Can stop smoking cause depression is a question that terrorizes the mind of every smoker who wishes to quit smoking.
After all, the very thought of not smoking a cigarette is enough to make a smoker super-anxious.
So, if depression is a side effect of quitting smoking then, the mental health of the concerned smoker is under serious threat. It has been noted that the addiction to the harsh chemicals present in a cigarette is what causes havoc within the smoker’s mind.
After all, smoking cigarettes daily for a prolonged time period is bound to alter your normal brain chemistry. When your brain functionality is controlled by the number of cigarettes you smoke, quitting smoking is bound to give you troubles.
So, craving is normal for people who wish to quit smoking!
This craving soon transforms into stress and anxiety. Severe depression may also be caused if the concerned smoker is not provided with the correct quit-smoking treatment.
Can Stop Smoking Cause Depression Article Contents:
1) Is Depression a Side effect of Quitting Smoking?
2) What is the Role of Nicotine in Governing a Smoker’s Brain?
3) Can Quitting Smoking cause Mental Illness?
4) How Long does Depression Last after Quitting Smoking?
5) Can I Suffer from Long Term Depression after Quitting Smoking?
6) How to Steer Clear of Depression After Quitting Smoking?
7) FAQs on Can Quitting Smoking Cause Severe Depression?
Is Depression a Side effect of Quitting Smoking?
Many smokers have complained of mood swings when they initiate their quit smoking ordeal. The mood swings are owing to the brain not receiving the chemicals derived from a smoked cigarette.
It is mainly nicotine that is present in cigarettes that tends to control the human brain. When nicotine is stopped (as you have just quit smoking), the brain literally craves for it.
This craving leads to depression stress, anxiety, irritability etc. Nicotine derived from a smoked cigarette tends to infest the brain cells within 10 seconds.
So, if you quit smoking, your brain literally is deprived of nicotine. This causes craving and anxiety. Mood swings get worse as days pass by (without cigarettes).
So, it is correct to state that depression is a side effect of quitting smoking.
What is the Role of Nicotine in Governing a Smoker’s Brain?
@ Nicotine is derived from the Solanaceae plants. These are also termed as nightshade plants.
@ Classic examples of nicotine derived from plants include tomato, eggplant, potatoes and peppers (could be either chilli or bell variants).
@ The concentration of nicotine tobacco cigarettes is immense. As compared to consuming nicotine via foods, a single cigarette contains far more amounts of nicotine.
@ Addiction of nicotine found in cigarettes is very high. After a while, nicotine derived from tobacco tends to control the reward functions of the smoker’s brain.
@ The brain chemicals controlled by cigarettes include norepinephrine and GABA. Nicotine tends to stimulate serotonin, glutamate and even dopamine.
@ Nicotine tends to enhance the mental absorption capacity of a smoker. This happens with the development of acetylcholine. This is a special chemical in the brain that is linked with learning capabilities.
@ Smokers tend to get their focus after a tired spell via nicotine intake. Basically, nicotine tends to keep your nerves calm and composed even in anxious situations.
@ Nicotine basically acts as a mental relaxant. It helps maintain ‘nerves of steel’ in smokers. It is all owing to the effect of nicotine on the human brain.
@ It has also been proven that nicotine protects neurons that produce dopamine. So, this chemical is great for keeping you feeling happy from within.
@ Optimal intake of nicotine tends to improve short term as well as long term memory. It also improves your focus and allows you to react quickly to any situation.
@ Nicotine ingested in the human body via a single cigarette is equivalent to consuming 10 kilograms of eggplant.
Is Nicotine Super Addictive in Nature?
Not at all! If you skip eating potatoes or tomatoes for a day, would that leave you groggy? I guess not! Nonetheless, nicotine inside a tobacco rolled cigarette has a dramatic effect on a person’s brain.
>>> Nicotine in cigarettes simply alters the natural brain chemistry of an individual. It is because of a chemical present in tobacco – acetaldehyde.
>>> When this compound present in tobacco bonds with nicotine (which again is present in a cigarette), it tends to heighten the overpowering effect of nicotine.
>>> Salsolinol and Harman are by-products of acetaldehyde. These have the potential of limiting the functionality of monoamine oxidase. When that happens, your brain chemicals are unable to counter the overpowering effect of nicotine inhaled via a cigarette.
>>> Biogenic amines are also by-products of acetaldehyde. These tend to prevent monoamine oxidase from doing their job. Hence, whenever you smoke a cigarette, the dependency of nicotine grows fourfold.
>>> As compared to consuming nicotine via the food we eat, nicotine inhaled via smoking is far more addictive.
>>> The blood brain barrier is surpassed by nicotine in as less as 6 seconds when you smoke a cigarette.
Can Quitting Smoking cause Mental Illness?
Yes, when you quit smoking a cigarette, you tend to face adverse side effects. These are popularly termed as withdrawal symptoms. While physical side-effects are prevalent in smokers, the mental side effects of quitting smoking are often ignored.
While quitting cigarettes may not necessarily make you go mad, doing so shall definitely impact your mental abilities. This is with special regards to impaired cognitive skills, mood swings, depressive tendencies, lack of concentration and much more.
Why does Quitting Smoking Impact Your Mental Health?
Owing to the addictive substances found in cigarettes, your mental health is in jeopardy when you quit smoking. With more than 6900 chemicals found in a single cigarette, chances of getting an adverse side effect are rather high.
With that being said, a single cigarette contains most than 68 carcinogens. These have cancer causing abilities and they adversely impact your mental well-being.
A single cigarette comprises of more than 590 ingredients. These have the ability of completely overpowering your mental functionality. These ingredients include of nicotine, benzene, arsenic and many more.
So, how can you retain normal mental functionality when you smoke regularly? It is simply not possible.
Minor Mental Issues caused by Smoking Cigarettes:
>>> When you quit smoking, you may start to suffer from mood swings. So, in minutes, you can be grumpy from a smiling face.
>>> Lack of tobacco laced chemicals hinders your cognitive skills. Only slight issues with your motor skills are reported.
>>> Your brain’s reaction time shall be reduced. Basically, you are now slow at reacting to any activity. This also implies slow reflexes.
>>> Depressive tendencies have also been reported in smokers that have quit cigarettes.
>>> Restlessness is also a minor side effect of stopping cigarettes. Anxiety is also a part and parcel of quitting smoking.
>>> Usually these minor side effects (at the mental front) tend to go away within a few months of quitting smoking.
Major Mental Issues caused by Smoking Cigarettes:
>>> Schizophrenia is a serious side effect that is linked with quitting smoking. This is not common to smokers quitting smoking. Nonetheless, a few can suffer from this extreme mental illness.
>>> Acute depression is also a side effect of smokers quitting on their daily dose of cigarettes.
>>> The last and final mental ailment linked to quitting smoking is panic attacks. This needs to be treated via medication and therapy.
How Long does Depression Last after Quitting Smoking?
The nicotine laced in tobacco starts to infiltrate the brain within 5 minutes of its inhalation. So, it is not incorrect to state that the alterations of brain chemicals can happen in as less as 10 minutes post smoking a single cigarette.
Depression and mood swings are a part and parcel of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These are caused when your body is deprived of nicotine laced in tobacco and fortified with thousands of other toxic chemicals present in a single cigarette.
So while your attempt to quit smoking may be appreciable, it can trigger an unwanted response from your brain. This is in the form of altered brain chemistry.
Connection between Depression and Cigarettes:
>>> As I have explained in the above sub-headers, nicotine infiltrates the brain chemicals within 5 to 8 minutes of smoking a cigarette.
>>> Nicotine released from cigarettes tends to release dopamine. This is a pleasure chemical that triggers happiness and pleasure in smokers.
>>> When you stop smoking cigarettes, the release of dopamine is restricted. This in turn causes mood swings, irritation, depression etc.
>>> You tend to become sad as lack of cigarettes stop the release of happy hormones in your brain.
>>> It shall take the human brain of a smoker a few weeks to a few months to get over depression. Anywhere in between 1 month to 6 months is an ideal time to improve your mental condition.
>>> Dopamine shall start to get released without the aid of cigarettes after 3 to 6 months of quitting smoking.
What are the Stages of Depression in Smokers who Stop Smoking?
When you decide to quit smoking, withdrawal symptoms are bound to affect you adversely. These are also termed as nicotine withdrawal symptoms. The side effects shall slowly but steadily capture your behavior.
Here are the stages for the same:
Ignorance Stage of Depression in Smokers:
In the very first stage, the concerned smoker shall deny that he is indeed having mood swings. Unusual thoughts, coughing, wheezing, sadness etc. is usually ignored by smokers.
Smokers consider this as a normal act of the human body. Most smokers that have quit smoking would completely avoid medications.
Some would take mild ‘over the counter’ medicines to combat these symptoms. Nonetheless, in most cases, they shall never pay a visit to a medical representative to seek expert guidance.
Irate Stage of Depression in Smokers:
The second stage is irate behavior. When your ignorance to the ‘stop smoking’ symptoms is not heeding the desired effect, you start to get irate.
After all, the nicotine cravings are making you mentally and physically upset. When the symptoms of quitting smoking get the better of you, they start tormenting your mind.
This is when your body reacts violently to contain the situation. Irritability is the most common sign of this scenario.
The Blame Game Stage of Depression in Smokers:
The third stage of depression in smokers quitting smoking is negotiations. Frequent headaches, mood swings & irritable behavior start to take a toll on their brains. This is when the blame game starts.
Smokers start with blaming their friends for getting them addicted to cigarettes. Thereafter, they begin to blame their family members for not being able to help them quit.
Then they blame medical professionals for not being able to put a complete stop to their addiction. Finally, they begin to negotiate with the Almighty. They promise to quit smoking in return for ‘zero side effects’ or withdrawal symptoms.
The Helplessness Stage of Depression in Smokers:
When your anger, frustration, blame-game and denial spree does not get rid of the withdrawal symptoms, you tend to ‘come to terms’ with it.
This is when you begin to feel utterly helpless against the overwhelming might of the withdrawal symptoms. As you cannot eat, sleep, drink and think rationally, you begin to wonder how to get normal again.
The very thought of being normal is far greater than any dream that you may have. In this stage, your depression is at its peak.
The ‘I Agree’ Stage of Depression in Smokers:
In the last and final stage of depression experienced by a smoker who has quit smoking, the concerned individual accepts the withdrawal symptoms.
After taking full responsibility for the aftereffects of quitting smoking, remedial actions are therefore initiated by the concerned smoker.
Can I Suffer from Long Term Depression after Quitting Smoking?
In most cases, depression caused by quitting smoking disappears within 4 months of your last smoked cigarette. In some cases, it may extend to a few years as well.
This is when quitting smoking has actually led to long term depression. Nonetheless, it is quite rare to have a smoker experience depressive tendencies for such a long time period (after quitting smoking).
Within 3 to 4 months, all traces of extra nicotine in your bloodstream disappear. In many cases, this happens within a few weeks of quitting cigarettes.
While depression and mood swings after quitting is normal, if these tendencies persist, you need medical attention. Hallucinations and delusions may be an offshoot of quit smoking withdrawal symptoms.
If you suffer from severe depression, hallucinations, delusions and panic attacks then, seeking medical assistance is the only available resort. These are symptoms that can derail your day to day functionality.
Seek immediate medical attention for the same. The reason behind long term depression after quitting smoking may be genetic. Your forefathers may have suffered from a mental ailment. Hence, you have inherited the same.
Trauma to the brain may be yet another reason. It is also possible that you may have started smoking to counter the pain arising from your already prevalent depressive tendencies.
How to Steer Clear of Depression after Quitting Smoking?
Well, depression and mood swings are a part and parcel of quitting smoking. They do come in waves and are felt strongest for the first week post your last smoked cigarette.
Nonetheless, the mental aftermath can be minimized greatly if you learn how to control your withdrawal symptoms. You do not need to indulge in any fancy-stuff to control your withdrawal symptoms.
Just a few simple precautions can get the job done. Let me walk you through a few of these in brief:
>>> The first step you need to take before quitting smoking is to visit a doctor. Seek proper medical advice regarding all the possible precautions you need to take while quitting cigarettes.
>>> Always be around friends or family members for the first few days after quitting smoking. They shall act as cushions to your withdrawal symptoms.
>>> Get rid of all your old cigarette stock. Check every nook and corner of your home or vehicles for the same. Throw everything in the trash can.
>>> Nicotine replacement products or stop smoking aids should be always kept handy. If your cravings are beyond your control then, such products shall come to your aid.
>>> Avoid the company of people who prompt you to smoke cigarettes.
>>> Avoid places or situations that trigger your urge to smoke a cigarette.
FAQs on Can Quitting Smoking Cause Severe Depression
Q-1: Why do I feel Depressed after I Stop Smoking?
A-1: The main reason why smokers feel stressed and depressed after quitting smoking is the lack of ‘dopamine release’. Actually, dopamine release is dependent on nicotine consumption via cigarettes.
When you stop smoking, your brain stops releasing the ‘happy hormones’. This makes you all jittery and sad. Mood swings are very normal and you may also feel rather irritable.
Q-2: How soon can My Mood Swings come under Control after I Stop Smoking?
A-2: While there is no specific time period for the same, 10 to 15 days should be sufficient to get the job done. After about a fortnight, your nicotine dependency via smoked cigarettes reduces considerably. This is when your mood swings reduce considerably.
Q-3: How do I handle Depression after I Quit Smoking?
A-3: Mood swings and depression is common after you quit smoking. Nonetheless, you can very well cope with this side effect. Simply seek medical help and stay surrounded by positive people.
It also helps to enroll with support groups. Opting for nicotine replacement therapies is also suggested to counter depression. Overall, maintain a positive outlook and never give up on your quest to stop smoking.
Q-4: Can I Suffer from a Panic Attack after I Quit Smoking?
A-4: There is no medical proof that confirms panic attacks as a side effect of quitting smoking. Mood swings and irritability are common in smokers.
Apart from these mild symptoms, you should ideally not suffer from an extreme mental condition such as a panic attack. If you do suffer from panic attacks post quitting cigarettes then, it may be linked to your past mental health issue.
Consult a medical practitioner at the earliest in such a scenario.
Q-5: How can I Cope with Mood Swings and Negative Thoughts after I Quit Smoking without any Professional Help?
A-5: You may not be able to escape depression after you quit smoking. Nonetheless, you can cushion its impact. Simply make healthy lifestyle changes.
Some of these include,
@ Taking a walk in the park in the evening and mornings.
@ Consuming healthy meals and avoiding processed foods.
@ Exercise your brain by playing chess.
Be in the company of positive people to avoid stress. Also, get rid of all the cigarette supplies from your home. Take warm water baths and indulge in meditative practices. Doing so shall keep your mind relaxed and strong.
When you decide to quit smoking, it is by far one of the best decisions of your life. Quitting cigarettes implies that you have better health, stronger personal relationships and a fruitful professional career.
The flip-side to quitting smoking is the withdrawal symptoms. While everyone knows about the physical discomfort, most ignore the mental distraught caused by quitting cigarettes.
Depression is one such issue that smokers often face. Getting rid of depression is possible. You simply need to follow the above mentioned tips. The rest would be taken care of on its own.