Thanks to extensive campaigning, people are waking up to the dangers of smoking and making valiant efforts to wean themselves off this harmful habit. But it isn’t always that easy. Chain smokers are addicted to tobacco. So relapses are extremely common among smokers. That is why you need to learn about the symptoms after stopping smoking so that you are prepared for the worst.
What causes addiction to smoking?
Tobacco messes up your brain’s chemical composition. It ruins the balance of two particular chemicals- noradrenaline and dopamine. This is what gives smokers the characteristic ‘rush’. The allure makes you smoke one cigarette after another until you are completely in its grip.
And like other addictive substances like drugs and alcohol, kicking the habit isn’t easy because your body grows reliant on tobacco. So, you will begin to experience quite a few unpleasant symptoms after stopping smoking.
Understanding the symptoms after you quit smoking
The symptoms after stopping smoking do not show up all at once. Their degree too varies according to the timeline. What is this timeline? Doctors have charted it to chronicle how the symptoms progress.
The beginning of the symptoms:
4 – 14 hours after quitting
This is when the symptoms are really mild. You may experience a headache, sore throat and pangs of hunger. Cravings too can make an appearance but they will subside in 15 minutes.
Day 2 to Day 3
These days may be the most difficult ones. Most of the withdrawal symptoms crowd the former smoker during these two days. The intensity to shoots up. You may experience anxiety, anger, aggression, restlessness and almost insurmountable cravings.
Though the intensity starts to abate from day 4, this phase may also last up to a week.
Weeks 2 – 4
Most of the symptoms become subdued. But the one pervasive symptom in this phase is extreme fatigue.
The symptoms in detail
Now that you know about the three phases of nicotine withdrawal, let’s look at the symptoms you will be experiencing spread over the phases-
- Craving for more nicotine as your brain is addicted to it
- Tightness in the chest area, which may be triggered by intense bouts of coughing that result from withdrawal
- A feeling of depression and self-pity
- Lack of concentration
- Disorientation and dizziness
- Constant hunger because your confused body mistakes nicotine cravings for hunger
- Difficulty in sleeping because nicotine affects a person’s sleep pattern
- Weight gain because a person eats indiscriminately to satisfy hunger pangs
- Slow heart and pulse rate
How will you overcome the symptoms after stopping smoking?
If you are determined to not let tobacco ruin your health, the resolve alone helps with lots of motivation from loved ones. But it may not always work because our bodies are impacted differently. People who experience dangerous levels of the symptoms need to visit a doctor. Medicines like bupropion and varenicline can help overpower the symptoms.
Once medicines have helped the person get a grip on withdrawal, he/she can opt for therapy to be able to resume a normal lifestyle.