The symptoms of a Smoker’s Flu can range from physical to psychological. Read on to know how to overcome this withdrawal sign when you quit smoking.

Smoker’s Flu is a condition that a smoker may experience when they stop smoking tobacco or using nicotine. With common flu-like symptoms, smoker’s flu is not infectious or a contagious illness, it is just a process your body goes through when detoxing and healing after you stop smoking. While people often get worried and experience panic about the way the body reacts to nicotine withdrawals, it is actually a good sign. It signifies that your body is getting rid of the toxins and is on the road to recovery!

Symptoms of Smoker’s flu

Nicotine stimulates certain receptors in the brain one of the most important among these is the neurotransmitter dopamine, which makes one feel good. In the absence of nicotine, the release of this neurotransmitter dopamine is hampered and the body responds by producing various symptoms of Smoker’s flu. The symptoms of a Smoker’s Flu can range from physical to psychological. Since these symptoms generally include coughing, fatigue, headache, chest tightness, and sore throat which is generally seen with common cold or influenza (flu) the condition is referred to as Smoker’s Flu since the root cause is the withdrawal of smoking. Symptoms may also include depression, irritability, anxiety, trouble concentrating, Dizziness, Insomnia (not able to sleep), and craving cigarettes.

Common withdrawal symptoms

While the withdrawal symptoms are subjective from person to person, the most common symptoms are:

  • cough
  • brain fog
  • agitation
  • tingling in your hands and feet
  • physical and mental cravings
  • anxiety
  • dizziness
  • chest tightness
  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • constipation

While you may not experience all the withdrawal symptoms and the withdrawal depends on your overall health, your mindset, and your nutrition.

The body’s way of detoxifying

If you have experienced one or more of these then you’re not alone. Many people who quit smoking experience this as a major withdrawal symptom. It is a sign that your body is getting rid of all the nicotine. You have initiated the change by beginning your quit smoking journey and the body is responding by eliminating any remnants of nicotine and other toxins that may have accumulated over a period of time.

A healing process

Smoker’s flu is the healing process as nicotine levels drop and it’s a telltale sign that mind and body are adjusting to the dwindling levels of nicotine. A lot of things start changing in your body as you quit smoking. Your blood pressure lowers, carbon monoxide levels come back to normal, wheezing is reduced in a couple of weeks. Some processes may feel more unpleasant but aren’t necessarily bad. Your lungs start expelling mucous more vigorously, which is why you tend to feel chest tightness. A certain kind of soreness is felt like the taste buds present in the mouth and tongues revive. Overall, fresh nerves start developing in one’s throat and chest which may lead to symptoms that emulate cold.

How to avoid getting Smoker’s flu

One may be able to avoid smoker’s flu by gradually reducing the amount they smoke, rather than stopping suddenly. The good news is that smoker’s flu is not just a sign of healing and recovery but also lasts for just a few days or weeks. At first, the symptoms might overwhelm and make one anxious. But with each passing day, the body starts healing from the negative impact caused by a long period of smoking.

The right approach helps

A holistic quitting journey will provide a smoker insight into the real cause of stress, anxiety, and emotional pain & facilitates the development of psychological resilience by utilizing the MBCT approach. The MBCT approach (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) prepares a smoker to deal with the psychological dependence on smoking and empowers them to say “NO” to a cigarette on their own by harnessing the brain’s ability to form new neural pathways (Neuroplasticity) and forming a new habit.

Smoker’s flu is a strong indication that your body is detoxifying and one must have a welcoming attitude towards it. Do not let it bog you down; it’s only a matter of few days. Take good care of yourself and you will soon be looking back at smoker’s flu as a minor speed bump on the road to ultimate recovery and radiant health.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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