Stories & experiences


Withdrawal symptoms

Posted in Quit experiences 26 Oct 2020

Hi guys, I've been smoke free for 12 days! But the withdrawal symptoms feel awful. I smoked roll-ups for around 9 years, I'm 22 years old now. It's not so much the cravings for cigarettes, my willpower is quite strong and I can handle that. It's just that my health anxiety is making my life absolute agony. I can't just go and see my doctor due to COVID which is making it 100 times worse. I've got pains in my neck and arm, I keep thinking I have cancer and cannot shake the feeling. I've been searching hundreds of forums hoping that people have had the same experience as me and that everything is going to be okay, but I have no idea. I know that withdrawal can cause anxiety and I'm hoping that it's just that, but every single time I get an ache or a pain I feel like the world is going to end and sometimes I wake up in the morning and feel like I've got 2 weeks to live. I have to change the channel every time the cancer adverts come on TV, I can't watch anything to do with death and certain words are triggering me really badly. I tried to give up 2-3 weeks ago because I kept having panic attacks due to some symptoms I was having, I was in and out of hospital because I felt like I couldn't breathe, and every symptom I looked up on Google was pointing to cancer. It really scared me and I haven't been the same since. Now every little ache or pain is sending me into a mini panic attack. I know I won't go back to smoking because the thought of smoking makes me feel sick to my stomach and sweaty like I'm going to have a full on panic episode, but I was wondering if anyone has experienced the same thing as I have? I have reached out to my doctor who has referred me to a Talking Therapy service, and I've got a dentist appointment for a little lump I've found under my chin but it's not until the 24th of November. I've got a phone appointment with my doctor today and I'm going to push for some tests just so I can have piece of mind. I'm trying my hardest not to google symptoms because they always point to cancer and there are some real horror stories out there.

Thank you for listening.

Lady Connie x

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  • Gemma23 October 26, 2020 | 21:42
    Hi connie I am sure everything will be fine
    Take it from someone who has had thyroid cancer this year. And I'm 29.I am fine now had my treatment and I stopped smoking the minute i heard cancer. You need to just focus on thinking through the cravings and anxiety will cam itself down
    Just breath deeply and think about how much healthier you will be not smoking.
    Yes and do not Google anything
    Believe me it does not do any good to Google things.
    Just be patient and if your really worried then you should go to the hospital and get them to look at the lump a month is a long time to wait.
    For now be as healthy as you can
    Eat lemon and lots of it. Cancer cells don't like lemon or limes. Put it in your water or over your food.
    Your young still and you will be fine. How long have you had symroms?
    And if they only stayed after you quit then more than likely it's withdrawal symptoms from smoking.
    I am almost half a year smoke free and it does get easier. Cravings and the feeling to smoke will go. I used to get the feeling of well what do i do now like I was missing something and thay was a ciggeratie but now all that has gone. Be positive x
  • Happiness October 26, 2020 | 22:02
    Hi LadyConnie. There is a saying..."Don't go borrowing trouble". It sounds like this anxiety was before you quit smoking and had nothing to do with it. Have you been diagnosed as having anxiety or having panic attacks before?

    I think you slept the wrong way or pulled muscles doing something an then made the mistake of feeding your imagination things that you found on line.
    I once thought i swallowed a fish bone and once the doctor says no it is not stuck, there is just a scratch , it went away overnight. I had a bump on the nape of my neck that i had of habit of touching to see if it grew. It remained. When I stopped , it went.
    Recently my arms lacked strength, and I wasn't sure if it was the medication....but this was not a new prescription....they are fine now. I developed a claw toe 3 months after my stroke. It is neurological, a result of the stroke, so I talk to it when I curls instead of using a physical device.
    The brain does strange things....Have you ever had a toothache and the minute you get in the dentist chair it disappears?
    There may be something that you have made a "Mountain out of a Molehill"

    Quitting smoking is the same way. Many swear to have physical ailments, when others have none. The voices in your head try to persuade you to take a puff.
    Of course there are no voices....but the thoughts, ...the persistent nagging won't go away. That is because we give in an argue with it rather than find something else to do.
    You are still very young LadyConnie to be having these dismal thoughts at your age. Try and get to the real source of your anxiety and get a handle on it. There is exercise, meditation and even diet that alleviate some of it. Meanwhile, please take some deep breaths and Know that you are going to do these things to help yourself, that as long as you treat your body well, it will serve you well. Quitting smoking is of course the best decision you can make for your health. You will overcome these fears you entertain with some work.....quitting smoking is a great start!
    Please do let us know how you are doing in the future.
  • Pozz, Southern NSW October 26, 2020 | 22:44
    Hi Ladyconnie,

    I have been a sufferer of severe panic attacks over the past 8 years to the point that I am now agoraphobic. I barely leave home in case I have one in public so I fully understand panic attacks and why they come about. I have had to do a lot of work with my thoughts. If you search the name ‘Eckhart Tolle Anxiety’ on YouTube you will find he has lots of videos about coming into the present moment. His voice alone can calm me within minutes. I hope you will try this to get a quick calmness for yourself because that is what I always need when I feel panic starts up. Please try this and let me know if this works for you. I will check back here in this forum thread tomorrow morning to see how you went.

    All the best and I am with you,
  • I CAN October 27, 2020 | 2:06
    I feel the same I have numbness in my left arm and chest discomfort. I go to my doctor and get checked despite of the pandemic situation, and thankfully it was all negative. Before I don’t believe in anxiety or panic attack, but I went to ER the other night because I though I was having a heart attack or stroke, and i was tested. All results are normal. It’s gonna be okay, just follow your doctors advice. Do exercise, and PRAY. Everything’s gonna be okay.
  • Ladyconnie October 27, 2020 | 6:26
    Hi guys,
    Thank you all so much for your support. I really needed it. I had a telephone appointment with my doctor but she was awful and didn't help at all. I had so many questions about my symptoms and she just spoke over me. I cried a lot, I feel like I'm going round and round in circles trying to figure out what's wrong.
    I quit smoking because my anxiety told me to, I had a "white tongue" and I googled it and it spiralled out of control from there. The "white tongue" has gone away since giving up but the anxiety has stayed. I've always suffered with anxiety but nothing to this extent, it was always more social anxiety than anything else too.
    I took the dog for a long walk today but had to turn around and go home after the feeling of dread crept up on me. I know I'm only young but I can't stop thinking about how my friend got diagnosed with Cancer at 22 and how rough that must have been. Also the "1 in 2" of us statistic scares the life out of me.
    I think I'm going to change my doctors surgery and find a doctor that I feel like I can talk to.
    Gemma I hope you're coping okay, that sounds awful but you're through it and out the other side now. Sending my love your way.

    Thank you all so much, it has definitely helped me. I wish you all the best of luck in your journeys.
  • Ladyconnie October 27, 2020 | 6:38
    I've been having night sweats and pains in my neck for a while now, that and itchy skin. I shouldn't have googled any symptoms because now my brain is constantly telling me "it's cancer, it's cancer!" But the doctors are so reluctant to run any tests and that's making the anxiety so much worse. I keep thinking "what if..." Like, what if it is something serious and their reluctantcy to run tests has potentially cost me my life? What if they could catch it early? I feel so unwell, right in the middle of a pandemic. I just want to cry.
  • Pozz, Southern NSW October 27, 2020 | 9:05

    You can stop thinking right now. Your thoughts are why the panic in the body is occurring. If you sit down, close your eyes, take a long slow breath and not think for a moment. Find the gap between your thoughts. In that gap there are no problems and only peace. Practice this every time your mind races so that you can realise that the mind is running off a story and the whole ‘what if’ story can be let go in an instant.
  • Vero12 October 27, 2020 | 12:01
    Hi Connie,

    I only joined iCanquit to leave you a comment. I am on day 14 and your anxiety reminds me very much of my first weeks of quitting. I agree with people saying that quitting smoking itself does not create anxiety. However, inhaling nicotine and other poisons present in cigarette smoke change the biochemistry of our brain. When we smoke the most? in stressful situations.. Nicotine activates receptors that create more dopamine in our brain and also smoking the cigarette usually means leaving the stressful situation for a couple of minutes and distract our mind with something.. so i am not surprised that people can get paranoid or anxious after they quit. The good news is that your brain biochemistry will get back to normal not long after you quit and handling stress will be even easier than when you smoked.

    My first 5 days have been horrible. I suffered from insomnia and night terrors. I even had few anxiety attacks during the day. I was paranoid and i thought I can not handle any stressful situation. I was paranoid that this state of my mind is permanent and that it will trigger some severe mental illness.

    Now what helped me and made me feel better.. 1. some facts about nicotine withdrawal symptoms to understand that what is happening to me is not permanent and it will end soon. 2. Natural remedies for sleeping (Valerian root, Melatonin) 3. Sport - big time! and walks. 4. Keep my mind busy so i can't let anxious thought take over. 5. Allan Carrs book actually 6. books about CBT, mindfulness and meditation. 7. and talking about it with anyone who would listen hehe.

    I feel better my second week, still have troubles sleeping and i am easily irritable but I don't panic anymore because i know I can manage.

    I truly hope that you will feel better soon I know its really hard but it will get easier.

  • Ladyconnie October 27, 2020 | 18:45
    Hi guys,
    Thank you again. It's nice to know that some of you are going through the same thing.
    I wish I could turn my brain off and stop this feeling but I just can't. I feel like I won't have peace of mind until I get tested and for some reason my mind is fixated on this. Health anxiety really sucks.
    I've lost my appetite and had another night sweat last night, my whole body aches and my left arm hurts and I have a constant headache. I feel hot and then cold but I don't think I have a temperature and my lymph nodes are still swollen. I have a horrible sinking feeling that I'm going to end up back in hospital this week, and if I describe my symptoms to my doctor's they're going to assume it's COVID and I'll be back where I started.
    I'm on day 13 and although I'm really proud of myself, I just want to start feeling better in my mind and my body.

    Love to you all x
  • Happiness October 28, 2020 | 2:02
    Habits are formed in 21 days, so i've read and so I hope that you have formed some good ones since quitting smoking. Please stop obscessing about your health. It seems to have all stemmed from an overactive imagination. I am sorry that cancer can affect anyone, let alone a 22 year old, but the doctor also seems to think that you are fine. I would be elated to have someone with medical knowledge assure me.

    Thank you Vincent who joined only to give his experience. That must also assure you . Quitting smoking does affect the way we receive dopamine, .....a happy chemical....and you are not allowing any to transmit through your worry. Do something that makes you happy. Accept what you can't change and Change what you can. Everyone of his points are good and valid and I can only hope that you will follow his advice.

    If you click on Happiness above , you can go back quite a few pages and find a story with a link to
    Allan Carr's book . I am glad Vincent finds it helpful as many do. The e-book is FREE, short, easy reading, informative and very helpful to the Mindset that makes smoking easier.

    Chocolate, the smell of Lavendar, exercise , hugs (which are lacking these days) and Learning are a few things that raise our dopamine. We were used to receiving them with the first drag of a cigarette. Google it. Stay off medical sites and concentrate on just quitting smoking and do some fun things while you do. You are fine. Believe that. You have looked into it and there are other causes. We know.
    Sending virtual hugs.....
  • Happiness October 28, 2020 | 2:11
    Vero12 I apologise that i wrote Vincent. It is wonderful that you took the time to respond to someone in crisis. And Poss, I hope you too are doing well and great to hear such great advice from those who have experienced the same.

    So you have our caring and concern LadyConnie. We do care about each other. We have been concerned enough to beg others to seek medical advice in the past and would tell you to do so if we thought that. What you are experiencing is normal to the psychological aspect of quitting smoking. No you are not Crazy! You are Normal. Let it go.
  • Ladyconnie October 28, 2020 | 8:49
    You are all so kind and I really appreciate the time you have taken to help me through my struggle, I really do, and I apologise if it has come across like I don't. Especially vero who came on just to tell me it's going to be okay.
    I have listened and taken in every word from you guys and I will try my hardest to stop worrying and obsessing over this. The mind is a very powerful thing as I've learnt in the past couple of weeks.
    I didn't mean to sound ungrateful at all, I've just been constantly in and out of panic mode and unable to think clearly.
    I had my first session with a Talking Therapy service today, I reached out to a Stop Smoking service and I've successfully switched my doctor's surgery and I'm hoping to find a doctor to connect with. I think I'm starting to feel better already.

    Thank you all so much.
  • Happiness October 28, 2020 | 13:10
    You are welcome and we will be here again if you need us. I hope you can put it all behind you. I am glad that you are feeling better... and the first step to letting go . Please do keep in touch and I hope you will stay on the path to being a non-smoker, as I think you will. It is so worth the effort and some hardships that some endure but it does all fade in time . I have seen many struggle but make it through and are so grateful that they stuck it out. You will also get through this. Keep positive!
  • Happiness October 28, 2020 | 22:06
    I trust you woke refreshed and in better spirits today. Keep thinking good things. You are making wise choices now and working on raising the dopamine which helps our moods. Not too much chocolate as it contains caffeine and you should cut your caffeine in half once off of nicotine. Too much caffeine gives the jitters which people interpret as anxiety. Quitting smoking gets the bad rap once again. Yes , the body needs time to adjust. But it will...bare with it and you will be rewarded.

    Have a good day LadyConnie. Now smile, and the world will smile back.
  • Madonna2 October 29, 2020 | 8:00
    I never had anxiety about anything before I quit smoking, but the first weeks I felt like what you're describing.
    And sweats, nightmares, pain, toothache, headaches and more are common withdrawal symptoms.

    It will pass. What you can do is exercise, that will help raise the dopamine to your brain. Or start the gum or patch, although that will prolong your journey.

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