Many people who struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol also smoke. Not only that, they tend to keep smoking after they get sober. Studies have found that AA members smoke more heavily and at a much higher rate than the general population. Other studies have found that smoking correlates with a much higher risk of relapse. Also, smoking kills almost half a million people every year, so if you’re in recovery and you smoke, there are plenty of reasons to quit. What happens to your body after you quit smoking? Your body is actually great at adapting and healing. The benefits of quitting start as early as 20 minutes. Your pulse and blood pressure start to drop back to normal, relieving some some stress on your heart. Of course, going 20 minutes without a cigarette hardly means you’ve quit. If you can go a full eight hours, the amount of nicotine and carbon monoxide, or CO, in your blood will drop to half. The drop in CO is a major benefit to quitting and it happens relatively quickly. CO actually displaces oxygen in your blood, which is why CO poisoning can kill you. When the level of CO in your blood drops, your heart doesn’t have to work so hard to supply oxygen to your body. CO levels fall back to normal levels in about 12 hours after quitting. After about two days, you start coughing all the junk out of your lungs. At this point, you also have no more nicotine left in your system, which is good, but it also means withdrawal is at its worst, which might cause headaches, irritability, anxiety, dizziness, hunger, fatigue, or depression. If you can hold on a little longer, more good things start to happen. After a couple of weeks, you’ll have made it through the hardest part of withdrawal. You will start to breathe easier and have more energy. You will notice you can do more without running out of breath. After a bout a year, you will have fewer respiratory infections and you will generally feel better. Most of the junk will be out of your lungs at this point and your risk of heart disease will be cut in half, which is huge. Your risk of heart disease will continue to fall the longer you don’t smoke. At about 15 years, your risk will be the same as if you had never smoked. Your risk of various kinds of cancer will steadily fall too. At five years, you are half as likely to get cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, or bladder. At 10 years, you’re half as likely to get lung cancer and less likely to get larynx or pancreatic cancer. Quitting smoking is well worth the effort. It will lower your chances of a relapse and it will noticeably improve your quality of life within a matter of weeks.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, we can help. Recovery Ways is a leading addiction treatment provider with an excellent recovery rate. Our expert staff includes masters and PhD level therapists and board certified addiction psychiatrists. Our comfortable facilities will help to make your treatment as enjoyable as possible and our therapists use proven techniques like sensory integration and recreation therapy to help to engage the world without the assistance of drugs or alcohol. Call us today at 1-888-986-7848 or email us through our contact page to learn more.