It's that time of the year when people begin to make New Year's resolutions. A resolution is when you resolve to give something up. Usually this is a bad habit you have that you know you need to get rid of. Smoking is one of the bad habits at, or near, the top of the list for most people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 36.5 million American adults were smokers in 2015. They also report that 68% of those smokers would like to quit. Doing so is not easy, however. The nicotine in cigarettes is addictive. Your body goes through withdrawal when it does not get the nicotine. Cigarette smoking is also a habit. Even when the cravings and withdrawal subsides the struggle to break the habit is challenging. For help with addiction of any kind in 2018, contact Legacy for alcohol and drug rehab in Columbus OH.
In recent studies it was found that there are some people who have a much harder time giving up the cigarette habit. In 2015 Neuropsychopharmacology's study showed that those smokers who had an easier time quitting had more activity in an area of the brain that regulates cravings and urges. The reason there is a difference is not clear, but it does backup the fact that it is an addictive habit that many struggle to break.
The truth is that there are some really good reasons for quitting. Your quality of life is much improved regardless of your age when the habit is broken. The American Lung Association agrees that within the first year of ceasing to smoke a person's coronary heart disease risk is reduced to half what it was when they were smoking. Months after a person quits their chance of a heart attack is reduced and lung function improves. They also tell us continuing to smoke is a top risk factor for lung cancer. As many as 90% of cases of lung cancer are due to cigarette smoking. One in five deaths each year are also due to smoking. Smoking is a cause of emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Many smokers want to learn how to give up smoking. The truth is most smokers don't use any science backed method. We will look at three ways you can get plenty of help along the way. A good support system is always crucial to beat any kind of addiction.
1. Mobile apps for 24/7 support: In today’s world there is a mobile app for almost everything, smoking cessation included. Mobile apps remove the burden of going to a professional’s office. Most of us have our phone always close at hand. This will work well for those moments when a quitter is experiencing a cigarette craving. “Online communities have been shown to increase the quit rate by at least 3 to 5 times,” according to the folks who developed the app Craving to Quit. But they caution that success requires a “whole package” of tools that includes coaching.
Some popular apps to consider:
Craving to Quit: Brewer’s 21-day mindfulness-based program uses videos, animations, and in-the-moment exercises that teach you to ride out your cravings. The app also offers a cigarette tracker and a virtual community moderated by Brewer and trained coaches. Free for three days, then $24.95/month.
Quit Guide: The free app from Smokefree.gov helps you track your smoking patterns by time of day and location. The program delivers tips, distractions, and inspirational messages to help you deal with cravings and mood changes.
Headspace: This meditation app is designed to reduce stress and anxiety — feelings that commonly fuel a smoking habit. Many counselors encourage clients to use the app when they first quit. Creator Andy Puddicombe has also narrated a podcast on quitting smoking. The first 10 sessions are free. It's about $12.95/month after that.
2. Talk to other former smokers: Who knows better what you’re going through and how hard it is than an ex-smoker? All evidence suggests that having a former smoking friend to share your experience is much more effective than getting support from someone who’s never smoked.
The reasons for this are:
Relatability: Many counselors are former smokers as well. A former smoker can sometimes provide aspiring nonsmokers with a much needed role model. Many find ex-smokers to be inspirational when trying to quit. Those are also the people they can turn to when having a tough time. Often the thinking becomes if they can do it, I can too.
No judgment: Many people who are trying to quit can often form a stronger bond with this kind of support. Most do not like doctors giving out what seems to be easy advice. A former smoker has been there and you can be comfortable knowing that if you have a slip up or feel like you just can't cope, you have someone you can talk to about it. With them there will be no shame and no fear of judgment. That will make a big difference in the journey.
3. Be Honest: The Centers for Disease Control launched an anti-smoking campaign that communicated the health effects of smoking through former smokers. In its first year, the campaign motivated 1.6 million Americans to try quitting. Smokers said that they needed to see and hear what it would be like to live with the negative consequences of their habit.
With commitment, guidance, and the right plan, you’re well on your way to staying off cigarettes and living a healthier life. We know that this journey will not be an easy one. You may find you will have a lot of stops and starts along the way as well. Check to see if your insurance plan offers smoking cessation programs or covers nicotine replacement therapy. Many insurances offer some coverage for these programs. Be sure to check with your company.
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Addiction problems do not get easier to deal with over time. It's the type of problem that consumes your life before anyone realizes it's happening. It's important to get help as soon as possible. Life without drug addiction possible. Whether it's you, or someone you love, consider the help that can come from outpatient, customized therapy like the type that Legacy Freedom Columbus offers. Call us today to learn more about our alcohol and drug rehab in Columbus OH.