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How Do I Perform a Nicotine Detox?

Chewing tobacco.
A chronic smoker can experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms when he quits.
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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 March 2014
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The best way to perform a nicotine detox is to stop consuming nicotine. This means that one should choose a particular date and stop smoking and consuming other forms of nicotine completely. It is possible to wean one's self off of nicotine, but stopping completely at once is easier because the withdrawal symptoms are short when nicotine is suddenly ceased. Some people find that eating certain foods or exercising can help get through the nicotine detox process, which is fairly aggravating. For many people, the most difficult part of the detox is maintaining will power, so it may be helpful to have someone else monitor one's progress.

When one decides to perform a nicotine detox, the first step is to decide when and where one will do the detox. If one is not highly addicted to nicotine, there is usually no need to take special precautions. When addiction is severe, nicotine withdrawal can make a person very irritable, and in some cases ill-suited for working environments. While traveling away from one's home will likely make detox easier, it is very easy to fall back into old patterns when one returns home. The date and place picked for the detox should allow the detoxing person to relax and ease back into daily activities.

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On the chosen date, one should completely cease nicotine consumption. Attempting to wean one's self off nicotine will only draw out the withdrawal symptoms. One can expect unpleasant sensations and a desire to smoke to begin fairly quickly and to continue for a few days. After about three days, symptoms will abate. While it may be difficult to go back to daily activities at first, after about two weeks most people find that the nicotine detox has completely eradicated any need to smoke.

This fairly simple nicotine detox plan can be supplemented by techniques to help decrease unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Simply being distracted from one's need for nicotine can be enough to make the process bearable. Many people find that exercise is useful for this purpose and also helps combat post-detox weight gain. While dietary changes can make one's body more energized, they typically do not help with any detox symptoms. Staying busy and exercising are likely the most effective techniques for sticking with a detox plan.

It is important to know what to expect from a nicotine detox in order to stick with the plan. One will almost certainly feel a variety of physical symptoms, including a desire for nicotine, headaches, and fatigue combined with an inability to sleep. Emotionally, many people despair when these symptoms occur. One may become extremely irritable when detoxing and thereby increase one's desire for the comfort of nicotine. The key to performing a nicotine detox is truly committing to it, and writing down this commitment may help get through the detox process.

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Discuss this Article

anon352930
Post 2

I quit smoking a week ago and I am still experiencing withdrawals. No relapse, but man my head hurts. When will this go away?

anon343686
Post 1

Good article, exactly what you need to quit smoking, instead of using fancy products like e-cigs and nicotine patches/gums, this process is much more effective. The first 72 hours are kind of tough only, and the rest is simple. However, relapse is very common about the three-month mark, so watch for that.

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