Many smokers have no idea what to expect when they decide to quit smoking. Going off nicotine is stressful enough on its own. Adding the physical and emotional symptoms of quitting smoking makes it even more challenging. It is essential to get prepared for the reactions that are likely when you quit smoking. Knowing how your body will respond can help you keep motivated about the decision, without experiencing the harsh consequences of the symptoms of quitting smoking.
The symptoms of quitting smoking are mostly connected to the so-called nicotine withdrawal syndrome. Each person experiences unique discomfort and side effects when quitting smoking. Those quitting smoking side effects can be mildly annoying or especially difficult to cope with. Summing up the experiences of all former smokers is a difficult task, since some individuals report a number of quite unusual side effects connected to their nicotine withdrawal. One thing is certain – quitting smoking can be an exceptionally challenging task. Still, the right kind of motivation and emotional state will help you overcome the hurdles connected to the first few weeks after you quit smoking.
Symptoms of Quitting Smoking #1: Respiratory Symptoms
Naturally, the lungs and the respiratory system are most affected by smoking, especially if the nicotine addition has been ongoing for many years. Once you decide to quit smoking, the lungs will begin repairing themselves and getting rid of all the toxins accumulated inside the tissue. The result will be quitting smoking symptoms that resemble flu or a respiratory disease like bronchitis. In order to remove all of the accumulated tars and toxins, the smoker is likely to cough up phlegm. Very often, ex-smokers will experience shortness of breath and chest tightness in the first weeks of quitting smoking. The coughing may get so intense that it may even cause chest pain. A sore throat and stuffy nose may also feature among the symptoms of quitting smoking soon after that final cigarette. These symptoms of quitting smoking are something normal. They will last for several weeks until the lungs undergo their repair process.
Symptoms of Quitting Smoking #2: Mouth Ulcers and Bleeding Gums
Mouth ulcers rank high among the popular symptoms of quitting smoking. The problem with this quitting smoking side effect is that the ulcers can be exceptionally painful and difficult to cope with. The ulcers appear most commonly in the case of people using nicotine gum in their attempts to quit smoking. Most researchers believe that the absorption of nicotine in this form could be responsible for the appearance of the painful sores in the mouth. Vitamins and topical treatments applied to the ulcers can minimize the pain experienced as a result of this quit smoking withdrawal symptom. Gum bleeding is another typical side effect of quitting smoking, as well. This problem can be overcome through an increased intake of vitamin C supplements or foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, tangerines, kiwis and tomatoes.
Symptoms of Quitting Smoking #3: Nausea, Heartburn, Weight Gain and Diarrhea
It turns out that the symptoms of quitting smoking can affect the digestive system, as well. Though the number of ex-smokers who experience such problems is smaller, these quitting smoking side effects should not be underestimated. When you quit smoking, you are likely to experience nausea due to the sudden decrease in the amount of nicotine the body gets. The good news is that the nicotine withdrawal symptom will last solely several days. Heartburn appears occasionally, as well, though researchers have no explanation of this symptom or whether it is connected to a specific method of quitting smoking. Diarrhea may be another digestive symptom experienced by those who try to quit smoking, regardless of the method. These digestive symptoms are somehow uncommon but many people who try to quit smoking will report weight gain as one of the most common side effects that are unconnected to the respiratory system. Nicotine has been recognized as an appetite suppressant. In addition, many smokers will need to chew on something like candies, crackers or chocolate in order to resist the temptation to light a cigarette. Exercising more often and decreasing the amount of food as the cravings start to subside can help you cope with the weight gain.
Symptoms of Quitting Smoking #4: Emotional and Psychological Symptoms
The physical side of the story may be troublesome but all of the symptoms of quitting smoking can be dealt with through the use of one kind of medication or another. The nicotine withdrawal is connected to certain emotional side effects that affect the majority of former smokers in the first few weeks. Many ex-smokers experience depression and poor mood due to the craving. Nicotine may be more difficult for some people to get over, while others will be having an easier time. In the first days, former smokers will feel a quite intense craving that seems to be ever-present. This craving will often lead to insomnia and high levels of irritability. This is why many people who are trying to quit smoking need emotional support. The emotional nicotine withdrawal symptoms may also cause headaches and a feeling of utter despair and overall poor health condition. Frustration, confusion and concentration problems are other common emotional symptoms of quitting smoking. These usually appear several hours after the last cigarette and are most overpowering in the case of people used to a high number of cigarettes on a daily basis.
Most former smokers have experienced mild discomfort to debilitating health problems as a result of their decision to quit smoking. These symptoms of quitting smoking are a result of an addiction that has been fueled for many years. The body will have to adjust and it will initially desire nicotine. According to many studies, nicotine is as addictive as heroine and alcohol. It will be impossible to stop smoking without causing yourself some discomfort. Most of the harshest symptoms will disappear a few weeks after you stop smoking. Patience and the right tools can be of great help – an electronic cigarette, nicotine gum or patches. If you feel that you have difficulty controlling these symptoms of quitting smoking, you should consult your doctor or join a support group. Having someone to understand you and listen to your concerns can help you speed up the recovery process and feel much better about the wonderful decision you have taken.