What Are the Stages of Nicotine Withdrawal?

A chronic smoker can experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms when he quits.
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  • Written By: Tiffany Manley
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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When an individual who smokes cigarettes decides that he or she wants to quit, he or she can expect to go through nicotine withdrawal. There are various stages of nicotine withdrawal, which some people believe start as early as 30 minutes after a person has had his or her last cigarette. Symptoms might start that soon and can peak about three to five days later before mellowing out about two weeks after the last cigarette. Among the many symptoms experienced during the various stages are anxiety, headaches, cravings, irritability and nausea. It might take several months before a person feels completely comfortable with his or her new smoke-free lifestyle.

The first stage of withdrawal begins soon after the last cigarette has been smoked. Symptoms experienced during this stage are both physical and mental and might include sweating, cramps, headache, nausea, sore throat, confusion and anxiety. A person might wish to treat some of these with over-the-counter medication. Many people view this stage to be the most difficult one to endure.

After the initial onslaught, symptoms continue and intensify during the second stage, which usually lasts a couple of weeks. It involves many of the same symptoms as seen during the earlier stage, but the person's cravings, irritability, tension and other symptoms intensify.

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The longest of all is the final phase, during which an individual has endured the weeks it usually takes to eliminate nicotine from the system, but he or she might still have a desire for a cigarette during certain situations. Being around friends who smoke, doing activities that used to be done while smoking and smelling cigarette smoke are all things that might cause a craving for a cigarette. After several months, most people find that most of the withdrawal symptoms have passed.

Some people feel that using a nicotine supplement of some sort helps them endure nicotine withdrawal. There are many products available, including gum, patches and pills. Using these products is a personal choice and might be made after consulting with a medical professional. Whether an individual chooses to use these items, understanding the stages of nicotine withdrawal, preparing for them and having a support group are all great ways to quit smoking.

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Discuss this Article

anon957885
Post 127

I am on week two of not smoking and I am going cold turkey. I tried this once before and I don't ever remember having this many issues regarding withdrawal symptoms. I have been having hot flashes and am particularly dizzy at times during the day. It is almost like I drank 14 cups of coffee and am in a daze. It is pretty maddening.

I say I don't remember all these symptoms before, and I had successfully stopped smoking for four months (hint to others: don't just have one cigarette at an event because it looks so good. It just compounds and your smoking starts all over again).

Anyway, the one big difference was the last time I stopped, I went to my naturalist who is also an acupuncture and acupressure doctor as well. He put pressure beads in my ears as well as gave me weekly acupuncture treatments. I have to tell you there must have been something to this because last time I didn't have any problems like I am having now. He was on vacation in Europe when I started this cold turkey stoppage, but is now back. I am going to get the beads put in pronto!

scott44
Post 126

I’m a 44 year old male who is on day four with no nicotine. This is my second times quitting. I started using smokeless tobacco when I was ten. I have been addicted for many years.

I mean it when I say, “There was rarely a time I didn’t have a chew in my mouth”. Every second of the day. When I was eating really the only time that I didn’t have one. In 2007 I went with some friends to a cold laser therapy. I had no faith in this kind of thing, and thought it was a joke. But hey, I wasn’t footing the bill, so why not? It took a whole 10 minutes for the session. When we left the office, I felt strange. I felt high. I felt a sense of calm, and relaxed as I’ve ever been. I knew that if I stayed feeling like this, I would surely beat this addiction. That spell I was in lasted me for about three or four days. After that, I remained nicotine free for over two years.

I made a dumb decision to take another chew one day, and back on it I was. So I decided (after several more years of chewing) to go back and do this great laser thing again. I made my appointment and showed up. I was in such good spirits, knowing that in just a few minutes. I would no longer need or want tobacco. The lady went through the motions with her laser probe in hand, hitting all my pressure points and such, but as she was nearing the end I felt no different than when I first walked into her office. I thought to myself, “What?”

Well I knew I was on my own now, and the $150 that I paid her was my incentive to stop chewing. I’m on day four. My cravings are still really strong. The muscle twitching in my arms, neck and stomach are not as bad a the first couple days. I’ve heard people say that cocaine is easier to quite than nicotine. I believe it! Stay strong. You can do it.

anon950382
Post 125

I am on day four and what a rough ride it's been. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with a burning in my chest and throat like I had just vomited. The cravings day three and four are so bad.

I smoked over a pack a day for 25 years. I did a lot of research before quitting, including talking to many physicians and everything I read or heard led me to quitting cold turkey. When you use nicotine replacement, you keep your body in a constant state of withdrawal. Your body does not start to heal itself until you are nicotine free.

Within 20 minutes of being nicotine free, the body starts healing itself. Blood pressure starts to decrease, pulse rate lowers and hands and feet get warmer due to increase circulation. After eight hours nicotine free, carbon monoxide levels in the blood drop to a normal range. At 24 hours, your risk of a heart attack is already decreased. At 48 hours, nerve endings start repairing themselves and your sense of taste and smell are being repaired. At two weeks nicotine free, the risk of heart attack decreases and circulation keeps getting better and lung function begins to increase. One to nine months nicotine free, you will notice less or no coughing, less shortness of breath and fewer illness like congestion and sinus problems. At one to two years, the excess risk of coronary heart disease drops to half that of current smokers after one year. From 5 to 15 years after you quit smoking, the stroke risk is reduced to that of people who have never smoked. The risk of lung cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers, the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases and the risk of ulcers decreases.

But all of these statistics are for people who are nicotine free. If you are using a nicotine replacement, your body cannot get to these healing levels and your withdrawal symptoms cannot end as long as it is in your system. Good luck to everyone. I know what a long road we have!

anon946259
Post 124

I am on day 49 without smoking, and have all the withdrawal symptoms: BP problems, dizziness. Can anyone help me?

anon946021
Post 122

I am into my second week. I am finding it OK. I'm craving but not as much as the first five days. I am not using any nicotine replacement products, as that is exactly what I am trying to escape: nicotine addiction. Anyway, good luck to you all whichever way you are trying. Anything is better than smoking.

Myrrh
Post 121

I am a 53 year old female, and I quit smoking six days ago. The first few days have not been too bad. I’ve used the mid level patch, but cannot sleep with them on, so I wear them during the day and only remove them just before bed time. I’ve certainly had cravings, but they’ve not been overwhelming.

My typical habit was to smoke during relaxation times: first thing in the morning with coffee and in the evening after dinner. I didn’t smoke during the day, so I probably smoked eight or ten per day unless I was having a drink, which is very infrequent. Today has been the most curious. Suddenly, I’m having upper back, neck and shoulder pain, funny heart palpitations and some mild mid chest “twinges” with some very mild shortness of breath, and I seem to be salivating more than usual. The palpitations seem to be more prevalent just after ingesting a large meal.

I’ve also had constipation for the first time in my life ever, but that seems to have passed. (no pun intended). I seem to be more sensitive and wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m very nostalgic and reminiscent. I’ve been dreaming about my daughters when they were very little. I imagine the dream imagery has to do with a sense of “loss,” even though I know I am losing a very bad and very expensive habit.

I’m also going through menopause, which doesn’t make it any easier. Cigarettes were my friend and reward for getting stuff done. A typical Saturday would be a day of completing X number of chores, then relaxing with a cigarette and a soda. Then, I’d complete a few more chores and “reward” myself again with another cigarette and a sit on the porch. I quit once before for six years, but started back during a very stressful period in my work life about two years ago. Smoking affects everything from your ability to relax, your breathing, your breath, your heart, your skin, your teeth and your brain, right down to your bones. Even your hair will change over time after cessation.

To those of you who have quit, good for you! Stay quit. For those of you who’ve slipped up, try again! You can do it! We can do it! It is hard. Acknowledge it. Look the difficulty in the face and say “Yes, you’re tough to break, but you’re not going to beat me.” Say it every day, several times a day. Wait out the cravings. They go away. Read a book. Go for a walk. Reward yourself with something nice after certain milestones: a nice perfume, a massage, a soothing pedicure, a new handbag or wallet. Shoe shopping is a great therapy. We can do this. We can do this!

anon938115
Post 120

I quit two months ago. I went to the doctor as I was terrified I had lung cancer. My armpit hurts, as does my neck, shoulder and shoulder blade. The doctor said my chest was clear and plenty of air was getting in my lungs and she has no concerns. She told me the whole healing process can take months before you have no pain.

Is anyone else experiencing any of the above symptoms? I'm still afraid of having lung cancer. Please let me know if this is normal.

anon937840
Post 119

I'm on day six. Tomorrow will be day seven. Did you ever think that Saturday to Saturday is actually eight days? For anyone like me, who doesn't really think of it this way and recently quit smoking, I'll bet you think of it now.

The first day was fine. I spent days two and three just eating (still doing that), didn't crave much of anything else. Day four was a snooze fest. I nearly fell asleep while my boss was talking to me and I didn't care; I was just so drowsy. On days four through six, the nicotine cravings really kicked in. I get urges where I'd really like one. Day five was the worst. Day six was better, but I almost had one today. Luckily, by the time I finished doing what I was doing before having a cigarette, the craving went away. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow - I hear the first week is the hardest and I'll be on the last day. Good luck to everyone else! We got this!

anon934394
Post 118

These posts are the most 'accurate' of all postings I have read so far, although, they are rather bleak.

I have found reading the posts drawing me back into 'thinking' about my withdrawal, as opposed to focusing on the 'pains of recovery'. I am on my 15th day of not smoking. I smoked for 12 years, a pack a day. It's hard -- blinkin' hard. But I have found that focusing purely on the positives and not the obvious negatives has helped me a great deal. These postings I have read are accurate and I am in no way diminishing the anxiety I feel (and believe me, I do at times), or others are feeling. But come on people, we are giving up! Did we really believe it would be easy? After years of poison, did we truly expect an easy ride?

anon932090
Post 117

I feel lucky! I'm 25 days nicotine free and I've never felt better. I quit cold turkey. I smoked 15 a day (more if I was drinking) for almost 30 years.

Physical discomfort from nicotine withdrawal passes in time. Your body is a marvelous machine which can heal itself. Just keep fighting.

anon927514
Post 116

I am on my sixth month. I am still battling mild depression (about twice a week), mild insomnia, sore neck and muscles and generally feel like something is very wrong with me. Being on my sixth month, I thought I would be past all of this. It has gotten a lot better than it was on day one, but six months already! I was a heavy chew user, about a tin a day for over 15 years. Has anybody else been stopped this long and still experiencing all of this?

anon357521
Post 115

It's my 15th day and it has been a rough ride. I feel like there is something in my chest burning. I wonder if it's the cilia repairing itself.

anon356374
Post 114

I am approaching week 11. I'm on the third stage of the patch now with minute quantities of nicotine going into my system (7mg). This has been bay far one of the toughest things I have ever done! And I have been through some tough stuff in my life, including a five year BA honors degree. I just finished last May and when I was 25 I quit Paxil (Seroxat) after three years addicted to it. But I have to say quitting smoking is just as challenging. I had all the usual symptoms, but on week 11 I just feel exhausted, anxious, depressed and fatigued!

I am looking forward to feeling the benefits! It is worth quitting but it seems most of us are unprepared for the loneliness, depression and other stuff that comes with it. Good luck folks.

anon355850
Post 113

I'm 32 years old. I stopped smoking in May 2013. About 36 hours after the last cigarette, I had a major craving that I resisted and never had a craving after that. I felt like it was the healthiest period of my adult life when I was not smoking. After almost four months of not smoking, I started again in September 2013 and have been smoking like hell ever since. I smoke one pack per day, where I used to smoke 8-10 sticks per day.

Now I'm trying to quit again for the nth time. It's been almost 72 hours since the last one that I had. I stopped three days ago. Hope I can do this!

anon353160
Post 111

I found this site when searching for withdrawal symptoms. I have tried stop in the past, but couldn't handle the symptoms. I was like someone possessed. I am so happy to find I am not a nutcase and that what I was feeling was real. People on here have inspired me to give up cigarettes again. Thank you.

anon350637
Post 110

I quit smoking in September. On the same day at 5 p.m., I rushed to the hospital emergency room due to panic attack, depression, anxiety, shortness of breath, cold in both my feet and hands, palpitations cloudy and foggy heads, body aches and many others. At first, I didn't knew that it was all about the quitting smoking symptoms, so everything got worse. Then I read several sites confirming everything is nicotine withdrawal symptoms -- especially in this site.

I really do appreciate people sharing their experiences that could be a big help to boost oneself to continue fighting, fighting .and fighting, casting away all these little monsters from the body.

Personally, I think focus and determination help us to go through all these symptoms. And definitely prayers are of great help. Fruits, more water and vegetables also help. I am hoping one day everything will get well. I'm on my 37th day of this journey.

anon350536
Post 109

I've smoked for 10 years, about 10 cigarettes per day. The first few nights I couldn't sleep and was sweating. I'm sleeping better now, but still get sweats and chills through the day so glad to see this is normal.

Yesterday was seven days of being smoke free and feeling healthier, I decided to go for a run, which I've never been able to do longer than a few minutes and managed to run 5 miles! This is such a huge personal achievement and reading this has helped me stay positive. Well done everyone. We're doing great.

anon347702
Post 108

It's been five months since I quit, but I started to cut back significantly for about one or two months prior. Chewing tobacco was my thing for 15 years, but years ago, I used to smoke cigs socially.

The first month I was OK physically, but realized the anxiety began when I started cutting back. The anxiety and depression got bad also, lasted months and still isn't even over. I quit in April 2013 (began scaling back Feb/March 2013). I'd say maybe I am on average 60-70 percent back to normal. But I still don't feel like I did prior to my tobacco use. I guess it really can take a long time. I also had some bouts of loneliness, too. The anxiety was the worst. My eating has picked up also. I still think about it now and then but don't crave it all that much.

My hat's off to you all. This is a great resource. I know it's bad, but for me, not wanting to go through this ever again is enough not to use tobacco again. Remember, every day it gets just a little bit better and a little easier.

anon344640
Post 107

I am up to about 77 days non smoking and have reduced down to the last phase of the patches. I smoked over 30 years and this has been an extraordinary journey. Symptoms? I have had all of the above, and my doctor has had to remind me a couple of times that I am withdrawing from nicotine even when on the patches. Tingling skin and anxiety have been the worst problems for me. I have downloaded an app which helps reinforce why I want to quit, and this page has been a fantastic help as I don't think the generic sites tell you all of the terrible side effects. Thank you for your posts and good luck.

anon342978
Post 105

I am 17 years old, and I have been smoking since I was 12 or 13 years old (I know how bad that is but where I live your 10th birthday present is a cigarette and a bottle of vodka). I have gotten really bored with smoking and decided to stop three days ago. I have been doing really well considering only the problem is I haven’t gone three full days without smoking. The only thing that got me through the day without smoking was knowing that I was allowing myself one cigarette before bed. So I have basically just cut down to one cigarette a day, which is annoying me because I have convinced myself that I have stopped smoking and within the last hour, I don’t feel obliged to smoke whatsoever. In fact, I don’t think I have to and to be honest, the side effects of stopping have calmed down. I didn’t even realise there was side effects when I was going through them. I noticed when I was reflecting on how I have felt throughout the day without a cigarette.

Although I have just today been looking at non smoking sites and everywhere says that it takes weeks for the cravings and desires and side effects to stop and then when I heard this, I felt that I am not doing as well as I thought. Is it possible to get rid of the craving for nicotine only three days into quitting because I don’t want a cigarette, I want something to do when I'm bored, but I feel that I am convincing myself to smoke.

anon342606
Post 104

I've had all the symptoms mentioned here. I'm on the 22nd day without cigarettes.

After I quit smoking cold turkey, I had cold and flu symptoms, diarrhea, tightness in the chest, breathing difficulties, insomnia, feeling worn out and anxiety.

Yesterday (Day 21) was the worst. The cold and flu symptoms are at a all time high and my chest and throat felt like they are infected.

What helped me was taking 750mg of Paracetamol + 500mg Erythromycin + 10ml expectorant every six hours. I think it helped because after 24 hrs I feel a bit better.

I can't wait for the day these symptoms are gone for good.

Keep up the good work guys, and good luck with your quitting.

anon341780
Post 103

Thanks for this forum. I'm on day four, following a 26 year habit. I used Bio resonance on Thursday and smoked my last one during the therapy. On the way home, I thought my head had exploded. I went to bed and slept two hours, was up for three, then back to bed for about 10 hours.

I feel OK. I don't feel the need to rip anyone's arms off for a drag (like my sister did). I do feel at a loss though, like something's missing. I read a lot and have a snooze in the afternoon and can potter around and go for walks as I have just given up work.

I took a laxative for the bloating on day two. Now it's gone and I also took neurofen for a headache the first couple of days. My head feels like its full of cotton wool, but there's no pain anywhere. If I had smokes here, I would smoke them and it's taking all my time not to go a get a pack. Oh dear.

Platinum
Post 102

I am approaching 48 hours of stopping smoking. I started smoking lightly (if there's such a thing) when I was 17. I'm now 38. It's been 21 years -- wow. I would never have thought when I was a teenager that this day would come.

This really stinks. I don't feel my normal sharp and witty self. I had about four hours of sleep last night. I'm not fun to be around, I'm not laughing at things I would normally find funny and I can barely string together a coherent sentence. Oh, and I drove almost 12 miles past my freeway exit before realizing it this morning. My stomach feels stupid and bloated.

I'm contemplating having just that one and starting again tomorrow, but I will do my darndest to fight it. I have a full unopened pack and I know having that one isn't going to help, but knowing the cigs are there kind of helps.

The last time I made a conscious attempt to quit was 11 years ago. It's kind of pathetic if I can't even hang in for a few more hours and get through the night. So proud of all the others on this blog.

anon337445
Post 100

I have completed two months cold turkey. The withdrawals are getting less day by day but some return back now and then. My main problem is now I'm getting dizzy and I have noticed my pulse shoots up during this period. My pulse is more than 100 beats per minute, and this happens only when I'm standing. Also, I feel like someone is squeezing my mind and having an electric shock like feeling in my head. Man, how long will these horrible symptoms of withdrawal last? Does anyone else face such symptoms?

anon329814
Post 99

I'm having lots of chest pain when I move. I had x-rays and they said everything is normal.

anon329706
Post 98

Just as most have said; I'm glad I found this site. I'm on week fie and only slipped a few times the first week. The withdrawals I've had made me think I was dying: mouth sores, headaches, sore neck and shoulders, loss of appetite, hot flashes and cold sweats, mild chest pains, insomnia regardless of how tired I am or how little I've slept.

I haven't had too much pain (flu like symptoms), but I have been dizzy and unable to retain short conversations without losing my thought or forgetting what someone just said. I haven't been too irritable, but I do have a hard time keeping interested. I've read on other sites that this can last for several months to over a year. I surely hope not. I was a pack a day smoker for 23 years.

anon327963
Post 97

I'm on week six after a 30-year addiction. It's tough but apart from the fog, I feel great! The first week you give up, don't do anything guys. Sleep and eat what you want, don't attempt anything and and no meaningful conversations with anyone. After that, who knows? Stay strong, I guess. Good luck!

anon326052
Post 96

Oh my. I'm 44 and have been smoking since I was 13. I knew quitting would be hard, but had no idea how hard until I read some of these posts. Thank you everyone for your honesty; it's appreciated. I've kicked a crack cocaine addiction in the past and I think that will look like a walk in the park compared to what quitting smoking seems it will feel like. Good gravy!

I'm determined to take charge of my health, and stop lining the pockets of the CEO's of Big Tobacco with my hard earned dollars. How does everyone deal with such severe symptoms while at work? I have an office job and my brain needs to be on and working, course my biggest problem will probably be the irritability and not telling off the boss! Yikes! I think the hours at work will be the hardest for me, but I plan to take a short break here and there for a quick walk around the parking lot when a craving hits, that should help.

Good luck to everyone, and thank you all again for not sugar-coating the process, I'd much rather know what I'm in for than be blindsided.

anon323622
Post 95

I was post no. 46. It's been 10 months now. I still get dizzy spells, but my sleep is improving to about six hours per night. I have been told to expect feeling not right for at least a year, so it's stacks of exercise, golf, walkies with dog/cat, playing bowls and keeping out of "she who still smokes'" way, as she is still on 25 a day and stinks. In fact, she came to bed last night, undressed and had a fall of soot. Keep it up all. Life's a breeze!

anon321702
Post 94

I'm a 42 year old woman from Auckland, New Zealand. I smoked on and off from 15 years old until now. There were years and years when I didn't smoke. So, all up, I probably smoked for about 15 years. I used to smoke about half a packet a day, more if I was drinking.

Five and a half weeks ago, I gave up cold turkey. I gave up for three reasons: My health/life, my 5 year old child (who is and will only be my only child) and the cost (now almost NZ$20 per pack) because I'm only on an average income. Smoking is expensive now.

The first two weeks were shocking. My cravings were very strong and very frequent. I'd say that I pretty much thought about cigarettes/smoking all day for the first week, and only slighty less in the second week.

The following two weeks, that is, weeks three and four, were better. My cravings weren't as strong and as frequent, but they were still there on and off throughout the day.

Week five (and counting...) is a lot better than the first four weeks. I only have about three to four cravings per day and each craving isn't that strong. That is, the craving lasts about two minutes. I feel a lot better, generally. My breathing is better and I just feel better.

However, my appetite has increased, which I'm finding difficult to control. I feel more depressed (very unmotivated, emotionally flat etc.) than usual (I already suffer from depression). I have vivid dreams all night long, every night. I wake up about four to six times a night and toss and turn. I don't know whether I wake because of the dreams or not, but when I go back to sleep, I just resume the dream from where I left off. Its like I pressed "pause", and then I press "play" again. I wake up in the morning exhausted feeling as though I've stayed up watching DVDs all night. I feel as though my brain has not rested. I'm tired all day. Some days I drop my child off at school and come back home and go straight back to bed and sleep for hours.

The increased eating and decreased sleeping (and the tiredness) don't help my depression. It's like one feeds the other - a self perpetuating cycle.

But, one thing I will say, is that I will be seeing this through to the end. I will never touch another cigarette again. I'm in it for the long haul.

My doctor says the dreaming/sleeping issue can be common, and does subside after three months. As for the overeating, I need to actively control this (make an effort) and exercise more (which will help with my depression and tiredness as well).

So, good luck to all you non-smokers. Keep strong. Push through the pain. No pain, no gain.

albany
Post 93

I'm on day 51 of no smoke after 24 years. I am 40 and have been experiencing some symptoms like a headache, nausea, slight feverish feeling, weakness and ironically, loss of appetite. I thought I would have more appetite when I quit. I've seen a physician to confirm if something is wrong but all seem good. done series of ultrasound scan to check my stomach, pelvic and thyroid all clean, had cbc test, and all good. My X-rays were all good.

My mouth still feel tasteless and I vomit sometimes. Interestingly, I don't have a craving for cigarettes. The whole thing keeps disturbing me. Are these really withdrawal symptoms? How long will this last. I need to know so I can prepare. However, I will never go back to smoking, by God's grace.

anon320648
Post 92

I am 34 male, and quit cold turkey two months ago after smoking 20-25 a day for 20 years. The first two weeks were not been easy. I've had mood swings, trouble concentrating, weird and vivid dreams, twitching muscles, sleeping disorder, etc., etc., but I got through. Now all this is gone except the insomnia and I have not been sleeping well. I don't know how long this will continue, but I'm hanging in there and hoping will start sleeping well. This is bothering me a lot and I'm wondering if anyone had trouble sleeping for two or more months after quitting?

anon320457
Post 91

I've decided to quit smoking for several reasons. I'm just having trouble getting over the 1st 24 hours. I've quit in the past, longest being four months but then I started occasional smoking and decided I wanted to. After reading some of these and the health problems that come with the withdrawal, it kind of makes me not want to quit.

When I had quit for the four months, my blood pressure was high, even after the four months, and I gained a lot of weight even though I was exercising and I quit drinking pop. Then like I have read, I started getting sick very easily. Lately, it has been a loss of concentration and it feels like my eyes can't focus correctly like I'm going cross eyed. It's almost like being over tired. I don't know what to do.

anon320102
Post 90

I am 13 weeks a quitter and had been having a horrible time with anxiety. After enough doctor visits to send me to the poor-house it was diagnosed that my anxiety was the result of antibiotics and not the quit. It seems a lot of people posting here have had antibiotics for any number of upper respiratory problems. Can it be a problem for anyone besides me? The doctor put me on anti anxiety meds. that made me a zombie. I was at the end of my rope. Today I had my first acupuncture treatment and so far all I can say is this is the best I have felt in a long time. I know I have a way to go but I feel like I might just make it after all. Now I'm not saying this is the answer for everyone out there but it is worth looking into?! It is hard work this quitting business and certainly not for the faint of heart. Go warriors!

anon319859
Post 89

Thank you so much to everyone posting. I don't feel quite so insane after reading that many are struggling as much as I am! I am over 90 days quit, but continue to have serious problems with anxiety, sleeping, and concentrating. I guess everyone's timeline is different, but I'm hoping to start seeing some relief in the next six months. No wonder so many fail to quit!

anon319068
Post 88

I'm on the 14th day. I have all sorts of addictions and cigarettes were just another one in a list of many, but I know they are the only addiction I have not successfully given up.

The cravings may be very real, but your ability to deal with them is all in your mind! Understand you never quit cigarettes. You choose to no longer smoke! You choose to no longer smoke! Remember that and you'll be fine.

anon318212
Post 87

I am going on about a week or so now I didn't really make a plan or quit date. I just quit buying them and smoking them, all went well for the first few days but now It's nerve wracking. I just keep thinking if I just go to the store and buy some this will all stop.

I feel compelled to not smoke as some sort of challenge and keep this going forever. It's hard to concentrate and I'm eating everything in the house. I need support and some help. I love being smoke free. It's just so hard.

Smile4Cure
Post 85

I stopped smoking less than a day ago (13 1/2 hours). I have tried to quit with chantix but it makes me nauseated for hours and I don't have hours of my day to give up because I have too many other commitments. So, here I am on day 1 and I'm doing it cold turkey. What worries me the most is that every time I have tried to quite before, I get really emotional. I cry for what seems to be no reason and all kinds of past experiences come back to the front of my mind. It begins happening, every other time, around 14 hours after the last cigarette and goes on until I break.

But honestly, I am sick of living my life for a cigarette! I am over it and I know it is going to be hard but I pray that I will not smoke again. I know one thing is for sure though: I will never stop quitting. I will try to stay up to date on how I am doing as time goes on.

The longest I have quit in the past is for six months and it was with the help of an online support system. I stopped the support system and started smoking but it was with the help of Zyban, which gave me out of control anxiety. I think with the help of God alone, I can do this! And if you're reading this wondering if you can do it, I believe that you can, too. I am 29 years old, a full-time student and a mother.

anon315902
Post 84

Firstly to all who have posted, good luck, and keep at it! I gave up 21 years ago, cold turkey (no patches or gum in those days, folks!) The article above is 100 percent accurate as far as the symptoms I went through are concerned. The first two weeks are the worst, then it is all about habits.

One piece of advice I wish I had had: watch the weight gain. It was a real issue for me after giving up, but can be controlled with exercise. I'm really glad I stuck with it!

anon315871
Post 83

I am on day 15 without those horrible sticks. It's been a hard road to come down and I'm hoping it will get easier.

I cannot concentrate, seem depressed all the time and my sleep pattern is awful. I must remember I'm doing this to help my health and the health of my children. I will continue, as hard as it is.

anon315418
Post 82

I'm 31 years old and on day 71 of quitting (cold turkey) my nine year habit of 10 cigarettes a day. I had all the symptoms listed and now they are gone except one annoying one: excessive underarm sweating even if its cold. I never had this problem before. Does anyone know if this is normal and will it go away? Any help will be appreciated.

anon315248
Post 81

I'm on day 21, and was using the patches up until a couple of days ago. Now I keep getting strange headache sensations in my head, anxiety and jerk myself up in my sleep and I'm feeling dizzy. I'm going to detox my body with nothing but water and start running. I've heard this does wonders.

anon315155
Post 80

Quitting smoking is a choice that all of us smokers have contemplated at one point or another. No one who smokes, really wants to, we just keep telling ourselves that we enjoy it.

How can you enjoy the odor, the shortness of breath, the yellow teeth, not to mention the fortune it now costs? Being a new non smoker has now shown me the error in my past judgement. Smoking is nothing more than a crutch.

Take control of your life and enjoy the health that not smoking provides. You cannot allow a cigarette to tell you who you are.

anon314162
Post 79

I have been free of cigarettes for five months now, and have been getting every viral infection under the sun since I have stopped. I constantly have sinus infections and if I stand beside someone who has a cold I am bound to pick it up. Does anyone else have this problem?

anon314108
Post 78

I'm 37 and have been smoking since I was 15, about 20 a day. I've been smoke free for two weeks, one day, 16 hours, five minutes, and it's not getting any better. Mood swings and anxiety have been the biggest problems.

I feel like something is missing big time. I'm off to buy some patches now because cold turkey is not the way to do this.

anon313662
Post 77

I quit December 2012, but used gum. I chewed that gum like a madman and I think this made it worse. I've been to the hospital with anxiety. My lungs look great, apparently.

I'm closing in on 24 hours without any nicotine at all. My head hurts, I feel like I can't breathe, can't sit still, my vision is blurry and I feel really detached.

Withdrawal from this can be really bad like hard drugs, so don't be discouraged. Almost all information out there makes it sound like you'll feel a little weird for a couple days and then it's smooth sailing. That's not true, but don't let it stop you.

anon313581
Post 76

This site is the only thing that has kept me on the quit. My last cigarette was in November 2012 after 38 years at a pack a day. I did a lot of research to prepare for the end – or so I thought. I did not use any NRT, but was trying to cut way back before going cold turkey. The first week wasn't too horrible but then every symptom you read about on this site hit and hit hard. I have enough anxiety to make any person think I am insane. One of my best friends had me sobbing because she told me it was all in my head. I can still cry because I am so tired of feeling sick both mental and physical.

I have looked everywhere for something to tell me when to expect this to end. So far I haven't found that answer. So I will continue to read this site because it helps to know this is not me losing my mind but my worst enemy trying to keep a grip on me. Thanks for all the words of wisdom out there.

anon313579
Post 75

It's been 11 days since my last cigarette. I am 57 and my husband 58 and we are giving up together, which is a great help, We smoked 20 a day each for 40 years and now we are sharing experiences and laughing at some of the weirder ones. Neither one of us ever intend to smoke again, and now we have an incentive tin for the money we save to go towards a holiday.

If I feel anxious or jittery, I do something mad, like dance in the back garden, play the piano or go on a walk with the cat! And going outside first thing in the morning and taking a deep breath of lovely fresh air reminds me what's great about stopping.

anon313544
Post 74

I know what it feels like. I had quit smoking for two months in the past, but continued because of my breakup. I wish I had controlled myself. Again, I am on my journey to quit it. It's been a day. Wish me luck.

blackforest
Post 73

I'm 30, and have been smoking for nine years now, an average of 4-8 cigarettes per day. I'm in the fourth week and it feels hard to concentrate and I feel jittery with anxiety, experience mood swings and have a headache. I know it will last only a few more weeks, but is there any way to concentrate? It's affecting my work.

anon313209
Post 72

I'm 34 year old male, with 20 years of smoking 20 a day. Today is the 26th day of being smoke free, cold turkey. The first 2 weeks have been difficult. Bad sleep and vivid dreams, trouble concentrating, increased appetite, mood swings, muscle twitching. I have started going to the gym, which helps me stay motivated. I will get through all this and be smoke free, whatever it takes. Good luck to you all.

anon312725
Post 71

I've just had an infection so I had to have an operation where they cut my neck to insert a tube -- scared me like hell. I'm now on the 9th day and I haven't stopped eating. The first four days, I couldn't smoke as I was on an IV in the hospital but I just can't stop eating and really craving a cigarette.

anon312608
Post 70

I am two weeks away from one year not smoking. I gave up when diagnosed with throat cancer in January 2012 and although I tried patches, I went cold turkey. After three weeks, the two stress situations together have been a nightmare, but have persisted.

The postings on this site have really helped me today because I still have some withdrawal symptoms and until I read this, thought I was finally losing the plot.

I still wake about 5:30 a.m. with this awful feeling of doom and yearning. It's hard to describe. I cope by keeping busy, but it sneaks in when I relax or sleep, but know I will fight it to stay a non-smoker.

anon312555
Post 69

My boyfriend has been on the patch for about a week and doesn't want to talk to me or see me. He says he needs to go through this quitting process. Is this normal or an excuse?

anon312255
Post 68

Oh my. I don't see how I am even going to do this. I never smoked my entire life until about a year ago. I always wanted to try a cigar, so I did. Now after a year of smoking, I am trying to quit. My goodness, but this is horrible. I want to quit for the right reasons: health, children, the stigma, the smell, etc. It is not easy. I am going nuts. I like to smoke. I relieve stress by smoking. This is so very hard!

rubyshoes
Post 67

This has to be the only site on the planet which brutally tells through all these brave posts the harsh facts about what really happens on all levels when you first quit.

I am 43year old female and have smoked for the last 30 years more or less 20 a day. I have been smoke free for two weeks now and already my chest and my skin feel and look better. However, I sometimes feel really sad and lonely and cry for no reason. I sometimes get these waves of anger coming over me for absolutely no reason.

I read that smoking suppress anger. I sometimes get super irritated by people and want to bash someone. (I've never hurt a soul in my life). But because I know that these emotions ultimately pass by just like the changes in the weather, I can live with it. I stay away from alcohol because this caused me to smoke gain after six months of being an ex smoker.

I am determined to beat this demon because I want to live a healthy, happy and ultimately (not there yet!) peaceful life.

whydidismoke
Post 66

I was thinking I am the only one going through this hell. I have been going on for four months through withdrawals. The reason why it's taking me so long could be I have smoked in the middle for a while and then got back on quitting. Does it make things worse if you smoke in the middle and then come back to quitting? Do you think it would shorten the time if I just keep going cold turkey?

Thanks a lot, and please help me getting out of this bad habit.

anon310722
Post 64

I would just like to say I am so glad to have found this site, I am 42 years old and I was a smoker for 26 years and on a cigarette habit of 30 a day.

I am on my 15th week cigarette free after stopping with the Champix program. My body feels like it has gone into some sort of shock. During weeks one through four, I got the aches and pains and irritability, the constant cravings and thinking of a cigarette every second of the day and even woke during the night thinking about a cigarette. I could not stop eating, sucking on sweets and chewing gum, finger tapping and twiddling my fingers.

I had to completely change my lifestyle around. My mind was just constantly thinking about cigarettes, and there was not much room for anything else. No wonder they say the IQ goes down during quitting.

During weeks five through eight, I put on weight and the aching got worse, I had headaches and was very tired all the time. All I wanted to do was just have that one cigarette, and it would all go away. It was like I’d sold my soul to the devil and now it was payback time.

Weeks nine through 13 were probably the worst part for me because that’s when the mind games started where I would tell myself I might as well start again and I would talk myself into having a cigarette and I would have open discussions with my subconscious about why I should have that one cigarette again. I found myself still aching and still tired, although the cravings had all but diminished. My body has gone through torture saying no, no, no, I will not let this demon ravage another particle of my flesh or organs. It hurts so bad physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. Sometimes I just can’t do anything but cry with the pain of trying to quit, and what keeps me still saying no is that I now see a cigarette as a demon that slowly sucks the life out of you and that is why it’s so painful; our bodies are fighting such a powerful force and it’s literally fighting for its life back after nearly being snatched away. I’m not going down without a bloody good fight, and it will be worth it in the end and I will value my life all the more because I had to fight to save it. So after week 14 and ongoing, and my battle continues, but without the cigarettes, I have a better chance of winning, and although I am weak at the moment, I see the light at the end of the long long tunnel, so all of you out there trying to quit I wish you all the best of luck and I have the utmost respect for each and every one of you. I really do know just what it takes, but also remember to keep at it, because it also gives back -- your life.

anon310704
Post 63

Withdrawal from nicotine is a bad boy and yes, I have about 73 days without nicotine and I had severe withdrawal.

One of my post was susan65 and then I added another. Things started to settle down after two and a half months, and I still have anxiety and some panic which has been hell. I also felt as though I was dying because of the withdrawal. Don't smoke! You will only have to repeat the hell again. Stay strong and Happy New Year!

anon310646
Post 62

I quit smoking about two months ago. I am 47 and I have smoked since I was 21. I have smoked one or two packs of cigarettes a day.

I feel like I am losing my my mind. I start to shake, get panic attacks and can't sleep. I never have experienced anything like this. It feels like I am going crazy. I take xanax to help me out with the symptoms. I'm not sure if maybe the symptoms of quitting cigarettes goes away after a few months, but then will I be hooked on xanax and have the same anxiety stopping the xanax. Maybe I should just start smoking again?

anon308545
Post 60

BP changes are to be expected. Your body is freaking out and the tension you feel is reflected in your blood pressure. The second reading you have 100/170 is obviously wrong. The top reading can't be higher than the bottom(resting beat) reading. Don't freak out.

By the way, I'm good at instructing others. I'm on day three (again). Probably be on the roof ready to jump by tomorrow. But, never give up.

anon307611
Post 59

I am on day 52 without nicotine. My last post was under my name susan 65.

I am a little better. I have anxiety and some muscle spams and some weird things that go on. It is out of this world to have withdrawal like this. I also have problems sleeping and feel out of sort.

I have smoked for 30 years and I guess expected to be my old chipper self right away. Well, not working on it. I am better than I was in the first five weeks when I thought I was checking out and insane.

I have no desire to smoke and will continue to move forward being a non smoker and feeling good about not giving into the dragon of nicotine. Keep up the good work. We all need a pat on the back or hugs. This is a big hang-up, but in all, we can overcome this.

anon307456
Post 58

I am on day 39. I am 40 years old and have smoked a pack a day since age 16 so 24 years. That is a very long time. I loved smoking. I enjoyed it so much, and I still want to smoke. The first two weeks I really thought I wasn't going to make it through the withdrawal symptoms. I used gum during that time, but only a few pieces a day. I still chew a piece of gum during extremely stressful situations.

I quit because my 18 year old daughter started smoking and had to go to a pulmonologist. We were told that her lung function is only 45 percent. It scared me to death, so made a deal that if she would quit I would quit, too. She quit for two weeks, but picked it back up. I don't want to start back, so I'm going to just keep taking it one day at a time and will keep encouraging my daughter to try again to quit. Good luck everyone!

anon307389
Post 57

I have smoked for 20 years and am 35 years old used on average a pack a day. I've just decided to quit four days ago by using the patch.

The first day was not bad I felt a little like I was not all there in mind but did not really even think about cigarettes. My girlfriend and I did go to the bar for my aunt's 40th birthday and I had four drags of a smoke.

On day 2, my nose was running like a water faucet. I would also have my arms get tight and that made me nervous. I kept busy most the day and didn't really crave cigarettes, but felt out of place when I was not smoking or when I would normally smoke.

Day 3 was my first day back to work and it was OK. My nose ran all day and I didn't really know what to do when my breaks happened. I bought apples and popcorn to eat. It seemed to be OK until about the last hour of work, when I started to get a headache. I work overnights so I when I got out of work I went home and slept.

Day 4 is today. I woke up and have had the same headache all day. My nose isn't running but I think its building pressure in my head. I'm wearing the patch on my shoulder blade and this is the first day my arms have not been getting tight. I'm getting hot and cold and feel like crap. I took some Advil cold and flu so I hope it helps.

I will continue to post on here because it is great to be able to see how others handle this topic and I feel a lot better knowing that others go through the same thing and it's not just me. --Matt

anon306935
Post 56

I quit 56 days ago and I have every symptom that everyone has described, but the ones that still bother me the most are the anxiety, panic and muscle spasms. I still am not sleeping good but I'm sleeping about two hours more than I was the first month after quitting. Since quitting I have developed GERD and the gas, and burning in the chest is getting on my nerves. I take Xanax at night when the anxiety is the worst to help me sleep. I'm not depressed but have considered getting back on my antidepressants which is also used for panic/anxiety but I am trying to go as long as I can without doing so.

I have been using an e-cig for the last week, hoping it would make the anxiety go away but I was wrong. It doesn't. I have quit numerous times and have never gone through the withdrawal until this time. It stinks. Every time my GERD acts up, it sends me into panic mode. I had to even quit drinking coffee and soda because the caffeine and sugar would trigger my anxiety. I have read where people say drinking cranberry juice helps but I have tried that, I had the one with low sugar (11 grams) and later that day went into panic mode at my son's girlfriend's house. I know its only temporary, but I'm afraid that all this anxiety/panic is going to cost me my job and that doesn't help my anxiety. Ugh. I can't take it.

anon306160
Post 55

It will be two years next month that I'm cigarette free. I'm 48 years old now, and smoked about a pack a day for since I was 18. I feel great, however I did not feel awful when I was smoking, and it does not bother me to be around people who smoke.

I've had little to no weight gain, and neither I nor my clothes smell like a wet ash tray. My breath does not stink. Then there are the obvious health advantages. I wish I had done this a long time ago.

It was helpful reading the cautions on nicotine gum, as I still use it (about three to five pieces a day). If and when I choose to give up the gum, I will do it slowly. Good luck everyone, and keep fighting. It's worth it.

By the way, my one of my mother's physicians quit smoking about 15 years ago and still occasionally uses gum.

anon305804
Post 54

I am now five weeks cigarette free and have only had two or three cravings. The only reason I could quit is Allen Carr's "Easy way to stop smoking." This is a miracle worker. I put my last cigarette out and went cold turkey! This book is amazing and I think every smoker should read it.

anon304770
Post 53

I quit five days ago, but had two cigarettes yesterday, and none today. I am on the nicotine gum, but thanks to the posts here, I will be careful not to change one habit for another. My only symptoms so far are extreme bloating and anxiety. I have been smoking for 35 years, and I can't remember how many times I've tried to quit.

susan65
Post 52

I am 47 years old and on day 37 and I am also grateful I found this site. I have smoked for 30 years or so -- a pack a day -- and went cold turkey and no one told me it was going to be like this. I also was at the doc's and ER several times.

I had severe panic. I thought it was the end for me. I thought I threw my back out and my shoulder was in extreme pain. I had chest pains and severe muscle spasms in my upper back and chest.

My blood pressure is high also, and I feel out of sorts. I have 24 years clean and sober and this has really kicked my butt. I don't ever want to smoke ever again.

When I share this with some other people, they look at me crazy for having theses severe symptoms. I am still having symptoms like chest tightness and underarm discomfort, sleeping issues and tingling feelings all over. You name it, I had it. I keep thinking this too shall pass. My, oh my. Keep up the good work, everybody. We can do this.

anon303827
Post 51

I am on day number 9 and I feel a lot of the symptoms that each of you have explained. I started smoking when I was 17 and I am 29 now. I have these strange tickling feelings on my left side by my shoulder, shoulder blade, and left breast.

Is this a normal side effect? It doesn't hurt it just makes me feel all jittery and anxious. Is this normal?

anon303681
Post 50

I have been five weeks today without smoking. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could pick them right back up today. I have some good days, but more bad.

I am 43 years old and have been a pack a day smoker for 25 years, so I should expect this wouldn't be an easy thing to do. The funny thing is, I hate the way I smell now when I am around a smoker and I realize now how much the smell lingers.

I am doing this for my first grand-baby who will be here in January. I've been using Chantix and it does help, but the cravings are still there. I hope that over time, this does go away. Good luck to the rest of you!

anon303184
Post 49

I'm 15 days of being cigarette free and I have to tell you I've never felt better. It's like getting my first Christmas gift and believe me, I'm not going back to those death dealers.

anon303180
Post 48

I was on day five today and finally broke this evening, bought a packet and have smoked three. I feel absolutely terrible. I've saved one and crushed the rest of the pack to dust and told myself that it's day zero again tomorrow. What's worst of all is that I know full well that it's just going to extend the pain of withdrawal.

The only good thing that's come from it is that having cracked, I now know for certain that it doesn't help. I had this idea that smoking one cigarette would clear everything up and I'd be alright again but boy was I wrong! I feel worse now and am right back at square one.

Good luck to everyone trying and snaps for the people who don't have bumps in the road. I've had mine today, so I just hope I can stick to it properly now. I don't even want to try gums, fake cigs, champix etc. I want to be able to say I did it myself, even if it's longer and harder to do.

chrismc
Post 47

I am now on day 10 and wow! These withdrawal symptoms make me want to start again. I'm having chest pains (no cough) headaches, body aches, sleep problems, confusion, dizzy spells and many more. There is no one to talk to who understands. I have smoked since age 16 and am now 38, so that's a really long time.

I have found that exercise (of any form) helps keep my mind off things. I have also found that looking on the Internet helps my (now) anxiety. --Him in New Zealand.

anon299905
Post 46

I stopped puffing six months ago, and had all the symptoms mentioned on this site. I still have the lack of sleep, and only get about six hours a night. I get dizzy on some days. I gave up caffeine, eat stacks of fruit and drink fruit juices. I smoked a pack a day for fifty years, and will never smoke again. I have saved £1300 in six months.

When I feel better I shall take she who still smokes on a cruise. Hang in there folks.

anon299901
Post 45

Pain is weakness leaving the body. On day 4, it's tough! But hang in there in minute by minute, hour by hour, day after day. Good wishes to all here. Hope we overcome this challenge.

anon299511
Post 44

I am on day four. I went through a lot of reading on how to quit smoking and what to prepare for and then simply went cold turkey.

I must say, no one gave me idea on what I would face. All the documents and info out there tell you how to deal with craving. Well, I haven’t felt like smoking again since Monday. So I would say controlling the craving was easy.

But the nicotine withdrawal is terrible right now. I have a sore and dry throat, cough and fever, cramps, muscle pain, stomach pain, headache, nausea and restlessness. On top of this, I haven’t been able to sleep for more than three hours and it’s difficult to sleep.

I am happy and feeling good that I am able to quit and stay away from smoke and I can live through these symptoms. It's just that no one even gave me the faintest idea that I would face these. Thanks for the support and I hope to see more people choosing health over smoke.

anon298415
Post 43

This is my 33rd day of not smoking! I gave up for my son who is six and has asthma! Anytime that I feel like having a cigarette, I just think of all the health implications and the urge passes! I did start using patches and the nicotine spray but decided to stop using them altogether, as I would have to wean myself of of them too!

I honestly don't know how my husband has put up with me! I have been irritable, moody, unable to sleep at night, terrible wind. You name it - I've had it! My latest one is depression/paranoia. I've been so down and constantly worrying about stupid things that most likely, other people have forgotten long ago! I was just wondering how other people coped with this or if anyone had any advice?

anon298327
Post 42

I quite six months ago after 20-plus years, smoking 10-15 a day. I've had anxiety, tightness in my chest, headaches, hot and cold spells, a lump in my throat, colds. Right now, I've a got bad ear. I've been to the doctors more times in the last six months than the last 10 years but after all that, I could still smoke a fag. this is my fifth time to quit. The longest I've made it is 14 months. It does get better with time, but you also forget the early quitting symptoms so everyone, one day at a time it does get better.

anon297728
Post 41

I'm officially on day 23 of not smoking. This is by far the longest I've ever gone without smoking and I honestly can't be happier. The first week I quit, I felt like I was hit by a bus. I had a sore throat the morning after I quit which turned into hot and cold sweats and lots of congestion both nasal and in my chest. It felt like I had the flu for almost two weeks.

I kept thinking that whole time how 'easy' it would be to smoke and just free myself of this hideousness but the trick is to tell yourself 'Oh yeah, I'm not doing that anymore, I want to live longer than 40 years, or be here for my kids, or save ten bucks a day.' Believe me people, by the third week of quitting you should start feeling a lot better. I guess maybe it won't be the same for everyone, but I was a pack a day smoker for almost 12 years and I can't believe how great I feel after just 23 days of not smoking.

I tried the patch for the first week and decided I didn't want to quit smoking just to get addicted to something else. Three days of no patch and having the flu was a pain I can't even describe. The week of work after I was finished with the patch and smoking I didn't even feel like myself. I felt like there was a giant cloud fogging my brain. It was hard for me to put thoughts together and even when I spoke, it was like I would trip over my own words.

All I can say is stick to it! Don't become a slave to something that you know is so horrible for your body. Everyone can quit, you just need the motivation to begin. Don't ever take another puff starting today!

anon297684
Post 40

I quit smoking over five years ago but then got hooked on the gum. Not only did I use the gum to replace smoking, but over time I chewed more and more and more. It was not uncommon for me to chew 30-40 pieces per day. I was a chain chewer, one piece right after the next. I had no idea how much more nicotine I was getting from the gum. I just told myself it was still better for me than smoking.

Three weeks ago, I decided that I was sick of spending over $60 a week on gum and went to the store and bought sugar-free gum instead. My mind and body got quite the jolt! My brain felt like it was shrinking inside my skull. My vision got blurry, I couldn't sleep, I looked and felt like a zombie. I didn't know what to do with myself.

My vision is finally better. I still sometimes get that "foggy" feeling. The two biggest problems I am currently experiencing are depression and very bad stomach problems. I frequently get these raging stomach pains that shoot into my right shoulder. It is hard to move when they set in and they usually last between one and three hours. I find myself weeping over little things and generally feeling low. I do exercise, and running especially, helps to give me a mental boost.

I am so grateful I have done this well, and I just don't see myself returning to gum after seeing the after effects it has caused me. I hope that anyone who is trying to quit smoking and reads this understands that the nicotine gum is not the answer. It is a replacement all right, but it is not therapeutic. You are replacing one habit with another and the addiction remains the same.

My only hope is that my body eventually adjusts to life without nearly-toxic levels of nicotine and that I didn't completely ruin my body. I would like to be healthy enough to go out and enjoy myself with all the money I am saving now that I am not a slave to gum.

anon297604
Post 39

I am on day 16 without a cigarette. I have smoked a least a pack a day for 37 years. There have been times when I have smoked more and times when I have smoked less, like when I was pregnant. I feel really bad that I didn't quit then but I couldn't. I had to have just a few puffs a day.

Then my son started smoking. Can't tell you how bad that felt. He's given up so now I gave too. But its really hard. The normal sites don't really do into depth about the emotional side effects. I can't sleep and I feel so irritable. The cravings are so bad at times. It has gotten better but it's still so hard. It sounds crazy but I lost my mum to cancer when I was 16. While I smoked, I kind of had a part of her with me. I know it wasn't the part she would have wanted me have but it doesn't help. I feel so lonely. My husband's quit too, so I have support and someone who's going through the same thing, but it's still so hard. I can hear him snoring right now while I'm wide awake wondering if these pangs are ever going to stop. Seems like I will learn to tolerate them better, but it helps knowing that I'm not overreacting. This quitting smoking thing is hell.

anon297526
Post 38

I quit about a month ago and got very sick. My doctor told me I had a viral infection, but it is not going away. I have the dizziness, body aches, extreme hunger, bloat, constant diarrhea and I'm very irritable. My throat is sore and sometimes my chest hurts but apparently it's because I'm getting more oxygen now. My B/P has remained normal, and yes, I've been to the hospital for anxiety. I curse the day I started and pray for the day I start to feel normal.

anon296328
Post 37

In response to withdrawal symptoms, if you are feeling nauseated, experiencing headaches or any type of chest pain three weeks after quitting, this is most likely not caused by nicotine withdrawal, as the physical side of the addiction has already been overcome by this point. In true fact, ten days after you smoke your last cigarette, the physical withdrawal symptoms have passed.

anon295942
Post 36

I'm 42, have smoked for 25 years, and am on day 31 of my latest quit attempt. I've tried to quit numerous times, cold turkey and with patches, and each time the symptoms have been slightly different. I find that each time I try to stop I'm better at it, with a better idea of what to expect, and that cold turkey is the best method for me. This time I was sick for three weeks and have had the usual lethargy.

I find the "government sponsored sites" leave you totally unprepared and seem to be written by people who've never battled through quitting. Sites like this one are invaluable.

Yes it's hard, but yes, it's possible to quit. After only 31 days it's still sometimes tough, but easier than it was, and I have periods where I feel brilliantly happy because I can feel I'm really getting on top of it.

I find that when I fight through the times when it can't possibly get any worse I break through a barrier and feel better and stronger, when it feels intolerable I now realise that I'm actually overcoming a major part of the addiction and the next day will be better.

Hang in there everyone. You can make it and it will get easier.

anon295860
Post 35

I am five days now without a cigarette. The doctor found a spot on my lung last week and even though he is not worried about it, I am. I cannot breathe sometimes it feels like I am being suffocated. I try to breathe. I try to walk but I have panic attacks and I hope I will make it past today.

anon295186
Post 34

I complete seven weeks tomorrow after 20 years of addiction and am actually feeling proud of this! The first two weeks of withdrawal were as mentioned in so many forums, and I came through with flying colours.

But, just when I thought that the worst period is over, the last one week has been terrible with physical pangs. I am talking to myself every minute not to let go.

anon294317
Post 33

I am on day 10 of my quit. I am using an electronic cigarette periodically, but when I run out of cartridges, that is it on that, I feel jittery, also at a loss of what to do, like I walk around the house not sure what I am doing. You feel like you lost a friend when you quit smoking.

But my worst problem, and what scares me, is I have a very very heavy chest, almost a dull ache in my chest, where my lungs are. Are they trying to heal? It scares me.

anon293461
Post 32

Just into my fifth day and focusing on my breathing is really helping. Every time I feel a sense of anxiety kick in, I am just stopping for a second and breathing deeply. It is working so far. The feelings pass.

My biggest problem is feeling like I have had a frontal lobotomy. I work in a highly technical field which requires a certain level of focus. This is the reason I have failed quitting in the past: the need to concentrate. I hope that I can push through this time without it affecting my work too much.

anon292984
Post 31

I've been on and off nicotine gum and patches since 2009 because I was pregnant, then breastfeeding. I was able to get by without smoking except for an occasional one I'd sneak from my husband's pack.

I'm 47, and have been a pack a day smoker since I was 17, with occasional quits that would last for a few months with the help of gum or patch. I quit again two months ago with the patch.

This weekend I decided to go nicotine free and oh, God. I feel like my brain is shriveling up in my head, my IQ has plummeted and my whole personality has deteriorated to the point that I may as well go sit in a dark closet. I'm a freak; it's that simple.

I guess nicotine was the crutch to keep my sanity in check. Now I need to be locked up. I did some yoga yesterday and today I'll run. How am I going to function at my job tomorrow? How long will this last?

anon291766
Post 30

I quit 11 days ago, and it feels a lot better but I have been have bad stomach pains for the last three days, and it's difficult for them to come out even though it feels like they should be on the exit.

My anxiety is on and off but when it's on, I feel like I can't focus on one thing and think of future things I need to do and start, but it just gets to me. My stomach pain does not help the situation.

When the anxiety is starting, I start doing the whole why this and why that. Breathing helps but I'm athletic and medication is not an option. Does anyone else have this type of anxiety?

anon291132
Post 29

Thank you shiska post 14! I recently stopped smoking one month ago and have had and am still having what you wrote in your post. I know eventually it will pass. It will just take some time.

anon286407
Post 28

I quit at midnight last Friday. The death of my 41-year-old sister to breast cancer in early August and a visit to the dentist that resulted in an upcoming visit to a specialist for three suspicious areas on my gums on Friday simply scared the heck out of me.

I have quit and restarted plenty of times but feel like this will be the one. I have overwhelming depression and sudden deep muscle pain in my right shoulder (I have been researching and seems like it can be related to the patch), I have been removing it at night because I have had past experiences with vivid dreams. Basically, I'm an insomniac at night and trying to sleep when I should be completing home, work and graduate degree related tasks.

Somewhere, I read about quitter's flu and that is definitely what this feels like. I am sad, distracted, anxious and worried about my mortality. This is the time; it has to happen now. Te rambling that you see here is the rambling that my brain seems to be doing now as well.

Thanks for listening, all. I appreciate the opportunity for a very lonely venting session. --Colleen

anon284481
Post 27

It has been 11 weeks today since I had my last smoke, and 15 weeks for my husband. We have both been smoking for 40 years. We had very similar symptoms, after the first few weeks sore throat,tightness of the chest,hard to breath some times, headaches, body aches and pain and no energy. The only difference was my hubby slept more and I slept even less than normal.

As for the cravings, even now some days are good others are really bad. We ask each other if this is worth it and when all is said and done you bet it is. I want to be free and healthy. Reading forums like this has helped me heaps, so thank you every one. I know I still have a long way to go but I know it will get easier. So good luck to each and every one of us.

anon283054
Post 26

I am on my 11th day. This is my ninth time. I smoked for 18 years and I am 36 now. The first five days were difficult and nowadays I have fewer cravings. I feel dull and lonely, and have not been sure what to say for the last 10 days.

I have started doing exercise and controlling my food intake. The best part is I have stopped taking medicines for heartburn and acidity, which i used to take for a long time now. I've been on BP medication for the past two years. I've been checking my BP, and it seems to be under control. I will stop this once I reach the 60 day mark and recheck with my doc. Cheers. It's nice to see other posts and feel confident and pray everybody succeeds.

I had a beer recently with colleagues and never had a puff. I was smiling to myself when I reached home. It's a nice feeling.

anon281037
Post 25

I quit almost seven months ago. I had every symptom. I thought I would not get better. I feel better most days now but I still get the withdrawal symptoms from time to time. Good luck to all of you, and don't give up.

anon280421
Post 24

I just quit six days ago (I am using the patch) and stumbled upon this comment thread as I was searching to figure out why the hell I fell so terrible! This was the first site I found where people were really telling it straight and being real about what they experienced through withdrawal and not just acting as cheerleaders.

I started smoking about 10 years ago, and most recently would have four to eight cigarettes a day (driving to/from work) and supplement that with eight to 10 pieces of 4mg gum during the workday. It came to the point where I was much more hooked on the gum than actual cigarettes, so I've decided to quit.

I was really not anticipating all the side-effects of withdrawal. I thought the tough part would be giving up the gum, but that's been the easy part! Today, I have a massive tension headache that is all around my skull, in my sinuses and down into my next shoulders.

anon275247
Post 23

I quit in December 2011. I have not cheated and I don't want to use tobacco anymore. I felt bad at first. I thought I would die. I could not sleep and I was nervous and depressed. I also had body aches and a sore throat. I had it all and the days seemed like months.

I am feeling better but I can honestly say I am not 100 percent. I sleep good now, but I do feel jittery at times. I don't like big crowds anymore and prefer just being at home.

My wife does not understand me anymore. I have explained what I am going through and she does not get it. I am proud to have quit. I won't do that ever again. I look forward to feeling good again, like my old self. Good luck to everyone. I know better days are ahead. This week I felt funny again. It is just temporary.

anon275238
Post 22

It's been nine months since I quit smoking. I still have those symptoms but they're not like they used to be. Sometimes I do get anxiety symptoms but I control them by breathing exercises. I tried spending most of my time in graphic designing and it has helped me a lot. Now the smell of a cigarette annoys me and I don't like it at all. I eat lots of fruits and drink lots of water so that I can flush out all the toxins. Everything seems so good

@anon127582: It's due to anxiety. Too much thinking and tension makes your blood pressure go up and down. Just relax.

anon273091
Post 21

It's 163 days and counting. I quit last December.

In January, I was rushed to the ER twice because of panic, palpitations and the feeling of general weakness. All the tests came back normal. I told the doctors that I quit smoking, and they weren't surprised. Nicotine withdrawal is normal for someone who smoked heavily -- in my case, 20-plus years.

I started working out again regularly in March and I feel much better now. I still have the occasional withdrawal symptoms, but I can tolerate them now. What's important is being committed to the new smoke free lifestyle. Exercise and eating right, and most of all, believing that the body has the natural God-given ability to heal itself. Keep strong everyone and God bless. --LivingStraightEdge1973

anon265616
Post 20

It's my 107th day of quitting cold turkey and I must say that my head feels so weird. It's been like this since a month from the day I last had my last stick.

At first it felt like my head is a bowling ball -- too heavy. I couldn't do my everyday things; I was just in bed. Good thing I had just resigned from work. The heaviness went on for three months.

Unfortunately, my problem now is dizziness and also my eyes are having a hard time focusing. I get very sensitive to light, I still can't drive, I still have anxiety and I can't even take going to the malls. I wish I could say the the worst was done but I guess I still need more time.

I didn't have the cold-flu symptoms but I have twitching legs and arms sometimes. I had been healthy my whole life until I quit smoking. I hope this will get me to a good future. I don't crave cigarettes anymore at all. I take Vitamins C and B complex and I don't know if that's even helping.

As much as I want to exercise, I couldn't because of my head and dizziness that's almost constant. I hate this. I want to be normal again and I hope it won't take too long. Anybody know what I should do? All I can do is pray and hang on.

anon264767
Post 19

Well I had my last cigarette last Tuesday (only one) and actually I don't feel too good. I have had a horrible cough for the last three days and am very fatigued. I am sure it gets better.

anon261302
Post 18

This is the absolute worst feeling in the world. I quit 58 days ago. I do not crave cigs; the smell disgusts me. Which is a good thing, right?

But my anxiety is through the roof. I also got diagnosed as having hyperthyroidism after quitting, so just a heads-up caution as quitting does bring this out in people.

Does anyone else have major panic -- I mean really bad?

Aatt1981
Post 17

I am on day seven and freaking out because of the following reasons. Can someone please help?

1. Extremely paranoid all the time and tense. Add anxiety also.

2. Feeling hot one minute and cold the next.

3. Very sore throat and burning sensation.

4. No cough and cold until now.

5. Horrible indigestion - burping a lot but not able to pass gas or stool comfortably.

anon252884
Post 16

Day three without a cigarette, after 26 years smoking one pack a day. The worst part is the headaches. And I am in a constant fog. Thank god I'm not a brain surgeon. Work is a challenge though, I just keep laughing and joking, and it gets me through it.

I never thought that something had such a control over me. What do I do on lunch breaks? I go tanning. I don't want to eat. I don't want to go from one extreme to the other. Reading other people's posts makes me realize I am not alone. We can do this.

anon244849
Post 15

I'm on my third month now since I quit tobacco. I still feel bad but I am sleeping a little better. I pray I feel better one day. I want to feel normal again. I will not use tobacco again. Will I ever be myself.

shishka
Post 14

The only regret I have about this website is that there are never enough stories to read regarding this trying subject. I have read the testimonies from hundreds and seemingly cannot get enough inspiration from these brave souls.

I quit Labor Day, 2011 (150 days and counting). I smoked up to one pack a day for 27-odd years. I was dealing with some usually mild pains in my head that my doctor couldn’t quite explain, so I had a CT scan done. It all turned out negative, and I hardly notice anything these days regarding that issue, but during those uncertain days I decided to quit smoking because it seemed to only add to my anxiety over the issue.

My biggest withdrawal symptoms:

Insomnia. When it began in earnest, I didn’t sleep more than six hours total in a four-day period. It kind of freaked me out because I had never experienced insomnia like that before. Well, my reaction to it all didn’t help, and I found myself struggling for a couple of weeks to get more than four hours of sleep on a given night -- even with the aid of sleeping pills. Eventually I dropped the sleep meds altogether and just let nature’s sleep deprivation do its thing to reset my internal clock, and after about a month’s time I was back to sleeping six or seven hours pretty regularly. I still want more sleep, and I’m thinking the longer I go without smoking, the better that will get.

Anxiety/Depression. For the first few weeks, I figuratively didn’t know who I was. I’d be at work (trying to work, that is) and find myself staring out the window by my desk, thinking about the dizziness, the fuzziness, the uncertainty, the lack of attention and concentration -- the things that I was gong to die from with these and other strange sensations my body was going through. For about a week, I would experience a panic attack daily. It would last about five or 10 minutes and I’d be able to calm myself down. I cried to my wife one night because I couldn’t enjoy my time with our eight-year-old. That was the low point.

Thankfully, it was after that week that I stumbled upon this site and lo and behold! I wasn’t simply losing my mind. It was withdrawals! Nobody -- nobody -- prepared me. I mean, I knew about the “temporary feelings of anxiety,” but I didn’t think quitting smoking would lead to the degree of disconnect I went through.

I dealt with foul gas (still do at times), loose stools (sorry -- too much?) for weeks. Not too much in terms of chest pain, thankfully, but I suffered through four colds in a span of about a month.

Now, five months later, my symptoms are overall getting better. I’m still not feeling 100 percent (I’d say on a good day I feel 85-90 percent), but things are moving in the right direction. I read about insomnia to better my sleeping habits. I took B12 to battle my anxiety and depression. I exercise almost daily, 30 minutes or more, to combat the angst and to flip the endorphins on. I eat way more fruits, veggies, whole grains and drink lots of water. I started painting again after years of dormancy. I started reading more and occupied myself, which kept my mind off my symptoms and took the battle to them at the same time.

Folks, if you want success in quitting, don’t be afraid of the symptoms. This site is an excellent resource for experience and preparedness. That alone is a great start. It’s kind of like that first roller coaster ride when you were very young. You were afraid of how it would be and feel, but you knew deep down inside it wouldn’t hurt you if you tried, and when the ride was over, you’d feel great that you conquered your fear. This site helped be conquer my fears and symptoms. It can help you all, too!

anon242291
Post 13

It is already three months since I have quit smoking. I used to smoke about a pack per day for the last 44 years. Now I feel lonely and sometimes I feel heavy headed, especially at 3 o'clock in the morning.

anon234949
Post 12

I am 36 years old, and have gone 10 days without nicotine after 20 years of smoking a pack a day. The last three years, I have been smoking 2 to 2.5 packets per day (50 per day).

I am worried about depression, and have not experienced significantly annoying physical symptoms. My main symptom is a feeling of loneliness, like something is missing. I have been drinking a lot of coffee to try replace the emptiness.

The first three days were really the hardest in terms of wanting to break and smoke. But after the first three days, it becomes more like acceptance, like accepting someone has died, still miserable but you are unlikely to go back to smoking after having in your near memory the pain of the first 72 hours you just survived.

Ten years ago, I tried to quit and lasted four months, totally depressed. It would have helped if I had been able to read these forums to know that this was not unusual.

anon234409
Post 11

Awesome forum.

I have a few questions. I am 23 and work in Uganda in a mine. I quit smoking almost two months ago but I'm having bad pains in my chest, feel like I can't breathe, feel like there is something crawling in my skin, and I'm going through a depression phase. Is this normal?

The closest hospital is five hours away, and I've been there twice for blood test and X-rays, and everything came back fine.

Is there anything i can do to take the edge off this, because it's affecting my work and I only get about three hours of sleep a night. Please let me know, and that I'm not just going mad.

anon226445
Post 10

It is now 22 hours ago that I had my last ciggie. And shew! This is not so easy, hey! I armed myself with some peppermints and some sweets. I hope to keep my mouth busy for the next week.

I don't want to gain weight so I will join a walking or exercise group after my first week. I am so proud of all of you who have come this far. It makes me believe that I too, will be able to overcome this demon. I also know that I can do all things through him that strengthens me. God bless! Will keep you all posted. -- Nats

anon209482
Post 9

I'm listening to music, taking 400mg of ibuprofen every few hours, using my breaks at work to walk around, reading to fall asleep. I'm eating 1/4 pieces of extra peppermint gum the rest of the time. It's not so bad. I am eating more. Remember to focus on relaxing. Breathe slowly and relax your muscles.

I started with 4mg lozenges every hour for five days, then 2mg lozenges (every hour) for two days, then woke up and stopped taking the lozenges. I didn't drink coffee that morning or that day. That morning was extremely difficult. I took it an hour at a time - I had my lozenges ready if I needed to give up. Anyway, it's almost been three days with no nicotine.

anon192883
Post 8

I posted a year and a month ago and honestly, I am proud of myself right now for successfully quitting the habit 400 days ago. It's a great fulfillment, after having been addicted for 20 years and a pack a day smoker.

Three days after throwing that demon habit that nearly I can no longer take, was the nervousness, palpitations, panic attacks that send me three times to the ER with BP reaching to 190/120.

I also encountered periods of insomnia during those moments.

Based on my own experienced, the duration of withdrawal symptoms start decreasing after six to seven months, but they totally went away and I started feeling great again after celebrating my first anniversary in may 2011. The first time around that made me proud of myself, that made the impossible to possible.

Actions taken after quitting: Ii jog every day for 30 to 45 minutes, I eat five bananas every day, I eat melon, all kinds of fruits, vegetables, etc. I stopped eating pork and other oily foods.

Advice: Stay away from liquor if you want to succeed.

anon184147
Post 7

I am on my seventh week. Still not 100 percent myself. I have neck pain and upper torso pains. I move my head back and it stretches my chest walls. I have an appointment with doc tomorrow to have an xray done. The most important point is to be busy. I have heard cranberry juice helps with the withdrawal symptoms. I will give it a try. I did a cold turkey after smoking 0-8 cigs/per day for six years.

I had everything: chills, shakes, jitters, bloat, shortness of breath, cramps etc., etc. Some days are good, some days are bad and some are worse. I have seen some get out of this with little or no side effects. Lucky people.

Tip: The more you panic, the worse it gets. Don't worry guys, you're not alone. Accept this horrible experience as part of your detox. Let this body shake and pain- no more nicotine for you.

anon163342
Post 6

i am on my 72nd hour of nicotine free life after 20 years. I am 37 and i started to smoke when i was 17 and heavily like seven years ago. i smoked a pack a day. I'm sleeping my eight hours and do exercise for two hours, so the remaining 14 is divided among my 20 sticks of cigarettes. I hope i can quit and never go back. I hate the feeling of being addicted and dependent on something.

anon153011
Post 4

So glad to see this blog continue! It has helped me tremendously. On day 100 of my ridiculous and toxic addiction to nicotine gum.

Many of the worse symptoms had subsided, but now some have returned. Guess that is part of it. Still having anxiety, tingling in legs, insomnia, and just don't feel myself.

I read somewhere that you should expect one month of withdrawal symptoms for every year of your addiction. That would be 38 months for me! Without this site I would have totally lost my mind. Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories. God Bless and good luck.

anon148642
Post 3

I planned to quit smoking 14 days ago with the help of a nicotine patch. On day 11. I developed an allergic reaction: swollen eyes, lips, face and a rash on my chest back and arms. Needless to say, I removed the patch, thinking it would go away but the following day it was still there so I went to the ER. They confirmed that I was allergic to it and was told to not use them again. My BP when taken was very high and they put me on BP meds and told me to follow up with family physician. I was not on BP meds before.

Now I am feeling jittery and anxious, and I am wondering if it is nicotine withdrawal symptoms or high blood pressure symptoms. I am without the patch three full days.

Any and all help, or comments would be appreciated. -D

anon132639
Post 2

I am on my four weeks of cigarettes free now,but it seem to be taking me longer to deal with the drawback, my body ache had began,the headache still hanging in my head,my stomach still chill all the time after I drink or eating food,had a hard time to sleep,very tired all the time.

Was these part of withdrawal? how long will I get better? any tip will be appreciated.

anon127582
Post 1

I am on the 11th day without a cigarette. All the withdrawal symptoms I have. But one thing I cannot sustain that is BP changing. My BP fluctuates between 130/80 and 100/170. Had/has it happened to any of you? I was a one pack per day user for the last 15 years. Please advise and help me.

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