Perhaps the key to giving up is understanding the nature of your addiction – a concept that many smokers find hard to acknowledge.
17 September, 2008 – 15:37
As a smoker, you don’t tend to see yourself as an addict but believe you smoke because you enjoy it.
However research shows that cigarettes are just as addictive as heroin and cocaine.
Nicotine alters the chemicals dopamine and noradrenaline in the brain and within seconds of inhaling, the smoker experiences a nicotine ‘rush’.
This is often misinterpreted as a ‘rush’ of pleasure, when in reality the ‘rush’ only satisfies the craving created by the last cigarette.
Then there is the psychological addiction or ‘habit’ that needs to be broken, which can be so much harder. This is mainly because smoking becomes ingrained over the years, ‘part and parcel’ of so many situations and experiences.
But giving up is not impossible!
Start by being aware of your craving triggers. Make a note of the times of day or situations when you most need a cigarette and do your best to avoid them.
The initial craving doesn’t last for longer than a couple of minutes and the body no longer needs nicotine after 48 hours once you’ve stopped.
If you decide to go cold turkey, withdrawal symptoms will be at their worst during the first few days but will gradually fade.
If the thought of going cold turkey seems impossible, there are plenty of nicotine replacement therapies to choose from, including patches, chewing gum and nasal sprays.
Acupuncture and hypnotherapy have also proven effective for some individuals.