Any smoker with experience 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 about the wrong approach? In this article, we'll look at the best way to quit smoking and what exactly needs to be done to do so.
How to stop smoking?
The proportion of people who smoke on the planet is huge - it is almost 1/5 of all the inhabitants of the Earth, and it is constantly growing. At the same time, many people dream of quitting smoking, although far fewer people are trying to do anything about it. Usually, after the first attempt to get rid of a bad habit, a smoker will be severely disappointed: he is faced with manifestations of nicotine dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
In fact, the craving for nicotine is one of the strongest drug addictions, because this substance can be integrated into the body's biochemical processes and it is not easy to "smoke" it from there.
It is also difficult to lose the psychological craving for a cigarette - a strong desire to smoke in a certain situation (under stress, excitement, joy). Hence the large number of failures in attempts to quit smoking.
Most people who suffer from nicotine cravings are wondering if it is better to stop smoking all at once or gradually? Or maybe buy pills or an e-cigarette or go to a psychologist to find the right motivation. There is no single answer. The approach to smoking cessation must be formed taking into account individual characteristics of character, health, smoking experience. It is quite possible to quit smoking alone, but only with a short experience and moderate dependence: heavy smokers are better off resorting to special therapeutic measures. Otherwise, even with a successful failure, the risk of relapse is high, and this will only strengthen the addiction.
Thus, correct smoking cessation should be based on the following components:
- Preparation, or motivational stage.
- In fact refusal of cigarettes (better sharp).
- Organization of proper nutrition.
- If necessary, replacement therapy, psychological support.
Steps to stop nicotine
Most often, a person returns to cigarettes because he could not foresee all the nuances of parting with it in advance, did not find clear motivational reasons for wanting to do so, and also did not have the support of his loved ones. The intention to get rid of addiction must be firm, otherwise a breakdown cannot be avoided. There are two main steps in the quitting process, each of which is detailed below.
First you need to understand yourself and find the reason why the bad habit appeared. For many, this helps to find the right motivation to give up smoking, because someone started to "befriend" cigarettes for company, others smoked to show their adulthood at a young age. Perhaps the need for such dubious self-expression has already disappeared and it is time to stop smoking.
You should also write down in a notebook what kind of life situations make you reach for a cigarette. Whether going out for a smoke with colleagues, smoking while waiting for the bus, after eating, during excitement - knowing the problem from the inside and getting rid of it completely is much easier.
The next most important point of the preparatory stage is to provide a clear motivation that will make you stop smoking. This is incredibly important, because in the absence of a reason, already on the first or second day of quitting a cigarette, a thought such as "is this torment really necessary? ". A person must know exactly what he is suffering for, and the reasons must be weighed.
Common motivations for quitting smoking include:
- The desire to conceive a child or save loved ones from passive smoking (for example, during a wife's pregnancy, at the birth of a baby)
- The desire to maintain health or cure diseases that have appeared, to prolong life (this is usually the strongest reason)
- Desire to play sports, gain a normal weight, figure, appearance
- Love, falling in love - many give up a bad habit for the sake of relationships if the other half doesn't smoke
- The desire to save money - sometimes financial situation compels you to quit smoking
The ideal option is to stop smoking immediately, although not everyone is able to do so. Therefore, for those who smoke for a long time and in large quantities, experts advise first to stop smoking for 48 hours. Thus, it will be possible to understand what awaits a person, and it is important to approach this on the positive side. The benefits will be huge: at the beginning of the second day it will be easier to breathe, maybe the headache will stop, because there will be no momentary vasospasm from the nicotine intake.
After a successful refusal for 2 days, you should consider continuing a healthy lifestyle. Luck will smile only on those who take all measures to reduce nicotine withdrawal, will not let the bad habit cloud their conscience and win.
In order not to lose control, here are some tips for ex-smoker behavior:
- As depressed mood sets in, as it does for nearly everyone who has given up smoking, it's worth remembering motivation and what a state of mind is - artificial, not real. It is necessary to drive away bad thoughts from yourself, thinking only about the good - the next improvement in life, well-being, health.
- When quitting smoking, it's best not to be alone. This is the biggest risk of picking up a cigarette, so you need to get involved in an active pastime with relatives, friends and children.
- It is necessary to distract yourself from thoughts about a cigarette. This is possible if you completely overload yourself with tasks - cleaning, washing dishes, cooking a delicious dinner, watching an interesting movie - anything, just not to be idle with thoughts of smoking.
- You must often remind yourself of your chosen motivation and reward yourself for each new smoke-free day, 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, an apple, a piece of celery or rhubarb, click seeds, drink herbal tea - mint, lemon balm, currant leaf, drink cold water in small sips.
Sports can help you not smoke again - swimming, running, walking, as well as various relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and even hypnosis. Also, experts advise brushing your teeth more often, using peppermint mouthwash, using aromatherapy at home to distract yourself from a bad habit. We shouldn't forget to reduce visits to places where other people smoke - there's no need to tease yourself unnecessarily, especially in the first few weeks after quitting.
"Anti-nicotine" nutrition and weight gain
As you know, when you give up a bad habit, many start gaining weight. But this does not happen because of a lack of nicotine, but because of a sudden change in eating habits. If earlier hunger could be replaced by a smoke break, now it hits a person with a vengeance. In an effort to "grab" the strongest urge to smoke, most lean heavily on crackers and chips, candy and candies, nuts and seeds. Almost all of these foods are high in calories and sometimes downright harmful due to the abundance of GMO fats and preservatives. So a quick set of 8-10 pounds is to blame for another bad habit that has come to replace smoking.
Former smokers often increase their total caloric intake by increasing the number of meals, eating in the evening, arranging for a second breakfast and additional snacks. Overeating is often also due to an improvement in appetite because regular smoking is not in the best shape.
There is only one way out of this situation - monitor your calorie intake and consumption, eat only healthy foods, lean more on vegetables and fruits so you don't smoke again. It is better to refuse chips and crackers in favor of fresh carrots, apples, apricots, cucumbers, plums, etc.
Some foods rich in ascorbic acid are needed to compensate for an acute deficiency and also help to improve a person's well-being. These include raspberries, currants, citrus fruits, spinach, sauerkraut, etc.
There are also some nutritional recommendations that will help you survive nicotine withdrawal easier and faster, without gaining excess weight and feeling sick:
- Abandon very strong tea, plenty of coffee, replacing them with mineral water, juices, so as not to harm the vessels already affected by cigarettes.
- Do not abuse salty, spicy, fried and smoked foods due to irritation of the taste buds and increased urge to smoke.
- There is more fiber as it will help to quickly remove the decomposition products of cigarette smoke from the body.
- Do not drink alcohol. Alcohol, especially strong, contributes to the loss of control over the situation, while the risk of smoking is enormous.
What's the best way to stop - abruptly or gradually?
The experts' answer is unequivocal - you need to stop smoking immediately. Of course, heavy smokers, whose experience is calculated in decades, will not be able to deal with the habit as easily, but they should seek medical help. The doctor will select the best way to stop smoking, but even in this situation, the person will likely receive a one-time refusal with therapeutic support.
When a person gradually stops smoking, reducing the number of cigarettes a day, switching to light brands, he only prolongs his torment.
The body strongly resists, not getting the usual dose of nicotine, as a result, you have to fight literally constantly, hourly, feverishly counting the cigarettes smoked and remaining 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 a bad habit will not take a single step. In addition, light cigarettes contain many more harmful substances that replace the somewhat reduced nicotine content, and the damage to the body can be even greater. There is another downside to gradual refusal - neither mental nor physical dependence is reduced. So, does a smoker need extra suffering, plus it doesn't bring any benefit to your body?
Separately, electronic cigarettes should be noted. This modern gadget, unlike advertising, does nothing to stop smoking. Naturally, due to the absence of tar and acrid smoke, health damage is reduced, the lungs are cleansed, coughing ceases, and the skin is cleansed.
Dependence on 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 give up cigarettes once and for all.
Many in an effort to stop smoking buy nicotine patches, chewing gum and pills. Such preparations contain the minimum amount of nicotine that will enter the body and reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. The use of such funds makes sense, but only for heavy smokers. During treatment, you can get rid of psychological dependence - from going out to smoke, smoking after eating, during stress. But waiting for drugs to do everything for the smoker is not worth it.
Sooner or later, a person will still have to give up nicotine itself, which is built into 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 reduce it, then some relief from the task will be achieved, and together with your own desire and willpower, everything will work out!