Quitting smoking – Withdrawal symptoms
Quitting cigarettes generate side effects that vary depending on the individual. Irritability, depression, anxiety, withdrawal symptoms can deter smokers from stopping and increase the risk of relapse.
What are the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking and how can you handle it?
When you try quitting, discouraging withdrawal symptoms may deter you from nicotine addiction. Depression, nervousness, irritability can occur because of the lack of nicotine in your body. Nothing unusual here: take deep breaths and try to relax. Focus on practicing activities you like. Tell your friends that you want to quit, they’ll be more understanding and find the right way to support you.
Coughing should last three to four weeks. It is unpleasant but it is also the proof that your respiratory system is getting healthier. Cilia in bronchi are removing the harmful component of cigarettes from your lungs. Do not forget to stay hydrated to ease the ongoing healing process.
Insomnia and anxiety surges can affect some smokers. Exercising is an effective way to handle those side effects. After dining, you go out for a walk to relax before going to sleep in order to have a recuperative night.
When they quit, many smokers fear gaining weight. Hunger is a positive sign: the ability to smell and taste that had been inhibited by tobacco comes back. On average, ex-smokers gain 4.4 pounds but it varies depending on the smoker. Yet, INPES (The French Institute working on Health Prevention) discourages recent quitters to go on a diet. But it may be difficult to restrain oneself. Exercise, eat healthily and drink as much as possible to ease the quitting process. Eating fibers can help you in case of constipation.
Nicotine cravings can occur in the weeks following cessation. Those cravings generally last 3 to 4 minutes. When they occur, try to focus on something else : sports, a nap, food… The main goal is to not yield to the temptation to relapse.
Quitting smoking on your own is difficult. Many quit-smoking medications are available to boost your chance of success. Do not forget that you are not alone, and do not hesitate to ask your friends or health professionals for help.