Quit Smoking Support
The Stages of Quitting Smoking
Stage 1: Agitation
Anxiety, muscular tension, irritability,difficulty sleeping, high craving. You've probably
already experienced this innumerable times during your smoking career (this is when you
root through the ashtrays looking for butts). It generally begins a few hours after your
last cigarette and lasts for a day or two.
You feel depressed, fatigued, jittery, are forgetful, short-tempered, and emotionally
volatile. You may also have trouble sleeping. You continually crave a cigarette. This may
last for several days
Somewhere in the first 10 days after your last cigarette, you start feeling better. A lot
better. Your mood improves and your energy returns. Craving is still present but
manageable. The danger is you'll become overconfident.
It's hard to pin down, but for most of our patients, this second slump begins two to six
weeks after the last cigarette. Craving may return along with episodes of nervousness,
irritability, sleep disruption, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue.
Begins four to six weeks after the last dose. Improvement in the above symptoms leads to
the conclusion that danger of relapse has past and withdrawal is over.
Most ex-smokers experience at least one more noticeable "slump" during the first
four months of abstinence. Craving returns, and with it, the risk of relapse. To get
through it, you have to avoid exposing yourself to risky situations.
Once the last of the initial slumps has ended, things stabilize. Craving is largely the
result of conditioned responses (e.g., to smells, activities) which can be avoided.
Abstinence is fairly comfortable with the exception of periods of unusual stress,
recurrent craving, and occasional strong memories of pleasures associated with smoking.
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Updated August 2018