We all know the dangers of smoking and the benefits of quitting smoking. If you have found this page it is most likely because you want to stop smoking. Quitting is not easy of for most people, but there are many things which you can do to support yourself to make the process much smoother and more likely to be successful.
By incorporating a few natural treatments or remedies at the same time, you will significantly increase the odds that you will stop smoking for good, and decrease unpleasant symptoms while you are going through the withdrawal process. Natural aids include nutritional supplements, herbs, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and meditation. These, as well as other stop smoking aids, are discussed in detail in the appropriate sections of this article. This Article is Part One, the other parts are separate articles.
Part One: Understanding Addiction and Withdrawal
- Why Tobacco is Addictive
- Determining Why YOU are Addicted
- Understanding Withdrawal
- Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal
- Accepting the Withdrawal Period
Part Two: Diet and Supplements to Quit Smoking
Part Three: The Best Herbs to Help You Quit Smoking
- Acupuncture and Acupressure
- Flower Essences
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Understanding Tobacco Addiction and Withdrawal
Physiological Reasons for Tobacco Addiction:
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance because many physiological changes take place when you smoke a cigarette.
Nicotine combines with neurotransmitters in the brain and produces various effects which include: pleasure, arousal, appetite suppression, anxiety reduction, mood alteration, memory improvement, and enhancement of cognitive abilities.
Nicotine also increases adrenaline production, raises blood pressure, speeds heart rate and breathing, and influences the hormonal system.
The body gets used to functioning with nicotine in its system, and when it is not there, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms occur. It takes time for the body to adjust and return to its natural balance once smoking cessation has stopped and there is no longer a regular intake of nicotine. Many prefer not to go through the withdrawal period, and thus continue smoking to feel “normal.”
Psychological and Sociocultural Reasons for Tobacco Addiction:
Smoking addiction most often has psychological and social components as well. People smoke cigarettes to help cope in times of stress to relax or reduce tension. Because cigarettes can also be stimulating, they are smoked when one needs a boost or an increased sense of pleasure. It is common for people to smoke for social or cultural reasons. Others smoke simply out of habit, daily ritual, craving, or because they like handling the cigarettes.
Determining Why YOU are Addicted to Smoking
Addictions are very complex, and people smoke for many different reasons – but knowing exactly why YOU smoke is the first step you can take to make the quitting process more successful. You must identify your smoking habits and the nature of your dependency. With this awareness, it will be much easier to prevent yourself from falling back into the addiction. Remaining unaware and continuing to act out of habitual patterns is why many people fail in their attempts to stop smoking.
If the reasons for your addiction to cigarette smoking are not obvious to you, then take the “Why I Smoke” test.
It will also be helpful to keep a craving journal for a few weeks before and after you have quit smoking. Note down the moments in your day when you are craving a cigarette. These moments are your triggers for smoking. Be sure to note if there are certain people, situations, or environments which make you feel like smoking.
Understanding Withdrawal from Tobacco
It is important to know the withdrawal symptoms you can expect after you stop smoking. Increased understanding will help you with acceptance of the situation, and you may be less likely to revert to your old habits.
Addiction to a substance such as nicotine occurs because your body has developed a chemical dependency. When you suddenly stop taking in nicotine, or you decrease your intake, your body exhibits withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms last for as long as it takes your body to adjust to having no nicotine intake.
Some symptoms of withdrawal will last for only the first few days, but others can take weeks to subside. The period of withdrawal is difficult, but symptoms do improve each day and within two weeks most symptoms subside as toxins are flushed from your body. Within six months all symptoms are completely gone.
Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal
- increased coughing
- sore throat
- dry mouth
- tingling in the hands or feet
- slower heart rate
- intense cravings for cigarettes
- increased appetite
- desire for sweet foods
- digestive upset or stomach cramps
Emotional and Mental:
- mental confusion
- difficulty concentrating
Accepting the Withdrawal Period
Expect that you will have withdrawal symptoms. Have patience and understanding for yourself. When things are feeling difficult remind yourself that it will get easier day by day.
During withdrawal, take the time to rest, and let your body adjust. Do what you need to do to support yourself physically, you need a bit of extra care at this time. Read through the suggestions outlined later in this article and plan to incorporate at least a few. A little change here and there can make a big difference in the way that your body will cope.
Also, stay aware that you will undergo mood changes and have patience with yourself if you are not feeling super pleasant all the time. You are taking on a big challenge by choosing to stop smoking. Of course, this does not mean you have an excuse to act in any way you want. You must still be mindful of your attitude towards yourself and others. So, try your best to manage any mood changes, but at the same time, do not allow feelings of guilt to arise if you are not your perfect self.
Let friends and family know that you are in a withdrawal period and that you may not be your usual self. They should understand and be supportive.
Continued in Part Two: Diet and Supplements to Quit Smoking
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