Monday, April 17, 2017

Choosing a Smoking Cessation Method

Ask anyone who has ever tried to stop smoking: A smoking addiction is one
of the most difficult bad habits to quit. Statistics show that 70 percent of
smokers want to quit, and 40 percent try to stop smoking every year. Eight
out of ten smokers start the habit before they’re 18 years old, and 20 percent
of high school students smoke. Starting at such an early age makes the actual
habit of smoking very ingrained and even more difficult to kick.

The nicotine in tobacco smoke is extremely addictive on a physical level. It
has a very significant effect on your brain, stimulating pleasure centers and
increasing natural “feel good” chemicals like norepinephrine, dopamine,
and serotonin. Nicotine also causes a release of adrenaline from the adrenal
glands.

The physical aspects of smoking addiction are bad, but the mental and
behavioral aspects can be just as troublesome. Many smokers associate
having a cigarette with a time for relaxation and pleasure. They smoke during
the good times in their day — maybe when they get off of work or after they
eat a good meal. Or they make cigarettes part of several daily rituals like
getting in the car, talking on the phone, and taking a coffee break. For these
types of smokers, quitting is extra difficult because they associate smoking
with so many different facets of their lives.

If you’re a smoker and you want to quit, you have lots of options, including
the following:

✓ Quitting cold turkey: This method involves simply dropping the habit
all at once, with no real planning or weaning of any kind. Research
shows that quitting cold turkey is only about 5 percent effective.

✓ Using nicotine patches or gum: Many of these options started out as
prescription only, but most are now available over the counter. The
patches have shown a success rate of over 20 percent, but the gum is
quite a bit less effective.

✓ Taking prescription drugs: A handful of prescription drugs for smoking
cessation are on the market. Typically, I’m not a fan of turning to a pill to
solve health problems. But in this case you have to weigh the potential
benefits of quitting smoking against any ill effects from the prescription.
Do some research and talk to your doctor if you’re interested.

These are some of the most common methods for kicking the smoking habit,
but they’re certainly not your only choices. I devote the rest of this section to
two smoking cessation techniques that often fly under the radar but happen
to fit in very nicely with a detoxification lifestyle: hypnosis and acupuncture.
Both are toxin-free, holistic methods for snuffing out the smoking habit. If
you’re a smoker and you’re looking to quit, I recommend taking them into
consideration.

Getting help from hypnosis
In 1958, the American Medical Association recognized hypnosis as an appropriate
therapy for the treatment of smoking addiction. Since that time, a
whole host of hypnosis methods has been developed to help people stop
smoking. Many of the practitioners suggest that hypnosis can work for smoking
cession because it enhances relaxation, motivation, and self control,
which are all key factors for anyone who’s trying to stop smoking. Some practitioners
use a posthypnotic suggestion to avoid cigarettes. Another method
is to use hypnosis to replace the physical motion of reaching for a cigarette
with another innocuous motion, such as squeezing your earlobe. I know that
method may sound a little odd, but let’s face it: Squeezing your earlobe is
quite a bit better for your health than inhaling about 50 known carcinogens
several times a day.

The data collected on successful smoking cessation through hypnosis
varies quite a bit, but most of the numbers point to a success rate of about
20 percent. Some individual practitioners claim much higher success rates,
though — some as high as 90 percent.

If you’re a smoker and you’d like to really look into using hypnosis to curb
the habit, the first step is finding the right practitioner. The key is networking.
Start by asking your physician if she knows of a good option. Then ask
your friends and family; you may be surprised who has received hypnotherapy
before. There may also be a local or state society of hypnotherapy
practitioners in your area, so do some online searching to find out. If such
a society or organization exists in your area, contact the office and ask for
a recommendation. And always evaluate several possibilities before making
your choice.

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