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Quitting, Withdrawals, And Not A Happy Me!


withdrawalWhat are some challenges you can expect during the detox process? Will they ever end? Can you make it through? Those are all great questions; and ones we will answer in this installment of the QBlog!

First and foremost, re-frame your experience. The more you focus on healing, detox and healthy changes, the less difficulty you will have with the overall process. This is a lifelong gift you are giving yourself. Instead of 'Poor me', think 'Hooray for me'! Celebrate your efforts and accomplishment each and every day. Doing so inspires you to keep going.

Next, know that side effects will happen, and detoxing after years of smoking will bring some degree of discomfort. Accept this, and let temporary symptoms pass. They are unavoidable, and simply the reality of the quit process. Rest assured, there is an end in sight! Let's take a look at some of the challenges you may encounter: 

Mood Swings

If you have ever stopped caffeine or been on a diet, you know how grumpy you can feel. Quitting smoking causes similar changes in the brain. Feel good neurotransmitters are no longer being stimulated, and the rebound effect combined with hormone fluctuations and physical withdrawals can leave you angry, sad, irritated and on edge. In addition, if your only coping tool was smoking, you now find yourself with outlet for entertainment, reward, relaxation, or comfort! You want a cigarette and can't have one, so that adds to the frustration. This phase can last a few weeks to a month, and is best addressed with new coping tools, rewards, distractions, and activities. Stay busy, reach out to friends for support and limit your sugar intake to avoid mood swings.

Fatigue Or Insomnia 

Many quitters feel exhausted or cannot sleep. The former do not feel better no matter how much sleep they get; the latter are exhausted as they cannot sleep even though they want to. This adds to the irritability and anxiety already being experienced. It also adds to the lack of focus many quitters report, which adversely affects performance at school and work. These symptoms usually pass in the first few weeks. You can try limiting caffeine, exercising, keeping blood sugar levels steady via healthy, small and frequent snacks, managing stress through deep breathing and going to bed at the same time every night in a quiet, cool, dark room.   

Physical Withdrawals

Cravings, hunger, flu-like symptoms, headaches, bloating and stress are common side effects during the detox process. Don't get discouraged. These symptoms will pass, and it will be worth it. It may be easy at this point to dwell on how much worse you feel as a nonsmoker, so redirect your thoughts towards how well your system is healing after years of smoking! Exercise can help reduce physical symptoms and side effects. Get up, get out and take a brisk walk! Breathe the fresh air, clear your mind and get your heart rate up. You will feel better in no time.

Not Yourself

Lack of focus, new routines and the unfamiliar change in your day to day life can leave you feeling out of sorts. It takes time before the new nonsmoking you feels as comfortable as the old smoking you once did. This is normal. It requires patience, practice and most of all - not smoking. The only way to get to the easier, happier, and healthier part is to keep going. No matter what happens to you, or around you, keep your quit your number one priority. Commit to waking up a nonsmoker, and celebrate your success!

Knowing what to expect means you will not be derailed by symptoms. It allows you to embrace the process, plan ahead, and move successfully towards a healthy, smoke-free you!

Keep going, and KTQ,

 Vikki Q  CTTS-M

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Thank you Vikki, this was very helpful. I'm 9 days out and no, keeping the quit is not a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. But Quit Net and it's numerous resources, like your blog, help immeasurably. Thanks again.  
Posted @ Saturday, July 05, 2014 7:24 PM by John
Can relate to the hunger part. I am always hungry now so I carry around a granola bar just so I have no excuse.
Posted @ Monday, July 14, 2014 7:30 PM by Teresa
Thanks Vikki, I am feeling bloated and out of sorts. Is day 12 and am glad to know what I am feeling is normal.
Posted @ Wednesday, July 23, 2014 4:58 PM by cheryl_r
Smoking was a tension release, the depression is the worst in the morning. Old school was taught that showing emotion was a weakness. Like everyone else I have financial issues to deal with, grown daughter moved in with Grandson, Daddy baby does not stay with us. Guess is the loss of control I feel that makes anxious. 
Posted @ Sunday, August 31, 2014 11:40 AM by Charlie Sandoval
Thanx Vicki it is day eleven and am jonesing for a smoke but I am committed to not smoking. I see my hypnotherapist on Friday for a followup session. The "Q" is making it easier.
Posted @ Monday, September 29, 2014 7:12 PM by Murray
Hey thanks a lot, it is really inspiring me to quit smokign and I just started it reading your blog and hopefully will get through this soon.
Posted @ Friday, October 31, 2014 5:42 AM by sean
My self always hungry. I had one day going there was nothing I was not eating.
Posted @ Friday, December 26, 2014 8:24 AM by Tammy
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