Quit Smoking

  • Description
  • Background
  • Theory
  • Research

If you’re thinking about quitting smoking, we applaud you. You're very brave. You’ve likely had a sense of guilt about the habit at one stage or another. You’ve probably coughed too deeply a few times & felt the burden of what smoking is doing to your lungs & body. It’s not nice to experience the anti-social shame attached to having a smoke, nor is the strain on your wallet much fun. What was once considered sophisticated, is today deeply frowned upon.

 

You know smoking harms you. You know it may very well kill you. All that said & done, it’s extremely scary to let it go. In a twisted way, it’s a bit like saying goodbye to an old friend & that’s because the reason smokers smoke goes well beyond addiction.

 

Our Tobacco Treatment Specialists understand this, are non-judgmental & work with clients from every walk of life. They’re highly trained & understand it’s frightening which positions them to lend you the support net you need & real strategies that make the path to becoming free of smoking achievable. They do so without judgment. You just need to take a deep breath & the first step. Despite what that voice inside your head tells you – you really CAN do this.

We’re not here to tell you what you already know. We’re here to support those of you who have made a decision to quit smoking. So here are the top 5 psychological techniques you can use in your effort to quit smoking - for a better you..

 

Educate Yourself

Google is great for researching all the pros & cons of quitting smoking & changing your behavior. List all the benefits you’ll gain by quitting (e.g., all the money you’ll save). List all the consequences from not quitting (e.g., it may cause lung cancer). Read as much as you can to get you in the mindset for change & reinforce your resolve.

 

Identify & Eliminate Triggers

For some it’s having a glass of wine or cup of coffee. For others, its stress or boredom. Urges come in all sorts of different shapes & sizes. Everyone is unique. Identify what it is that gives you the urge to smoke & then distance yourself from those triggers. If you feel there is something a bit deeper at play, perhaps it’s time to talk to your Doctor. They may be able to refer you onto someone who can help you deal with matters of the heart.

 

Seek Social Support

We all need a helping hand at different times & quitting smoking is definitely one them. You can either talk to someone close to you (keep in mind some people may actually be triggers for your smoking) or reach out to Quitline who offer access to counseling & meaningful support.

 

Improve Chance of Success

Quitting is both a physical & emotional process. For the physical side effects, your Doctor will be able to recommend a nicotine replacement therapy or other assistance, which statistically raises your chances of success. Some replacement therapies even provide online or telephone support. Don’t be afraid to talk to your Doctor – they are there to help.

 

Maintain the Gain

Now it’s time to substitute your old habit with new ones. Things like chewing gum, exercise, knitting or a hobby you always wanted to try will keep your mind off smoking. This is the time to reward yourself for the new lifestyle you’ve chosen. Don’t forget, even if you have a relapse you’ve already proven to yourself you can do it. Half the battle of quitting smoking is in your mind so try, try again.

THEORY

Nicotine is the psychoactive component, or the drug, which affects the brain in tobacco products, thus producing dependence. Most smokers are dependent on nicotine, and smokeless tobacco use may also lead to nicotine dependence.

 

Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. Examples of nicotine withdrawal symptoms include irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and increased appetite. Quitting tobacco use is difficult and may require multiple attempts, as users often relapse because of withdrawal symptoms. Tobacco dependence is a chronic condition that often requires repeated intervention.

 

Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body. Tobacco smoke carries more than 60 cancer-causing chemicals, tiny amounts of poisons such as arsenic and cyanide and more than 4,800 other substances, some of which may be harmful, to the human body. These toxins cause cell death, cell damage and cell mutation.

 

The list of diseases caused by smoking has been expanded to include: abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute myeloid leukemia, cataract, cervical cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, pneumonia, periodontitis, stomach cancer, cardiac diseases, lung diseases, and stroke. Smoking may also have a negative impact on the health of both unborn and newborn children.

 

Stopping smoking may greatly reduce the risk of dying prematurely. Benefits may be greater for people who stop at earlier ages, but cessation is beneficial at all ages. Cessation may lower the risk for lung and other types of cancer. The risk for developing cancer declines with the number of years of smoking cessation. Risk for coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease is reduced after smoking cessation. Coronary heart disease risk may be substantially reduced within one to two years of cessation. Cessation may also reduce respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The rate of decline in lung function is slower among persons who quit smoking as compared with those who continue to smoke.

 

Quitting smoking may have immediate as well as long-term benefits including reduced risk for diseases caused by smoking and improved overall health. Many clinical studies have been demonstrated that reductions in smoking rates may substantially improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs, even in the short term. Some clinical studies have suggested that COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients felt better after quitting smoking.

 

Hypnotherapy: The mechanism of action of hypnosis is not well understood. Some physiologic changes have been associated with hypnosis, including alterations in skin temperature, heart rate, intestinal secretions, and immune response. The mechanism of such changes is not clear. During hypnosis, decreases have been noted in heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and brain wave patterns (alpha waves). Similar changes have been reported with other forms of relaxation. Hypnosis is associated with a deep state of relaxation. Whether this represents a specific altered state of consciousness is the subject scientific debate. There are reports that suggestion alone, without the process of hypnosis, can achieve many of the same results, although research in this area is not conclusive. It is not known why some individuals are more susceptible to hypnotic suggestion than others.

 

Pharmacological therapies: Findings from a recent Cochrane review of controlled trials testing nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products indicated that smokers using NRT were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to be abstinent from smoking at follow-up than those in the placebo or control treatment condition. However, some studies show NRT success rates at six months to be less than 10%, actually lower than the 11-12%success rate using the "cold turkey" method.

 

Psychosocial therapy/behavior therapy: Several studies suggest that group therapy, psychotherapy or behavior therapy, may be more effective than self-help for quitting smoking. However, there is not enough evidence to show that group therapy is as effective or cost-effective as intensive individual counseling. More research is needed to determine effectiveness.

 

Relaxation techniques: Early research reports that relaxation with imagery may reduce relapse rates in people who successfully completed smoking cessation programs. Better study is needed in this area before a firm conclusion can be reached.

 

SAFETY

 

Hypnotherapy: It has been suggested that there is a risk of false memories (confabulation) as a result of some types of hypnotherapy, although scientific research is limited in this area. The safety of hypnotherapy has not been thoroughly studied. Practitioners sometimes discourage hypnosis in people with psychiatric illnesses such as psychosis/schizophrenia, manic depression, multiple personality disorder, or dissociative disorders, due to a proposed risk of exacerbation. Hypnosis is sometimes discouraged in people with seizure disorder, although study is lacking in this area.

 

Pharmacological therapies: Pharmacological therapies for smoking cessation are generally considered to be safe with appropriate supervision by qualified health professionals. Side effects to pharmacological therapies may include nausea, vomiting, headache, insomnia, and dizziness. Mild adverse effects may be indicative of more serious problems and patients should consider discontinuing current treatment and contacting a physician. Patients may also consider switching to other available products. If the replacement therapy is discontinued, nicotine withdrawal symptoms may include: cravings for tobacco, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, headache, drowsiness, stomach upset, constipation, or diarrhea. People with certain medical conditions, including but not limited to high blood pressure or recent cardiac infarction, need to consult with a health care provider before starting nicotine replacement therapy. However, it is believed that using these forms of nicotine replacement is significantly less harmful than using cigarettes or snuff. Smoking while using a nicotine replacement therapy may lead to a harmful overdose of nicotine.

 

Psychosocial therapy/behavior therapy: Some forms of psychotherapy may induce strong emotional feelings and expression. This can be disturbing for people with serious mental illness or some medical conditions.

 

Relaxation techniques: Most relaxation techniques are non-invasive, and generally are considered to be safe in healthy adults. Serious adverse effects have not been reported. It is theorized that anxiety may actually be increased in some individuals using relaxation techniques, or that autogenic discharges (sudden, unexpected emotional experiences including pain, heart palpitations, muscle twitching, crying spells, or increased blood pressure) may occur rarely. Scientific evidence is limited in these areas. People with psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia/psychosis should avoid relaxation techniques unless recommended by their primary psychiatric healthcare provider.

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Note: MojoGuru does not recommend any treatment, therapy or particular provider. We do not recommend that you self-diagnose. If you are suffering from a health condition and before starting a new treatment or therapy, we do recommend that you first consult a GP. More