What To Expect When Quitting

Discover what to expect when you're quitting

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We’re not going sugar-coat it. When you start your quit journey you are in for a rough ride. But if you’re prepared for what lies ahead you have a better chance of conquering it. Here’s what to expect.

Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

You probably already know that quitting smoking is an important decision to make if you want to preserve your health, but you might be nervous about the nicotine withdrawal symptoms that go along with it. These symptoms can hit you as soon as two or three hours after your last cigarette, and they often peak after two or three days.

Although nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be a bit uncomfortable, you can make it through. Quitting isn't just important for your own health; it is also essential if you want to protect the rest of your family from secondhand smoke, which can cause cancer and other illnesses in the people around you.

Nicotine Cravings

One of the first symptoms that you will feel after smoking your last cigarette is an intense craving for nicotine, which is the addictive substance that is found in cigarettes. Using nicotine gum or a patch can help soothe this symptom.

Weight Gain

Since nicotine can decrease your appetite, it is only natural that you can gain weight after quitting smoking. Munching on healthy snacks, such as fresh-cut vegetables and fruits, is one way to satisfy your appetite without putting on weight. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum as a way of keeping other things, like cigarettes and unhealthy food, out of your mouth.

Anxiety

If you have been smoking for a while, it's not uncommon to feel anxious if you put down your cigarettes. Don't let this anxiety cause you to light up again, however. Instead, try doing something that you enjoy or focusing on work or a project to keep yourself busy.

Depression

Some people may experience bouts of depression after quitting smoking. If you find yourself feeling depressed, try to make some time for yourself by enjoying a hot bath, taking a walk or reading a good book. You can also talk to friends or family members about your feelings. If your depression starts to get serious, make sure that you seek medical assistance.

Headaches

It is pretty common to start getting headaches during this time period, but there are a few things you can do to soothe the pain. Many people find that taking an over-the-counter pain medication, drinking a few glasses of cold water or taking a short nap help them get rid of their nicotine withdrawal headaches.

Sleep Issues

After putting down the cigarettes, you might begin to experience some sleep-related issues. You could feel drowsy even when you have had plenty of sleep, or you might have a difficult time sleeping at night. Some people even experience really bad nightmares.

Since your body is going through a difficult withdrawal period, it is important to take good care of it. If you are feeling sleepy, try to carve out the time to take a nap. If you are having a difficult time falling asleep or are having terrible nightmares, consider taking an over-the-counter sleep aid or talking to your doctor for suggestions.

Concentration Problems

You might have a difficult time concentrating when going through nicotine withdrawals. Working hard to focus on the task at hand is important, and try to cut yourself a little bit of slack; you are going through a lot of changes and are doing something truly positive for yourself and the others around you.

Although nicotine withdrawal symptoms aren't pleasant, they don't last too long and will be worth it in the end. To make them a little bit easier, try using a nicotine patch or chewing on nicotine gum to help ease the withdrawal symptoms as you slowly wean yourself off of this harmful substance.