The process of quitting smoking can directly affect mental health. Experiencing withdrawal of nicotine, of which the body has become dependent on, can often produce stress and unpleasant symptoms. These unpleasant symptoms and their duration may vary between people. Whilst most symptoms will typically last from two to four weeks, cravings may last longer. Nonetheless, it is important to note that withdrawal and cravings will eventually pass and quitting will benefit you in the long term.
Common nicotine withdrawal symptoms:
- Craving to smoke
- Sleep disturbances
- Irritability and restlessness
- Increase in hunger
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Other emotions such as anger and sadness
Less common nicotine withdrawal symptoms:
- Feeling light headed
- Cold symptoms such as coughing, a sore throat and sneezing
- Constipation, diarrhoea or nausea
- Mouth ulcers
Smoking and mental health
Quitting and changes in mood
During cigarette withdrawal, the brain releases certain chemicals that cause anxiety and stress, which are both powerful incentives to smoke again. It is important to understand that this is the way the body responds to the absence of nicotine after prolonged exposure. Soon enough, your body will start adjusting to function without nicotine and withdrawal symptoms will disappear.
Smoking as a coping mechanism
As smoking can cause temporary elevation in mood, individuals with depression or other mental health illnesses may turn to smoking as a way to cope.
Although smoking may make you feel good; smoking is a temporary, short-term fix to coping with mental illness, and leads to a wide range of health problems. Studies have also suggested that smoking leads to an increase in symptoms of depression as well as risk of depression.
Further help in Indonesia
Call for a free consultation to stop smoking: 0-800-177-6565
‘Batuk Perokok’ is a campaign by the Ministry of Health that informs the public on the dangers of smoking, especially its respiratory consequences; this campaign includes a quitline that aims to help assist motivated quitters in their journey to quitting.