom depends on the degree of nicotine addiction but also by factors such as psychic stress and pain tolerance, motivation, social context and others;
  • Nervousness, irritability, anxiety. This symptoms appear because the substances that are inhaled by tobacco smoke affects the entire central nervous system, and nervousness caused by the lack of these substances can take several days. The absence of smoking can induce a state of nervousness and anxiety which may last even months, depending on the person’s resilience;
  • Frustration, anger and depression. Often this symptoms appear in those who were not prepared enough of quitting smoking or the  personal reasons are not strong enough.

In addition, the absence of the nicotine can cause diverse types of  symptoms. Duration depends on the period of adjustment and acceptance of former smokers to the new conditions.

Smoking Kills

Smoking Kills

b) Biological:

  • Dizziness and headache may appear because quitting smoking increases the blood oxygen concentration as a result of the disappearance of carbon monoxide in the blood.  In addition, because of the absence of nicotine, which is vasoconstrictor substance, will appear an increase in blood flow to the brain, which can sometimes cause headaches. Dizziness may occur once or twice a day, in the first week and usually takes a second or two;
  • Sensation of hunger, it is a symptom that occurs in many former smokers who noticed that they tend to eat more than they ate before. The explanations are: a return to normal of the hunger and satiety center, a return to normal metabolism, replacing the gesture of smoking with eating. It will appear a improved food absorption, along with smoking cessation and weight gain may occur;
  • Tremor. It may be noted that hands and fingers get a slight tremor which is likely to persist over several weeks;
  • Sweat.This reaction it disappears after a while. Frequent hot baths may help in the disappearance of these effect;
  • Bradycardia and decreased blood pressure;
  • Cough appears because after quitting smoking, airway cilia begin to recover, they start to clear the bronchial tree and remove phlegm, causing an increase in cough that lasts several weeks. Also the additives added to cigarettes may produce mild bronchodilation, masking a possible underlying disease. In these cases, giving up cigarettes could unmask a disease  like chronic bronchitis, which requires the submission of the emergency physician;
  • Sleep disorders. Some smokers complain that they find it difficult to sleep, because quitting smoking increases the amount of energy accumulated in the body;

How to bear easy the effects of nicotine withdrawal:

  • Think positive. List every day the reasons why you quit smoking and rewarded with small gifts for your progress;
  • Keep the money saved on quitting smoking in a bowl or jar to see how their level is growing every day. Use the money to celebrate the fact that you managed to quit smoking;
  • Try to find preoccupation in the early days of quitting smoking. Avoid exposing yourself in situations or places in which you are predispose to smoking;
  • Search the support of relatives and friends;
  • Constantly remember yourself that in a few weeks you will be freed from tobacco addiction;