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Understanding your smoking addiction

You have two problems with your smoking addiction. The first is the drug contained in tobacco called nicotine. It is a colourless compound that is the most addictive drug known to mankind. The second problem is the real reason why you are addicted and that is a behavioural problem. When you first started smoking it may have been a simple experiment with friends or to feel sociable amongst other smokers. Even though the experience may have been very unpleasant to start with you persisted and gradually trained your brain to accept the fact that you are a smoker. Thus a behaviour was established and because you continued smoking you kept reinforcing this behaviour and it became permanent.

According to the American Thoracic Society ( Am J Respir Crit Care Med Vol. 196 , P7-P8, 2017 ATS Patient Education Series) “every puff on a cigarette contained a small amount of nicotine which when inhaled into the lungs added to your blood stream and went to your brain. Being dependent on (addicted to) the nicotine means that you need to keep getting nicotine. Your body depends on it to feel comfortable, and you will have uncomfortable symptoms if you don’t get enough of it or often enough.” It doesn’t matter if you only smoke one cigarette, when you don’t get that fix of nicotine you will feel the symptoms of withdrawal. Addiction to the nicotine in tobacco can happen very quickly.

The American Thoracic Society further states “you can overcome addiction to nicotine. Knowing more about the science behind nicotine addiction may make it easier for you to take steps to becoming tobacco-free. The simple facts: Nicotine is a chemical that is present in all forms of tobacco. Nicotine is also found in electronic cigarettes and the liquid used in ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems). Nicotine is highly addictive. When a person uses tobacco, either by smoking cigarettes, using chewing tobacco or by using another form of tobacco, nicotine enters the body and activates nicotine receptors in the brain. The faster the delivery of nicotine to your body, the greater the addictive effect on the brain. Cigarettes have been designed to give high levels of nicotine to the brain very quickly. When you smoke a cigarette it only takes six to ten seconds for the nicotine to reach your brain.”

The problem with nicotine apart from being extremely addictive is the physiological effect on the body. Nicotine that is inhaled in cigarette smoke is absorbed by the lungs into the bloodstream and quickly goes to the heart and brain. The American Thoracic Society states that the brain reacts to the nicotine by releasing chemicals that imitate the same effects on a person’s mood as amphetamines (“speed”) and cocaine. Nicotine is a stimulant that speeds up a person’s reaction time and increases his or her attention and focus. Many smokers report that they enjoy the ritual of smoking.

Smokers report that smoking gives them some sort of pleasurable feeling. Smoking relieves their nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Shortly after smoking their last cigarette, smokers start to feel a negative mood change. This “withdrawal” from the chemical nicotine makes the smoker uncomfortable. My smoking clients usually comment that they feel quite anxious, irritable and restless when they stop smoking. They do not realise that the damage caused to their whole bodies is quite severe from the many toxic chemicals from smoking. Their brain overrules logic and is seeking a way out of feeling unpleasant. As soon as they smoke again, they experience relief and then the whole smoking cycle begins again as they look forward to the next smoke.

Hypnosis is the most effective way to help the smoker break this cycle by helping them to quickly change their behaviour and feelings for smoking. First and foremost, they MUST want to stop smoking, not just say it without a deep conviction that this is what they want. A competent and qualified clinical hypnotherapist has the training and skills required to help the smoker get rid of this horrible addiction. It usually takes just two to three sessions to do it effectively and permanently, mostly without the person going through cravings

Call Barry Shirley at Advanced Hypnotherapy to discuss how the process works and how it can help you become a person who will never smoke again.

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