How to Overcome the Withdrawal of Cigarettes

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Overcome the Withdrawal of Cigarettes

Abstinence syndrome refers to the psychological changes which people who are withdrawing from a particular drug or chemical undergo. They differ depending on the drug, but the symptoms and effects can be similar and relapse is common for many trying to quit. Some sources claim that quitting nicotine is similar to quitting other drugs such as heroin or cocaine, but the good news is that nicotine is not as addictive as these harder drugs and reaching your goal of being smoke-free is completely achievable.

Believing that you can quit is the beginning of the process, but let provide some practical solutions to help overcome the withdrawal of cigarettes.

You may also be interested in: How To Quit Smoking Cigarettes Naturally
Steps to follow:

The first few days and weeks are a critical time for anyone trying to quit smoking. The heavier you smoke, the harder this time will be. However, our bodies are more resilient than we can give them credit for and after 12 hours our carbon monoxide levels will be back to normal and our body is beginning the process of repair. As this process occurs you are likely to feel anxious, develop headaches, have increased appetite and lose sleep.

To help combat these symptoms we need a plan. Try to choose a time to quit when you will be more free of stress. Don't do it when you are starting a new job or during exams. Think about what you are eating as when you quit your appetite is likely to increase. Take the cravings you have for cigarettes and replace them with cravings for healthy alternatives. Eating high calorific foods will only make things worse. Chewing bubble gum or brushing your teeth can help keep you occupied and are a healthier alternative to patches or e-cigarettes, but read here about considerations for these options.

How to Overcome the Withdrawal of Cigarettes - Step 1

Your increased state of irritability is something which can not only have a drastic affect on yourself, but also on others. As smoking becomes habitual, we need to think of alternatives which will take up the now empty space in our routine. Exercise is the best option as it will not only help your body repair itself with heightened fitness levels, but the natural chemicals released in our brain will help cure cravings as they replace those in cigarettes with healthier alternatives. Even a brisk walk when we feel the urge can be very helpful.

During the work day or whatever we are getting up to, exercise might not be an option. You want to stay away from coffee and alcohol, but replacing your cigarette with a herbal tea or juice can help. Instead of going outside with the other smokers (which is walking in to temptation), change your environment and find somewhere new to relax without nicotine.


Mindfulness is very important when quitting smoking. Meditation is a great option which helps you to connect your thoughts together with the state of your body and you can concentrate on its improvements as you take your journey to wellness. Instead of having a cigarette, you can replace this habit with a new one such as a creative project or even reading a book. Highlighting passages in a book or drawing is a great way to keep the hands which had previously enjoyed the habit of smoking concentrating on a better alternative.

Most of the time we can feel agitated and anxious when we quit smoking, so you may not feel in the most sociable of moods. Speaking to someone we can trust like a good friend or partner can really help as it offers the support we need. You can speak to them before you quit so that they can also be prepared and, when you feel the need to light up, you can give them a call and find some reassurance.

How to Overcome the Withdrawal of Cigarettes - Step 3

As we live in the information age there are great ways to help us on our way to better health. 'Gamification' is when we take the typical elements of video games, such as point scoring and competition with either ourselves or others, and practically apply them to everyday life. We can do this with smoking as we can count the days since our last cigarette and think of them as new levels in this game. We should also reward ourselves when we hit big milestones (a week, a month, a year) with something healthy and enjoyable.

Finally, have technology on your side and download a quitting app which will help chart your progress, provide incentives and allow you to find support in a network of fellow quitters.

How to Overcome the Withdrawal of Cigarettes - Step 4

The journey to being smoke-free is a long and often arduous one, but by following these helpful tips you have the provisions to make your destination. Remember that speaking to your doctor will also help you assess your options.

Have a look at our articles on How to Cleanse Lungs After Quitting Smoking and How to Quit Smoking Without Getting Fat.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Overcome the Withdrawal of Cigarettes, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.

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