View Full Version : So Why Am I Starting to Have Panic Attacks Now That I've Quit Smoking?

10-13-2002, 12:08 AM
So I stopped smoking about a month ago and now, suddenly, I'm having panic attacks. The last time I quit smoking I had this problem as well, though the on-set wasn't quite as quick as it is this time. Anybody have any ideas as to why the one would prevent the other from happening? (And no, these aren't simple cravings for a cigarette, trust me, its been formally diagnosed as such in the past.)

Boyo Jim
10-13-2002, 08:42 AM
My WAG is that cigs were a form of drug therapy for panic attacks in the past. I've used them myself to calm down when feeling stressed. If you've been smoke free for a month, it's not a nicotine withdrawl sysmptom. But perhaps in your case, the nicotine was suppressing more panic attacks than you realized.

Try slapping a patch on, and see if that works. I had a few panic attacks while stopping (it's been six months now), and I could feel the effect of the patches within 5 minutes. Even though the root cause may be different for you than me, the solution (short term) might be the same.

The only reason I suggest this is that patches are OTC now, so you can give this a try legally and relatively safely. IANAMD, so go see one. Even if this works, I have no idea what long term consequences of this might be.

Qadgop the Mercotan
10-13-2002, 12:10 PM
Rather than start the nicotine addiction anew to see if you're less anxious, why not contact your doc about your symptoms?


10-13-2002, 12:35 PM
I had panic attacks also. I went for weekly acupuncture treatments and was on the PATCH. After the second panic attack my doctor put me on a combination of Zoloft & Xanex.


10-13-2002, 03:16 PM
I had panick attacks in the past and I quit smoking (and resumed smoking, and quit again, etc...but that's another story...). So, I'm not a MD at all, but I got some clues on this topic.

I learnt in the process that nicotine is an anti-depressant (I've been told so but also read reports about studies). Adding that to the anxiety caused by the addiction, quiting smoking isn't necessarily recommanded for people who are currently depressed or subject to panick attacks. Apart from the addiction, you could consider that when smoking you're actually taking a mild medication, and you're stopping taking it at the same time. You should probably ask your MD about the best way to deal with this situation. That could include taking actual medications when you quit smoking. The patches, as suggested, could help temporarily, but what when you stop using them?

10-14-2002, 06:29 AM
Try Xyban or Zyban or whatever the heck it's called.

It's marketed as a stop-smoking aid, but the dirty little secret is that it's Wellbutrin (again, spelling?), which is a prescription anti-depressant.

If you don't want to go to the doctor, your dentist would be probably just as happy to write you a script.

I'm NOT advocating point-blank go out and get it and use it, though. Do a little research and TALK to the doctor/dentist before you start! Just offering it as a solution.

10-14-2002, 10:02 AM
Dentist?! I am confused....
Can they do that?!

10-14-2002, 02:47 PM
Tried Zyban and the side-effects were too much for me. (I stopped eating because of it.)

10-15-2002, 07:19 AM
Originally posted by Carine
Dentist?! I am confused....
Can they do that?!

Dentists are doctors that write prescriptions all the time. As oral specialists, they're often the first line of defense in detecting oral cancers which can result from smoking. So it's kind of their job to urge you to quit smoking and to write you the prescriptions you might need.

Concrete evidence: my dentist did it for me. I still, uh, well, need another prescription to try again. :)

10-15-2002, 11:45 AM
If you're having Panic Attacks, then see a psychiatrist. Not just your physician. Speaking from experience, for whatever reason my recognition of my anxiety syndrome and quitting smoking corresponded. (Quitting smoking also led to quitting drinking. So I knocked off two drugs at once.) But my suspicion is that many of us have self treated anxiety without knowing it. Stiff upper lip and all that. Have a real doctor help you with the real problem. Life is so much more enjoyable when you don't have to worry because of some chemical imballance in your system. You only need to worry about the rest of life.

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