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Withdrawal symptoms - symptoms of recovery!

Withdrawal symptoms - symptoms of recovery!

One of the main reasons people are afraid to quit is because they find the withdrawal symptoms so severe and unexpected. After quitting smoking, the first few weeks are usually the most difficult, it takes around 8-12 weeks before a person starts to feel comfortable with their new lifestyle change.

Withdrawal symptoms are signs that your body is beginning to heal itself. As the levels of carbon monoxide and nicotine in your system start declining, and your heart and lungs begin to repair the damage caused by cigarette smoke, instead of feeling better right away, you may feel worse for a while. Though most nicotine is gone from the body in 2-3 days, it’s important to understand that the healing process which begins immediately continues over time.

Remember symptoms of recovery (withdrawal) are unpleasant and stressful, but only temporary. Withdrawal symptoms may include physical as well as mental symptoms like cravings, headache, anxiety, nausea, you may feel dizzy, restless, numb, anxious, irritable, hungry, tired, short-tempered and may have trouble sleeping and notice you are coughing more than usual.

When you are experiencing symptoms of recovery, remind yourself of why you are quitting. Also that whatever discomfort you are experiencing now, is only a tiny fraction of the possible discomfort you would have if you continued smoking (i.e. Painful diseases like cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, emphysema etc.)

Here are some ways that may help you cope with withdrawal symptoms:

  • Muscle tension, anxiety, irritability, and restlessness can be reduced by using various relaxation techniques such as Deep Breathing, Muscle Relaxation or Autogenics.
  • You may sense tingling feelings or numbness in your arms and legs. These sensations usually indicate improved circulation in your body.
  • You may at times feel dizzy or lightheaded. This usually means that more oxygen is getting into your brain now that the carbon monoxide associated with smoking is no longer present.
  • Some people find themselves coughing more after quitting smoking. This may be due to the cilia that line the lungs are working to clean out all the tars and other debris in your lungs. 
  • Increased hunger is a common withdrawal symptom. To avoid weight gain, it is important to exercise regularly, drink water, and have low-fat foods.

Because the first two weeks are critical in determining quitting failure rates, smokers should not be shy about seeking all the help they can during this period.