Aa
Aa
A
A
A
Close
Avatar universal

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.
49 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
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
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Smoking Cessation Community

Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Is treating glaucoma with marijuana all hype, or can hemp actually help?
If you think marijuana has no ill effects on your health, this article from Missouri Medicine may make you think again.
Julia Aharonov, DO, reveals the quickest way to beat drug withdrawal.
Tricks to help you quit for good.
Herpes sores blister, then burst, scab and heal.
Herpes spreads by oral, vaginal and anal sex.