Melange

MIND OVER MATTER

Q. I am a middle-aged man and have a long history of smoking – maybe around 15-20 years or so. I have tried to stop smoking but it has not been possible for me. I finally quit this habit around six months back and haven’t had a single cigarette since then. I feel quite tired all the time. I go to sleep 3-4 times a day and wake up exhausted. My appetite has decreased. I feel unwell. Can stopping smoking affect my body in such an adverse way?
(Name withheld)
Ans: When smokers quit smoking, the absence of nicotine leads to withdrawal symptoms, which has both physiological and psychological effects. Physiologically, the body reacts to the absence of nicotine while psychologically, one is faced with giving up a habit, which is a major change in behaviour. These symptoms lead the smoker to re-start smoking cigarettes to boost blood levels of nicotine back to a level where there are no symptoms. If quitting is to be successful, one needs to tackle both. Symptoms usually start within a few hours of the last cigarette and peak about 2 to 3 days later. They may last for a few days to several weeks.
Withdrawal symptoms include any of the following: depression, feelings of frustration and anger, irritability, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, restlessness, headache, tiredness and increased appetite. Quitting tobacco is very much similar to losing weight; it takes a strong commitment over a long period of time and this cannot be made easy. Successful quitting is a matter of planning and commitment and you should try to use the four A’s – Avoid (people and places where you are tempted to smoke); Alter (your habits); Alternatives (use oral substitutes) and Activities (exercise or hobbies that keep your hands busy) to deal with it. All the best!!
Q. Madam, I am 27 years old, passing through a separation phase with my husband and in love with a boy who is 23 years of age. He approached me 2 years back and said he loved me. He still says that but I don’t find that emotional part which was there then. Nobody knows about our affair but he says he will marry me once he gets stable financially. I want your opinion.
(Name withheld)
Ans: Honestly speaking, there is not much of an opinion to give here. You have mentioned that you are undergoing separation from you husband which means you have divorce in mind. As for your boyfriend, you don’t have feelings towards him any longer like before. The best thing for you to do is make this clear to him and move ahead instead of making a mess of his life and yours. Affairs usually do not have an emotional content as such and that’s why they die away soon. Talk things out and plan out your future life for now. All the best!
Q. Dear Madam, I have two young children. My daughter is 13 years old and my son is 9 years old. They keep fighting all the time. Both of them do well in their studies and other extracurricular activities. My daughter says that we love her brother more than her. During the last few months she has started throwing tantrums and keeps crying for small things. We are quite worried.
(Name withheld)
Ans: Spend some quality time alone with your daughter. Keep some time aside when you spend time together with both of your two children. Further spend individual time for both of your children. This way neither will feel neglected. Give time when your daughter is studying or doing her personal work. This will make her feel cared for. Never make comparisons between your two children. This could be very harmful. Small amount of sibling rivalry is common and there is nothing unhealthy about it as long as there is healthy competition.

Ms.Gariasi Dutta, MSW (TISS) is Psychological Counsellor with Down Town Hospital, Guwahati. She can be contacted at 98640-55560 or dutta.gariasi@gmail.com