Quitting smoking affects every area of the body. When you quit, the changes are radical and often cause a great disruption in your life. Take heart; this change is for the better. The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can leave you feeling quite insane. The most frightening aspect for smokers who are quitting is the not knowing if what you are going through is normal, and if it will end. Knowing what to expect will help you fight the cravings and emotional impact of quitting so that you can enjoy a healthier life.
One of the most common complaints of people who quit smoking is bouts of severe depression. Nicotine triggers dopamine release in the brain to make you feel good. Once you remove the nicotine from your system, your body must once again learn to adjust the release of dopamine at a normal rate. The most severe periods of depression usually begin one to two weeks after quitting and last for several weeks. If depression persists, consult your physician and seek help.
The moment you quit smoking, your blood sugar drops. This creates an extreme sense of fatigue. Many quitters find it difficult to get out of bed for a few days. Those who work full-time are wise to choose a time when they have a few days off in a row to simply collapse. If that is not possible, understand that the feeling of fatigue is normal and drink plenty of fruit juice to help charge up your system.
You may find yourself coughing more than when you smoked. That is not abnormal. Smoking destroys the cilia in the respiratory system. Cilia are small hairs that line the breathing passages that are meant to keep harmful particles from entering the lungs. After a mere 24 hours without cigarettes, these cilia start working again. The coughing is a sign that your body is beginning to clean itself and rid the breathing passages of a buildup of phlegm.
Headaches are common in the first few days after quitting tobacco. When nicotine is withdrawn from the system there is a sudden rush of oxygen released into the blood. It takes the body a few days to adjust to the new level of available oxygen.
Food cravings are caused by two aspects of quitting. The first is a need to occupy time and relieve oral cravings. Suck on a straw or chew sugar-free gum to help relieve the oral cravings. The second reason for an increase in hunger when you quit smoking is the renewed levels of oxygen in the system. Along with the headaches, the higher level of oxygen being pumped into the blood stream makes your body think it is in overdrive and needs more fuel. Resist the temptation to eat during these times by knowing that it is a false reading on the part of your body and it will adjust in a few days.