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Should a lack of focus and decrease in short term memory, and other mental decreases persist for 7 months after smoking cessatio

Posted by jondoe999

I quit smoking on march 5, 2009.  I am a 4th year student in a PharmD program.  I had some compulsive behavours, obsessions, and went through dozens of hobbies during the first 2 months.  I calmed down after that, but I have had an inability to retain information for any length of time, a loss of focus, and a general decrease in cognitive function.  I have "frozen" completely during an exam twice in this time, but never before quitting smoking.  I am 32 yo, smoked 2ppd x 15 years.  I have 2-3 alcoholic beverages per year, as occasions demand.  I did not use a medication to quit smoking.  I have recently increased my caffeine intake drasticly to try to focus.  I have not problems sleeping, and am not emotionally depressed at all.  I had transient emotional issues during the first 2 months of cessation, but none since.  I am not lethargic.  I have a long term (6 years) monogamous partner and no sexual dysfunction.  I have no insurance, am not on any medications, and have no diagnosed diseases, though I only go to the doctor for acute treatment.  I have no known personal or family history of mental disorder.  From the age of approximately 13 until 17 (coincident with onset of smoking), I experienced social withdrawal, fits of rage, some minor obsessive behaviors (unnecessary throat clearing, repetative light switch manipulation, crossing thresholds with a particular foot) and had intrusive thoughts, usually regarding numbers and percieved numeric patterns, once to the point of collapsing on a bed and crying myself to sleep.  These all stopped shortly after I started smoking/turned 18.  From the age of 21 to 24(approximate) I abused ephedrine (400mg/day) and alcohol (5-10 drinks per day), but stopped both spontaneously.  I now drink 2-3 times per year, and not to excess.

My only current issue is a noticable slowing of cognitive function.  I returned to school at the age of 29, have held a 4.0 gpa in pharmacy school, and am now earning C's.  And that is with studying approximately 4 hours per day outside of school.  My recall, retention, and processing are all decreased.  Is it withdrawl symptoms after 7 months, or is this my baseline mental state without CNS stimulants?

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