Quitting Smoking and Dealing with Withdrawal

A family physician practicing in Burnaby, British Columbia, Dr. Ali Ghahary helps patients of all ages. In addition to treating health problems, Dr. Ali Ghahary also advises patients on lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation.

For many people, quitting smoking is a challenging process. Not only has smoking become part of a routine, but the body has become physically addicted to the nicotine in the cigarettes. Making it more challenging is that quitting smoking typically results in physical symptoms of withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms vary between individuals, but some of the most common ones include irritability, difficulty concentrating, and sleeping difficulties. Feeling hungrier than usual is another common symptom. Fortunately, the severity of these symptoms lessens over time. While the first week without cigarettes is often the most difficult, most people find that it gets easier.

However, that doesn’t mean that cravings for cigarettes go away. People may find that certain events or situations trigger the desire for a cigarette, so it’s best to be prepared and have a plan of action in place for dealing with these cravings. This plan might be to chew gum, distract oneself with another activity, or reminding oneself of the benefits of stopping smoking.