We’re all rational, reasonable, level-headed people…except when there’s traffic on the way to work, or your roommate/spouse/significant other won’t get out of the bathroom, or it’s raining, or Mercury is in retrograde.
Experiencing a range of emotions is a normal part of the human experience, but these swings are exacerbated after you quit smoking cigarettes.
Nicotine, the primary chemical in tobacco products, is a stimulant that fosters a physiological dependence that, when removed from your system, can impact your emotions.
But it’s critical to remember that these withdrawal symptoms are temporary and a normal part of the quitting process. To stay motivated, keep a list with you outlining your reasons for quitting, and pull it out when times are tough or you’re feeling down.
By knowing what psychological side effects to expect, you’ll be better prepared to handle them and persevere.
Nicotine relieves anxiety, but only temporarily, which is why many smokers pick up the habit in the first place. After quitting, you may feel increased anxiety, but you can reduce the intensity by avoiding caffeine and getting some extra sleep. Although the symptoms are uncomfortable at first, they are temporary and will eventually dissipate.
Early on in the quitting process, it’s normal to experience sadness or even depression. But don’t get discouraged: These feelings become much more manageable after the first few weeks. Try some deep breathing, light exercise, movies, or even video games to distract yourself.
Usually the result of other physical symptoms, irritability is common amongst smokers who are new to quitting. To deal with the frustration, try to think positively and remind yourself of all the ways you are improving your life by eliminating cigarettes.
Nicotine affects cognitive functioning, particularly memory, attention, and learning by mimicking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which stimulates nerve cell receptors in the brain. Fortunately, nicotine doesn’t cause permanent damage, and memory will eventually return to normal.