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Increased anxiety symptoms in smoking cessation - are they persistent or transient?


I quit smoking on October 21, 2002. The last two months have I noticed a significant increase in depression? I have worn over the last three to four years. I assume that this is due to smoking cessation. My question is: Is this increase definitive, or can I expect it to be a transient phenomenon? If it is transient, can you tell me if it is something that is long lasting?


Dear asks

First of all, congratulations on being smoke-free.

Unfortunately, there are some smokers who, after cessation, get increased anxiety and / or depressive similar symptoms similar to what you describe. In the vast majority of cases, this is a transient phenomenon. So, in other words, you probably have the time with you. It is impossible to say exactly how long it will take, but I have never heard of anyone where it had not passed after no more than one year and most people feel that they are on the other side no later than six months after the cessation of smoking.

In some cases, smoking cessation can trigger a "real" clinical depression, for example, unable to cope with ordinary daily things like going to work or just getting out of bed. Only a few develop a really treatment-intensive depression in connection with a smoking cessation - but it seems. If in doubt, consult your GP.

Sadness can be a common part of withdrawal symptoms, but there may also be other reasons for getting bored. Sadness can often come as an unexpected after reaction when the first pride and enthusiasm has subsided, and life as anxiety begins to become everyday. Even though you were motivated to quit and stand by its decision, you miss all the good at the cigarettes.

For many, smoking has been a part of the identity since the teenage years, and you must suddenly learn to know yourself as an adult without smoking. Before using the cigarettes to tackle difficult situations, for example if you were sad, stressed, irritated or otherwise, it can now be difficult to carry the same feelings without having a cigarette.

Perhaps you have almost relaxed your feelings with the help of smoking, and therefore you need to get used to feeling more intense.

It can also contribute to sadness when people around one have become accustomed to smoking cessation and may forget to give praise, support and recognition. A feeling that nobody can get into one's situation? for example how much do you miss smoking? can make worse worse. Therefore, it is a good idea to find some people you can talk to rather than isolate themselves. In the dark moments, it is also important to remember that it is quite normal to get sad, but it does not last.

Instead of blaming itself for experiencing a miss, one can look at the smoking cessation as an important upheaval in life. An upheaval that in some ways involves a loss and as it takes time to get used to and accept.

If you have connected the cigarettes with habits, breaks and rewards, but at the very least do not think anything could replace them, the future seems insurmountable. Therefore, it is important to find new ways to be good at oneself while gradually learning to change. For example, take a hot bath, eat delicious fruit, listen to good music, spend money on small gifts and so on. The content of the list depends on who you are - the important thing is to create small daily light points and, above all, avoid being tough on yourself.

All in all, look at smoking cessation as an important change in life. An upheaval that in some ways involves a loss and as it takes time to get used to and accept. This also means a mental conversion, and until that conversion has become a reality, the mood can fluctuate well. In the long run, however, we are on the way to getting a better mood and more psychological surplus. It is important to keep in mind that the change that is currently stressful will want to paw? further advancing in time. What you experience is something that many other than you go through and they come out on the other side? often they become wiser on themselves and their lives.

Most often smoking cessation is linked to being able to cause anxiety and depression, but recent research suggests that smoking may initially help trigger this. Thus, recent US studies indicate that cigarette smoking increases the risk of anxiety disorders in adolescents. For example, 688 young people have been interviewed as 16-year-olds and 22-year-olds, and here are the intersections for variables such as age, gender, nervousness, childhood problems, alcohol / drug abuse, and anxiety and depression that were already present in the teenage years.The results of the study indicate that cigarette smoking increases the risk of anxiety disorders in adolescents. In other words, smoking, perhaps by stressing the body and reducing oxygen delivery, can be a trigger for anxiety while at the same time many people in a transition phase are experiencing increased anxiety.

One of the best tools for controlling anxiety is breathing. Smoking can provide a deep and calm breathing when you are nervous / uneasy and light a smoke, but the deep breathing can also be achieved (and with better results) without smoking:

Try to breathe deeply while slowly counts to four and finds that the air is completely stuck in the stomach, keep the weather while at the same rate again counting to four and breathing slowly through your nose while counting back to four. Repeat the exercise until the turmoil is gone or under control.

As you said, you have, like so many other smokers, used the cigarettes to regulate emotions. The smoke can be used to lay down some emotions that we do not want to relate to, for example anger, sadness or turmoil. Without the cigarette as a filter in these situations, one has to learn from the front - thus coping with his emotional life without the possibility that he has otherwise had to regulate with the smoke. This may take some time, which may not be surprising considering that most smokers do not actually have adult experiences in dealing with difficult situations without smoking.

Finally, I would like to point out the possibility that you can talk to a psychologist in your area. It can often be a good help to cope with anxiety and depression. Perhaps your doctor may give you a referral or you can call the Danish Psychology Association on phone: 35 26 99 55. Here you can send a list of approved therapists in your local area. You can also call the Stop-Line's advice for free and talk to a counselor about smoking cessation and after-effects on tel.: 80313131.

Yours sincerely

Torsten Sonne, cand.psych

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