BY MICHAEL FALADE
The addictive substance in tobacco is NICOTINE. It is the energy supplement for smoke addicts. It releases extra chemicals in the brain, thereby increasing the brain’s cognitive power, making it function above its normal level. Any attempt to withdraw from continuously feeding the brain with nicotine leads to withdrawal symptoms.
Some of the effects nicotine has on the brain are: boosting mood, reducing irritability and depression, and increasing the brain’s ability to memorize. The brain gets accustomed to this realm of operation that any slight withdrawal will make the body to react.
Like cocaine or heroin, nicotine is also very addictive. However, nicotine’s effects are so short-lived; it hitches you to want more, as soon as possible. Therefore, it takes ‘more than a decision’ to stop taking it. Physical and psychological supports are required in breaking the addiction.
When a smoker quits, the body begins to regulate to the normal level of chemicals. In return, the smoker begins to react to this adjustment, displaying certain symptoms called withdrawal symptoms. The early days of withdrawal are the most demanding because the body starts to normalize after constant exposure to nicotine.
The earliest withdrawal symptoms of nicotine are usually intense cravings for tobacco, followed by nervousness, sometimes a smoker’s body begins to shake, especially the hands. Other early symptoms include anger, depression, irritation and decrease in mental function, leading to inability to focus on an immediate task.
Headache, dizziness, constipation, stomach pain, sore throat, coughing, increase in mucus, weight gain, sweating, fatigue and increased appetite are some of the physical symptoms that set in during the early days of withdrawal. These symptoms are normal. Having a fore knowledge of these symptoms would help you to be mentally prepared.
Throughout the entire process, the biggest challenge will be the deep cravings for more nicotine and the stress associated with the cravings. After a few days, say 3-5 days, depending on the level of addiction, other early symptoms begin to fade away, because the body system must have cleared itself of all traces of nicotine from the last cigarette intake.
Granted, it’s challenging and uncomfortable but worth it! Desist now!