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Carolyn
Quit 4,818 days ago

Understanding the Icky Threes

March 13, 2019
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Another good one - but again remember - we are all different and may or may not experience the same things exactly. KTQ Cara D4746

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Understanding the Icky Threes Author Unknown

Understanding The Icky Threes refers to particular phases of a person's quit program that can be bumpy and uncomfortable.

3 Days Physical Withdrawal

The first three days of smoking cessation are intense for most of us. Often, the first day or two are fueled by the 'excitement' of taking the initial plunge into quitting, but by the third day, reality is setting in and so are the discomforts of physical withdrawal from nicotine. "Quitter's flu" is a term used to describe this phase of smoking cessation because nicotine withdrawal symptoms often mimic a cold or a mild case of the flu.

The following list contains commonly reported symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Most people experience some of these, but rarely all of them

· Cravings to smoke · Irritable, cranky · Insomnia · Fatigue · Inability to Concentrate · Headache · Cough · Sore throat · Constipation, gas, stomach pain · Dry mouth · Sore tongue and/or gums · Postnasal drip · Tightness in the chest

Coping Skills for Nicotine Withdrawal The Five D's · Delay until the urge passes - usually within 3 to 5 minutes. · Distract yourself. Call a friend or go for a walk. · Drink water to fight off cravings. · Deep Breaths - Relax! Close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep breaths. · Discuss your feelings with someone close to you or at the support forum here at About.com Smoking Cessation.

Exercise. If you're unaccustomed to exercising, start slowly. Take a 15-minute walk once or twice a day, and work up from there. Choose activities that appeal to you, so you'll do them consistently. Exercise reduces cravings to smoke while helping you feel better in general.

Get More Rest. As smokers, our bodies were used to taking in not only nicotine, but all of the literally thousands of other chemicals in cigarette smoke. The stress of abruptly cutting off that supply, as unhealthy as it was, can leave us feeling tired and wilted. If you're fatigued and can manage it during the day, take a nap. And go to bed a little earlier than usual if you need to. It will do you good. On the other hand, if you're at the opposite end of the spectrum and find yourself unable to sleep (which is common also), try taking a long walk several hours before bed.

Take a Multivitamin. Consider adding a good multivitamin to your daily regimen for the first few months after quitting tobacco. It will help offset nicotine withdrawal symptoms and replenish depleted nutrients.

Relaxation and Rewards. Take time alone to read a good book. Indulge in a hot bath at the end of the day. Whatever pampers and relaxes you is a great choice. Don't think of it as a luxury; think of it as a protective measure for your quit program.

Cessation is hard work early on, and when we take the time to recharge our batteries and replenish our spirits, we put ourselves in the best possible position for continued success. Do this step religiously every single night, and you'll find that you are better equipped to start the next day off on the right foot.

3 Weeks Psychological Withdrawal

At three weeks, we've gotten through the shock of physical withdrawal and we're just beginning to tackle the mental side of nicotine addiction. This turn of events triggers cravings to smoke anew for a lot of us.

And be aware ... psychological cravings can produce very real physical reactions in our bodies, making a mental trigger feel like physical withdrawal. Thinking about that smoke break can cause tension that makes your stomach churn and leaves you on edge. It feels like a physical craving, and in a way it is...but the source is a thought, not physical withdrawal from nicotine.

3 Months The Blahs

At three months the "newness" of the quit program is wearing off and we're often left thinking "Is that all there is?" The blahs hit, in other words. That too triggers cravings to smoke, often quite intensely. Knowledge is Power! The icky threes are common stages of recovery that most of us will go through as we move through our first few months of smoking cessation. The time intervals may vary somewhat for you personally, but you'll recognize the ickies when they arrive.

Don't let nicotine withdrawal scare you! Remember - nicotine withdrawal is a temporary phase of recovery. It doesn't last long and better days....much better days lie ahead. The fantastic feeling of freedom and control you'll get when you successfully beat this addiction is worth every bit of effort you give to quitting, and then some.

You are worth it.


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  • Terry1963
    Quit 343 days ago
    2 months ago #

    I experienced all 3 of these phases, and they were strange to say the least. Thankfully, time marches on

  • AileenA
    Quit 76 days ago
    2 months ago #

    Thanks for this...I had a rough day yesterday (Day 4) and thought I was losing my mind. Never knew about the multivitamin...going to get some and start taking them. Again thank you for all the information that everyone posts!!!!!

  • m
    m.m.
    Quit 1,727 days ago
    2 months ago #

    The early days are tough. But the pay off for sticking to it is so worth it. You don't quit accidentally. Carolyn's celebration of thirteen years real. Once the true understanding that we were all duped into taking in an addictive substance. Cat fished. I watched a video of a baby that was given tobacco go through withdrawal. The poor child went through the same thing we all did. I can not remember when my last craving was but I know that if I ever want another craving all I need to do is smoke one.

  • T
    Thisisit
    Thinking about quitting
    2 months ago #

    Slightly different question/comment! I'm scared. If I'm not a smoker, who am I? I am losing part of my identity. I also seem to have a "fear of success". In all my years of smoking (40+) no matter which method of quitting I use, I have never quit for longer than 3 months. Sick of failing but not sure how to get past it. Sigh. On Champix now...tapering off. Sigh....comments?

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