Vaping causes physical changes in a person’s body and brain because it is addictive. Therefore, those who want to stop vaping may experience vaping withdrawal symptoms. There is help available for those who want to detox from vaping. But what exactly causes vaping withdrawal in the first place and what are the symptoms associated with it?
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What Causes Vaping Withdrawal?
Vaping withdrawal is caused by your body’s desire for nicotine. Vaping nicotine physically alters your brain by acting within the brain’s reward system and causing the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain relief system. When you are no longer supplying your brain with nicotine, the pleasure response is cut off.
Vaping Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline
There are several symptoms associated with withdrawal from vaping, particularly when an individual has been vaping nicotine. Common vaping withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting nicotine include:
- Nicotine cravings
- Anger, frustration and irritability
- Weight gain
- Difficulty sleeping
While each person is unique in how they will deal with vaping withdrawal symptoms, there is a general timeline that vaping withdrawal follows.
Nicotine has a short half-life of about two hours. From there, the levels of nicotine in the body continue to drop for the next few days until it no longer affects the body.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms set in between 4 and 24 hours after a person last vaped. The symptoms peak around day three of abstinence and then gradually subside over the following three to four weeks.
Coping with Vaping Withdrawal
Medical professionals have several tips for how to cope with nicotine withdrawal, including:
- Use distractions (when you have cravings)
- Set up your environment for success (remove temptations and reminders)
- Find stress solutions
- Celebrate accomplishments
Vaping Detox & Medications
To properly address nicotine addiction, you may want to go through vaping detox. When detoxing, consider tapering down the dose of nicotine, rather than attempting to quit cold turkey.
You can detox from vape and nicotine either at home or at a treatment center. Detoxing at a treatment center is the safest option due to the presence of medical professionals who can assist you if any adverse side effects develop.
There are also several medications that are sometimes used during the detox process. Those medications include:
- Varenicline: This drug (brand name, Chantix) can reduce cravings and block the rewarding effects of vaping.
- Bupropion: People use this drug (brand name, Zyban) as an antidepressant. Recently, it has been used to help reduce nicotine cravings.
Key Points: Understanding Vaping Withdrawal & Detox
There are several key points to keep in mind about vaping withdrawal and detox:
- Vaping nicotine is addictive
- Addiction causes changes in the brain
- Addiction can facilitate withdrawal symptoms
- Common withdrawal symptoms include cravings, anger, frustration, irritability, anxiety, depression, weight gain and difficulty sleeping
- You can detox from nicotine like any other drug
If you or a loved one is considering seeking treatment for vaping addiction, contact The Recovery Village to speak with a representative about how professional treatment can address a substance use disorder. Take the first step toward a healthier future, call today.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Is Nicotine Addictive?” January 2018. Accessed September 7, 2019.
McLaughlin, Ian; Dani, John; De Biasi, Mariella. “Nicotine withdrawal.” Curr Top Behav Neurosci., 2015. Accessed September 8, 2019.
Truth Initiative. “5 tips for handling nicotine withdrawal.” April 9, 2019. Accessed September 8, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.