Common side effects people encounter immediately after they quit smoking include sweating, headaches, coughing or a sore throat, tingling in the hands and feet, and irritability, according to Healthline. Former smokers may also have difficulty concentrating, have intense cravings for nicotine, struggle with insomnia and weight gain, and experience anxiety and depression.
Additional side effects of nicotine withdrawal when smokers quit include constipation or diarrhea, drowsiness or fatigue, increased hunger and calorie intake, and an increased desire for sweets, explains WebMD. Many people experience depressed moods while craving tobacco.
Some individuals experience withdrawal symptoms for several months, but most nicotine withdrawal symptoms peak within two or three days, explains Healthline. Symptoms commonly disappear within two weeks. In some cases, individuals experience mental health issues, such as a relapse of depression or bipolar disorder, that had subsided in the past.
Former smokers can opt to treat the withdrawal symptoms and side effects that occur when they quit smoking with nicotine skin patches or gum; prescription nicotine replacements, such as nasal sprays or inhalers; and prescription medication, such as Chantix or Zyban, according to Healthline. Former smokers may benefit from joining a smoking cessation support group to determine strategies that help to reduce side effects and network with individuals facing the same challenges associated with a smoking addiction.