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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Should I start smoking again if quitting has caused me unbearable depression, anxiety and mood swings?

    I quit smoking about 5 weeks ago. The past 3 weeks the depression has been unbearable. I have had aggression, mood swings, depression, anxiety and my eating has gone out of control. I have smoked for 30 years and I have only ever tried to quit once before, unfortunately took it back up due to the same symptoms. This time I was determined not to take smoking back up, but it has come with many consequences. My husband has decided he cannot cope any longer and would like me to leave the house and separate. My children refuse to talk to me or be around me. They have even mentioned moving out to live with my eldest son. My family are all interstate and I have no close friends.

    My world feels like is falling around me. I have gone to the doctors and talked to 2 counselors in the past week. Nothing is helping. I do not feel that the counselling is doing anything and I do not want to go on anti-depressants.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 8


    Helen Stabback


    Well done for quitting smoking, that is a huge step. I feel for you, doing the best for yourself by quitting smoking and your family not giving you the support you need during this rough time. My guess is you have quit cold turkey, which is difficult because the unconscious mind wants you to keep smoking and your conscious mind wants to stop. It is a constant internal battle. If you have a hypnotherapy treatment for smoking cessation, it calms this internal  battle in your mind because both parts of your mind are on the same team. You're depression and anxiety may lesson if you are not arguing in your mind about whether to smoke or not. My advice is to get yourself a copy of the book “The Healing Code” by Dr Alex Lloyd. Practice the 6 min exercises, 3 times a day, and you will notice an incredible change in the way you think and feel. I also feel that the depression you are feeling is coming from having no support from your husband or children. This could have been there for years but you have been masking the sadness with smoking, so it goes somewhat unnoticed. Get yourself a copy of The Healing Code, and share this with everyone you know. Everyone should have this book, and practice the techniques. 

  • 3



    HealthShare Member

    Thank you so much, I will look into Hypnotherapy, I hope it will work

  • 2


    Beulah Warren


    Beulah Warren is a registered Psychologist who has worked with infants and their parents for over 20 years, initially on research projects and later clinically. … View Profile

    I believe that it is never a good idea to encourage somebody to begin smoking again, but to try and get help for the unbearable depression, anxiety, and mood swing. The first person I would suggest to talk to is your GP.
    If you have an ongoing relationship with their GP then get a referral to a psychologist, or particularly somebody who helps with the breaking of addictions.

  • 3



    HealthShare Member

    Thank you!  I am seeing my GP and getting help professionaly, but nothing seems to be working at this present time.  Thanks for the reply

  • 3


    Angela Peris

    Registered Nurse

    I am passionate about helping people with Health and Wellbeing - with extensive knowledge and skills on cardiology and critical care nursing I have published … View Profile

    Sounds like you have received some advice already and following them. I would also suggest hypnotherapy. Hypnosis can reprogram or change your habit of smoking to something healthy for you. I do help people quit cigarettes with hypnosis. Very successful at present with people walking out after just one session as non-smokers.

    Cigarette smoking is not an addiction. It is a habit governed by your subconscious mind. It is simpel to change it. Only requirement is that you have to WANT to do it. The rest is easy!

    My advice for you would be to find a therapist who can hypnotise you to quit cigarttes and stay clam, happy and healthy by repleacing the habit of smoking with something healthy & happy for you.

    If you have no success, in finding a person who does it or have no success in staying calm after the session, then please let us know - will see how we can help you to stay healthy and keep your family together as well. Stay calm and positive!

  • 3


    Ralph Graham


    Ralph Graham, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, helping those who are affected by:grief, loss, anxiety, phobias, panic attack.And those who have been traumatised by:crime, assault, sexual abuse and … View Profile

    You certainly won't find anyone here suggesting you take up smoking again. It is hard enough to quit and we all know the harm it does.
    Still, I sympathise with your situation and applaud the determination and effort you must have invested I leaving smoking behind .

     Though I do not practice it, I also support your decision to try hypnotherapy. Please come back and let us know how you get on.
     It typically takes a few sessions of hypnotherapy to get good gains so it is good to commit to enough sessions to make a difference. 

    I practice TIR, Traumatic Incident Reduction and I also highly recommend this in your situation.

    Would love to hear about your progress.  : )

  • 4


    Jeremy Barbouttis

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist, Sex Therapist

    Jeremy is an expert in Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, Sex Therapy, Relationships & Addictions. Jeremy is a Clinical Supervisor with the Australian Hypnotherapists Association.Specialisations: Stop Smoking Hypnosis, … View Profile

    Given that you have are talking to your GP and a couple of counsellors and you feel it is not working, I would suggest you do try Hypnotherapy, as well. Combining Hypnotherapy with cold turkey will give you the best result. It also gives you the opportunity to address the anxiety one feels after quitting in a genuinely therapeutic way. If you just use relaxation techniques, you will be very limited, and antidepressants are addressing the symptoms, not the cause. However, with hypnotherapy, as suggested earlier, the part of you that wants to smoke, or is feeling depressed/missing the cigarettes, can be dealt with and processed, and then you will be free for life. You really don't want to be taking 17 goes to stop smoking and hypnotherapy can be both surprising and delightful in how much easier it can making quitting.

    Sometimes it's nice to be suprised.

  • 4


    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I can relate - I had very similar experiences when I quit, having smoked for about as long as you have.

    Remember that nicotine is physically addictive so it is possible that how you are feeling reflects pharmacological withdrawal.

    I found that nicotine patches helped, starting at a fairly high dose and tapering off slowly over some months.

    You can buy them over-the-counter, which is expensive. Or, ask your GP to write a prescription for them - that will cost a lot less because they are covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

    Good luck.

  • 3


    Chrissy Ortner

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist, Massage Therapist

    I am a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Massage Therapist, Counsellor, Reiki & EFT Practitioner and have assisted people to let go of stress, tension and pain for … View Profile

    Hello, there is lots of good advice here. You have made a life affirming decision to quit and without some focussed tools it can all seem too difficult. Hypnosis is fantastic when coupled with cognitive behaviour therapy or EFT that help heal any underlying emotional issues that bubble to the surface when we quit. Hypnotherapy helps curb cravings and mood swings and a good EFT therapist will teach you a self help technique that you can use whenever uncomfortable feelings arise. Best wishes.

  • 5


    Bruni (Brunhilde) Brewin

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist

    Bruni Brewin is President Emeritus of The Australian Hypnotherapists’ Association (AHA), the oldest and largest National Registration Body for hypnotherapists in Australia founded in 1949, … View Profile

    There are very few people that hypnotherapy cannot help to quit smoking, however to hear your symptoms, I wonder about your family history - are there any negatives and sadness you have in your past?  I only say this because I have done many past anxiety releases for clients before they can release the smoking habit. 

    It does not matter how long you have smoked - I smoked for 30 years and gave up cold turkey.  Mind, one year later I was still in no mans land.  I still wanted to smoke, but I was nauseous at the thought of having a cigarette.  Those feelings did go away eventually and I really have no desire to ever start smoking again.

    That doesn't happen in hypnotherapy. Having therapy through hypnosis when correctly carried out takes any feelings of craving or withdrawal away beneath the conscious mind awareness, providing all parts are happy to give up smoking, as well you do not have this fight or any need to substitute putting something else in your mouth instead (like eating). What I am hearing is that a part of you inside (subconscious) does not want to stop, and as has been mentioned before, you have set up a war between the conscious versus subconscious.  So why does the subconsscious not want to give up when it also knows the health effects it can cause you?  The eating since you stopped smoking is also an indicator of that conflict.

    I would definitely recommend that you try hypnotherapy first.  Whilst I would not recommend Electronic Cigarettes there has been talk that they can help you give up smoking.  There are both negative and positive comments about e-cigs (even the experts disagree), and we won't know how safe they are until they have been in circulation for another 20 years, but as a bandaid solution for a short time it may be helpful to you.

  • 3


    Darren Stops

    Counsellor, Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Psychologist, Psychotherapist

    For assistance with issues including: anxiety & depression, stress, coping & adjustment, personality & relationships sleep & health issues, separation, loss and trauma, post traumatic … View Profile

    Firstly, well done for quitting and staying off them.  I'm sure the doctor told you the Nicotine leaves your body within 3 days and the physiological withdrawal effects for most people are done at around 2 weeks. Nicotine replacment is a common way to go. The immediate and long term health benefits of quitting are well documented. 

    The other psychological triggers may be more difficult to deal with, especially if the smoking was a self-soother / treatment for anxiety or depression, which fits with the symptoms you describe.  It sounds like there are many more complex issues you are dealing with than just smoking cessation. Obtain a referral to a Psychologist as suggesed above, and have an assessment for symptom levels.  If severe, return to your doctor and consider medication for depression and anxiety for the short term to "get out of the hole".  Then work with the Psychologist to treat the issues. Someone with addiction treatment experience would be adviseable. There is some good advice above.

    Keep trying - the research shows that successful smoking cessation is acheived by people who use multiple methods and supports to deal with quitting.

  • 4


    Susanna Moon

    HealthShare Member

    I understand what you are going through. I lost my job and turned to alcohol when I gave up after 30 odd years of heavy smoking.  I ended up with mental health issues and lost my drivers licence and had numerous issues with feeling my life was not worth living and ended up a number of times close to completed suicde.  I did get help and although my life became a mess, I also have scars all over my right arm where I engaged in self harm to help ease my pain at the time.  I have been 9 months self harm free and 3 and a half years smoke free.  It has been a huge battle. I do suggest you stay away from NRT such as mini lozengers as I seem to have an addiction for these now and have been importing them through ebay as they are not currently available. Goodluck and you will suceed in the end.  I believe as with everything in life, to move forward you have to lose things.  Your kids will be so proud of you when you finally get there and there seems to be alot of good suggestions for you to try.  I guess just don't give up,you will never get to where you want to be if you stop trying.

  • 6


    When life doesn’t quite go as it should, a little support is needed - a patient listener, an understanding ear, and help to find solutions. … View Profile

    You have received a lot of good advice and suggestions already, I do hope they are helping you. The only addition I would make is that just quitting smoking itself is not enough. What you also need is stress management techniques to replace the 'job' that smoking was doing. When you quit, you get a double whammy, which is why you feel so awful.

    You need to replace the job that smoking was doing, and cope with the stress that quitting is causing. No wonder you are stressd out of your brain! If you need any more techniques other than what others have recommened, I use Mindfulness skills with clients to overcome anxiety, stress and any other bad feelings, including withdrawal from addictions. It does work but it takes dedication and practice. Whatever you do, don't expect a quick fix, but if you stick to a proven method, it will work in time. Good luck!

  • 3



    Although it's a bit unconventional, I can only describe what has been working for me. Microdoses of psilocybin. (less than 1/10 of a gram/dose). No more that one dose every four days. No pyschoactive effect at all at this doseage - really no noticeable effect at all other than a very collected emotional state usualy noticed most strongly on the morning of the day following an evening dose.  Dose is about the size of half a peanut. I quit a little over a year ago using a vaporizer and reduce the nicotine content from 18 mg/ml to start to less than 2mg/ml in 12 months. My depression is very managable now nearly non-existent and perhaps just normal for a man in his 50's with 2 ex-wives and a sensitive soul in these trying times. In the course of the year I have had recourse to this treatment only 6 times  and only 2 of those where I repeated the dose at 4 days and only one instance where I repeated the dose on day 8. Be aware this substance is illegal in many parts of the world. Good luck with quitting, it gets a little better every day!

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