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Your Mental Roadblocks

I’m Afraid of Withdrawal Symptoms

Quitting smoking causes unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms are too numerous to list, but here are a few:

  • depression,
  • sadness,
  • anger,
  • anguish,
  • doubt,
  • guilt,
  • insomnia,
  • difficulty breathing,
  • palpitations,
  • rashes, etc.

Rest assured! These unpleasant feelings are normal and they’re a positive sign. They indicate that your body and mind are adapting to the change, the return to “natural.” The symptoms vary in intensity and duration from one person to the next, depending on the number of years of smoking, the quantity of cigarettes smoked, and the capacity of the body to re-set itself. They are also temporary while the benefits of quitting smoking increase throughout the rest of your life!

You’ll free yourself from the prison of nicotine quite easily if you eat a healthy diet and exercise and move regularly. In addition if you develop a positive attitude towards challenges you face and maintain your friendships, you’ll make your transition to a life without tobacco that much easier!

Withdrawal symptoms that you may experience

We explain why they happen and the type of actions to take to ensure they pass as quickly as possible.

Dizziness: 1 to 2 days

Explanation

The body is receiving more oxygen through the blood, triggering a condition that resembles hyperventilation.

Action

Take a few slow, deep breaths (like yawning), and stretch.

Fatigue: 2 to 4 weeks

Explanation

The body is undergoing detoxification and is adjusting to the absence of nicotine and its stimulating effects.

Action

Sleep enough to recuperate, move, eat healthy food and drink a lot of water.

Insomnia: Up to 3 weeks

Explanation

Some former smokers go through a period of insomnia.

Action

Avoid stimulants (e.g. coffee, Pepsi, Coke). Go for a walk after supper. Take a bath, drink a glass of milk, ask someone to massage your scalp, watch a funny film or read the telephone directory ...

Cough: 3 to 4 weeks

Explanation

The respiratory system is starting to do its job of evacuating your system using the vibrating hairs in your bronchial tubes. The hairs were paralyzed by the constituents of cigarette smoke.

Action

Here, nature will do its job without your help. However, you can help by engaging in physical activity that is appropriate to your level of fitness, eating healthy food and drinking a lot of water…

Constipation: 3 to 4 semaines

Explanation

The body is used to the intestinal stimulation caused by nicotine, and is struggling to recover its natural functions.

Action

Drink water, and eat fruit, raw vegetables and whole grain products if you can (for the fibre). Physical activity can also help.

Hunger: Several weeks

Explanation

This is normal, and it’s a good sign! Your sense of taste and smell are reviving, bringing back your appetite and enjoyment of food! The hunger signal resumes its normal status when the damaged caused to the sugar metabolism by smoking has been repaired. However, smoking will have developed a constant need to have something in your mouth, and you will need to work on overcoming this.

Action

Check whether you really are hungry, or if it’s just a need to have something in your mouth. Eat small but frequent low-calorie snacks, and always choose something that’s good for you. In doing this, you’ll improve your metabolism while eating less, so you won’t put on weight in the process.

Sweet tooth: Several weeks

Explanation

As mentioned previously, smoking has damaged your sugar metabolism. In addition, sweetness generates pleasure (a characteristic essential to human survival, since sugar is the only source of energy for the brain). Sugar therefore becomes a source of gratification that can easily and quickly replace the gratification previously gained from cigarettes.

Action

If you suddenly develop a sweet tooth, try to eat a protein-filled snack (e.g. nuts, yoghourt, cheese). Meals containing foods rich in complex carbohydrates (e.g. bread, cereals, whole grain pasta) can also help assuage your sweet tooth. Eating fruit or low-calorie desserts may also help.

Obsessive desire to smoke: Approximately 2 weeks, and more in some cases

Understanding

This can arise for all kinds of reasons: for example, insufficient levels of endorphins, everyday difficulties, that small inner voice that keeps saying you can’t do this, and ungrounded fear.

Action

React quickly: don’t remain alone with your thoughts: distract yourself, do something you like, write to someone, or remove yourself from the situation causing the desire to smoke. In other words, apply the tips.

Irritability: Variable

Explanation

Deprived of its drug, the body is reacting through deprivation stress, which can trigger impatience, irritability or even anger.

Action

Tell yourself over and over that your irritability is proof that you’re gradually recovering your freedom. Do things you enjoy and laugh as often as possible (e.g. chase your dog and bark at him...).

Headaches and pressure behind the eyes: Variable

Explanation

The organism is missing the nicotine to which it has become accustomed, and this creates tension.

Action

Relax. Take deep breaths, stretch your limbs or ask someone to massage your scalp.

Other mental roadblocks

See also

  • Your Cravings

    Stop fighting. Instead, when you crave a cigarette, try to become more aware of what is happening inside of you.

    Learn more
  • Your Confidence

    Evaluate your confidence in your ability to not smoke when faced with different situations on a daily basis. You could be ready for the next step!

    Learn more