People who quit smoking often suffer from nicotine withdrawal, which sometimes results in sadness, insomnia or irritability. Other symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include difficulty thinking, restlessness, a slower heart rate, hunger and weight gain. Smokers with a history of depression should watch out for indications of possible recurrence when quitting.
Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are most severe in the days immediately following smoking cessation. Most smokers can expect to find themselves symptom-free within a few weeks of quitting. Medications such as nicotine gum, patches, inhalers and sprays can alleviate some symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Inhalers and sprays require a prescription, but gum and patches are available over the counter. These medications replace the nicotine found in cigarettes. Users of these products can expect to reduce the quantity of nicotine needed to avoid withdrawal effects as they become accustomed to smoke-free life.
Another prescription option is Bupropion SR, which does not contain nicotine. This medication, however, sometimes causes side effects that include dry mouth and insomnia. Women who are pregnant, seizure sufferers, people with eating disorders and heavy drinkers should not take Bupropion SR. Varenicline is also a nicotine-free prescription option. Varenicline blocks the effects of nicotine, but it can cause side effects, such as nausea and vivid dreams.