When Are the Worst of the Cravings Over?

Nicotine withdrawal begins between 4 and 24 hours after your last cigarette. Most people who stumble do so in the first 8 days because that is when the symptoms are most severe. The 3rd day is typically the worst day but the response to quitting is unique to each individual. The symptoms, for practical purposes, can be divided into those you feel (affective symptoms), those you show (somatic symptoms), and those that affect how you think (cognitive symptoms).  

Symptoms you feel include: anxiety, inability to feel pleasure, depression, general sense of being ill at ease, increased sensitivity to pain, and irritability. Symptoms that show include: tremors, slow heart rate, stomach and bowel discomfort, and increased appetite. Symptoms that include the way you think include: difficulty concentrating and impaired memory.

Symptoms fade over 3-4 weeks but knowing what to expect and preparing is a big part of succeeding. Using FDA approved medications, nicotine replacement, making an effort to modify your behavior, and recognizing your personal triggers can make the difference between being a smoker and being  “A Quitter.”


This information is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.  

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