Withdrawal symptoms from stopping smoking

Withdrawal symptoms

  • Withdrawal symptoms occur as a result of stopping smoking and nicotine levels drop. Reduced or no nicotine disturbs the balance of the central nervous system causing withdrawal symptom
  • Irritability, nervousness, anger, aggressiveness, poor concentration, insomnia, increased appetite, feelings of loss and sadness, depression, anxiety, ... are characteristic of withdrawal.
  • Without specialist counselling and medication to help prevent withdrawal symptoms, stopping smoking can be unbearable.
  • Within a few weeks these symptoms decrease and disappear.
  • Cravings for cigarettes can occur at any time. Some ex- smokers, especially those that were heavy smokers say that they never disappear, but over time are not as strong.
  • Nicotine substitutes and certain drugs help prevent the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine.
  • Depression is a complication which can occur after stopping smoking. Approximately 15% of smokers suffer with depression one year after quitting.

Behavioural difficulties

The psychological and behavioural aspects of smoking are equally as important and must be taken into account.

Many smokers have ingrained habits, rituals and certain circumstances when they like to smoke.

Smoking-cessation will present other difficulties, where new routines, and changes in lifestyle have to be found. Smoking has usually been an important part of a smokers life and they now have to learn new and different coping mechanisms.

Careful planning before quitting is essential to highlight some of these difficulties and will make the transition of becoming a non-smoker a little easier. Often after a few weeks new routines will develop and it becomes a little easier. .

Depression is more common in heavy smokers. It is thought to be due to the long term effects of nicotine on the brain. For some people they use smoking as a coping mechanism and only when they stop smoking does the depression become apparent.

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