Nicotine activates receptors in the brain that cause the release of chemicals, which cause perceived pleasure and/or less anxiety and tension. The brain gets used to these chemicals and wants that release to occur throughout the day to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
Patients learn to associate smoking with certain behaviors involving people, places, activities, and moods. These situational triggers can derail your patients’ quit attempts if they are not prepared for them.
Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
The common nicotine withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking include 2,3:
- Depressed mood
- Poor concentration
1. Jarvis MJ. Why people smoke. BMJ. 2004;328(7434):277-279. 2. National Cancer Institute. How to handle withdrawal symptoms and triggers when you decide to quit smoking. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Tobacco/symptoms-triggers-quitting/print. Accessed August 25, 2015. 3. American Cancer Society. Guide to quitting smoking. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002971-pdf.pdf. Updated July 8, 2013. Accessed August 25, 2015. 4. Niaura R, Sayette M, Shiffman S, et al. Comparative efficacy of rapid-release nicotine gum versus nicotine polacrilex gum in relieving smoking cue-provoked craving. Addiction. 2005;100(11):1720-1730.