It’s normal to experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings almost as soon as you quit but these usually ease within the first couple of weeks. Here are some common experiences associated with quitting and how to cope.
Anxiety and irritability
As your body is deprived of nicotine you may feel irritable or unreasonable. If this happens, take a deep breath and remind yourself of all the benefits of quitting. Let family and friends know you might feel anxious or be quick to anger, and even apologise in advance as they are more likely to be understanding. Therapeutic nicotine products help reduce these effects and help you quit for good.
Concerns over weight gain
Don’t be tempted to eat every time you want to smoke. Distract yourself by going for a walk, doing a crossword, reading a book – or anything else that will take your mind off it. Stave off hunger pangs by drinking plenty of water and if you want sweets, fill up on healthy fruits, sugar-free sweets or gum. In addition to tackling your cravings for a cigarette, Nicorette products like lozenges and gum can also help you to control your weight by curbing any increase in appetite.
Coughing, dry throat and mucus
Don’t be alarmed by the amount of mucus you cough up; it’s actually a positive sign that your lungs are beginning to clear themselves of damaging tar and toxins. Although this stage shouldn’t last long, you can soothe symptoms by drinking lots of water and use sugar-free candies to ease your throat.
There’s a good reason why you might be finding it hard to keep your mind on the job – your brain is adjusting to the sudden lack of nicotine in your system and the cravings will make it difficult to concentrate. This stage should only last two weeks at most and therapeutic nicotine products can help.
Although it’s an unpleasant feeling, this nausea is actually a sign your body is becoming healthier as it gets used to normal, healthy amounts of oxygen again. It should only last a day or two after you quit.
It’s normal to suffer from tiredness after you quit smoking as you’ll miss the stimulant effects of cigarettes. Even with therapeutic nicotine products, you may still suffer a little fatigue as they deliver less nicotine than you’ve been used to. Try to avoid too many refined, sugary foods and be sure to eat a healthy breakfast – for example oatmeal with fruit – to boost your energy levels and help you get through the day.
People commonly feel down once they stop smoking, not only because of cravings and withdrawal symptoms but because so much of their lives used to revolve around cigarettes. These feelings will pass. Just take it one day at a time.
It’s strange that, on the one hand, quitting smoking can cause fatigue, but on the other it cause insomnia. Fortunately this rarely lasts more than a week or so and is another physiological symptom of your brain being deprived of nicotine. Do some deep breathing exercises before bed, take a hot bath, and drink caffeine-free herbal tea or hot milk.