Nicotine withdrawal: What to expect in weeks 2-4
If you've already quit smoking and week 1 is done and dusted, then congratulate yourself!1 Reward yourself for beating back the withdrawal symptoms. You really do deserve it.
And it's okay if you haven't quit smoking yet. It's still worth looking at what these weeks after quitting might be like. You'll be pleased to know that most people start to feel better after their first week of being smoke-free, and many of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms are typically gone within 3 months.1
It’s not all smooth sailing from here on out though, so it's definitely worth being prepared. Let's take a look at what you can expect from weeks 2 to 4 of being smoke- and nicotine-free.
Step 2: Weeks 2–4. Onwards and definitely upwards.
So, what might you be going through in weeks 2-4?
- Feeling flat. Irritability and low energy are one of the last withdrawal symptoms to go, and it will take a while before you are back at your best.1 But every day is an achievement when you are going smoke- and nicotine-free, so take it slow and steady and allow yourself to have early nights and extra rest when you need it.
- Increased appetite. Your increased appetite may stick around for 6 months or more, and while that might sound scary, remember that in the long-term, the average weight of an ex-smoker is similar to a person who has never smoked.2
- The emotional roller coaster. These highs and lows will fade … thank goodness … as your body adapts to being nicotine-free.3 If you feel like the emotional ride isn’t quite over yet, try incorporating some meditation or relaxation into your day and give yourself some well-earned 'me' time. You'll find more tips to help ride the roller coaster here.
- Stressed up to your eyeballs? You might feel more stressed in the first month after you quit. This may be because you are dealing with all of the withdrawal symptoms, or because you are adjusting to a new smoke-free lifestyle.3 Either way, as you and your body adjust, the stress levels will start to go down. Our article Eating well during stressful times has lots of healthy eating tips to help, too.
- The urge to smoke. Those overwhelming feelings will start to ease. The urge won’t hit as often, or last as long. When it does strike, remember how far you’ve come, and how strong you have been to get to this point.4
By the time you reach the 1-month mark, you will be through the hardest part,1 and you'll realise just how strong and determined you really are. And now that you know what to expect and when to expect it during those first few crucial weeks, you will be able to positively manage those withdrawal symptoms. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and you are moving full-steam ahead towards it.
After 1 month, you will be on your way to putting smoking behind you. Find out what that means for the rest of your life.
Take the first step
The first step to quitting starts with a doctor. Find out how you can get the help you need.