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Here’s how you can deal with some common withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking

Published on:31 May 2021, 14:56pm IST
On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, it’s essential to know about the withdrawal symptoms that one may notice after quitting smoking, and some tips and tricks to tackle them.
Dr Arvind Kate
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World No Tobacco Day
Quitting smoking is going to help you a great deal. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When you embark on the journey of quitting smoking and opt for smoking cessation therapy, nicotine withdrawal is something that is a cause for concern. It can be a life-altering experience for most people, since it triggers a host of physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms that are difficult to cope with. It’s important to note that symptoms differ from person to person. 

India is home to a large number of smokers, and the numbers are constantly on the rise. Almost everyone is aware that smoking is injurious to health,’ yet they do it regularly to fight stress related to personal or professional life. Smoking has ill effects on a person’s health by damaging lung tissues, causing issues in respiratory function. Smokers suffer from various conditions and diseases like emphysema, bronchitis, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  

Furthermore, smoking irritates and inflames the lungs inviting constant cough. It produces excessive mucus, decreases the number of blood vessels in the lungs leading to low oxygen levels in one’s body.  Quitting smoking can slash down your risk of heart diseases, stroke, cancers, and other respiratory conditions. Thus, it is the need of the hour to say goodbye to smoking to enhance your quality of life.

Know about the withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do, when it comes to your health. After all, giving up on this habit will enhance your overall well-being. It will be challenging, but at the end of the day, it’s good for you if you follow this.

  • Weight gain: When you quit smoking, your blood sugar levels may drop and you will have a constant urge to eat sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods to satiate your hunger. Thus, you may end up piling on those excess kilos. Mouth ulcers, dizziness, and light-headedness can be seen.
World No Tobacco Day
You might see sudden physical changes in you after you call it a quit. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Sleep issues: One may have disturbed sleep that can cause insomnia.
  • Coughing: Although, it is alarming, but in those who quit smoking, it is a sign that your lungs are getting better. One may also sneeze and feel cold.
  •  Mood changes: You may feel irritated, restless, violent, frustrated, angry, anxious, paranoid, stressed, depressed, low on energy, have difficulty in focusing, memory problems, and a sudden outburst, and feel lonely and sad for some time. Just accept it — this too shall pass.
  •  Constipation: For a week or two, one may also feel constipated as the digestive tract will get affected, when you suddenly stop smoking.
  •  Other symptoms: Sweating, headaches, abdominal cramps, tremors, and shivering are some other symptoms that one must watch out for.  

As time passes, the symptoms will disappear; you will feel good and may not think of smoking at all.

Foolproof strategies to manage withdrawal symptoms

Once you quit smoking, you will notice that much-needed improvement in your physical and mental well-being. There will be an improved sense of smell and taste, easy breathing, and less coughing. Not only this, but quitting smoking will also boost fertility and increase your chances of conceiving.

World No Tobacco Day
Keep yourself busy to avoid withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • To curb your cravings to smoke, try to stay busy, and follow a well-structured routine.
  • Prepare yourself mentally to quit smoking by making a list of its benefits.
  • Try to exercise regularly and stick to a well-balanced diet. This will help you to distract yourself from giving in to smoking. Try yoga and meditation to combat stress, depression, or anxiety. Doing deep breathing exercises is also a good option.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine too.
  • Take up a new hobby or engage yourself in activities that you like. You can read, dance, listen to music, do gardening, cooking or painting.
  • Spend some quality time with your family and friends to manage the cravings.
  •  Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated to keep cravings at bay.
  •  Reward yourself when you are successfully able to manage the cravings.
  •  Join support groups and talk to other people, who have quit smoking and are leading a healthy life.

Dr Arvind Kate Dr Arvind Kate

Dr Arvind Kate, Pulmonologist at Zen Multispecialty Hospital, Chembur