It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you – it’s been printed on cigarette cartons for years. And yet, still just under 20 percent of US adults smoke – that equates to 40 million people. The damage that smoking does to our bodies is unarguable. From being directly linked to a range of cancers and lung diseases to strokes, smoking can cause a lot of long-term damage.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they’ll try smoking and see how it goes, but as smoking is addictive, once you start it’s very hard to stop. Many smokers do try to quit. However, almost half of all attempts are unsuccessful. The problem is that when you’re addicted to a substance, be it nicotine or alcohol, quitting that substance can be almost impossible. This is especially true when temptation is everywhere, such as in shops, bars, and even public toilets.
The thing about quitting smoking is that there’s not just the physical effects to deal with, but also the psychological effects. Tobacco contains a type of nicotine molecule that is addictive, which makes the process of quitting even more difficult. As it’s a drug, should you quit nicotine, you will go through the same withdrawal symptoms as drug addicts. This explains why it can be so hard to successfully quit.
The good news is there are ways that you can make quitting smoking easier, some of which are listed below. Along with some of the more common physical and psychological side effects of quitting smoking.
What are the physical effects of quitting smoking?
When you quit smoking abruptly, just like drug users, you will go through a stage of withdrawal. Research has shown that the longer you have been smoking for, the more likely you are to experience withdrawal symptoms. The physical symptoms of this can mirror those experienced by drug addicts and, in some cases, can be just as intense.
These can include an intense craving for nicotine, to the point where nothing else matters. It can also cause headaches, trouble sleeping, increased appetite, and weight gain. Often, the physical symptoms that come with quitting smoking can be what causes ex-smokers to start smoking again. This is because they struggle to cope with their symptoms effectively.
How does stopping using nicotine impact you psychologically?
As well as having a physical impact, quitting smoking also comes with a range of psychological effects. These include things like higher levels of anxiety, tension, and depression. Some smokers even experience paranoia as a result of quitting smoking. The psychological effects of giving up smoking can, in some cases, be deliberating. This is especially true when you’ve been smoking for years.
As mentioned above, the longer you’ve been smoking for, the more likely you’ll experience symptoms. Some ex-smokers find that speaking to a therapist can help them to overcome the psychological effects of quitting. By doing so, this enables them to quit for good. There are also some drug addiction centers that also offer programs to help smokers to quit for good. They do this by helping them to get past the psychological side effects of no longer in taking high amounts of nicotine.
What can you do to make the process of quitting easier?
While the process of quitting smoking may be a difficult one, that’s not to say it isn’t doable. The truth is the key to successfully quitting smoking for good is having the right help and support in place.
The first thing you should do is tell your friends and family that you’re quitting. Firstly, this is so that no one offers you a cigarette and tempts you. Secondly, this is so that you have people to hold you accountable, should you start to waiver and consider giving up.
Going cold turkey is a big mistake. Many smokers think that quitting abruptly is the best thing to do to beat their cigarette addiction. However, that’s not the case. The best thing you can do to make the process easier is to slowly reduce your nicotine intake. The first steps to doing this are simply reducing the amount of cigarettes you’re smoking each day.
Then, a step that a lot of smokers choose to take is going onto vaping – a form of electronic smoking. When it comes to selecting your vapor supplies, you can start off buying e-liquids that have a high nicotine content. And then, slowly reduce the amount that’s in them. This will make it much easier to stay on track because you’ll still be getting a regular nicotine hit.
If you don’t want to use e-cigarettes to help you quit, there are all kinds of other ways you can get a regular nicotine hit. There are patches, chewing gums, and tablets, among many other things. It’s just a case of determining what works best for you.
Reward yourself. A mistake many people make when trying to give up smoking is failing to reward themselves. It’s hard to give up smoking, so it’s important to reward yourself when you meet your goals. For instance, after you’ve been cigarette free for 72 hours, treat yourself to something. Then, after a week, treat yourself again, and so on. Quitting smoking is no easy task so make sure that you reward yourself for all the hard work that you’re putting in. A nice piece of cake, dinner out with the girls, or a new outfit, can make a big difference to how motivated you feel.
The fact is giving up smoking is never going to be easy. Nicotine is an addictive drug which means that stopping having it is going to have an impact on your mind and body in many ways. Although it can be a struggle to quit, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The most important thing is to understand what you can expect when you quit, as well as how you can beat the side effects of giving up nicotine. By doing so, you can make the whole process a little smoother and less stressful for yourself.