If you have been smoking cigarettes for a long time and you’ve decided it’s time to quit, make a change and better your life, you will need to prepare for the side effects of quitting smoking. By choosing to quit smoking you’ve already taken the most important step toward the pursuit of living a healthier life. In order to ensure that you can abandon this detrimental habit permanently though, it is pivotal to fortify yourself with all of the tools needed to help you succeed. If you’ve been smoking for years the first few weeks without cigarettes will be very difficult and it will be of the utmost importance for you to fully understand the effects that you will experience psychologically and physiologically when you initially stop. If you prepare for the things that will happen before they occur, you will be better equipped to succeed and overcome this damaging habit. Below you will find some information that we’ve compiled in order to give you a quick glance at what to anticipate when you quit and to hopefully assist in alleviating some of the withdrawal symptoms.
Psychological Side Effects You’ll Experience
Now that you have taken the first important step and have decided to quit it’s essential to quickly prepare for the psychological effects that will develop soon after. When you initially stop smoking begin by understanding that this is something you have been doing for years and the behavior pattern developed will take some time reverse. It will take approximately ninety days for your body to detoxify itself from all of the chemicals in cigarettes you’ve become accustomed, even addicted to. But the psychological addiction you’ve developed could take just as long as the time that you’ve been smoking, to get rid of. The reality is that after a certain period of time, usually ninety days you will probably be able to live cigarette free if you’re a strong minded individual. But the possibility of relapsing is very real and could happen at any given time, during any given thought or situation throughout your life. It will require constant reminders of any progress made and of the reasons you originally chose to quit smoking. The recovery and new cigarette free lifestyle could be something that you’ll need to continually work on throughout the remainder of your life. That is the truth. Inevitably there will come the day that you’ve totally kicked the habit and feelings of addiction and you will be 100% certain that you will never smoke again (depending on the level of your addiction, psychologically), but it might be something that you will have to keep in mind from time to time and continually make an effort, not to do.
- Cravings: A person that is accustomed to smoking at certain times throughout the day and suddenly stops will experience major cravings to smoke during the times there’re habituated to, sometimes to unbearable levels. If you are the one trying to quit, you will need to substitute smoking with other activities and or distract yourself until the cravings go away. The cravings will last for a few minutes and decrease overtime. If you are able to stick with the game plan to not smoke, keep yourself busy and follow new approaches or regimens to curb urges they will subside and become less frequent as time goes by. It is pivotal to keep yourself entertained during the times you are accustomed to lighting up. It will be very important to be strong minded and think in a positive way, eliminating any thoughts of smoking from your mind and allowing them to freely pass you by, removing them from your thinking process all together. This will be a new technique or practice in your life that you will need to utilize often on a daily basis until you become acclimated to the new regimen, any activities or lifestyle you’ve put in place.
- Anxiety: When you quit smoking chances are that the first few weeks will be very anxious one’s as you will be adapting yourself to a different lifestyle without smoking. When daily situations or pressures arise that you would ordinarily turn to a cigarette to deal with them you will need a new repertoire. The anxiousness and irritability you will experience will not only be psychological but physiological as well since your body will demand the nicotine blast it’s accustomed to receiving. You will need to prepare yourself ahead of time for anxious moments that will arise and use methods to diffuse them like exercise, mediation, breathing techniques and anything that will get you through these tense times.
- Restlessness: As your body and mind wean off of the Nicotine there will be days of restlessness, insomnia and lots of tossing and turning throughout the night. Try to avoid any foods or drinks that interfere with healthy sleep patterns such as coffee or alcoholic drinks. You will need to implement tactics that support your success and help you during abstinence. Take some time to research and write down notes of methods to calm your mind and things you can do before bed as practicing meditation techniques, playing brain games or apps, watch TV shows, movies, read books or any engage in hobbies that will relax and help you to wind down before bed.
- Irritability: Prepare for a variety of emotions to surface while you abstain from smoking cigarettes initially. There will be times that you become very irritable and will immediately want to light up a cigarette to settle yourself down. It will be important for you to learn to think a certain way and cast aside negative thoughts that will cause further irritability and trick you into smoking as a way to cope.
- Short Attention Span: In the first few weeks abstaining from smoking you can find yourself through moments of feeling spaced out, not being able to concentrate and focus on tasks at hand. You could feel lethargic from time to time. Cigarettes stress out your heart and constrict blood vessels causing poor heart rate, poor circulation, metabolism to slow down, producing feelings of exhaustion and lackadaisicalness. The lack of Nicotine and cigarette smoke will exacerbate these symptoms. Try to eat healthy, take vitamins and minerals that will supply your body and mind with the energy it requires to keep focused. Make sure you get plenty of rest every night and keep reminding yourself that your body will eventually get back to it’s normal rhythm of things once you’ve fully detoxified from nicotine and smoking cigarettes for good.
- Mood Swings: Similar to the way that you will experience irritability, the mood swings you will undergo could be out of control. You may become an angry person and hostile towards others when you quit and are battling to stick to the program. Try to control your emotions around others as days will arise when you feel very moody and annoyed. Be aware of the times you’re having mood swings and implement tactics to deal with unordinary emotional flare ups. It will help to research ways to de-stress and manage your emotions rather than suppress them.
- Depression: When you stop doing something that you love, you might undergo periods of mourning as if you’ve lost something precious to you. Depression could arise and make things difficult creating the need for lighting up a cigarette. Try to identify the emotions that you’re experiencing. Figure out if you’re exhausted, lonely or just bored and implement ways to manage the times you feel depressed. Keep your mind entertained by doing things around the house, start some new hobbies and simply just increase the levels of physical activity to get moving and distract yourself from any negative thoughts. It’s important to do whatever it takes to get your mind off of smoking. If you feel that you’re depressed more than usual for an unusual amount of time like several weeks, seek the help of a physician that can prescribe medication to help you cope with the side effects of quitting smoking.
Physiological Side Effects You’ll Experience
The physical consequences that you will deal with are just as complicated as the psychological ones. You need to prepare yourself for respiratory and pulmonary issues, headaches, digestive problems, weight gain and others that may emerge when you quit smoking. The reality is that the first few weeks acclimating yourself to a smoke free life (if you are able to make it that far) will task your body initially and you could possibly experience physical distress. Below you’ll find just some of the complications and health issues that may arise.
- Respiratory and Pulmonary Issues: Smoking incapacitates the lungs with chemicals cigarettes contain and can produce different kinds of breathing and pulmonary complications. When you quit smoking your lungs immediately begin to restore themselves but symptoms as coughing, shortness of breath, chest congestion, mucus buildup, pulmonary problems as Bronchitis, Emphysema, and COPD may manifest themselves. You may experience poor quality of breathing and feel as if you aren’t inhaling sufficient amounts of air causing anxiety and a poor quality of life. These breathing issues are often the problem people complain most about when they quit smoking and finally realize the damage cigarettes have caused.
- Poor Circulation: Smoking cigarettes causes arteries to narrow and blood to circulate poorly. When you quit smoking and begin to exercise moderately you can start to improve or restore your circulatory issues once again if not much damage has been done.
- Digestive Issues: Smoking has been found to increase digestive system diseases, health risks and complications. When you quit smoking it’s common to experience digestive problems as indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn amongst many others because your digestive system has been accustomed to Nicotine assisting in it’s regular processes and bowel movements. People who quit smoking are still at high risk to develop digestive diseases that cigarette smoking can evoke such as colon polyps, Crohn’s Disease, peptic ulcers, liver and pancreatic diseases. If you’ve quit smoking it will help reverse some of the effects and damage that cigarettes have caused though. If you’ve quit smoking, implemented a healthier diet with plenty of liquids (water) and after a few weeks are still experiencing digestive and gastrointestinal tract issues visit a physician to help with the problems and assist in your recovery.
- Mouth & Dental Problems: Cigarettes and tobacco products can cause gum diseases, tooth discoloration, plaque, tarter, bone loss and make your mouth more susceptible to cancers and infections in your mouth. If you’re lucky when you quit the only oral consequences you might experience will be stained teeth and bad breath. Regardless of the amount of time that you have been smoking cigarettes quitting immediately can help reduce the risks to your mouth and throat.
- Skin Problems: Believe it or not the amount of oxygen that smoking deprives your body of affects your skin as well. Not only does it deprive your skin of oxygen but the nutrients it needs as well. All of the chemicals tobacco contain are destructive to collagen and elastin also. While it’s always been known that sun exposure damages your skin, smoking cigarettes makes your skin more susceptible to age spots, much older looking skin and appearance as well. Recent studies have shown that smoking also contributes to greater risks of developing skin diseases such as Psoriasis. When you quit smoking chances are that you’ll start noticing skin damage if you haven’t already. The sooner you stop smoking the quicker you can allow your skin to recover.
- Weight Gain: Nicotine is an appetite suppressant, so naturally when you quit smoking, chances are that you can experience some weight gain if you aren’t careful with the amounts of food you eat. When you quit smoking its very easy to replace lighting up cigarettes with eating. It’ll help to be aware of the foods and snacks you consume throughout the day. Try to create a daily meal plan and stick to it. Don’t forget to exercise or walk regularly as well. If you take some time to plan ahead, in this case create a meal plan when you quit smoking, successful weight control and a smoke free life could be achieved.
The Importance to Replace Smoking Habits with Healthy Ones
Try to replace the habit of smoking with healthy new behaviors or routines. It’s important to develop a game plan with everything you’ve read, stay informed, research and replace smoking with habits that will benefit in building a healthier lifestyle. Keep busy and entertain yourself when you initially quit smoking. Implement schedules or create “to do lists” immediately as it will help greatly especially the first few weeks you quit. Research and write down notes of ways to replace smoking such as reading, meditation, exercise and things of that nature which will be beneficial to you. It can very easy to replace your smoking habit with another detrimental one if you aren’t careful. Seek informative information that’s motivational, insightful and will support your new smokeless future. Visit whyquit.com and other reputable sources to help you quit smoking once and for all.
As you’ve read there are numerous side effects that will occur when you quit smoking. It’s important for you to fortify yourself with as much knowledge as possible regarding what will happen to your body and mind as you’re clearing them from the harmful chemicals contained in cigarettes. By doing so, you’ll be prepared for the battle ahead especially the first few weeks. Realistically if you’re able to stick to the new lifestyle without smokes, your body and mind should be back to it’s normal rhythm of things within 90 – 180 days. If you’re having a difficult time and can’t handle the side effects of quitting smoking then seek help from your medical doctor. There are also many good resources online that can help you cope with withdrawal symptoms such as smokefree.gov/withdrawal which will even text you encouragement, advice and provide tips to help you quit permanently.
We congratulate you in taking the necessary steps to ensure you live a cigarette free lifestyle because as you’ve noticed, the health effects of tobacco aren’t very good one’s. Through recognition of the issues at hand and implementing tactics to assist in your success, the addiction of cigarette smoking can be managed and even overcome. Try to keep in mind that recovery from cigarette smoking is only temporary and if you fight hard to achieve a healthier life without them, you’ll feel better and live an overall healthier happier life.