How Do I Reduce Jitters From Quitting Smoking?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent reports that an estimated 45 million Americans smoke tobacco. Smoking also happens to be one of the leading causes of preventable and premature death, according to the American Heart Association. When you quit smoking, you will experience some withdrawal symptoms, which can last from the moment you stop until about eight or 12 weeks after. Feeling jittery, whether the manifestation is restlessness, tremors, anxiety or insomnia, is one of the most common symptoms associated with quitting smoking.

A woman is breaking a cigarette in half. (Image: steved_np3/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Exercise to use up excess energy. It can also tire you out. Try doing moderate cardio exercise 30 minutes a day, three or four days a week. A review of 14 relevant studies published in a 2007 issue of "Addiction" found that small amounts of exercise can manage cigarette cessation symptoms.

Step 2

Practice relaxation techniques like visualization and meditation. Studies on relaxation techniques for a variety of conditions from cancer care to ease acute anxiety indicates that deep breathing, visualization and other techniques can induce a calm response. HelpGuide.org suggests wearing loose, comfortable clothing. Breathe deeply in and out for a few minutes. Tense the muscles in your left leg for 10 seconds. Then completely relax. Tense the muscles in your right leg for 10 seconds. Then relax. Repeat this exercise in your arms, hands and feet until you are entirely relaxed. In 2007, Mark Cropley reported in the journal “Addiction” that guided relaxation helped reduce the strength of withdraw symptoms in people quitting cigarettes.

Step 3

Talk to your doctor about taking a prescription to reduce your withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine nasal spray is an oral inhaler that works by delivering nicotine through the lining of the nose or into your mouth. It can immediately reduce withdraw symptoms, including tremors and jitters. Nicotine gum and lozenges can also minimize your symptoms, but don’t require a doctor’s prescription. Nicotine replacement therapy fools your brain into thinking it’s getting a hit of nicotine.

Tip

Before quitting, discuss nicotine withdrawal symptoms with your doctor. She will explain what kind of tools you can use to minimize cravings and physical symptoms.

Warning

Withdrawal symptoms are one of the most common reasons people relapse back into addiction. When your symptoms and cravings are especially difficult, call a friend for support.

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