They say it is one of the hardest things you could ever do in your life. It is one of the greatest battles you would ever have to fight; a battle with addiction, sense of loss, and withdrawal itself. However, those out there who have decided to make their lives healthier and to give up this very bad habit will have to utilize both a strong mind and a strong will. In case you could not have guessed it already I am talking of course about…(drum roll)…quitting SMOKING!
Too often young kids and teenagers fall under the pressure of their peers or to the allures of advertising, or they simply are socialized into mimicking the actions of the adults in their lives by picking up a cigarette sucking in its poisonous smoke. Often regretting this years later and attempting to change their life by trying to literally “put out” this bad habit for the last time.
The reason quitting smoking is so difficult is because it is addictive. The main reason for this addiction is the chemical nicotine. Your body becomes used to having getting a constant “fix” of nicotine from the cigarettes you smoke. When one quits smoking this “fix” is gone and the body reacts to this nicotine withdrawal much like it would as if you quit a quote, unquote, more serious drug such as heroin.The crazy thing about nicotine (which is a colourless, odourless, organic based alkaloid from the same family as cocaine and morphine) is the fact that is it more deadly drop for drop than arsenic and it is actually more powerful at creating chemical dependency than both heroin and cocaine. This is one of the reasons why when you do attempt to quit smoking that your body goes through nicotine withdrawal.
So now you have taken the big step, you have started your first day of not smoking. One thing you need to be aware of is the fact that almost everyone who does this goes through some form of nicotine withdrawal. The amount of withdrawal from nicotine you experience will depend on both how long you have smoked for and how much you have smoked. In terms of physical withdrawal from nicotine, this is a temporary condition but it can results in a lot of discomfort while it lasts. In order to help you through this phase it is a good idea to be aware of what to expect in terms of the different symptoms of nicotine withdrawal that you could experience after starting your road to cigarette freedom.
Here is a list of symptoms that people have reported experiencing from nicotine withdrawal. Expect to experience a few of these but do not expect to get all of them. These annoyances are also usually only short lived, however if you are concerned about anything your body is going through do not be afraid to consult your doctor. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include: i) the craving to smoke; ii) you may become irritable or cranky; iii) could result in insomnia; iv) inability to concentrate; v) fatigue; vi) headaches; vii) coughing and sore throat; viii) constipation, gas, and stomach pain ix) dry mouth; x) sore tongue/gums; and tightness in the chest. These are simply some of the more popular symptoms and there are others.
When it comes to quitting smoking you should take comfort in knowing that there are millions of people out there who have accomplished this and/or are going through the same battles you are right now. In order to combat nicotine withdrawal here are a few tips you can follow when you get the cravings to smoke: distract your self (keep your mind busy on other tasks not giving it a chance to tell you to “SMOKE!”), drink water (this can help you fight off cravings), be patient (cravings will pass after a couple of minutes), Relax (taking deep, slow breaths), and talk to someone (discussing your feelings/what you are going through will prevent you from feeling alone in your struggle and make you less likely to give into cravings if you feel supported). Also by exercising more, getting more rest, relaxing more, and by rewarding yourself your battle with nicotine withdrawal and achieving your ultimate goal of quitting smoking will be just around the corner.