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Quit Nicotine and Tobacco: Here’s What You Can Expect During Physical Nicotine Withdrawal

When you decide to stop using tobacco, you are embarking on a mental and physical journey. You are going up against a villain you have likely known well and it will take your full focus and determination -- with some help from Grinds -- to defeat your old foe. The goal of this article is to help you understand what will happen when you quit so you can be aware of the common experiences, mentally and physically, and ultimately overcome them and reach your goal: a tobacco-free, nicotine-free, stress-free healthier life!  


Fact 1: Quitting is part mental and part physical 


When you decide to stop using chewing tobacco, your body will go through two different kinds of withdrawal: physical and psychological. Physical nicotine withdrawal takes place over the first three days of quitting, while psychological withdrawal can take up to three weeks or more. You’ll need a tobacco alternative handy and a strong mindset to make it through both. Do not underestimate your mindset! See yourself on the other side. 


Fact 2: It will take 72 hours to flush the nicotine from your body


After just three days of not using chewing tobacco, all the nicotine will no longer be in your body and physical withdrawal symptoms will soon follow. The physical discomfort is actually the easy part of quitting.


Here are the most common symptoms of physical nicotine withdrawal, and some suggestions for how to cope with them:

Headaches 

What: Mild to moderate head pain, similar to stress and hunger headaches.

Why: Headaches often signal that something is out of balance in your body - you need to eat, you need to drink water, or in this case, you need a hit of nicotine.

How to Cope

  • Take aspirin or some other headache aid.
  • Drink plenty or water.
  • Relieve stress by taking a hot shower or going for a walk.
  • Use a little caffeine to replace your nicotine. Grab a pouch or two of Grinds. 

Pain In Your Mouth

What: Sores inside your mouth develop or worsen after you quit dipping.

Why: Chewing tobacco alters the PH balance of your mouth, so when you quit dipping, your mouth goes through a healing process to return to its normal PH balance. Salty replacements (such as sunflower seeds) can also irritate the mouth. 

How to Cope

  • Switch to an alternative product, like Grinds Coffee Pouches, that doesn’t cause irritation.
  • Give your mouth some time to heal and watch our for foods/drinks that irritate your mouth. Here are some tips: 
    • Cold foods may be easier on your mouth 
    • Soft foods or smoothies can cause less irritation: pasta, milk, potatoes, etc.
    • Take smaller bites to limit contact with your entire mouth (gums, tongue, cheeks, etc) 
  • See your doctor if the sores persist more than a week

Dizziness or “The Fog” 

What: Many refer to this as “the fog” because they feel dizzy or lightheaded, like they’re walking around in a daze. 

Why: Nicotine causes the body to release satisfying levels of sugar into the bloodstream far faster than eating can, which explains its appetite-inhibiting effects. Conversely, the results of low blood sugar levels in a quitting nicotine addict are responsible for some of the most difficult withdrawal symptoms, including feeling weak, confused or dizzy.

How to Cope:

  • Eat regular meals to minimize the risk of low blood sugar.
  • Drink a ton of water throughout the day. You would be surprised how much this can help with all of your symptoms. 
  • Eat a piece of fruit or drink a small glass of fruit juice to quickly raise blood sugar if you feel shaky or light-headed. Just keep it small. 

Restlessness or Anxiety

What: A weird feeling of impatience or boredom, or the feeling that you should be doing something but you’re not sure what.

Why: Your body is sending signals that something is not quite right because it is expecting nicotine to show up. 

How to Cope

  • Acknowledge that the feeling is your body responding to a lack of nicotine. 
  • Make a quick entry in your quit journal, noting the date, time, location and feelings you’re experiencing. Write down anything that comes to mind. 
  • Do something immediately after that brings you joy and makes you feel good, such as taking a walk, exercising, calling your spouse or a buddy for support
  • Toss in something to distract you and keep you occupied like Grinds. 

Fatigue

What: You may feel more tired than usual as you begin your quit journey.

Why: Nicotine is a stimulant, so you may feel tired without it. Quitting tobacco is mentally and emotionally taxing, which can also make you physically tired. 

How to Cope

  • Get plenty of rest every night. You might find it hard to fall asleep but even just laying down earlier in the night can help
  • Make time for a nap or even just a mental break in the day. Try 15 minutes to start. 
  • Drink water. Water is your body’s natural way of moving this around and flushing your system. The more water you drink, the more your body is able to flush out the toxins in your body. 

Increased appetite

What: You might feel hungry more often throughout the day, or you might consume more during your meals.

Why: Nicotine is an appetite suppressant, so when you stop using it, you’ll feel hungry more often. It’s also your body’s natural defense mechanism to look for nutrients when you are run down. 

How to Cope

  • Caffeine is also an appetite suppressant, so reaching for a Grinds Coffee Pouch instead of food can help you regulate meals and snacking. 
  • Keep some healthy snacks on hand and store them in individual serving sizes so you don’t overeat. Just having something ready and convenient can go a long way. Throw some carrots in a bag or keep an apple on your desk. You will reach for what is there. 

Digestive issues 

What: You may become constipated or have stomach pains. 

Why: Nicotine interacts with the digestive tract to smooth muscle peristalsis, the involuntary flexing and relaxing of muscles that pushes waste through your system. Without nicotine, this digestive process may be hindered.

How to Cope

  • Drink lots of water to keep your engine running smoothly. 
  • If you become constipated or have some other bathroom related issues, consider taking something to counteract your symptoms. 

Trouble sleeping

What: You may have trouble falling and/or staying asleep in the early stage of your quit journey.

Why: This is another way that your body can physically manifest its craving for nicotine, which can become so intense that it wakes you up or prevents you from sleeping altogether.

How to Cope:

  • Cut down your caffeine intake by switching from coffee or soda to Grinds and avoid caffeine altogether at least six hours before bedtime. If you go to bed at 10pm, that means no caffeine after 4pm. 
  • Push through the urge to nap for more than 20 minutes throughout the day. You want to be tired at night. 
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

Remember, physical withdrawal typically lasts just a few days. If you can fight off tobacco and nicotine for 72 hours, you likely have won the biggest physical battle. Once you’ve overcome this, you should celebrate! Next we will move on to the mental game of defeating nicotine and tobacco. You got this! 

 

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