What to Expect When You Stop Smoking
- The first week is the most difficult, and you will have intense cravings to start smoking again. Being in a place or being exposed to something that reminds you of smoking can trigger cravings. This is one of the reasons that this symptom lasts longer than many of the others, even up to years later. To battle these cravings, distractions for your hands, keeping busy by exercising or another activity and using support products such as nicotine patches and gum can help to ease the intensity of the cravings.
The First Week
- During this period you may have a variety of symptoms: dizziness, headaches, sleepiness, irritability, hunger or anxiety. These are all labeled as withdrawal symptoms and can last for months or longer after you quit depending on each person. Nicotine withdrawl in some can trigger a feeling of sadness that is stronger than normal. If this becomes too intense, you should seek professional help.
- Some individuals may turn to food as a distraction for cravings, or feel they will gain weight from quitting. This can be a problem if you have a history as an emotional eater, so it is important to eat healthy. If you do notice significant weight gain, adding exercise to your daily routine and eating healthy snacks can act to combat this. Your doctor can also give you additional suggestions.
Slipping Back into the Habit
- It is possible that you might fall back into your habit and give in to having a cigarette. If you do this, it is important not to be hard on yourself. You may need to get extra help, such as nicotine gum, to get back on track. You will need to exercise, eat a healthy diet and do activities that are not conducive to smoking to help you fight the temptation. Many people have this problem when they first start quitting, so you may have to change your strategy when giving up smoking.
- When you quit smoking, there are also rewards that make the process well worth it. You can expect to reduce your risk of getting heart disease, an improvement in your senses of taste and smell and the ability to breathe easier. Also, you will not be contaminating your home, putting your family in danger with second hand smoke and will see improved overall health benefits starting the week that you quit.