HOW CAN I GET THROUGH THE TOUGH TIME WHILE QUITTING SMOKING?
People who smoke also want to quit because they know the harmful effects of tobacco smoking. Nicotine cravings, stress, and addiction pull them back from quitting. However, some people get through the tough times and win over their fear. To stop smoking is difficult. Nevertheless, it’s not impossible. Luckily, there are certain ways to get over the hard times. They can help you beat the cravings and overcome them.
How does nicotine cause addiction?
The addictive nature of nicotine can be attributed to the effect it has on neurotransmitters. They are the chemicals that transmit impulses between the nerve cells in the brain. Nicotine stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, noradrenaline, and serotonin into areas of the brain that control our mood, memory, and pleasure. Like many addictive drugs (such as heroin or cocaine), it also excites dopamine production by releasing it directly into the bloodstream, which reinforces the addictive nature of smoking.
Smoking becomes a habit because people associate it with specific actions or activities they regularly engage in, such as drinking coffee or tea or having a break at work. These associations become so strong that people often don’t feel comfortable doing these activities unless they have a cigarette in their hand or nearby.
The more cigarettes people smoke, the stronger the associations become, and ultimately the habit can become almost an automatic behavior that occurs without any thought or effort.
What are the harmful effects of nicotine?
Nicotine causes damage to the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels), lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and reproductive organs. It is always a good idea to stop smoking because the harmful chemicals present in tobacco can lead to –
- Lung cancer
- Chronic bronchitis
- Stomach ulcers
- Heart disease (which may lead to stroke or heart attack)
- Reduced fertility
It is complex to assess the number of demises because of smoking. However, around 4.3 million people lose their lives every year due to harmful components of tobacco. Of all health problems faced by smokers, cancer causes the most deaths. Around 25% of smokers die because of cancer.
The habit of smoking cigarettes is estimated to cause 13% of cancer deaths among men and about 7% of cancer deaths among women. It means that one-third of cancer patients die from cancer caused by smoking.
Why do some smokers find it difficult to quit?
The compounds in cigarettes differ. However, there are more than 4000 chemicals present in cigarette smoke. Many of the chemicals are poisonous, and over forty of them are known to cause cancer. The most common symptoms after you stop smoking are-
- Increased pulse rate
- Narrowing of blood vessels (which reduces blood supply to different parts of the body)
- Increased production of phlegm
Nicotine is also a powerful insecticide and a poison that can kill both humans and animals. Although it is found in some medicinal products, it is usually used with other substances that have therapeutic effects on the body. However, there are no known medicinal effects of pure nicotine alone.
How quickly does nicotine make you its prey?
Nicotine dependence (or addiction) develops quickly, within 10-30 days of starting to smoke regularly. This is why people suffer when they make an effort to stop smoking. When they try to get over the addiction, the following symptoms may occur-
- Increased appetite
- Weight gain
People who try to quit often experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as strong cravings, feeling tense or edgy, depressed moods, and trouble concentrating. These symptoms typically begin within a few hours after the last cigarette and may last for several days or longer.
How can you go without a cigarette?
You can call a halt to smoke in various ways. Nicotine patches are proven to help reduce the craving for tobacco. However, be aware, nicotine patches are nicotine replacement therapy products, which means they are addictive too! There are also electronic cigarettes that imitate traditional cigarettes without the harmful ingredients found in them.
These may help you cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke. However, there is a danger that you could become addicted to nicotine too.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) deals with products used to treat nicotine addiction. They contain no tobacco and provide the body with a small amount of nicotine, which reduces withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation.
How does it work?
When a people stop smoking, the body adjusts to the lack of nicotine. Cravings for more cigarettes may cause some smokers to relapse. The aim of all effective methods is to reduce cravings as much as possible.
What are the dangers?
Nicotine patches are enslaving. When used for a long time, they can result in nicotine overdose symptoms, such as headache, stomach ache or nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. Moreover, electronic cigarettes are also not safe to use. Nicotine, the main active ingredient in electronic cigarettes, is a highly addictive drug, which can be poisonous when used incorrectly.
Champix is a drug that helps you get rid of tobacco desires. It contains varenicline, which blocks the action of chemicals in your brain and reduces cravings for cigarettes. You should only use the medication under the guidance and supervision of your doctor.
What does it do?
While you are taking Champix, your doctor will ask you to leave smoking completely. Once your body is free of nicotine, it will no longer crave cigarettes, and there will be a reduction in withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, it also assists in getting rid of the physical need for a cigarette – the hand-mouth action or habit.
This method includes cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke gradually. It is most effective when used with other methods such as nicotine replacement therapy.
What are the dangers?
Some of the side effects of Champix are-
- Rotten taste in the mouth
- Inflammation in nose
You can reach out to your doctor if these symptoms do not go away or remain.
Behavioral therapy is a method that involves changing your smoking habits and routines. It gives people the tools to help them stop smoking by controlling their conditions, such as location and time of day. This can reduce cravings for smoke.
What are the dangers?
Behavioral therapy is not addictive, but it does not help with withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, it may also increase your cravings to smoke if you cannot do it properly, for example, when you are under stress or at a party.
Hypnotherapy is a method of changing your subconscious mind and the way you feel about smoking to make quitting easier.
What does it do?
It helps you to cut down and eventually quit smoking altogether. The intuitive intellect does not recognize the term ‘no’. Therefore, it needs a constant reminder that you do not want to smoke any more. This way, it will stop giving you cravings for cigarettes.
What are the dangers?
There is no evidence yet that hypnotherapy works to assist you to stop smoking. It is also very expensive, with sessions costing £90 to £200 each.
Who can use hypnotherapy?
Pregnant women or people under 18 should not use this quit smoking treatment. It is due to a lack of research evidence on safety and effectiveness.
It’s a common expression with a simple meaning. However, it’s an often misunderstood one. The term doesn’t mean that you are cold or turkey-like. It is simply what people commonly do when they stop using something suddenly and completely.
Is that just a saying or based upon some fact?
Many people claim that nicotine addiction can fade away within three days and without withdrawal symptoms. However, this seems highly unlikely, and there is no scientific evidence to back up such claims. Although there are anecdotal reports of successful cold turkey quitting, many experts agree that there is no easy way to stop smoking.
What are the dangers?
Withdrawal symptoms can be minimal in some people lucky enough to have a low dependence on nicotine. However, extreme cravings and other ill effects for those with a high addiction can last for days or even weeks before decreasing in severity.
There is also an increased risk of weight gain and a drop in cardiovascular function. In fact, there have been no clinical studies showing that someone with a high level of nicotine dependence can quit using cold turkey without experiencing any withdrawal symptoms at all. If you are familiar with anyone who has fruitfully crushed their dependence after going cold turkey alone, they may have primarily used some kinds of smoking cessation medications.
Is Cold Turkey successful?
It is not to say that going cold turkey is impossible, just unlikely and undesirable compared to a more gradual approach. In fact, some people have been able to kick back the habit after being treated with antidepressants for depression or anxiety. For these individuals, the physical withdrawal from nicotine may have been easier than dealing with emotional issues that led them to smoke in the first place.
What else can help you stop smoking?
Following a routine and staying motivated can lend you a hand to kick back the habit of smoking. No medication or therapy can work well if your willpower suffers and you find no encouragement. Some of the things that can assist you are-
- Stay patient
The nicotine cravings may hit you hard. Remain patient, as these desires are temporary. Make yourself understand that they will fade away within some minutes.
- Stay positive
The first few months may be very troublesome. You need to stay positive, and that is the key. Quitting is a process; therefore, you need a consistently positive attitude towards the journey. It will help you deal with the wax and wanes.
Moreover, you can chant the positive phrase such as I prefer my well-being over smoking.
- Seek assistance in funniness
Laughing may make you feel lively and happy. Moving ahead with the clutches of cravings can be hard. However, humor can distract you from nicotine desires and help get new enthusiasm.
- Show kindness to yourself
Being kind to others and rude to your own self is cruel. Be kind to yourself because you are your forever companion. When you think to quit, appreciate your decision, and keep motivating you throughout the journey. Once you stop smoking, praise your decision and pat yourself.
- Live in the present
If you do not have nicotine cravings now, do not ruin the minute by thinking about you will develop them in the coming hours or days. Enjoy the minute with your family or loved ones. However, if you happen to have desires for nicotine, do exercises, have hard gums, sugarless candies, or raw carrots, or spend time in your hobbies to beat them.
- Take care of yourself
You need to take care of yourself while you are trying to quit. The time phase may make you drained, unhappy, or seem annoying. You have to keep yourself healthy to fight the uneasiness.
Drink plenty of water, take rest whenever your body requires, and eat a well-balanced diet. Doing regular exercises can bring good results. Physical activity triggers endorphins, the good feeling hormones that may make you feel relaxed. Moreover, it will also help you distract from the nicotine desires.
- Avoid the triggers
Being with people who smoke regularly or drink alcohol can elicit you to have nicotine. When you are trying to stop smoking, stay away from smokers and do not drink alcohol.
- Reward yourself
Reward yourself every time you win over nicotine desires and withdrawal symptoms. Even if it is small, the reward will make you feel motivated.
- Reduce stress
Stress is one of the common triggers of smoking. You can do certain things to manage and deal with your stress. Doing exercises, spending time with family and friends, making time for your hobbies, and doing yoga and meditation can help you with the same concern.
You should always consult your doctor before using any method to get over tobacco addiction. He or she may tell you the potential benefits and risks involved in the procedure. Moreover, if you have any health condition, tell your doctor about the same. This way, you can be able to go without a cigarette and manage your existing problems conveniently.