Not everyone who is addicted to smoking experiences a withdrawal syndrome. Cravings to smoke can come during smoking and even after withdrawal, as defined here, is over. Withdrawal is just one part of smoking addiction, and there are many different patterns to addiction.
The object of this self-assessment isn't just about adding up the number of "yes" answers—it is about assessing whether smoking is making a problem in any of these areas. The object is to get you thinking seriously about whether you have lost control of, and developed a dependence on, tobacco smoking.

If your self-assessment shows you have lost control of your smoking behavior—that it no longer is like having a drink on Saturday night—then seriously consider setting your goal to be completely tobacco-free. Cutting down often amounts to no more than waiting to smoke. Do you want to break free of smoking addiction or just train yourself to wait for the next smoke?

1. Have you smoked every day for at least the past several weeks?

2. Do you experience any of the following withdrawal symptoms after you stop or reduce your amount of smoking ("withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours of cessation")?
  • Depressed mood
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, frustration or anger
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Increased appetite or weight gain
3. Do you experience significant distress due to the symptoms in Question 2? Do you avoid social or work obligations, or leave in the middle of these obligations, due to significant distress or discomfort from not smoking?

If you answer "yes" to Question 1; "yes" to at least four of the symptoms in Question 2; and "yes" to Question 3, then you have a problem and may even meet the psychiatric definition for nicotine withdrawal. Knowing this can help you face mixed feelings about your smoking addiction. Perhaps it is as serious as you feared. It can also help build your commitment to change and to learning to breathe free.
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.


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