15 August 2006

Quitting smoking depression

Quitting smoking, even simply deciding to quit is not easy. It takes the average smoker two to four attempts at quitting to successfully kick the habit, and the process usually is not a pleasant one. Withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, sweating, intestinal pain, respiratory pain and congestion (as a result of the lungs clearing themselves out), irritability, mood swings, insomnia and depression. The good news is that there are millions of happy, healthy ex-smokers as living proof that those symptoms will eventually pass.

Depression is a physical problem, as well as a psychological one, and sometimes positive thinking might not be enough. Possibly, you could involve yourself in some activities you enjoy. Possibilities include going to the gym, volunteer work, joining a club that interests you, going on long walks, or whacking a few buckets of balls at the local driving range. Getting outside as much as possible helps also. It can be helpful to keep your schedule busy, but it can also help to enjoy time with people you like and feel comfortable with.

You may also want to consider that the sadness you are feeling is not just a withdrawal symptom, but a pre-existing condition. Some smokers use nicotine to self-medicate depression, either knowingly or, more often, unconsciously, and quitting can bring those old symptoms back to the surface. It is a challenge to beat smoking. Do it and you will be thanking yourself!

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