Log in
Quit Support
10,884 members18,743 posts

Will it get worse before it gets better?

So I tried to quit smoking yesterday and lasted all of a few hours. I was totally unprepared for the attack of cravings and gave in just to get myself through the day.

Today I've been doing much better. Had my last cigarette at 10.30pm last night, it's now almost 8pm again and so far, I'm smoke free. It's been tough, but I think I can handle this for a while.

What I do wonder though is, will it get worse before it gets better? Am I likely to feel the effects of nicotine withdrawal on days 2,3,4 and so on even worse than I did today? If so, when does it get better? When will I start to feel normal again?

I'm trying to just keep it in the day, but it helps to know what to expect in the days to come so I can prepare for it.

8 Replies

Hi Chris, just found this may be of interest to you.

The First Few Days of Quitting Smoking - What to Expect

By Susan L Roberts

The first couple of days after you quit are the hardest to deal with. It gets easier as time goes on, but the first 72 hours are the absolute hardest. Luckily, if you know what to expect, it makes it easier to cope with.

Why 72 hours? It takes about that long for your body to completely stop the effects of nicotine. While there are still traces of nicotine in your blood after 72 hours, it has stopped affecting you at this point.

As the nicotine levels in your blood decrease, you will begin to experience the physical symptoms that come from nicotine withdrawal. Irritability and cold symptoms are the most noticeable, but there are a few others that generally won't be noticed unless you're looking for them.

The irritability and general lack of patience will be the most noticeable. You may notice yourself less able to concentrate, and more likely to snap at friends and colleagues. Explain to them beforehand that you're quitting smoking and what to expect.

On the third day, cravings will be at their worst. You will generally experience frequent cravings for cigarettes, and it may take completely over your thoughts and cause you to be completely unable to work, thinking that smoking will make you able to think once again. This is the way that cigarettes keep you hooked, by making you believe that you need them to function.

Keep pushing through it, and your mind will slowly realize that it doesn't actually need cigarettes to keep working. As time goes on, you will feel fewer and fewer cravings, and will be able to function better.


Thanks Jily, that's really helpful. Making me think I should work from home on the third day just in case I do get to the point where I'm unbearably irritable and unable to focus on my work!


If you get that irritable, just come on the chat and have a rant and rave about it - we won't mind, and it'll do you good to let it out. Something a few of us used to do also was to have a shout and tell the cravings to go away. If you choose to do this, it may help to check that no-one's around to hear you or they'll be getting in the men in white coats to cart you away! :o :D :D


Aup Chris, I welcome you to this lovely quit smoking site pal :)

Rite I know for a fact that if you just quit, you will probably fail :( for one thing you have to really want to quit, cos if you just go half cocked at it, then again you will probably fail :( You need a plan :)

What you have to do Chris is sit yourself down, and have a little chat to yourself, as in -

Are you going to use any NRT ( Nicotine Replacement Therapy ) to help you ??

When are your hardest times ??

Emjay is one of our very lovely quit support advisers and she posted this article a bit ago, Please just have a read through it, it may help you :)

Before you reach your quit date, try to understand what part of smoking actually satisfies you....

Posted by EmJay ROY CASTLE

2 Jan 2012

Quite often, when somebody decides that they would like to give up smoking, they jump straight in at the deep end without giving much thought, if any - to what part of smoking they feel they will actually miss when quitting. It is quite useful to try and understand what it is that you think you enjoy about smoking, both physically and mentally. Here is a simple thought provoking exercise to try before your quit date;

1. Don't worry about stopping smoking but become really aware of each cigarette or roll up that you smoke and the whole process of smoking each individual one. What do you believe you really enjoy about it? Is it the making the roll up, getting the cigarette out of the packet, puffing the cigarette in or blowing it out?

2. Next, again without trying to stop, try and go for as long as you can without smoking. However when you feel that the craving is too much, really think about what it is that you are feeling... Does it feel physical? Is it in your tummy? In your chest? Does your mouth water? Does it feel more in your mind? Like you can't concentrate? Feeling a bit tense? Upset?

3. When you feel that you can't take anymore of this awful feeling, go and get your cigarettes.

4. Notice at which point does any part of this action take that awful feeling away. You may feel better once you pick up your cigarette packet... without even having to light your cigarette. The feeling may go when you take the first puff in, maybe when you blow it out. The feeling may not even go until you have finished smoking and put your cigarette out.

Only you are able to recognise and answer any of the above for yourself then you can work on the next step of moving towards your quit date.

The key to successfully stop smoking and staying stopped, is all in the thinking, planning and preparing beforehand.

You really can do this, so lets start by taking just one step at a time :)

Good luck Chris, speak soon eh :) Pete.


Hi Chris1984,

welcome aboard :D

How you are feeling is pretty normal and the cravings can affect different people in different ways. Some will sail through the early days without any bother whilst others may feel every single niggle :-/

The key to success is to accept whatever each hour throws at you and to learn from it. By doing this you will become stronger and be more likely to maintain your non-smoking status :-)

The positive thing about getting cravings is that they are a sure sign that your body is recognising that you are not feeding it with nicotine, the drug that it wants. After smoking for any length of time, on a regular basis - it's no wonder you may experience at least a couple (if not more) forms of craving / nicotine withdrawal.

Have a look at the following link that may help you out;


Keep up the great efforts and remember that you can do this!


Thanks Emjay :) That's a grea tpost you linked to as well :) Survived the day at work without too many problems. Cravings were there, but not half as intense as I thought they might be. Biggest problem I had was staying focused and keeping my concentration together. Not to worry, at least I survived so far!


Hi Chris

Good on you - you have taken some punishment from Mr Nic and won, stay with it & keep doing the same thing - watch those cravings come & go & BE POSITIVE.

"Yes" concentration is another big problem as the mind tries to mend itself - again just stay with it and the concentration slowly slowly improves. My concentration is now as good as it has ever been but it has taken time.

Best wishes



Thanks Jonathan, glad it does improve, knowing all this is temporary is really helping me get through :) Really appreciate the supportive words :)


You may also like...