Controlling Nicotine Cravings
May 31, 2022
Q: What is nicotine withdrawal?
A: When you smoke, there is a trigger to release dopamine, which is the ‘feel good’ hormone. When dopamine levels start to drop, withdrawal can be triggered which is what signals the craving for another cigarette. Withdrawal includes both physical and psychological symptoms.
Q: How long do withdrawal symptoms last?
A: It takes three to four days for nicotine to work its way out of the body. However since withdrawal is both a physical and psychological reaction you may experience withdrawal symptoms for up to two to four weeks after stopping. Withdrawal symptoms will be worse the longer you have smoked and initially upon stopping, but will improve with time.
Q: What are some things I can do to reduce my nicotine cravings?
A: Try to change behaviors that include people or situations that make you think about smoking and/or try to distract yourself. Read a book, go for a walk, call a friend, workout, etc. Remember that a craving will typically pass in 10 to 20 minutes.
Ask for help. If you have a close support system of friends and family, they can help hold you accountable and improve your chances of quitting. Speaking to a healthcare practitioner who can suggest medications may also be a beneficial way of managing cravings.
Q: How does nicotine replacement therapy work?
A: Essentially nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) stimulates the nicotine receptors in our bodies at a very low level. This stimulation helps to reduce cravings for nicotine from a cigarette.
Q: Can exercise help deal with the craving?
A: Yes. Exercise is a natural way to release the feel-good chemicals that nicotine possesses.
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The content on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health-care regimen.