Quitting Smoking And Extreme Anxiety

In my 15 years assisting clients to quit smoking, occasionally I have seen a response that was confusing. It happened to a few people who don’t normally suffer from anxiety.

In these cases their anxiety was overwhelming, causing them to feel so bad they couldn’t work or barely hold a conversation. When I dug into this problem I found what is referred to as a glutamate storm.

The extreme form is common in head injuries and stroke, but a lesser storm can be seen in some individuals when nicotine is suddenly withdrawn from their brain.

It is a similar response to what is described an allergy to MSG, the salt which traditionally has been used to enhance the flavour in Chinese food and is commonly used in salty processed foods.

Glutamine floods from the brain cells and displaces GABA (Gamma Amino butyric Acid) an amino acid which is related to feeling calm. In addition calcium enters the same cells.

In all of our cells there is a delicate balance between calcium and magnesium. In our muscles calcium causes contraction and magnesium causes relaxation.

We are never short of calcium, because our bones will release calcium to maintain a proper blood balance. But a high percentage of people are low in magnesium. This is because in this modern age of chronic stress we have a high requirement.

So glutamate floods out of the brain cells and calcium enters these same cells resulting in strong anxiety. That is the short version of a complex bio-chemical process.

If this is a mild response then that can easily be managed with breathing and relaxation techniques but if the glutamate storm happens, the quick solution is to replace nicotine from smoking with nicotine gum or patches.

This will reduce the anxiety, then you can take GABA as a supplement and magnesium. This will ensure that balance returns to the brain.

The next step is to taper the nicotine replacement over a week or two. Most people who quit using a method, which accesses the subconscious, will quit easily and quickly.

But if you encounter a glutamate storm, the hypnotic session will handle the habit, but you may need to supplement to whether the storm.

At the end of the day when you decide to quit, you need the commitment and a useful mental emotional process. But you may also need more knowledge and the specific supplements to handle any difficulties you may encounter.

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