Nicotine dependence is extremely strong. It is one of the most addictive substances in the world. The emerging black market for cigarettes that are emerging during this lockdown is evidence demonstrating its power over people. The rising prices do not affect the demand for this substance.
Needless to say, withdrawals caused by the lack of cigarettes or nicotine can be severe and are many, such as-
- Sweating and tingling sensations in hands and feet
- Increased irritability
- Increase in weight and appetite
- Depressed mood
These symptoms reach their highest point in 2 to 3 days after quitting. People who have battled depression as a part of their mental health problems (like bipolar disorder), may experience a brief lapse. The good news is that the worst passes over in over a week. With a firm-plan to quit and some of the below-mentioned tips for managing nicotine dependence & withdrawal, one can quit this habit.
Tips for managing nicotine dependence
Here are a few steps that one can take to ease the period of nicotine withdrawal-
NRT or nicotine replacement therapy- There are many forms of over-the-counter NRTs available such as nicotine gums, patches and medication. These can help with the craving and help with the process of quitting. Any form of NRT should be taken under the advice of a doctor.
Make a schedule- Identify the time-slots that were reserved for smoking before and plan out activities during them such as listening to music, going for a short walk, eating a healthy snack or reading a book.
Try lemonade and other citrus juices- Salted lemonade and other sour citrus juices can help with the cravings and are healthy too. Drinking these when the urge hits can be of help.
Identifying triggers- Be it stress at work, certain groups of friends or specific activities, identifying these triggers and actively taking steps to manage them is should be part of the plan.
Talk to friends and family- Talking to people who are safe and receptive can provide positive reinforcement and is definitely of great help when battling withdrawals and strong cravings.
It is important to keep reminding oneself of the reasons why they want to curb nicotine dependence. Beyond the obvious reasons of health, it can be for your friends and family, to pick up a sport or energetic hobby or for any other personal reason. As long as you make a plan for yourself and manage the withdrawal in a continuous and timely fashion, smoking during this lockdown will not overpower you and giving up this difficult habit will become a reality. India Khayal Rakhna.