By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder

Here’s How You Can Be Proactive About Nicotine Withdrawals 

 

 



Congrats to Lady Gaga! Not just because she recently released her new album, but also because she recently shared with the world that she has quit smoking.

Despite being a singer, “... Gaga explained that in the past, she'd smoke about 40 cigarettes a day. But, she noted that she quit cold turkey and assured fans that it wasn't easy,” according to one souce.

“If you don't smoke, don't smoke! Because quitting is worse. It is so brutal. And I will never smoke again because I think I saw Jesus for an entire week. It was so awful," Lady Gaga said.

I don't believe we talk about how horrible smoking is for us and this needs to be emphasized especially with the new focus on the coronavirus. Smoking compromises our respiratory system! And a compromised respiratory system makes it easier for viruses to wreak havoc with our health.  And quitting this habit is extremely difficult because the withdrawals can be painful and difficult.

Nicotine withdrawals.

Quitting smoking can cause very difficult nicotine withdrawals (which I think is clearly what Lady Gaga was going through). We need to be proactive about coping with these withdrawals.
“Nicotine is the main addictive substance in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Nicotine is a drug that affects many parts of your body‚ including your brain,” according to one source.
“Over time‚ your body and brain get used to having nicotine in them. About 80−90% of people who smoke regularly are addicted to nicotine. When you stop smoking‚ your body has to get used to not having nicotine. That’s withdrawal. Withdrawal can be uncomfortable.”
 
Nicotine is highly addictive.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug. The CDC also says that research has shown that nicotine may be just as addictive as heroin, cocaine and alcohol.

And if the withdrawals from nicotine become too uncomfortable, the more likely an ex-smoker will become a smoker again. This is why it is imperative to know how to manage these withdrawals. 

Symptoms of a nicotine withdrawal may include:

  • Strong cravings for cigarettes
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • Sleep issues
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hungrier than usual
  • A slower heart rate

Ways to cope with nicotine withdrawals?

  • Exercise. One study found evidence which showed that “...even moderate intensity exercise markedly reduces the severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.”
  • Practice mindfulness. A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that people who practiced mindfulness, overall had less severe nicotine withdrawals and were less nicotine dependent.
  • Good nutrition. It is normal to feel hungrier than usual during the nicotine withdrawal phase. You may even have strong sugar cravings. This is why so many people gain weight after they quit smoking. It is important to nourish your body with the vitamins and minerals that it needs, especially since smoking depletes the body of these essential nutrients. Drink plenty of water and eat nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and salmon. Protein and fiber may help you feel full and satisfied.
  • Vitamin therapy. Because smoking depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals, it might not be a bad idea to replenish these nutrients through the use of IV vitamin drips or injections. Furthermore, “Vitamins and minerals facilitate detoxification, provide nervous system and blood sugar balance, and provide anxiety-reducing support. B-complex rich in thiamine supports the nervous system,” according to one source. At the pH Drip Lab, we offer all sorts of vitamin “cocktails” such as the Myers Cocktail (which contains B complex, vitamin C and other key nutrients).
  • Cryotherapy. Evidence is showing that cryotherapy helps with a myriad of health issues such as chronic pain. It may also help you cope with nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and restlessness.
  • Acupuncture. More research is needed, but some sources say that acupuncture may help you quit smoking and make the withdrawals less severe. Acupuncture is known to help improve sleep, digestive function, depression and more. So I suppose it has the potential to help cope with symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Try CBD (cannabidiol, a chemical found in cannabis plants). One recent study found evidence suggesting that CBD “...may be a promising novel smoking cessation treatment due to its anxiolytic [ability to reduce anxiety] properties, minimal side effects and research showing that it may modify drug cue salience.” CBD products are everywhere right now. You can find it in lotions, oils, tinctures, sprays, candy, dog treats and more. CBD does not have enough of the the better known cannabis molecule delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to get you high. CBD is also known to help with anxiety and other mood disorders.

If you are thinking of quitting smoking, don’t think. Just do it! The benefits are invaluable. Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death. The withdrawals may be painful at first. But with time and by leading a healthy lifestyle, I think you will feel better than you have in a long time. If Lady Gaga can kick her 40 cigarettes a day habit, you can quit smoking too and overcome nicotine withdrawals.

 

Enjoy your healthy life!

 

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here. 

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