Tobacco & Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Tobacco and alcohol withdrawal symptoms are similar in many ways. Both nicotine and alcohol are addictive substances, and once the body learns to rely on them in order to feel good--or even just to feel "normal"--it will react to the loss of these substances by exhibiting a variety of negative feelings, both physical and psychological. Recognizing these symptoms will help you deal with them if you are experiencing tobacco and alcohol withdrawal or if you are trying to help a loved one deal with this problem.

  1. Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

    • Generally, alcohol withdrawal will be more severe if the person in question has been consuming large amounts of alcohol regularly for a long period of time. The person may become anxious and jumpy, while depression, fatigue and bad dreams may also ensue. These are considered "mild to moderate" symptoms. In severe cases, vomiting, delirium, tremors, convulsions, blackouts and fever may occur. The latter set of symptoms may require hospitalization. Treat headaches and other issues with over-the-counter medicines. During the withdrawal period, the main goal is usually to treat the symptoms to help the patient through the process so that he does not opt to drink to get rid of the symptoms.

    Nicotine and Tobacco Withdrawal Symptoms

    • Nicotine affects the pleasure centers of the brain, and it also tends to become a highly ingrained habit. As a result, withdrawal affects people on multiple levels, and the symptoms can occur in more than one arena at once. Cravings for tobacco tend to lead to irritability, depression, restlessness, lack of concentration and weight gain. Additionally, tobacco withdrawal tends to result in fatigue, headaches, insomnia, dizziness and anxiety. As with alcohol withdrawal, the aim during the withdrawal period is to alleviate symptoms to avoid returning to the original habit. Treat these issues with over-the-counter medications, exercise and meditation or other holistic options.

    Withdrawing from Alcohol and Tobacco at the Same Time

    • Many people "only smoke when they drink," but Thomas J. Gould, a neuroscientist and associate professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, has found that the levels of success when people attempt to stop smoking without stopping drinking, and vice versa, are much lower than when patients stop both together. However, the withdrawal period may be longer and more severe, not because the symptoms are more intense--a theory which has been studied, but not proven--but rather because the combination of symptoms makes the entire experience much more traumatic for the patient.

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