Managing Quit Smoking Symptoms
Quit smoking symptoms are usually worst in the first 24-48 hours of quitting. Few people experience all of the stop smoking side effects, and they don't all happen at once. The symptoms you might experience are a normal and expected part of quitting smoking. The symptoms will gradually decline in intensity, and the worst is usually over after a couple of weeks.Quit smoking symptoms are your body's response to ridding itself of dependence on nicotine. Some people think of quit smoking side effects as 'recovery symptoms'. After about two weeks 'recovery symptoms' should be minimal or gone. Remember, you've been going through withdrawal already. You've just been treating the symptoms by smoking. Now it's time to learn new coping methods.
Irritability and Anxiety
Stop smoking signs may include feelings of irritability or anxiety. It's common to feel anxious when you make a big change in your life. Do
exercises to immediately reduce the anxious feelings. Deep breathing alone has been shown to reduce all physiological symptoms of stress. So, JUST BREATHE! Also, do things that relax you while you're quitting. If you only have time for a short break, then a brief walk and change of environment may help.
The physical changes that are happening in your body and the cravings for a cigarette may make it more difficult to concentrate. Your body is now receiving more oxygen and will adjust to this in a few days. Make "to do" lists and complete your tasks or activities in small bits. You can do this by taking regular breaks and doing something active during those breaks like taking a walk (outside if possible). Your concentration levels will return to normal in a few weeks time.
Some people feel as though they can't sit still and that they need to move about or do something with their hands. Use this restlessness in a positive way by doing some physical activity that you enjoy.
As your body is removing nicotine it is able to absorb more caffeine. It may be helpful to reduce your intake of tea, coffee, and cola drinks by half. Read the labels on chocolate bars and energy drinks as some of these items also contain caffeine (sometimes labeled guarana or guaranine). An increase in caffeine levels may add to your feelings of restlessness or insomnia.
Problems Falling Asleep and Insomnia
Quit smoking symptoms may also include interrupted sleep patterns as your body withdraws from nicotine. This should ease after about a week. Some people report having unusual or strong dreams, others find that they sleep better. Do something that you find relaxing before you go to bed and be sure to avoid beverages with caffeine in the afternoon.
For some people,
even the best stop smoking aids
can cause their difficulty in getting sleep. Talk with your health care provider about these symptoms. In some cases, simply adjusting the dose or timing of doses can do the trick.
Quit smoking symptoms can also include cravings. Some people think of cravings as 'desires' for a cigarette. Cravings are normal and expected. They last only a few minutes and have a beginning, middle and an end. As time passes your cravings will be less intense, shorter and happen less often. Some people keep a diary to document how they feel, including the frequency and intensity of their cravings. This can help to demonstrate that things are improving. Deep breathing exercises and distraction can work wonders in getting you through an urge to light up.
Some people find that once they stop smoking their bowel habits change (constipation, gas, etc.). This is generally a normal symptom of quitting smoking. It may help to gradually increase your daily intake of fiber-rich foods (fruit, whole-grains, vegetables, beans) and water. Doing physical activity may also help to relieve constipation.
Some people feel more fatigued initially after quitting smoking. Your energy should improve in the next couple of weeks. Be sure to get enough sleep each night - 7-8 hours each night for adults. Try taking a nap and don't over schedule yourself for the next few weeks.
A Final Note
Coping with quit smoking symptoms is a challenge, especially in the first few days. The long-term benefits of quitting will definitely outweigh the short-term difficulties of nicotine withdrawal and not all symptoms are actually quit smoking side effects. You may just be experiencing a "strong desire." This has more to do with what you're used to associating with smoking rather than actual nicotine withdrawal. Remember, you are going through a lot of changes right now, both physically and psychologically, so be patient with yourself. Soon, you'll be better than ever!
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