Smoking cessation programs can be helpful for some people, but for others there may be lingering mental health issues along with other addiction challenges they face. When you want to quit smoking, it can be overwhelming to think about how to do it. If you are faced with depression or anxiety in the wake of quitting, it can feel hard to navigate beyond this challenging side effect unless you know what to expect. Find out more about how the body responds to quitting smoking and how to find support for issues you may be having mentally or physically.

Nicotine Withdrawal

When the body is used to having nicotine in it, you are likely to experience some withdrawal symptoms. Depending on many factors, the body will respond in certain ways. The primary reason for temporary depression may be nicotine withdrawal as the body and brain seek to balance themselves out. Nicotine binds to the brain receptors which trigger dopamine release. This ‘feel good’ hormone kicks in and once you are addicted for awhile, it takes more of the drug to feel the same effect. When you stop smoking, you produce less dopamine than your body and mind are used to. The outflow of this is low mood and depressed feelings. Most people only experience it temporarily, but it can be challenging nonetheless, and may even linger long after nicotine has left the body.

How to Deal

Finding the right coping strategies will help you deal with the inevitable. If smoking cessation can lead to temporary depression, it may be best to have some tips and tools at your disposal to handle this challenge. Sometimes it is the underlying causes that pop up that linger long after you stop smoking. Cigarettes are usually a coping mechanism to deal with anger, sadness, and joy. This may cause smokers to lean on tobacco to avoid difficult emotions. It is productive to let the feelings out, even if it feels hard to do this. Some helpful tips to help cope with low mood or depression:

  • Spend time with friends, family, and loved ones doing things you enjoy
  • Getting outside in nature to get fresh air can be helpful. Try going for a walk or find a group of friends to go with outside
  • Create a list of goals that you are looking forward to achieving to help you find focus
  • Join a support group or network of people who can help you deal with the feelings you’re having
  • Seek treatment and therapy for lingering mental health and addiction issues

Mentally and physically, addiction takes its toll. The moment you decide to change things, the mind and body are not always excited to come along for the ride. People who quit smoking may have to deal with many issues, including depression, but there is hope. If you are struggling, you can seek out people, places, and opportunities to seek treatment for addiction and find hope for the future that this is only temporary and you will feel better soon.

A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. Depression is no laughing matter, and neither is addiction. That’s why we designed our programs to help you navigate recovery in the best way possible with a supportive, professional team ready to help you navigate sobriety one step at a time. For more information sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.