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What to Expect During Psychological Nicotine Withdrawal

Quitting chewing tobacco is both a tough physical and a mental battle. Most of the symptoms of physical nicotine withdrawal will fade quickly within a few days—stuff like headaches, mouth sores, dizziness & fatigue. Overcoming the mental hurdles will be much more involved, but is completely within your reach once you’re fully committed to the idea of kicking the chew to the curb. 


In this article, you’ll learn how to take control of the way your mind thinks about chewing tobacco and override the way it automatically associates certain times and places dipping. This may sound impossible, but it’s actually easier than you might think!

What Causes Psychological Withdrawal?

Ever since you started dipping, you have been conditioned to strongly associate chewing tobacco with certain times of the day and certain activities. These associations can be triggered by events (a phone call; a football game on TV; a night out with the guys) or by routines (driving to work; eating dinner; yard work on Sundays). By always consuming tobacco during these activities, your mind comes to believe that you can’t complete them or enjoy them without it.


When you take chewing tobacco out of the equation and find yourself in these situations that are strongly associated with chewing tobacco, your body thinks something isn’t right. It sends signals to let you know something’s up, and those signals are then felt by you as irritability, depression and/or anxiety. It’s your body’s way of getting your attention and reminding you to feed your habit. 

How to Make Psychological Withdrawal Stop

Once you get that message from your body, you reach for tobacco—likely without even thinking about it. “I want a dip,” is a conditioned reflex. The good news is it can be reversed. When your mind tells your body to be irritable or anxious due to an absence of nicotine, you can override that urge with logic. 


Remind yourself that you don’t NEED dip in these situations. You want them. If you believe that you actually do want that dip, you’ll feel deprived of tobacco, and somehow find a way to justify taking the dip. Instead, when you notice your patience running short or feelings of anxiousness, simply acknowledge that the reason why you’re feeling that way is due to the absence of nicotine. Better yet, celebrate that feeling because it means you are abstaining from nicotine! If the urge to dip continues to fester after you’ve attempted to override it with logic, try a healthy, constructive distraction, like popping a Grinds Coffee Pouch.


If this seems impossible or just plain ridiculous, think of it like this: It’s just like when you get a rumble in your stomach. Your conditioned reflex is to think I’m hungry and then reach for a snack—maybe even without thinking about it. Have you ever been in a situation where you have a big dinner that evening, but you find yourself feeling hungry late in the afternoon? In that situation, you likely questioned your conditioned reflex and used logic to defeat it by telling yourself, “Dinner is only three hours away. I can’t spoil my appetite ahead of dinner!”


To use another analogy, it’s kind of like getting a new car and the turn signal is now on the left instead of the right like it was in your old car. For the first few weeks of driving your new car, even though you know the turn signal is on the left, you keep turning on your wipers on the right instead of your turn signal on the left. But with time and repetition, you eventually learn to reach for the left instead of the right. Or, to reach for Grinds instead of tobacco.

How To Start Changing Your Behavior RIGHT NOW

Changing your behavior and habits is complex and won’t happen overnight. However, you can start chipping away at your conditioned reflexes right now by using a nicotine replacement when cravings and withdrawal pangs hit. 


Remember: the goal is to separate tobacco from your routines and activities. To do this you should:


  1. Recognize and celebrate feelings of irritability and anxiousness as reminders that you are successfully abstaining from tobacco.
  2. Counter-condition your urge to dip with a healthy alternative, such as Grinds Coffee Pouches. 

The ultimate goal here is to convince yourself that tobacco and nicotine do nothing for you, thus removing your desire to chew. When you answer your psychological withdrawal pangs with something other than tobacco and nicotine, you’re proving to yourself that you don’t actually need the tobacco and nicotine. 

 

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