Tobacco Withdrawal Symptoms and Signs and Detoxification

Tobacco withdrawal symptoms are common when you stop smoking or using nicotine-containing products. Here is what you need to know.

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Tobacco withdrawal symptoms are common when you stop smoking or using nicotine-containing products. Tobacco and nicotine have the same addictive potential as any other drug. Abrupt cessation of smoking tobacco can result in several symptoms which can be managed with tobacco withdrawal treatment.

Tobacco withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia or fatigue, lack of focus, headache, hunger, irritability, and craving for cigarettes or other nicotine sources. These symptoms vary in severity from person to person but commonly occur when you suddenly stop smoking or when you cut back on the number of cigarettes or tobacco products you use each day.

Symptoms of tobacco withdrawal occur within two to three hours of the last tobacco use and will typically peak, or intensify about three days later. These symptoms may disguise, mimic or worsen symptoms of other psychiatric problems.

According to the New York Times, more than 38 million people in the U.S. successfully quit smoking each year, but there are about 50 million still addicted to tobacco products. Tobacco withdrawal symptoms must be treated using a detoxification program along with rehab and recovery in order to successfully break the habit.

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Withdrawing from Tobaccos: Treatment Methods and Options for Help

Despite a decline in the number of tobacco smokers in the United States in recent years, the number of nicotine-dependent users of smokeless tobacco products such as gum, skin patches or inhalers has risen. This is because the nicotine in these products is still absorbed into your body, so the addiction remains.

Tobacco withdrawal treatment that includes detoxification is a treatment option that can be effective in successfully recovering from nicotine addiction. Detoxification requires that all traces of nicotine and other chemicals found in tobacco products are eliminated from your body. Tobacco withdrawal symptoms must be addressed and treated in order to get past the detox stage and into recovery.

Most people have some type of tobacco withdrawal when they either stop or cut back on the amount of nicotine used daily. These symptoms are both physical and psychological. Successful tobacco withdrawal treatment addresses both of these issues.

Nicotine supplements may be prescribed by your physician to aid in treating tobacco withdrawal symptoms, or they may be purchased over the counter at most pharmacies. Nicotine gum, inhalers, skin patches, and nasal sprays can help you to avoid picking up a cigarette when cravings become severe. However, these are best used under the care of a physician who can monitor the dosage and wean you off these aids eventually.

Another physician-assisted treatment for tobacco withdrawal utilizes prescription medications that help to minimize tobacco withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, anxiety, and irritability. These include antidepressants such as Zyban and Chantix. This treatment should always be supervised by your physician and is meant to aid in tobacco detoxification and is not intended to be a long-term solution.

While inpatient care at a detox or rehab facility is not usually necessary with tobacco addiction, in some cases this may be a viable option. People who are regular, long-term smokers can have intense cravings after quitting and may suffer intense tobacco withdrawal symptoms that include severe depression.

For this reason, 24-hour care in a medically supervised environment can help them to break the habits they’ve formed and, it redirects their focus at those times of the day when cravings and tobacco withdrawal are the strongest. A medically supervised tobacco withdrawal treatment program can also screen the patient for signs of depression to better treat them and ensure a successful recovery.

Detoxing, Addiction Treatment Rehab and Recovery

As with any addiction, recovery from nicotine and tobacco addiction is difficult to accomplish alone. Joining a program with others who are working to detox from tobacco addiction and move past the withdrawal symptoms can ensure you have a better chance at success.

There are private facilities that offer these services in a confidential and private environment, or there are several community centers and hospital programs available as well. The most successful tobacco withdrawal treatment and recovery programs combine several methods to prevent you from smoking again.

If you or someone you know is trying to stop smoking, call 1-888-658-5242 to discuss your treatment options. Calls are private and confidential, and there is no cost or obligation involved to discuss what tobacco withdrawal treatment method might be right for you.

Tobacco Information at a Glance
Form, Intake, and Dosage Interactions and Complications
  • Drug Forms: Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigars
  • Administration Routes: Smoking, chewing
  • Dosage: N/A
  • Overdose: N/A
  • Alcohol Interaction: N/A
  • Illicit Drugs: N/A
  • Prescription Medications: N/A
  • Contraindications: N/A
Effects and Adverse Reactions Substance Abuse
  • Short-Term:
  • Long-Term: Respiratory conditions, Cardiovascular disorders, cancer, death
  • Risk of Substance Abuse: Very High
  • Signs of Abuse: Difficulty breathing, jittery behavior, yellowing of nails and teeth
Physiological Problem Signs and Symptoms Dependence and Addiction Issues
  • Withdrawal Syndrome Onset: Several hours after last use.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Irritation, weight gain, trouble concentrating, anxiety, anger
  • Tolerance: Dependence and tolerance increase over time.
  • Cross Dependence: N/A
  • Physical Dependence: High
  • Psychological Dependence: Medium to High
Legal Schedules and Ratings
  • Controlled Substances Act Rating: Schedule I


Questions and Answers (FAQ)

How Long Do Tobacco Withdrawals Last?

Every case is different; the timeline of withdrawals can last anywhere from one week to several months. The duration of withdrawal symptoms depends on how strong a patient’s dependence on tobacco is as well as the length of the patient’s use.

Do You Have a List Popular Slang or Street Names for Tobacco?

Chew, dip, snuff, fags, smoke, smokes, butts

Are There any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

While there are some alternative home remedies for quitting smoking such as nicotine patches that have provided mild relief over the years, the best source of help for recovering from tobacco addictions is professional assistance. To ease the transition into a tobacco-free lifestyle, one should consider seeking help from an addiction professional. Overcoming your addiction with the help of a physician can help to relieve some of the pressure of overcoming addiction alone.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Tobacco?

It can take up to a week to detox from tobacco and even longer to work through withdrawal symptoms. If you or a loved one is having difficulty overcoming their tobacco addiction, you should begin researching your options for treatment programs as soon as possible.

Tobacco can have serious effects on a patient’s system the longer it’s used, so the sooner you seek help for you or the ones you care about, the better. If you’d like information on how to overcome tobacco addiction, call 1-888-658-5242.