I've been dealing with anxiety my whole life (separation anxiety to be exact). Will this affect my ability to quit?
I found my anxiety is greatly improved since I quit smoking. The first couple of weeks it got worse. I hung in there because I really wanted to quit smoking and I did. Six years ago. You can do this.
Welcome to our community!
I have actually found I have LESS anxiety now that I have quit. Once you understand how this addiction works, you might understand why that is so! If you think it might be a problem when you start out, you might talk to your doctor about it.
The important thing you can do right now is to educate yourself on what nicotine does to your body and mind. To that end, I highly recommend Allen Carr's “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” This is an easy and entertaining read. You can search for it online or at your local library. If you do nothing else to get ready for your quit, please do give this a read.
You should also read the posts here and perhaps go to the pages of folks who you think might be helpful. You might visit whyquit.com, quitsmoking.com and livewell.com for the good information contained there. @https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/groups/best-of-ex has lots of blogs written by members of this site with their experiences and guidance. Here is a video to inform you further about nicotine addiction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpWMgPHn0Lo&feature=youtu.be.
After you have completed the recommended reading, it will be time to make an informed choice of the quit aid, if any, you will use. If you go that route, I personally recommend the aids that don't let the addict control the dose such as the available prescription drugs or the patch. If used properly, gum, lozenges and inhalers are fine, but they need to be used only as a last resort after you have tried to delay and distract. I have seen folks become addicted to them if they substitute them for every cigarette they used to smoke - just trading one addiction for another. You need to start out with a plan to reduce use of them over time - which the patch does by decreasing the dose contained in them.. For the gum, you can start by cutting each piece in half, then in quarters, then sub regular gum of the same flavor in between, adding more and more regular gum. For the lozenge, you need to start subbing a mint in between to begin, increasing the number of them over time. I do not recommend the e-cigarette for four reasons: 1) the vapor has been compared to the polluted air in Bejing on a bad day, 2) they just provide another nicotine delivery system while continuing the hand to mouth smoking motion, 3) the batteries can spontaneously catch on fire and 4) you can become addicted to that and it has not yet been proven safe .
It will be informative if you do the tracking and separation exercises recommended here on the site. As you track each cigarette smoked, note its importance, and what you might do instead. Put each one off just a little to prove that you don't NEED a cigarette just because you think you do.
The idea is to change up your routines so the smoking associations are reduced. Drink your coffee with your OTHER hand in a place different from when you smoked. Maybe switch to tea for a bit. If you always had that first smoke with your coffee, try putting your tennies on right out of bed, going for a quick walk, then taking your shower and THEN your coffee! Rearrange the furniture in the areas you used to smoke so the view is different. Buy your gas at a different station. Take a different route to work. Take a quick walk at break time where the smokers AREN'T. You need to distract yourself through any craves. You can take a bite out of a lemon (yup - rind and all), put your head in the freezer and take a deep breath of cold air, do a few jumping jacks, go for a brisk walk or march in place, play a computer game. Keep a cold bottle of water with you from which to sip. Don't let that smoking thought rattle around in your brain unchallenged. Sometimes you need to quit a minute or an hour at a time. You will need to be disciplined in the early days to distract yourself when a crave hits. Get busy! Here is a link to a list of things to do instead of smoke if you need some fresh ideas: https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Youngatheart.7.4.12-blog/2013/02/25/100-things-to-do-instead-of-smokeThe conversation in your head in response to the "I want a cigarette" thought needs to be, "Well, since I have decided not to do that anymore, what shall I do instead for the three minutes this crave will last?" Then DO it. You will need to put some effort into this in the early days, but it gets easier and easier to do.
Stay close to us here and ask questions when you have them and for support when you need it. We will be with you every step of the way!
Hi and Welcome to Ex’s Venturur
I have many diagnosed with GAD (General Anxiety Diagnosis) since going through a brain aneurysm...yup...the anxiety it’s pretty bad...but I only thought smoking helped...come to find out I barely have anxiety issues since quitting smoking...so the answer to your question...Anxiety doesn’t make quitting smoking harder...you need to find healthy ways to deal with your anxiety...breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, take a walk, etc., often we don’t take care of our anxiety when we smoke...this way when we quit we finally take time to work on our issues...You can do this...I was you 327 Days ago...Work the program and keep close to the support site for us to help you...You are worth it...we are in this journey together....Colleen 327 DOF
If it is a greater challenge for you to quit, add lots of support (Like EX) and figure strategies for coping with your anxiety. It's worth it. It may be hard to quit, it is for most, but the payoff is big once you get on with your quit and come to accept it--then you get on with your life as you normally would.
I hope you take the time to read these helpful blogs by other Exers
Give This The Time It Takes
Life can and will kick us in the teeth!
One of the greatest tools you can use
Yes you can quit no matter what.
Some people do experience anxiety as a part of the withdrawal process. It's very possible that your anxiety could increase initially, but quitting does help most people to experience less anxiety in the long term Do you have professional that you can discuss this with and provide you additional support? We're certainly here to support with your quit. Have you created a plan and have a quit date in mind? Just reach out!
It is difficult to quit smoking no matter what. The idea that smoking relieves anxiety is hogwash. All it does is relieve the anxiety of the craving. Many of us here have depression, bipolar, anxiety, and other mental illness and manage to quit. It is difficult to say if smoking is harder for 1 person than another as there's no guage. The important thing is it's doable for anyone that wants it badly enough.
Research does support the fact that it can make it more difficult. So know what to expect and believe you can do it anyway.
I had some anxiety about quitting, of course, It's something I'd been doing for over 30 years. But then I lost so much more anxiety that it far outweighed the small anxiety I did experience.
Like the anxiety of: if I go there when will I be able to smoke again? Or if I go there I'm going to have to hurry up so I can smoke again! Or will there be other smokers there? Will I be able to find a smoking area? How far away is the smoking area? What does my breath, hair, clothes smell like?
I really believe that anxiety is FED by nicotine so once you get past the initial part of the quit, you may very well notice that your separation anxiety does not include nicotine. You may find yourself much more relaxed. This is one day at a time and there is no hurrying it and no short cuts. Education about the addiction, support from others, and your own commitment not to smoke...NO MATTER WHAT, will pull you through anything! I used the mantra NOPE, Not One Puff Ever when I came here and I said it countless times. I have been quit for over 5 1/2 years now and this site has been the biggest help in the world.
It has made my anxiety worse, but I have an existing anxiety disorder. My body was used to the balance of nicotine and anxiety meds for years. Now it’s going bonkers. Have you spoken with your doctor about some possible help with this?
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