Most of our biggest fears in life come from the unknown. Quitting smoking is something that is undoubtedly difficult for many people. When you know what to expect, however, it becomes a bit less intimidating. Some people find that the habit isn’t as difficult to break as it is for others. There are many factors that may contribute to the difficulty some people have including things like number of years smoking, age, personality type, etc.
No matter how tough it may be, with the right support system and the determination, quitting is within your reach. It truly is never too late to quit smoking. The benefits to your health begin in as little as 20 minutes after you quit!
Here are some of the things you can expect when you quit. Not everyone will experience every aspect, but these are some of the most common and will typically disappear in a week or two after you quit.
Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
Difficulty Concentrating: For the first few weeks, many people experience some difficulty concentrating. Many times cravings become so intense that it is hard to make the brain focus on anything for very long. This may be annoying if you are trying to focus at work. Most employers, co-workers and friends alike will be happy you are taking the initiative to quit. Seek support, be strong and know that this will get easier with time.
Depression/Mood Swings: Leaving smoking in your past can sometimes feel like losing a good friend. If you think about it, it makes sense. Smoking sees you through good times and bad, helps you feel better when you are stressed and gives you a great excuse to step outside if you are in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Leaving something this “supportive” can be hard. Just remember what smoking is actually doing to you – harming your health with every drag and the “support” is really just a falsity of the addiction. Nicotine withdrawal can have a negative impact on mood, but this will pass.
Increased Appetite: There are many reasons you may find yourself eating more than normal. It may be, in part, due to the oral addiction you are used to satisfying or it may also be due to the fact that nicotine suppresses appetite. Try exercising regularly, or taking walks, so that this does not lead to excessive weight gain. Many find chewing gum to be a suitable substitution for excessive eating.
Cold Symptoms: When you first quit, you may be thinking “I felt better when I was smoking cigarettes!” This may seem to be the case since many people experience coughing, congestion and other common cold symptoms, but really it is your body starting to clear out all the toxins and damage that smoking has caused over the years. Though it may feel uncomfortable, this is a natural part of the process and is just further proof that your body can start healing right away.
Headache: A normal withdrawal symptom for any drug is most commonly a headache. When no more nicotine is entering the system, withdrawal symptoms begin to occur. This, along with the other physical side effects of withdrawal will begin to subside within a few weeks.
The Good Stuff
Better Breath: When you stop smoking, those around you will appreciate it! No more awful smoky breath and failed attempts to cover it up.
Easier Breathing: Once the first few weeks begin to pass, you will start feeling an improvement in your breathing. From working out to simply climbing the stairs, you will begin feeling healthier right away.
Food Tastes Better: Once you taste buds are no longer subjected to the harmful effects of nicotine, you will notice flavors and tastes that you may have been missing all along!
More Money in Your Pocket: Smoking is not only unhealthy, but it’s expensive too! Once you quit, you may find yourself with some extra cash – treat yourself to something great! You deserve it.
Remember, any side effect, physical or psychological, which becomes unbearable, does not subside within a few weeks or feels like cause for concern should be brought to a medical doctors attention right away.