Smoking and other forms of tobacco are the most common cause of premature death there is. According the National Institute of Health, over half of all people who don’t quit will die from tobacco use. The financial cost to the nation that result from tobacco use is in the tens of billions of dollars. The human cost, in terms of lives lost, love ones left grieving, and the suffering of the smoker hooked up to a respirator, struggling to a catch a breath, is incalculable.
If you are a smoker, and are reading this article, then smoking cessation is probably on your mind. You are not alone; millions of smokers attempt to quit every year. Most fail. The failed attempts, however, are not due to a lack of effort. The failed attempts are due to lack of a well-defined plan, as well as a lack of understanding just how powerful the force of chemical addiction is.
Though most smokers understand that they are hooked, they don’t really comprehend the nature of addiction, and the power it has to deceive the conscious mind into choosing a behavior that the person doesn’t really want to do. The person, as such, does not – until the addiction overpowers the mind, and convinces the smoker that he does indeed ‘want’ a cigarette. It is not, however, the person that wishes to smoke – it is the physical addiction itself, craving that chemical fix.
At a physical level, smoking cessation results in a shortage of dopamine in the brain. The receptors for dopamine on the brain’s neurons then begin screaming for more dopamine. These receptors exist in greater number in smokers than in the non-smoker. This is because the dopamine surges induced by nicotine causes the neurons to develop more receptors for the dopamine neurotransmitter. The extra receptors, in turn, then absorb, or ‘uptake’, what are higher levels of the neurotransmitter than would normally be the case.
What Happens When You Stop Smoking
When the dopamine levels then fall below what the brain is used too, the person attempting smoking cessation experiences the well-known and well-feared withdrawal symptoms. Anxiety, racing thoughts, foggy mind, chills, even stomach cramps and flu-like symptoms; these are all results of the body experiencing a profound deprivation of a chemical it has become highly used to.
The addiction doesn’t stop with producing physical symptoms; what are harder for many are the psychological and emotional symptoms. A normally calm person may fly into rages. A normally sane person may experience mental phenomena approaching psychosis. The mental misery can become so severe, that the person is then faced with a stark choice – suffer this, or light up. So many, when they are faced with this choice, will, like the person under physical torture, give in. The physical, emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms experienced by any who attempt smoking cessation are truly a form of torture.
This, then, is what the person who would sincerely like to quit smoking is up against. Make no mistake – quitting is hard; for many, it is the hardest thing they have ever had to do. In order to succeed in smoking cessation, it is essential to know your enemy, and to have a plan for when things get rough.
Stop Smoking Aids
There are many tools available these days to assist the smoker in developing his or her battle plan. There are support groups, smoking cessation hotlines, medications such as Chantrix, and products such as nicotine gum, patches and lozenges. Other choices include hypnosis and electrical shock aversion therapy. Indeed, the choices are many.
The key in putting these tools in place in conjunction with a social support system. Those that follow this route have a better than 50% chance of success; those that don’t, or simply attempt to go cold turkey, have over a 90% failure rate.
Among the tools the smoker can put together in his battle plan to succeed in smoking cessation are social and emotional resources. These can make all the difference when the withdrawals get tough and the person quitting smoking hits an emotional wall. In almost every state and city, there are smoking cessation support groups and smoking cessation hotlines you can call when things are rough.
The support groups provide much needed emotional support, and advice from people who have been there and suffered the way you may be suffering. The hotlines are very good to have in an emergency, when smoking cessation just doesn’t seem worth it.
Once those resources are lined up, start going even before you quit. You’ll feel good about it, and when you move into the next phase of the plan – medical support – the process will be easier. Whatever medical support tool you choose, your odds of success are higher than those who don’t seek medical support. But the highest of all success rates comes from the prescription drug called Chantrix.
Chantrix is a godsend to those attempting smoking cessation. Developed by a neurologist who was himself a smoker, Chantrix imitates nicotine in the mind and body, but is not itself addictive. When the smoker begins using Chantrix, he continues to smoke for a week while the Chantrix builds up in the system. After a week, he quits smoking.
Many heavy smokers, people using over 2 packs a day, experience zero physical withdrawals when using this method. The emotional experience of losing the trusted friend that cigarettes have become, however, can still be hard – though nowhere near the agony experienced by a mind in the throes of full-blown nicotine withdrawal.
Stop Smoking Tips
This is where the smoking cessation support group and the hotline can really help. They can provide you with the emotional and social support you need to get through the rough spots, stress managment techniques are also used to aid results. They will help you succeed in your smoking cessation efforts, and in laying the nicotine addiction demon to rest – for good.
By developing an understanding of the enemy you are facing, then putting together a support system and a plan of action, you can move into the ranks of those who succeed in smoking cessation; you, too, can become a proud-to-be ex-smoker.