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Bad anxiety/depression briefly after smoking cigarettes

I am in my mid 20's, and have been struggling to quit smoking for a little over a year now. It seems like I will quit successfully for one or two months, and then end up relapsing. When I do smoke, it is very lightly, as in one or two cigarettes a day, unless I go out drinking for a night, at which time I smoke more heavily.

Lately, immediately during, and after smoking a cigarette, I begin to suffer from pretty severe depression and anxiety for a period of about 25 minutes. It will start approximately half way through the cigarette. Generally, I will start feeling like a failure, because of how long I have been trying to quit, but obviously haven't. Then, a couple of minutes later, I will get racing, and disturbing thoughts and the depression worsens.

The strange thing is that it seems to be getting worse every time I smoke. This last time scared me so bad, it is what prompted me to find this forum and post this question.

I am certain this is brought forth by nicotine, and not just me being disappointed in myself for failing to quit (although that does play a part), because of the immediate nature, and time frame which it lasts after smoking. I briefly searched google, and only found information on anxiety and depression after quitting for a period of time, and not directly after smoking.

I am interested to hear if anyone has had experiences like this, or if anyone at least has any insight into the situation. Thank you.
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Avatar universal
Well let me say I have the same thing and its destroying my life...I honestly believe cigarettes have taken away the last two years from my life. I spend all day feeling horrible but smoking regardless..when I quit i am not cured of depression/anxiety but its like 20 times better and more rare..and just like everyone says after you quit you forget the feeling and think it would be nice to smoke..BTW anxiety and depression are not my only symptoms in fact the main ones are flu lijke symptoms(no fever tho) muscle pain extreme exhaustion within myself...those can last as long as 6 hours after smoking...also I have this feeling the best way I can put it is I lose the ability to feel normal emotions...I just feel horrible but cant get genuinly sad (which is not a bad feeling). Also cant get any work done im just stuck in this dissatisfied and overstimulated state of sickness...goodbye nicotine!
Helpful - 1
1 Comments
Also Im pretty sure this has to do with Increased body awareness/heightnened pain response from underlying depression/anxiety + the irritation of the lungs ringing alarm bells in your brain. I get the feeling from vaping as well. With adrenaline in my body I dont get this horrible reaction its only when its quiet and im calm and at home when things go horrible after smkoing.
Avatar universal
Im having same feeling after smoking. Truly very very worse. difficult to face even  a minute of time. Feeling like want to stop my life for an hour.   Slowly it gets better. Trust me people not experienced this cant even imagine the extent of bad and anxiety it puts u into......
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
Same problem. Been smoking on and off for 3 years. If you have this problem the only option is to quit. The depression/anxiety caused by nicotine cessation will feel different than what you feel when you inhale. But quitting feels better than smoking to people like us, trust me. Just focus on eating healthy and exercising. After about 20 days of no smoking/vaping you'll feel refreshed, but you'll start to wonder how just one cigarette would feel because you forget about how awful they are. Don't do it. At 20 days you're already in the clear. Smoking a cig/vape will just turn you into Negative Nancy again and restart the entire painstaking process. This is about a lifestyle change. It is physically impossible for people like us to be happy without quitting. If you're tired of worrying all day, suffering all day, feeling like you're dying all the time: you have to quit. The universe doesn't want you smoking for whatever reason because you are special, so you need to stop. The universe has a bigger plan for you and it needs you to be at your best, your healthiest. The truth is hard.
Helpful - 1
1 Comments
my thoughts exactly because i have been getting so many signs in my life all about smoking and how quitting would make everything better (major depression and panic disorder) so i did stop and 7 years of pain just vanished ! until i tried to smoke again .. now its worse but now i know that all this time i had nothing wrong with me but a negative life caused by nicotine
Avatar universal
I've had this for a long time.  I've switched to vaping now on 3mg, so a low dosage.  If I have a cigarette, within seconds my heart is racing, my thoughts start turning negative and I want to either sit down or sleep.  If I vape it doesn't seem to do it as severely as a cigarette, maybe something to do with the speed the nicotine is entering your body - I've heard this a slower process with vaping.  The negative thoughts I believe come from the instant anxiety that the nicotine is causing.  You are instantly thinking negatively and in your case the first thing that comes to mind is the fact you are feeling guilty about smoking.  For me the instant anxiety brought up bad memories of my past which I would ruminate over  until the immediate effect of the cigarette had worn off.

I was depressed and had severe anxiety over a year ago, and when I was going through this I would turn to a cigarette, which, unbeknown to be at the time was probably causing it all in the first place.  

I'm sticking with the 3mg eliquid for now but I've been cutting this down a lot recently.  I'm looking to switch to 0mg soon.  

My advice to the original poster is that like me, your body obvious doesn't like nictoine and this turns into anxiety.   Try a very low strength vape but ultimately quitting for good will do you the world of good.  
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
My opinion on the matter.

Since about 5 years, and i smoke for 15+ years, i've been getting aware of negative thoughts entering my consciousness after a few puffs of a cigarette. Just as many, I believe this is due to the physical composition of the cigarette and the effects it has on me.
I believe we are purely physical beings and that the brain is nothing more then a neurological soup. We see the soup and its outcome, but we do not know the ingredients. If I feel bad, i believe this is due to my neurological composition expressing a sense of need to my brain that I should change behavior X or Y. So the answer to the initial question can only be answered by science, but we can surely conclude that we should change our behavior if we want these negative thoughts to stop!
Why do we feel bad? Is it the idea of smoking, feeling like losers? Is it the physical composition of the cigarette? Is it my body telling me that this is a bad habit? Is it a pavlov-reaction? These questions are unanswerable for me, but what I can see true all this is that they don't matter for the individual person. The negative will vanish as soon as the habit disappears and that is exactly what the mind presupposes while embedding our mind in "bad feelings".

I stopped smoking a week ago, and posts like this keep me from relapsing. Thx!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
wow this has been enlightening i thank the man who posted this because this was really driving me crazy because i kept thinking that maybe i am imagining it or maybe i am already sick with depression .. now the withdrawls seem like nothing compared to this.. it is really crippling even if it goes away after 20 minutes it is enough to destroy your whole day.. a month ago i quit and i felt like never before in 11 years !! i felt so relaxed and happy ALL THE TIME but i did not believe my symptoms were from smoking so i tried another one and fell right into it,, now the symptoms are even worse .. i am quitting slowly everyday hopefully i can summon my courage to do this
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Thank god! I'm not the only one!, I'm 24 years old My story starts at the third year of the college sec semester I started this bad habit because I was alone most of the time leaving in other city far from my home and family you know I always have deep thinking then one day I said why not I will try smoking, for first couple of months everything was normal but then after that my life changed so badly I started to get massive anxiety/depression sometimes I feel like I want to suicide but for sure I will never do it the good thing when I  back to my home and family and my normal life on vacation  I forget about smoking like I never smoked before I don't even feel the withdrawal and then when I back to the college again I got a lot of triggers that makes me want to smoke again now I'm in final semester and I didn't smoke for 1 month the first 3 weeks it was in home I survived it easily 4th week here alone I started to fight with cig craving anyways I swear I started to feel much better my body my lungs no more anxiety/depression, one more thing I started smoking in 2016/2 about one year of smoking now, I hope I can make it....
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Thank god! I'm not the only one!, I'm 24 years old My story starts at the third year of the college sec semester I started this bad habit because I was alone most of the time leaving in other city far from my home and family you know I always have deep thinking then one day I said why not I will try smoking, for first couple of months everything was normal but then after that my life changed so badly I started to get massive anxiety/depression sometimes I feel like I want to suicide but for sure I will never do it the good thing when I  back to my home and family and my normal life on vacation  I forget about smoking like I never smoked before I don't even feel the withdrawal and then when I back to the college again I got a lot of triggers that makes me want to smoke again now I'm in final semester and I didn't smoke for 1 month the first 3 weeks it was in home I survived it easily 4th week here alone I started to fight with cig craving anyways I swear I started to feel much better my body my lungs no more anxiety/depression, one more thing I started smoking in 2016/2 about one year of smoking now, I hope I can make it....
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
its not just about feeling bad or cconcerned about society, becoz i dont feel bad or concenred abt wat people think or i never wanted to stop it.   But the anxious, negative, depreesed feeling is really very very worse
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
I'm feeling anxious right now I've been trying to cut back more on my smoking I just had a half of a cigarette and it's making me feel anxious i was smoking a half a pack a day for a couple of months then cut myself back to 6 or 7 a day only smoking a half only when I can't take it anymore I'm just taking one day at a time
Avatar universal
Im having same feeling after smoking. Truly very very worse. Feeling like want to stop my life for an hour.   Slowly it gets better. Trust me people not experienced this can't even imagine the extent of bad and anxiety it puts u into......
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Interesting! I also feel bad after a cig. I feel very sad all the time for about 20 minutes. One of you guys mentioned something about Cortinsone... I think this could be a chemical explanation, at least for me. Once I had an allergic reaction. I had to go to the hospital for a high dose treatment with cortisone. After the treatment I began to feel very bad after a cigarette. Since then this happens all the time when smoking. I have to mention that I suffer from depression anyway (already before the Cortisone treatment), but since then my depression is definately worse. That's why I have to quit... There are also studies that say that quit smoking can signiffically reduce anxiety and depression. But other studies say exactly the opposite. I think it depends on ones imbalance of neurotransmitters. Some people are probably depressed because of a lack of Serotonine, some because of too much Cortisole. The same for anxiety. Therefore it would make sense that many people (but not all) can profit from quit smoking.
Helpful - 0
1 Comments
In the fight-or-flight response, cortisol suppresses any functions that are unnecessary or detrimental to that response. During a fight-or-flight response, you can have:

a rapid heart rate
dry mouth
stomach upset
diarrhea
panic
Avatar universal
I get the EXACT same feeling! And I can't understand why it happens. It never used to happen to me, only the past several months. Like for example after I finish work (I'm a manager at a pub) and I have a cigarette, I always feel like I've done something wrong during work and screwed something up and get really worked up over it. One of my colleges asked if something was wrong after we had one together because she thought I was acting strange, and I  hate being around people when I feel like that! It's the worst feeling but before I have it I really crave one! It's so strange.. And like you said the feeling only lasts for about 20-30 minutes! I think it has to be something to do with the nicotine. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has this lol ..
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I'm exactly like this. The previous posts I've read all say the opposite, that you should feel your most relaxed whilst smoking, then 20-30 minutes later, when the affects start wearing off, you might then become anxious. This just isn't the case. The major problem is that if you've smoked for years or smoke over 10 a day, then quitting cold turkey isn't really an option and all the replacements - patches, tablets, gum, vapes are also linked with anxiety & depression, especially the tablets which can cause severe depression. The only good advice I can give (didn't work for me but did for a friend) is to quit with someone you spend a good amount of time with every day, that way when things get difficult you can have a good ***** about how fed up you are and have someone who 100% feels the same.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I have experienced the same exact thing, and contrary to what others have posted, I dont believe nicotine is the culprit of such induced depression. Considering other studies Ive read and my own personal experience, I think it is a combination of a psychological factors and a very specific chemical reaction. The idea of wanting to quit smoking for obvious health reasons, but still adoring the feeling, has a negative impact on my general self perception. Combine that with the negative influence strangely increased cortisol levels and other chemicals that screw with dopamine/serotonin  levels, Im primed to experience serious depression and anxiety that I attribute to smoking in general. Quitting smoking solves the sudden onset of depression, but so does switching to vapor that only gives me a nicotine fix.  So I (personally) have concluded that some other chemical from smoking cigarettes is the culprit. So my suggestion is to try switching to vapor if youre having trouble quitting. Also, I hope this helps other readers that are trying to figure out why they experience the same thing!  
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I have the same experience!!! I was severely depressed and experienced high levels of anxiety (including panic attacks). This went on for almost 3 years.

Over christmas I decided that I would quit smoking just to see what happened. All of a sudden my depression vanished!

I tried smoking a couple more times and all of a sudden my symptoms would come back... Confusion, anxiety, self-doubt, depression, etc. Then they would disappear after an hour or two.

I'm am 100% positive nicotine is the cause. I do believe, however, that I am more sensitive than most. I also had to quit drinking as it was also causing depression and anxiety.

I knew smoking was bad for my health, but I wasn't aware of the extent of it.

I really wish there was more research on the link between depression/anxiety and nicotine. This would have saved me a lot of time and suffering.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I get very anxious after 6 cigarettes my mouth and nose gets dry and my arms and legs get jittery. After smoking ten I feel like my mouth is the Sahara dessert and I'm shakey and feel nautilus and like I'm going to black out. Yes some friends of mine can smoke a pack a day and feel right as rain. I tried quitting once and was fine for 3 days then had panic attacks from the time I woke up till the time I went to bed for 11 days straight. It felt like I was choking and couldn't breathe. That was last year.. Now I'm scared to quit. I never felt anxious in my life till I started smoking. Mebe it's low nicotine tolerance?? Any ideas???
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I'm glad to see that Im not the only one who gets that particular reaction. It can be anywhere from  mild mental discomfort to a full blown, panic attack. The worst is when it happens too you in a situation where you need to keep interacting with people (while silently freaking out inside) It makes sense that people who don't have the same psycho-chemical reaction tend to make a more superficial diagnosis (I feel bad because I'm trying to quit and I just smoked again, etc...) because the anxiety-depression reaction can be so powerful that the average person would need to feel it before truly understanding. That aside, my own reaction can sometimes include a greatly increased heart rate, and full blown thoughts of terror, personal unsafety, as well as a frightening bombardment of disturbing thoughts about my personal life. I have stopped for now, but the hypersensitivity to nicotine is still interesting to me, and I would like to know what exactly is happening. Seems like there is a strong cortisol relation.
A few puffs of a smoke an I feel like I'm gong to be attacked.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I get the exact same reaction when i smoke cigarettes or vape. It has to be something with nicotine. Funny thing is, when it gets late at night i can smoke all i want to without feeling sick/depressed/anxious. But the feeling comes from PHYSICALLY smoking. I have known disease s like Chron syndrome and i suffer from Borderline aswell. I've always felt this when smoking, even when i was teen and didnt have any, known of, diseases
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Actually, it might, like you said, not be because you are failing to quit. I've done some research and i think it might be because of the substances in the cigarette itself. I smoke too and i've been noticing that i get depressed sometimes during a smoke. Do you feel like you have a tendency to become depressed? Probably to stop having this feeling you should quit smoking. Or you have to bear that feeling you get after smoking.. it's your choice.. If i discover anything new i'll let you know. Good luck.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
When I am alone and I smoke, I feel depressed and sick afterwards for about 20 minutes. It doesn't happen when I smoke and drink.
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Avatar universal
When I am alone and I smoke, I feel depressed and sick afterwards for about 20 minutes. It doesn't happen when I smoke and drink.
Helpful - 0
12079351 tn?1423315800
I know exactly what you mean, I am searching for answers myself which is why i ended up here, however i am not trying to stop smoking but yeah after a few draws of a cig i get worried/anxious i think the nicotine may bring out anxiety you may already have maybe there is a reaction between the nicotine and what triggers your anxiety, maybe its a mental thing? i am no expert but i am just trying to think of possibilities. I also tend to feel like this smoking in the mornings or afternoon, but never evening/night time , maybe it is because i know i have to face the public and people at work knowing how negative the world are and how evil people can actually be. soo.. yeah i think alot of factors may come into this, smoking may not be the source but may bring to surface your anxiety. My theory based on my experiences.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I am not really a smoker, but cigerettes make me depressed, I smoke socially once every two weeks, and on my own I smoke approximately three cigarettes a month. I don't feel in any way bad about the fact that I smoke, there are months when I won't even have one cigarette, so when I do want to smoke I don't feel any guilt about it. I'm writing all this because I believe that this feeling of depression doesn't stem from just being dissapointed in yourself  for smoking etc. Anyway, a few months back cigarettes started to make me feel depressed - when I got to about half a cigerette and it lasted for about 30 min to an hour. I wasn't thinking any negative thoughts, it seemed like a purely emotional reaction. I could even be doing something that I would normally enjoy, like talking with friends while having that cigarette, but the dark mood just set in nevertheless. I just had a cigarette 20 min ago and decided to google this effect,  I did experience long bouts of depression in my life, so I know what it feels like. Now, I am much much better. Ofcourse I still get anxious and stressed, and I still have bad days, but nothing compares to that awful feeling when I have a cigarette, it really is depression at its worst, something I never feel without a cigarette anymore. (Sadly, when the feeling passes I forget how bad it is and so I never quit smoking completely). Just wanted to share my experiences too, I don't understand it, but it definetely does happen. Good luck to all of you!
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Avatar universal
(sorry for my bad english, i am not from a country that english spoken)
Beside anxiety, it make my low back pain and muscules very weak. It is absolutly physical not psychological. I have no filing of guilty. But just after smoking a sigarret, i could not be any healty thought, as if, my brain tring make me feel bad even try to think postivily. It is very svere in my case. I wonder what is the cause. But i think it is neurological system and may be we are effected because there is another issue about our brain. After 1 day quitting the the negative thoughtes that attacks my mine gone, i became totally different person. I would not even think nicotin can do that to some peopel.And it is weired that i could not find any scientific research  specifically related to our issue.
And to know that i am not alone is made me better also.
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