I've been a committed smoker since the age of 17, apart from when I was pregnant, and the time has now come to stop.
Actually the time came 7 years ago. I stopped - dead - experienced no cravings and thought I'd cracked it. Then, after a few weeks, the panic attacks hit, to a disabling level. I took myself off to the GP and asked him if this was a side effect of stopping smoking. He said it wasn't - I was obviously very anxious - but all he could offer was a prescription for nice addictive sleeping tablets, although I was sleeping fine.
I then rang my local stop smoking service and asked them, but they'd never heard of this. I contacted every smoking cessation organisation I could find on the web and they all said the same, although asking round, it seems that this is actually quite common.
I went back to smoking and the anxiety disappeared. Because it was so disabling, lying in a darkened room for days at a time with one panic attack coming after another, I was frankly scared to have another go, but I did try again in March this year, and after 4 days, the same thing happened.
The panic comes in waves and I don't seem to be able to do anything about it. My head felt as if it was about to burst and the left hand side of my face was completely numb. The feeling has mostly come back now.
I have contacted my local smoking cessation service again, but all they seem to do is hand out nicotine replacement, which I don't get on with. I can't use patches because of contraindications and lozenges or whatever just make me feel sick.
Has anybody else experienced this anxiety issue and, if so, what did you do about it?
I really want to give up smoking, but I know I can't do it without proper support and I'm afraid that if the anxiety is connected I will need psychological support, which is not available in my local area.
Any suggestions anyone?