After quitting smoking is relapses possible?
Tobacco cessation is not a one-time treatment. It certainly isn’t any disease that can be treated with medication or by any antibiotic. It demands persistence and will power. It is a lifelong condition and hence needs a lifelong maintenance. Quitting smoking is not the end but the beginning of the process. When symptoms such as depression, insomnia and irritability hit you, find positive ways to work through the symptoms. Beware of the ‘slips’ and the ‘just once’ phase.
Slips – most slips happen in the first week of quitting smoking. If you slip for even a single puff after you quit it does not mean you will get back to smoking again and incur a full blown relapse. Many people do relapse after a slip. Hence it is important to stop yourself and not get over confident about you can stop with just one puff.
‘Just once’ phase – Very often, a single slip triggers negative feelings of self-doubt, self-criticism, etc. This frustration and depression may lead you towards your first cigarette and then the next. This might lead to an assured relapse. Therefore, it is important to just not fall for the temptation a single slip. When the temptation pulls you towards the smoke, remember the numerous health benefits you enjoy now after quitting smoking and how happy and healthy your loved ones are around you. Avoid thinking that one cigarette won’t hurt. Remember how hard it was to quit. Do you want to go through all of that again?
Common Relapse Triggers
- Being around tobacco users
- Drinking alcohol
- Feeling hurried, overwhelmed or stressed
- Being overconfident
- Being isolated from supportive friends and loved ones
- Having feelings of anger, self-pity or entitlement
- Not complying with treatment recommendations
- Feeling tired, poor sleep quality
- Not taking time for yourself
- Negative, pessimistic attitude
It is important to have ultimate faith and belief in yourself to stick to a decision like this. There will be many circumstances in life that will give you reasons to go back to smoking but remember that one reason you had quit smoking for the first time. It will keep you going.