Any experienced smoker knows what nicotine withdrawal is. At least once, but he tried to get rid of a bad habit, although the attempts most often ended in failure. Maybe it's all because of the wrong approach? In this article we will analyze how best to quit smoking and what exactly needs to be done about it.
How do I quit smoking?
The share of people who smoke on the planet is huge - it is almost 1/5 of all the inhabitants of the Earth and is constantly growing. At the same time, many people dream of quitting smoking, although far fewer people try to do something about it. Usually, after the first attempt to get rid of a bad habit, the smoker will be very disappointed: he faces manifestations of nicotine addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
In fact, the craving for nicotine is one of the strongest drug addictions, because this substance can be integrated into the biochemical processes of the body and it is not easy to "smoke" it from there.
It is difficult to lose the psychological desire for a cigarette - a strong desire to smoke in a given situation (under stress, excitement, joy). Hence the huge number of failures in attempts to quit smoking.
Most people who suffer from nicotine cravings wonder if it is best to quit smoking all at once or gradually? Or maybe buy pills or an e-cigarette or see a psychologist to find the right motivation. There is no single answer. The approach to quitting smoking should be formed taking into account individual characteristics of character, health, smoking experience. It is quite possible to quit smoking on your own, but only with a short experience and moderate dependence: it is better for heavy smokers to resort to special therapeutic measures. Otherwise, even with successful failure, the risk of relapse is high and this will only strengthen the addiction.
So, proper smoking cessation should be based on the following components:
- Preparation or motivational stage.
- In fact, giving up cigarettes (preferably sharp).
- Organizing proper nutrition.
- If necessary, replacement therapy, psychological support.
Stages of quitting nicotine
Most often, a person returns to a cigarette because he did not manage to foresee all the nuances of parting with it in advance, did not find clear motivational reasons why he wanted to do it, and also did not attract the support of loved ones. The intention to get rid of the addiction must be firm, otherwise the crash cannot be avoided. There are two main steps in the process of quitting smoking, each of which is detailed below.
First you need to understand yourself and find the reason for the appearance of the bad habit. For many, it helps to find the right motivation to quit smoking, because someone began to "make friends" with cigarettes for company, others smoke to show their maturity at an early age. Perhaps the need for such dubious self-expression has already disappeared and it's timeto give up smoking.
You should also write down in a notebook what life situations make you reach for a cigarette. Whether it's going on vacation with colleagues, smoking while waiting for the bus, after a meal, during excitement - knowing the problem from the inside and thoroughly eliminating it is much easier.
The next most important point of the preparatory stage is to provide a clear motivation to make you quit smoking. This is extremely important, because in the absence of a motive, already on the first or second day of giving up a cigarette, a thought like "is this pain really necessary? "". A person must know exactly what he is suffering for and that the reasons are serious.
Common reasons for quitting smoking include:
- The desire to conceive a child or save loved ones from passive smoking (for example, during the wife's pregnancy, at the birth of a baby)
- The desire to maintain health or treat emerging diseases, to prolong life (usually this is the strongest motive)
- Desire to do sports, gaining normal weight, figure, appearance
- Love, falling in love - many give up a bad habit for the sake of relationships, if the other half does not smoke
- The desire to save money - sometimes the financial situation forces you to give up smoking
The ideal option is to quit smoking immediately, although not everyone succeeds in doing so. Therefore, for those who smoke for a long time and in large quantities, experts advise to first quit smoking for 48 hours. Thus, it will be possible to understand what a person expects, and it is important to approach this from the positive side. The benefits will be huge: by the beginning of the second day, it will become easier to breathe, perhaps the headache will stop, because there will be no instant vasospasm from taking nicotine.
After a successful rejection for 2 days, you should think about continuing a healthy lifestyle. Luck will smile only on those who will take all measures to reduce nicotine withdrawal, will not allow the bad habit to overshadow consciousness and win.
In order not to get into trouble, here are some tips for the behavior of an ex-smoker:
- When a depressed mood sets in, which happens to almost everyone who has given up smoking, it is worth remembering the motivation and what a state of mind is - artificial, not real. It is necessary to banish bad thoughts from yourself, thinking only about the good - about the upcoming improvement of life, well-being, health.
- When quitting smoking, it's best not to be alone. This is the biggest risk of reaching for a cigarette, so you should actively engage with relatives, friends and children.
- It is necessary to distract yourself from thoughts about a cigarette. This is possible if you completely load yourself with chores - clean, wash the dishes, cook a delicious dinner, watch an interesting movie - everything, just so that you do not sit idle with thoughts of smoking.
- You must often remind yourself of the chosen motivation and reward yourself for each new day without a cigarette, for each small victory over the next urge to smoke. The only condition is that it is advisable not to organize rewards in the form of eating sweets or other products.
- We need to find a substitute for cigarettes. If you want to smoke, it is safe and harmless to eat a carrot, apple, piece of celery or rhubarb, crack seeds, drink tea with herbs - mint, hearth, blackcurrant leaves, drink cold water in small sips.
Sports can help you not to smoke again - swimming, running, walking, as well as various relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and even hypnosis. Also, experts advise to brush your teeth more often, use mint mouthwashes, use aromatherapy in the house to distract yourself from the bad habit. We must not forget the reduction of visits to places where other people smoke - there is no need to provoke yourself unnecessarily, especially in the first weeks after giving up cigarettes.
"Anti-nicotine" nutrition and weight gain
As you know, when you give up a bad habit, many people start gaining weight. But this does not happen at all due to the lack of nicotine, but due to a sharp change in eating habits. If earlier hunger could be replaced with a smoke break, now it catches up with a person with a vengeance. In an effort to "catch" the strongest desire to smoke, the majority heavily relies on crackers and chips, sweets and candies, nuts and seeds. Almost every such food is high in calories and sometimes downright harmful due to the abundance of transgenic fats and preservatives. Thus, the rapid set of 8-10 kilograms is the fault of another bad habit that came to replace smoking.
Ex-smokers often increase their total caloric intake by increasing the number of meals, eating at night, organizing second breakfasts and extra snacks. Overeating is often also due to an improvement in appetite, since it is not in the best shape with regular smoking.
There is only one way out in this situation - to monitor the intake and consumption of calories, eat only healthy food, lean more on vegetables and fruits, so as not to smoke again. It is better to refuse chips and crackers in favor of fresh carrots, apples, apricots, cucumbers, prunes, etc.
Some foods rich in ascorbic acid are necessary to compensate for its acute deficiency and also help improve human well-being. These include raspberries, blackcurrants, citrus fruits, spinach, sauerkraut and more.
There are also some nutritional recommendations that will help you get through nicotine withdrawal easier and faster without gaining weight and feeling sick:
- Give up too strong tea, an abundance of coffee, replace them with mineral water, juices, so as not to harm the vessels already affected by cigarettes.
- Do not abuse salty foods, spicy foods, fried and smoked foods due to irritation of taste buds and increased desire to smoke.
- It has more fiber as it will help to quickly remove the breakdown products of cigarette smoke from the body.
- Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol, especially strong alcohol, contributes to the loss of control over the situation, while the risk of smoking is enormous.
What is the best way to stop - abruptly or gradually?
The answer of the experts is unequivocal - you must immediately give up smoking. Of course, heavy smokers whose experience is calculated in decades will not be able to cope with the habit so easily, but they should seek medical help. The doctor will choose the best way to quit smoking, but even in such a situation, the person will most likely be offered a one-time quit with therapeutic support.
When a person gives up gradually, reducing the number of cigarettes per day, switching to light brands, he only prolongs his suffering.
The body strongly resists, it does not receive the usual dose of nicotine, as a result of which you have to fight literally continuously, hourly, frantically counting the cigarettes smoked and the ones left for the day. In any case, this will lead to a collapse or an imperceptible increase in the number of cigarettes, and the fight against the bad habit will not move a single step. In addition, light cigarettes contain much more harmful substances that replace the somewhat reduced nicotine content, and the harm to the body can be even greater. There is another downside to gradual withdrawal – neither mental nor physical dependence is reduced. So, does the smoker need additional suffering, besides not doing his body any good?
Electronic cigarettes should be noted separately. This modern gadget, contrary to advertising, does not contribute to smoking cessation at all. Of course, due to the absence of tar and pungent smoke, the harm to health is reduced, the lungs are cleaned, the cough stops and the skin is cleansed.
Dependence on the electronic cigarette remains, as nicotine continues to enter the body, and over time its dose increases due to the possibility of smoking even in the workplace. Therefore, with a strong desire to recover without harm, there is only one option - to quit smoking once and for all.
Many in an attempt to quit smoking buy nicotine patches, gum and tablets. Such preparations contain the minimum amount of nicotine that will enter the body and reduce the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. The use of such means makes sense, but only for heavy smokers. During treatment, you can get rid of psychological dependence - from going out for a smoke, smoking after eating, during stress. But to hope that drugs will do everything for the smoker is not worth it.
Sooner or later, a person will still have to give up nicotine itself, which is embedded in the receptors and gives a strong physical dependence. Therefore, any pills and drugs are only auxiliary methods to get rid of a bad habit, nothing more. If you apply them correctly and do not increase the dose, but decrease it, some relief of the task will be achieved, and together with your own desire and will, everything will work out!