When you're preparing for your quit date, you should be ready for the discomfort withdrawal can bring. Dr. Roizen emphasizes that while you might feel bad at first, you will feel better in about a month. "When you first withdraw from a drug—and nicotine in cigarettes is a drug—you feel bad. It's like withdrawal from anything," he says. "That's why we give [some patients] the [nicotine] patch to help you feel a little better. But it's not the same high. When you inhale it, you get a much higher level. And so over time, you withdraw from that, you replace it, and you end up feeling normal again."
Aside from physical symptoms, which usually are temporary, Dr. Seidman says you must deal with the emotional issues that come with quitting. "Sometimes there's other things hiding behind the smoke," he says. "You might have problems with your mood or anger or other things like that. And if it doesn't get better, it's important to realize that whatever's wrong with you, smoking is not the best medicine for you."