How can I manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms without medication?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
I'm amazed by people who quit smoking cold turkey because nicotine has such a physical hold on the body. This is why experts who study tobacco addiction say that to increase the likelihood of quitting successfully, you should use a combination of strategies. These experts recommend that you seek peer-to-peer counseling, professional support, or self-help programs, and that you consider medications. Smoking cessation programs can help. You can find them online, at hospitals, through your insurance company, and through telephone quit lines.

To manage withdrawal symptoms from nicotine without medications, you'll have to have some anti-craving tricks up your sleeve. Start out by listing all the situations, places and things that remind you of your smoking self. Next, do everything to avoid them. If you get a craving, work through it. Remember: It will soon pass. Do a series of deep breaths, walk around the block, or take out the vacuum cleaner. Do whatever it takes to distract yourself.

Unconventional non-drug methods work for some people. They tend to have more failures than triumphs when compared to the methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so we don't recommend them across the board. That said, unconventional non-pharmacological methods for smoking cessation include: acupuncture, acupressure, laser therapy and electrostimulation. Talk to your doctor before trying any alternative therapy.
You can manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as cravings and anxiety without medication by trying alternative therapies. Try cinnamon sticks or chewing gum to replace the feeling of having something in your mouth. Acupuncture, acupressure or hypnotherapy may help relieve anxiety and other emotional symptoms, although there is little clinical evidence that these therapies work. Support groups and counseling also may help you cope with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Always talk to a doctor before trying alternative or herbal therapies.
You can do many simple things to help manage your nicotine withdrawal symptoms without taking medications. Exercise, even very brief exercise, has been demonstrated to be very helpful in decreasing withdrawal symptoms.  Hypnosis and accupuncture have also been found to be helpful by some. 
Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
There are several therapies that can help you quit smoking without medication. These include hypnotherapy, acupuncture and counseling.  All of these therapies have been found to be helpful.  In addition it is important to exercise, drink plenty of water and alter your routine so that you are avoiding the usual patterns that revolved around your smoking habit.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.