Depression and Sadness
Many smokers who have quit smoking report depression or depression like symptoms during the initial stages of withdrawal and sometimes longer. The reasons this can occur are varied and can include everything from specific chemical imbalances caused by the body’s adjustment to the lack of Nicotine to actual feelings of loss or grief. While there may not be only one reason feelings of loss, sadness, and depression occur, it is clear that Nicotine has worked itself into our brains and habits for so long that cutting the Nicotine or smoking habit off completely will result in these types of symptoms. Studies have also been done to compare smoking and depression, with some of the initial hypotheses stating that people smoked to get rid of depression. The reality is that at some point Nicotine itself begins to effect the pathways related to pleasure and depression, so it becomes a serious question as to whether the depression is then caused by Nicotine and after quitting, the lack thereof.
If you feel depressed, you should consult your physician however it has been shown that these symptoms may be a result of quitting smoking if you have recently quit.
Things you can do if you feel sad or depressed:
When you quit smoking, you will begin to re-adjust your lifestyle and reward pathways. Its ok to do something you enjoy to take your mind off of the withdrawal. This can be anything from seeing a movie to going to your favorite ice cream shop. Its alright to do something good for yourself and if you’re worried about money, just think of how much money you’ve already saved by not smoking and treat yourself with that.
Go for a walk/run/ride etc.
Exercise can release many of the neurochemicals that Nicotine was releasing artificially. If you are feeling horrible and depressed, force yourself outside to enjoy a walk or bicycle ride. You will clear your head and most smokers report that exercise helps a great deal with the feelings of sadness and depression.