Are You Depressed after Quitting Smoking?

Are You Depressed after Quitting Smoking?


If you are depressed after quitting smoking then this is not uncommon.  Many people go through an emotional loss grieving process when they stop using cigarettes.  The reason for this is because we treated our addiction to nicotine like an old friend.  Cigarettes were our comforting tool.  We used them as a shoulder to cry on.  People feel genuine loss when they quit.

But in addition to this emotional element, ex smokers might have chemistry changes going on in their bodies that make them feel lousy.  We have been feeding our brains little hits of dopamine every day, over and over again, for several years or even decades in some cases.  Of course we are going to have some adjustment time when we quit smoking and our brain is saying “hey, where are my 200 tiny individual doses of dopamine throughout the day?”  Every puff we took used to deliver another tiny rush.

Smoking & chewing the fat
Creative Commons License photo credit: Funkdooby

The answer for me when I quit smoking was exercise.  I know many people do not want to hear that because we tend to be lazy and we don’t want to change our whole lifestyle and have to get all excited about a new exercise routine in our lives.  But that is the price it is going to cost you if you want to stay clean from the nicotine.  You have to find a way to fix your chemical imbalance after quitting smoking and daily exercise will fix the problem in almost every case.  If it does not then you need to go to see a doctor, but even with what the doctor tells you, you should continue to exercise on your own anyway.

In fact, I tried to quit smoking many times and failed, over and over again.  It was not until I started jogging on a regular basis–even when I was still smoking–that I found the key to my quit. I felt so good after I exercised and I knew that it had to be the answer.  I also noticed that I would go for a longer period of time after exercising–like 2 or 3 hours–without the need to smoke a cigarette.  This was all the proof that I needed for myself that exercise could allow me to quit smoking successfully.

In the past when I would try to quit smoking, I was miserable and depressed.  But now I had a solution and that solution was to move my body vigorously every day. If I made sure to get my heart rate up every day, then I felt much better and did not feel the need to smoke.