Psychological Addiction

Dr. Purushothaman
September 1, 2013

Simply wanting to stop smoking is a large part of the battle to succeeding. Often knowing that cigarettes are destroying your health is not enough incentive. You don't want to think about all the health problems that smoking can cause.

After all, between the physical addiction to nicotine and the psychological addiction, the whole person, mind and body, is craving the next cigarette. With that strong pull encouraging you to the next smoke, the thought of getting cancer, having a heart attack, or hurting your unborn baby might not be enough to make you decide to stop smoking.

That your health doesn't deteriorate with the first cigarette encourages you to believe that smoking is not dangerous. Tobacco takes twenty to fifty years to damage your body with cancer or heart disease.

For a young person who is encouraged to start smoking at fifteen or seventeen that seems like a lifetime away. The sad thing is, by the time the damage is done it can be too late to quit smoking. They can end up dead of a heart attack at forty-five or dying of lung cancer at fifty.

How does one succeed in stopping the mind and body from continuing this addiction? You must deal with the body and the mind separately but at the same time. In other words, deal with the physical addiction with one technique and the psychological addiction with another technique all at the same time.

It's actually easier to deal with the physical addiction. There are patches, pills, and gums that you can use if you need them. Your doctor will be able to help you in this area by recommending products that can help your body lose the desire for a cigarette.

The psychological addiction is more complicated to overcome. Everyone would rather experience pleasure than pain, and trying to stop smoking will produce pain. To the smoker, cigarettes produce pleasure.

Some smoke to have something to do, or because they believe it will calm their nerves. They might associate smoking with a pleasurable experience, such as smoking with friends at the bar or while they play poker. They aren't smoking because they feel the need for the nicotine, but because they associate smoking with a good time.

So how does one overcome the psychological addiction? Some professionals suggest filling up the time you would normally be smoking with some other activity. The activity needs to be a positive one or it won't work.

Have the activities planned out. Know exactly what you are going to do in place of smoking and be prepared for it.

Include times of regular exercise, meditation and breathing exercises. Believe you can stop smoking and surround yourself with people who will encourage you to succeed.

Most importantly, get rid of the idea that life isn't worth living without cigarettes. That thought must not be allowed. Change that thought to "life is worth living without cigarettes." Instead of thinking that cigarettes are good, replace the thought with something like "cigarettes are killing me."

By changing your thoughts about cigarettes from positive to negative you will change your beliefs about them. When your beliefs change, then you lose the psychological craving for them and it's easier to stop smoking.

Simply wanting to stop smoking is a large part of the battle to succeeding. Often knowing that cigarettes are destroying your health is not enough incentive. It requires changing your activities, and changing the way you think about cigarettes.

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