Timeline of the Withdrawal Symptoms When You Quit Smoking Cold Turkey

WellnessKeen Staff Nov 20, 2018
If you have been contemplating the idea of opting for the cold turkey method to quit smoking, the timeline of withdrawal symptoms of this method given here will be of some help for you.
When it comes to the cold turkey method to quit smoking you give up smoking abruptly from a said point of time - as opposed to the gradual cessation method wherein you slowly reduce the number of cigarettes a day, before you completely quit.
It is very difficult to say which is the better of these two, though many people agree that the cold turkey method is a bit difficult owing to various withdrawal symptoms associated with it.

Quit Smoking Cold Turkey

You are bound to experience withdrawal symptoms in either case, though the same in cold turkey method are likely to be much severe than what you are likely to experience if you opt for the gradual reduction method. When your dependence on nicotine increases, the fact that you abruptly stop smoking comes heavy on your mind and body.
There exist quite a few side effects of this method which can give you a tough time, and the discomfort they cause may even make you give up on your resolve - unless you are well prepared for them. Knowing when these withdrawal symptoms start surfacing will help you be prepared for them in well advance.

Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline

The First Day

Within 20-30 minutes of the last cigarette, your blood pressure and pulse rate will decrease by a significant extent and come back to normal. After a span of 8 hours from the last smoke, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood stream will come down to normal. 
As carbon monoxide concentration in blood tends to decrease the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen, even their ability to carry oxygen to different parts of the body will come back to normal within 8-10 hours after you have stopped smoking.
Within 24 hours, you will start experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms - such as headache, nausea, anxiety, irritability, difficult in concentration, etc., as nicotine will slowly start leaving your body.

The First Week

Between 24-36 hours, you may experience severe anxiety and irritability along with difficulty in concentrating. It will take somewhere around 48-72 hours to flush out all the nicotine in your body, and this is where nicotine withdrawal symptoms will be at their peak.
Most of the people give in to cravings as a result of severe withdrawal symptoms that they experience during this phase. If you are able to pull of this phase without giving in to craving, the job is half done for you.
At the same time, though your ability to taste and smell things will come back to normal, and your chances of suffering from a heart attack will come down by a great extent. At 72 hours, your lung bronchial tubes will start relaxing, which will - in turn, ameliorate the functional abilities of lungs and make breathing a lot easier.

The First Month and Subsequent Period

Over the course of next week, the person will experience 3-4 cravings a day. Though these cravings will only last for somewhere around 3-4 minutes, you are likely to feel that several hours have passed. After a fortnight or so, all the withdrawal symptoms will start subsiding.
It will take around 3-4 weeks for acetylcholine receptor binding process to come back to normal. As time progresses, you will notice several changes in your body, and all those bodily functions which had fallen out of sync as a result of nicotine intake will start falling back in place. 
Within a year, the risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke will be reduced by half, and the same will come to that of a non-smoker by 10-15 years of smoking cessation. It will take somewhere around 10 years for you to go off the radar of lung cancer, or any of the various other cancers associated with smoking.
Many people opt for smoking cessation only to realize that it is very difficult for them to go ahead with it as the withdrawal symptoms intensify with time. The duration of these symptoms would differ from individual to individual, depending on various factors, like how long the person has been smoking, how many cigarettes he used to smoke a day, etc.
Being aware of various withdrawal symptoms of the cold turkey method, and how they will start surfacing, no doubt comes handy when you opt for this method, but you need to understand that this method is only meant for those people who believe that the right time to stop smoking is 'right now'.