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nebule's avatar

How long does it take when you quit smoking to stop being irritable and bad tempered?

Asked by nebule (16356 points ) February 12th, 2009

I smoke on and off… might go a few days without one, might have 5 in one day, might have 2 the next day…then none for a week… and I’m quite bad tempered… I didn’t think this was due to the cigs because i smoke so few really…but could it…

Every time i have a cigarette am i setting myself up for irritability (in terms of withdrawal) regardless of how many and how often i smoke…?

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19 Answers

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Perhaps you would benefit from creating the half-habit of not smoking. My mother-in-law put three cigarettes in an ashtray every morning, and for every one she didn’t smoke at the end of the day, she took a dollar out of her wallet and put it in a jar. Each time she went to reach for a cigarette, she made note of why she wanted it, when she wanted it, etc. to see if there were triggers, and worked on those. In her case, she usually smoked while she was on the phone with my sister-in-law.

If you quit smoking cold turkey, it seems to take about 30 days for it to kick in. It is okay to be irritable.

dynamicduo's avatar

I think a lot of it stems from the addiction to nicotine. Going through withdraw, no matter what substance, will leave people feeling cranky and irritable, at least until the drug is mostly out of their system but likely continuing until the person can get a grip on their situation (ie, you may be fidgety and anxious about wanting a cigarette a few weeks after quitting, and so you may be irritable because of this). By having a cigarette, even one, you put an amount of the drug back into the system, you move back to Square One and have to go through the withdraw process all over again. This could lead to a perpetual cycle of crabbiness.

Then again, there are people who are irritable and bad tempered who don’t smoke. There are many things in our lives that can cause us to become like this, or we may just have a tendency to be like this for whatever reason. So even if I knew approximately how many days the overall withdraw period for cigarettes is (and for some people, there is no end period, they must remain diligent all their lives, this is commonly seen with alcohol), I would never feel confident in saying a precise number of days, because it will vary from person to person.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

The worst of it passed in about a week for me, although it was closer to 3 weeks before I started to feel like myself psychologically. During the first 3 days of cold turkey, I remember almost sticking my head out the door to yell at somebody for making noise in the hall where I worked.

I was a heavy smoker, and getting the monkey off my back was pretty hard. It took me 3 attempts. My suggestion? You are an on and off smoker – next time you go off, stay off. I do not exaggerate when I say those things will kill you. 30 years later, I’m still looking over my shoulder.

jonsblond's avatar

dynamicduo is right, everyone is different. I quit cold turkey 6 years ago. I would say that after a month of not smoking, it becomes a lot easier. At least it was for me. I still get moments when my brain says “you want it”. Those nasty little things just don’t want to give up on me. I will win in the end!

Milladyret's avatar

When I quit smoking 25 weeks ago, it took 2 weeks before my grumpyness disappeard.
But when it first dawned on me that I had ACTUALLY QUIT SMOKING there was no going back: I was so happy that I did it.

But I have to agree with @jonsblond , I still have those ‘moments’...

Emdean1's avatar

@lynneblundell I am the same way! I don’t smoke often or everyday even but if I go a few days without one I turn into the devil (not really but i am not pleasant) There really is no such thing as a “Part Time Smoker” So I think its time for us to QUIT 100%

PetShark's avatar

I’ve only know a few legitimate part-time smokers. Most part-time smokers are just lying about how much they actually smoke. They’ll say they only smoke once in a while, but if you really ask them, it’s way more than that.

emmaroid's avatar

HOW LONG WHAT!!!!!IRRITABLE!!!WHO YOU CALLING IRRITABLE YOU SNIVELLING FOOL,YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO ASK ME HOW FUCKING LONG A BAD TEMPER WILL LAST WHILE YOUR NOT SMOKING???
HOW THE FUCK WOULD I KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT BAD TEMPERS????
NOW GO BOIL YOU HEAD AND STOP BOTHERING ME!!!!!!

emmaroid's avatar

Sorry about that,anyone got a light?

acebamboo77's avatar

Look up Alan Carr’s Only Way to Quit Smoking.
It works! I know many people who have used it, and swear by this book.
My boyfriend quit using the book just after new years. and in the past 2 weeks has finally become himself again.

Milladyret's avatar

@lacerbabe99
I agree :D I quit using Alan Carr, and it works!
25 weeks and counting ;)

acebamboo77's avatar

congrats Milladyret! I’m glad to hear it has worked for you too!

Jack79's avatar

I smoked like a chimney for over a decade. It took me a couple of weeks to quit and around a month to get over it completely. I still felt like the odd fag occasionally, but I did not really crave it or become irritable after the month was over. And the whole process was a lot easier than I had imagined it to be. With the amount you smoke, the whole thing would be over in a week. It’s all in your mind though.

btw I also read Alan Carr’s book. It was not what made me quit, but it’s a really good book, and worth a read. It gets you into the proper mind set, and makes the whole process so much easier. Oh and it’s been almost 5 years since I quit and I have not even had 1 since.

Jeruba's avatar

The first three days are the worst. I quit after 22 years at the 2-pack level. I journaled minute by minute through final countdown (last drags) and the white-knuckle days. I also went through I don’t know how many thousands of pretzel stix. The journal was so I’d remember the pain in case I was ever tempted to start again. I still have it.

The first three days are the worst, yes, and the mad craving passes, but it seems to be true that the desire never really goes away.

This year I’ll mark my 20th anniversary.

jonsblond's avatar

@Jeruba Congratulations! Tic-Tacs were/are my substitute for cigarettes. I only tic-tac when I drive though.

Dutchess12's avatar

Honestly, you get past 3 months, and you have it licked…it’s still hard but you KNOW you can do it. I ate sunflower seeds….

easeout's avatar

It depends on the method that you use to quit. Some people that quit cold turkey never get over their irritability. Irritability is caused from water retention. Drink lots of water, cut down on processed food and salt and do quit cold turkey.

[Link removed by Fluther] the irritability varies with everyone. Some people have it very mildly for about 2 weeks and others suffer with it for a few months.

The worst thing you can do for irritability is to keep going back for those little puffs because it introduces your body right back to all that nicotine and you go through withdrawal every day.

You need to draw a line in the sand and go for it.

Lela Bryan

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