Dangers Of Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey
With New Years right around the corner, youre probably thinking up your latest resolutions for renewed health and vigor. If you smoke, quitting probably tops your list every year. Its no secret that trying to stop smoking is hard. Most people try and fail several times before finally recovering. Its not because you lack willpower. Nicotine, the main psychoactive ingredient in tobacco, is highly addictive.
Going cold turkey seems to some like the easiest way to quit smoking. However, there are many drawbacks and dangers you may experience with the cold turkey method.
Why Should Someone With A Mental Illness Quit Smoking
Smoking risks are greater for mentally ill smokers
The health reasons for quitting smoking have been well-known for years. But for the mentally ill, there are even more urgent reasons, including cigarettes effects on medication, and even more serious health risks than the general populace. Kristen Moeller-Saxone from the University of Melbournes Melbourne School of Population Health, says,
Smoking compounds many of the health problems already experienced by people with mental illnesses. Combined with drug therapies that often make them overweight, they are at even greater risk of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes if they smoke. The biggest cause of death among people with mental illness is not suicide, it is cardiovascular disease.
Many mental health professionals find that those with a mental illness find it particularly difficult to stop smoking. There is ample anecdotal evidence that says the same thing it is well known that members of Alcoholics Anonymous find it more difficult to quit smoking than to quit drinking. Besides giving up the benefits of smoking listed under Why Do People With Mental Illness Smoke? in part 1, the elimination of nicotine produces emotions that many of the mentally ill find difficult to cope with. Schmitz, Kruse, and Kugler say,
Routines To Help You Manage Cravings
One of the biggest challenges many people face in the early days of quitting is the regular cravings. Some cravings are your body physically wanting nicotine, but some are also related to your daily routines.
Changing your routine can help avoid those triggers that tell your brain its time for a smoke.
Here are some ideas for activities to do instead of smoking at those times you usually reach for the cigarettes:
- First thing in the morning have a shower.
- With coffee or tea change to a different drink, a different cup, or change where you drink it.
- At morning tea sit in a different place or with different people, read a magazine or take a scroll through your social media.
- At the computer at home move your desk or redecorate to change the look.
- After a meal go for a walk.
- After work exercise or meditate.
- Before dinner make your dinner time earlier.
- With alcohol change to a different type of drink or hold your drink in your smoking hand.
- As you plan your next task breathe deeply.
- As a reward listen to music or have a piece of fruit.
- When youre with another smoker chew gum or bring a water bottle.
- In front of the television move the furniture around, hold a stress ball, do some easy stretches.
- Before bed have a warm drink or read a book.
Remember, each time you resist that urge and do something else instead its a victory in your quest to quit: youre helping your brain break that link between the activity and the cigarette.
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Quitting Smoking Can Boost Mental Health In Just Six Weeks
- Smokers can feel less anxious and stressed after six weeks from quitting – new review out today
- NE psychiatrist and former smoker urge people to quit
- Nearly half of NE smokers have high anxiety
Just six weeks – that’s all it can take for quitting smoking to boost your mood and mental health according to new research published in time for today’s No Smoking Day.
As schools go back and people across the region consider a new start, Fresh and a leading North East consultant psychiatrist are calling on smokers to give quitting smoking another go.
It comes as a major review from Cochrane reassures smokers who want to stop smoking that quitting for at least 6 weeks may improve their mental wellbeing, by reducing anxiety, depression, and stress. People’s social relationships are unlikely to suffer if they stop smoking. The review found that people who stopped for at least 6 weeks experienced less depression, anxiety, and stress than people who continued to smoke. People who quit also experienced more positive feelings and better psychological wellbeing.
Reductions in anxiety and depression in those who quit smoking are found to be at least as great as from taking anti-depressants.
Smoking is the world’s leading cause of preventable illness and death. One in every two people who smoke will die of a smoking-related disease unless they quit.
Gateshead Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Bernadette Oliphant said:
Anxiety Is Linked With Smoking But How Is Still Hazy
In these stressful pandemic times, health experts have more reason to circle back to the link between anxiety and smoking: Does anxiety cause people to smoke? Or does smoking cause anxiety?
Like many other aspects of mental health and addiction, there are no cut-and-dried conclusions.
“I think we’ve generated more questions on the subject than we have answers,” said Brian Hitsman, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the U.S., affecting between 15% and 19% of the adult population and encompassing everything from phobias and panic attacks to intense fear of social situations and chronic worrying.
While U.S. smoking rates have dropped over the past 50 years, about 1 in 5 American adults 50.6 million still reported smoking, vaping or using other tobacco products in 2019, according to the latest data released in November from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That data also showed 45% of people with severe anxiety use tobacco. Even for those with mild anxiety, 30% use tobacco. Yet for those who report little to no anxiety, only 18% use tobacco.
Lorra Garey, the study’s lead author, said alcohol and substance abuse could be clouding the true connection. Another complicating factor is the two-way relationship between smoking and anxiety.
Still, there are a wide variety of methods available to help.
Read Also: Why Do I Get Anxiety Out Of Nowhere
Impact On Teens And New Smokers
Study suggests smoking can impact mental health
A study at Columbia University suggests smoking may have more consequences beyond the physical health impacts. Research is showing smoking can impact mental health by increasing risk of some anxiety disorders.
The study found teens were fifteen times as likely to develop panic disorders, or repeated episodes of panic, in early adulthood than non-smokers when they smoked a pack a day. Adults who smoked heavily as teens were five times as likely to develop generalized anxiety disorder, or feelings of apprehension or worry resulting in physical symptoms. They were also seven times more likely to develop agoraphobia, or fear of open spaces.
While there have been previous studies linking smoking with psychiatric disorders, it hadnât been determined if smoking caused anxiety or anxiety caused people to smoke.
These new findings provide unequivocal support for the theory that smoking contributes to increased risk of anxiety disorder. There was no evidence that anxiety disorder increased the initiation of smoking.
Cigarettes can actually cause anxiety, instead of reducing it
How Nicotine And Anxiety Work
Imagine theres . And in a parallel universe, theres .
This is the same person they have the same life. The only difference is that one of them is a non-smoker, and the other is a smoker.
So its Monday morning. is having a stressful day she has to pay the overdue bills, get the kids ready for school, catch up with work. She has too many responsibilities too much of life stress.
is having the same stressful day. But she has an additional source of stress: her cravings.
The overdue bills cause her anxiety. But shes also experiencing craving anxiety. She smokes a cigarette, relieves the craving anxiety and she feels a bit better than before thinking the cigarette helped her cope with the overdue bills. But it didnt. It just relieved her cravings.
Then shes feeling anxious because she has to get her kids ready for school on time and at the same time shes feeling tense because shes craving.
She smokes a cigarette feels a bit better, thinking nicotine helped her feel calmer while getting the kids ready for school.
But in reality, smoking just relieved her nicotine craving. It didnt help her get the kids ready faster.
Same thing with the deadlines, with the responsibilities, with everything.
So Maria the non-smoker goes on with her day while Maria the smoker has to smoke in order to go on with her day.
They both have the same life stress.
is less stressed than because she doesnt have to worry about smoking or feel anxious when her body is low on nicotine.
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How Can I Resist The Urge To Smoke When Im Feeling Bored
When you quit smoking, you may miss the increased excitement and good feeling that nicotine gave you. This may be particularly true when you are feeling bored.
Here are some tips:
- Plan more activities than you have time for.
- Make a list of things to do when confronted with free time.
- Move! Do not stay in the same place too long.
- If you feel very bored when waiting for something or someone , distract yourself with a book, magazine, or crossword puzzle.
- Look at and listen to what is going on around you.
- Carry something to keep your hands busy.
- Listen to a favorite song.
- Go outdoors, if you can, but not to places you associate with smoking.
Quitting Smoking Can Also Cause Anxiety
Unfortunately, those who decide to quit smoking may also be at risk for anxiety. Due to the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine, when a person quits smoking, he or she may also experience periods of hyperventilation, which leads to further anxiety.
In addition, smoking in general changes your lung health to such a degree that you may have developed poor breathing habits already that are going to be exacerbated by the way your lungs feel when they’re free of cigarette smoke.
That’s why you should be prepared for these feelings before you quit smoking, and make sure you have a support system in place to help keep you away from cigarettes.
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What Are Some Of The Withdrawal Symptoms Associated With Quitting Smoking
Quitting smoking may cause short-term problems, especially for those who have smoked heavily for many years. These temporary changes can result in withdrawal symptoms.
Common withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting include the following:
- nicotine cravings
- anger, frustration, and irritability
- weight gain
Studies have shown that about half of smokers report experiencing at least four withdrawal symptoms when they quit . People have reported other symptoms, including dizziness, increased dreaming, and headaches .
The good news is that there is much you can do to reduce cravings and manage common withdrawal symptoms. Even without medication, withdrawal symptoms and other problems subside over time. It may also help to know that withdrawal symptoms are usually worst during the first week after quitting. From that point on, the intensity usually drops over the first month. However, everyone is different, and some people have withdrawal symptoms for several months after quitting .
Reasons Nicotine Seems To Help With Anxiety:
To quit nicotine and decrease anxiety, you need to work on your mental addiction and the CBQ method helps you do that.
CBQ stands for Cognitive Behavioral Quitting. The CBQ method is a psychology-based method that over the last decade, has reached and helped millions of smokers quit easily, myself included. To develop this method, we took what happy non-smokers had in common, and we put it in a 4-step process that everyone can use to succeed.
To get started with the CBQ Method, you can get the foundational video and PDF starter guide of the CBQ Method.
In this video, I show you why the CBQ method can work for you & how the 4 quit smoking stages of the CBQ method work together so you can learn how to cope with anxiety and the ups and downs of life as a non-smoker. The accompanying guide will help you map out your quit, take notes, and remember important tips.
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How Can I Quit Smoking
Whether you have a diagnosed mental health condition or not, quitting smoking is good for your overall well-being. Quitting smoking will improve your health, save you money, and possibly boost your mood.
Talk to your doctor. Before you make a plan to quit, discuss this with your doctor. You should ask about what changes you might need with your prescription medicines. You should also talk about any other health issues you have. They might be affected by cutting out cigarettes.
Once youâre ready to quit, try some of these tactics to make it easier:
- Tell friends and family your plans and ask them for their support.
- Get rid of your smoking supplies in your home, office, and car.
- Practice saying that you donât smoke.
- Ask people not to use tobacco around you.
- Avoid situations where you want to smoke.
- Buy oral substitutes like toothpicks, gum, or hard candy.
- Find a support group for quitting tobacco.
Be ready for withdrawal. Once you quit smoking, you might notice an increase of symptoms that feel like mental health conditions. This is a result of nicotine withdrawal and not necessarily an indication that your mental health is getting worse. Some of the feelings you may notice include:
- Depression, sadness, or sense of loss
- Constipation or gas
- Sore throat, cough, tight chest, or postnasal drip
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: âTobacco Use and Quitting Among Individuals With Behavioral Health Conditions.â
What Can I Do About Anxiety
Within 24 hours of quitting smoking, you may feel tense and agitated. You may feel a tightness in your musclesâespecially around the neck and shoulders. Studies have found that anxiety is one of the most common negative feelings associated with quitting. If anxiety occurs, it builds over the first 3 days after quitting and may last 2 weeks .
Here are some tips for managing anxiety:
- Remind yourself that anxiety will pass with time.
- Set aside some quiet time every morning and eveningâa time when you can be alone in a quiet environment.
- Engage in physical activity, such as taking a walk.
- Reduce caffeine by limiting or avoiding coffee, soda, and tea.
- Try meditation or other relaxation techniques, such as getting a massage, soaking in a hot bath, or breathing deeply through your nose and out through your mouth for 10 breaths.
- Ask your doctor about nicotine replacement products or other medications.
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