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Does Nicotine Make You Agitated & Does It Cause Weight Gain?

Nicotine helps in reducing anxiety and depression. However, the effect is only for a short term and in the long term, it increases anxiety. Agitation is seen in people suffering from nicotine withdrawal syndrome.

Does Nicotine Make You Agitated?

Does Nicotine Make You Agitated?

Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. Both nicotine dependence and nicotine withdrawal result in negative consequences on the body. Both metal and physical health are affected due to nicotine. Long term effects of nicotine results in hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance and also results in various cardiometabolic disorders. The effect of nicotine is such that it causes pleasure in the body resulting in its addiction. Nicotine dependence is characterized by various features present in nicotine-dependent person. These features include severe craving for smoking, patient experience severe withdrawal symptoms, continue smoking even in health problems, and avoid social gatherings because of smoking.1

It is common thinking that nicotine reduces anxiety and depression. But the truth is nicotine may have a pleasurable effect in the short term and may alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, in the long term, nicotine dependence worsens the symptoms of anxiety.2 People with smoking habits feels that smoking reduces anxiety but it is not so. Smoking only encounters the withdrawal effect. The person should manage the condition that is causing anxiety otherwise the anxiety would come and this would become a vicious cycle.

Dangerous agitations have been seen in people suffering from nicotine withdrawal syndrome. A study concludes that as compared to non-smokers, the agitated smokers are likely to remove catheters, required sedatives, and analgesics and also requires physical restraints.3

Does Nicotine Cause Weight Gain?

Although nicotine and smoking do not cause weight gain but quitting smoking increases the risk of weight gain. The probable reason might be due to a reduced rate of metabolism that was faster during smoking time as compared to after quitting.

It is also to be noted that people who are highly addicted to nicotine gains more weight after quitting as compared to less addicted people. In a study it was found that both highly addicted and less addicted patients were supplied with nicotine replacement therapy, however, the high nicotine addicts experienced three times more weight gain as compared to low nicotine addicts.4

Smoking itself controls the weight. Most people who are highly addicted to smoking are skinny because of smoking and when these people suddenly quit smoking, they rapidly gain weight.

Many healthcare providers, however, believe that gaining weight post-cessation far outweighs the morbidity and mortality associated with continuing smoking, although it is true that the advantages of quitting smoking may be diluted with post-cessation weight gain. Weight gain post-cessation increases the risk of a variety of disorders such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes.5

Individuals, particularly girls use smoking as a tool in controlling weight although the effect of smoking on body weight in adolescent is not yet established; as the dietary habit changes, the smoking increases to control weight. It is also seen that adults who smoke weights 4-5 kg less as compared to non-smokers.

Various mechanisms are postulated for reduced weight due to smoking. It is believed that smoking is seen as an alternative to eating thus low calories enters the system of smokers. Further nicotine, though various receptor mechanisms, reduces appetite. Nicotine increases satiety and energy expenditure resulting in losing weight.

Some studies indicate that clustering of cigarette smoking, low physical activity, and unhealthy diet nullify the weight loss effect of smoking and end up increasing weight.


People suffering from nicotine withdrawal syndrome have considerable and violent agitation. This is due to a lack of pleasure and reward system provided by nicotine. Weight gain occurs while quitting smoking. Nicotine increases the energy expenditure and reduces appetite leading to weight loss. However, in cases where smoking is clubbed with lack of physical activity and unhealthy diet, there might be an increase in weight.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 29, 2020

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