What are the symptoms of nicotine addiction?

If you're addicted to something you feel a strong need for it. If you don't have it, you get unpleasant symptoms. These are known as withdrawal symptoms.

Many drugs cause withdrawal symptoms. For example, people who are addicted to alcohol can get the 'shakes' if they suddenly stop drinking. They sweat and tremble because their body isn't getting its daily dose of alcohol.

In the same way, if you're addicted to nicotine and you go longer than usual without a cigarette, you get withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can make you:[1]

  • Sad and depressed

  • Irritable

  • Anxious

  • Unable to concentrate

  • Restless

  • Want to eat

  • Crave a cigarette.

It's these bad feelings that make you reach for another cigarette, because you know that smoking makes them go away. You don't get these feelings while you're having the cigarette or for some time afterwards.

But it's important to remember that once you break your addiction, you stop getting withdrawal symptoms. You'll stop needing a cigarette to make yourself feel good. And there are good treatments that can help you to handle the withdrawal symptoms, while you're trying to give up. To find out more, see What treatments work for nicotine addiction?

Last updated: Mar 31, 2014