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Unlocking Mental Well-being: iflow Psychology
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Need Help to Stop Smoking? Practical Tips for Breaking the Habit of Smoking

Introduction

How do you stop smoking? It's a common question, and the answer is often more complicated than you might think. There are many reasons why people smoke cigarettes and quit smoking. This article will provide information on how to quit smoking and where to go for more information and support.


Who Smokes Cigarettes?

In Australia, smoking rates vary among different demographic groups. Historically, smoking rates have been higher among men, those with lower levels of education and income, and Indigenous Australians. However, overall smoking rates have been declining in Australia in recent years due to government anti-smoking campaigns and increasing awareness of the health risks of smoking.


need-help-to-stop-smoking

What are the Benefits of Smoking?

Some people report some benefits of smoking include:

  • Some find smoking is a relaxing activity.

  • You can smoke with other people, making it a social activity.

  • Some say it helps you concentrate when you're stressed or trying to focus on something else.

  • Smoking can help you deal with anxiety by giving you something to do while thinking through your problems.


Although you may feel like you're helping yourself by puffing away on a cigarette, however, this isn't actually true. Cigarette smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop a number of health conditions, including lung cancer and heart disease.


There are no significant benefits to smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor for a variety of health problems, including lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. It can also lead to a number of other cancers, as well as respiratory and cardiovascular issues. Additionally, smoking can harm not only the smoker but also those around them through secondhand smoke.


Smoking is also a major contributor to premature death and disability worldwide. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term health benefits for smokers of all ages.


Why do People Smoke?

There are many reasons why we take up the daily activity of smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Smoking can be addictive in nature due to its active ingredient called nicotine.


Nicotine can make you feel more alert and awake when you use it regularly over a period of time. Other than being addictive, there are many other reasons why people enjoy this habit:

  • It is a way to relieve stress after work or during exam season

  • It is a way to socialise with friends and colleagues at clubs or bars where smoking is allowed

  • You can relax after completing some hard work by lighting up a cigarette or cigar (or both)


Most people smoke because they are addicted to nicotine. The health consequences of smoking are well known, but it still remains a challenge for many people to quit the habit.


Is Smoking Habit Forming?

Yes, smoking is habit-forming. Nicotine, the addictive substance in cigarettes, can cause changes in the brain that lead to feelings of pleasure and reward when smoking. This can make it difficult for smokers to quit, as the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of nicotine and can crave it when it is absent.


It is important to note that Nicotine addiction can develop relatively quickly, some people can become addicted after just a few cigarettes, while others may smoke for months or years before becoming addicted.


Additionally, the act of smoking can become associated with certain activities or situations, creating a psychological dependence on cigarettes. Smoking can also develop into a psychological addiction, where smokers may feel that they need cigarettes to cope with stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions. This emotional dependence can make quitting smoking even more challenging.


What is Psychological Addiction to Smoking?

Psychological addiction to smoking refers to the emotional and mental dependence on cigarettes. This type of addiction is characterised by the belief that smoking is necessary to cope with stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions, and that quitting smoking would lead to feelings of deprivation or loss.


Nicotine, the addictive substance in cigarettes, can cause changes in the brain that lead to feelings of pleasure and reward when smoking, which can reinforce the behaviour and create a sense of dependence.


Psychological addiction can make it difficult for smokers to quit, as they may feel that they need cigarettes to function normally, and that the withdrawal symptoms will be unbearable. They can also feel a sense of identity, ritual, or social connection tied to smoking which can make quitting more challenging.


Treatments for psychological addiction to smoking include counselling, behaviour modification, and support groups. Nicotine replacement therapy, such as gum or patches, can also be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings during the quit process.


How is Associative Conditioning Related to Smoking?

Associative conditioning is a type of learning that occurs when two previously unrelated stimuli become linked in the mind. In the context of smoking, associative conditioning can play a role in the development of a smoking habit.


When a person smokes a cigarette, the act of smoking becomes associated with the pleasurable effects of the nicotine. Over time, the person may begin to associate certain activities or situations with smoking, such as drinking coffee, taking a break at work, or socialising with friends. These associations can make it difficult to quit smoking because the person may crave a cigarette in those specific situations and feel that they need a cigarette to function normally.


Associative conditioning can also occur with the environmental cues as well, such as the sight or smell of a cigarette, the packaging of the cigarettes, or the act of lighting a cigarette can also become associated with smoking. These cues can trigger cravings even after a person has quit smoking. That's why behavioural therapies like cue exposure therapy are used to help people quit smoking by desensitising them to these environmental cues and reducing their cravings for cigarettes.


What are Good Reasons to Stop Smoking?

There are many good reasons to stop smoking, some of the most significant include:


  1. Improving health: Quitting smoking can have immediate and long-term health benefits, including reducing the risk of lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. It can also lower the risk of other cancers, respiratory issues, and cardiovascular problems.

  2. Saving money: Smoking is a costly habit, and quitting can save a significant amount of money over time.

  3. Improving quality of life: Quitting smoking can improve overall physical fitness, sense of smell and taste, and lead to better breathing, skin, teeth and hair.

  4. Setting a good example: Quitting smoking can serve as a positive example for friends and family, especially children.

  5. Protecting others: Secondhand smoke can harm the health of those around you, quitting smoking can help protect them from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

  6. Improving mental health: Smoking is linked to an increased risk of anxiety and depression, quitting smoking can help improve mood and lower stress levels.

  7. Preparing for pregnancy: Women who smoke are more likely to have complications during pregnancy, quitting smoking can help prepare for a healthy pregnancy.

  8. Feeling proud of oneself: Quitting smoking is a difficult task and can be a source of pride, accomplishment, and self-esteem.


Need Help to Stop Smoking? Strategies to Quit Smoking

If you need help to stop smoking there are several strategies that can be used to quit smoking, some of the most effective include:


  1. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as gum, patches, lozenges, and nasal sprays, can help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

  2. Medications: Prescription medications such as bupropion and varenicline can also help with withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and increase the chances of successfully quitting.

  3. Behavioural therapies: Counselling, behaviour modification, and support groups can help individuals develop new coping strategies and identify triggers that lead to smoking.

  4. Quitline: Quitline is a service which provides phone-based counselling and support to smokers who want to quit.

  5. Setting a quit date: Setting a specific date to quit can help create a sense of accountability and motivation.

  6. Changing routine: Changing daily routine and avoiding situations and people that trigger the desire to smoke can help to reduce the urge to smoke.

  7. Finding alternative: Finding alternative activities such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with friends and family can help to reduce stress and provide a distraction from cravings.

  8. Staying positive: Staying positive, reminding oneself of the benefits of quitting and the negative effects of smoking can help to stay motivated to quit.


It's important to note that quitting smoking is a difficult process and different people may find different strategies more effective. Combining different strategies, such as using NRT and medication in conjunction with counselling or support groups, may be the most successful approach.


When Should you Stop Smoking?

The best time to stop smoking is now. The earlier you quit, the greater the health benefits will be. The longer you smoke, the greater your risk of developing smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. Quitting smoking at any age can improve your health and help you live a longer, healthier life.


Additionally, quitting smoking before the age of 40 can help reduce the risk of dying from smoking-related diseases by about 90%. Even quitting smoking in your 60s or 70s can still have significant health benefits.


It's also important to note that quitting smoking can have immediate benefits, such as improved circulation, lung function, and sense of smell and taste. Within 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure will drop. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood will drop to normal.


Ultimately, the most important thing is to make a plan and take action. Quitting smoking is a difficult task, but it is achievable with the right support and strategies in place.


You should stop smoking when you are:


  • Ready to quit. Many people say that they are ready to stop smoking, but what does this mean? It means that you have decided and committed to quitting, you have a plan in place, and you have the support of your family and friends. You must be ready for the challenges that come with kicking the habit before it will be effective.


  • Have a plan of action. Make sure that you know what needs to happen in order for your body, mind, and spirit (all three) to remain healthy while going through this process. For example: do not skip meals or snacks; drink plenty of water; avoid caffeine; stay away from alcohol; set aside time daily for exercise/physical activity; etcetera…this list goes on but I believe these four items are key components necessary for maintaining good health during this process!


  • Have support from others - Having a spouse/significant other or even parents or children who may not smoke themselves is helpful. They will understand how difficult quitting can be since they've been around smokers all their life. Having someone on hand who understands what we're going through as well as being there as moral support helps tremendously during our journey towards becoming smoke-free!


Who can Help you Stop Smoking?

There are several people and resources that can help you quit smoking:


  • Healthcare provider: Your healthcare provider can provide you with information about the health risks of smoking, as well as recommend nicotine replacement therapy, medications, and other treatments that can help you quit.


  • Quitline: Quitline is a service that provides phone-based counselling and support to smokers who want to quit. They can help you develop a quit plan, provide information and resources, and offer support throughout the quitting process.


  • Counsellor or therapist: A counsellor or therapist can help you address the emotional and psychological aspects of smoking, such as stress, anxiety, or depression that may be related to your smoking habit.


  • Friends and family: Support from friends and family can be very helpful when trying to quit smoking. They can provide emotional support and encouragement, as well as help you avoid triggers and temptations.


  • Mobile apps and online resources: There are mobile apps, like My QuitBuddy app and online resources available that can help you track your progress, manage cravings, and provide information and support.


It's important to note that quitting smoking is a difficult process and different people may find different resources more effective. Combining different strategies, such as using Nicotine replacement therapy and medication in conjunction with counselling or support groups, may be the most successful approach.


How can a Psychologist Help you Stop Smoking?

A psychologist can help you stop smoking by addressing the emotional and psychological factors that may be contributing to your smoking habit. They can use a variety of evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or motivational interviewing (MI), to help you:


  1. Identify and change negative thoughts and beliefs about smoking: A psychologist can help you identify the thoughts and beliefs that keep you smoking and teach you how to challenge and change them.

  2. Manage stress, anxiety, and negative emotions: Smoking is often used as a way to cope with stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions. A psychologist can help you develop new coping strategies and improve your emotional regulation skills.

  3. Address underlying mental health concerns: A psychologist can help you identify and address underlying mental health concerns, such as depression or anxiety, that may be contributing to your smoking habit.

  4. Develop a quit plan: A psychologist can help you develop a quit plan that is tailored to your specific needs and goals. They can also provide support and guidance as you work through the quitting process.

  5. Provide support and encouragement: A psychologist can provide support and encouragement throughout the quitting process and help you stay motivated to quit.

  6. Provide cue exposure therapy: A psychologist can also provide cue exposure therapy, which can help desensitise you to the environmental cues that trigger cravings.


It's important to note that quitting smoking is a difficult process and it's not uncommon to have relapses. A psychologist can help you to identify and learn from those relapses and come up with a new plan to quit again.


A psychologist can help you understand why you smoke, set goals to stop smoking, deal with cravings and stress or anxiety, cope with depression or other mental health problems.

If you’re struggling to quit smoking, a psychologist can help by understanding why you smoke and working through strategies to overcome these barriers. A psychologist can also support you in dealing with depression and other mental health issues that may be associated with your addiction.


iflow Psychology provides services to assist people quit smoking so if you need professional support call us today on 02 6061 1144 and book an appointment.


This article provides information on how to quit smoking and where to go for more information and support.

There are a lot of strategies to help you quit smoking. Some of them work better than others, so try a few until you find one that suits your needs. Remember that it’s important to make quitting a priority in order to succeed. If you want to quit, but don’t feel like it's working for some reason or another, try looking into other options and think about how quitting might affect your life if you do decide to go through with it.


Think about what could happen if you didn't smoke cigarettes anymore; think about how much money and time could be saved by not having to buy cigarettes anymore (or maybe even having enough money left over so that they don't have as much impact on your life). Think about what else would happen in the long run if all this was possible: What things might change? How would those changes affect other parts of my life? Will I still have friends once I stop smoking? Do I still have time for them now?


Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you understand why it is important to stop smoking and how you can do it. There are many benefits to quitting, so don’t wait any longer!


Help is Available

If you, or a mate, are experiencing difficulty, support is available. Please contact iflow Psychology today or book an appointment.


You can book an appointments online, or by calling my friendly admin staff on 02 6061 1144.


iflow Psychology offers in-person, telehealth and telephone counselling. We are registered psychologists. We also offer Medicare Rebates when you have a doctors referral and Mental Health Plan. We would love to be part of your journey.




Location Details: iflow Psychology is located in Leichhardt Inner West Sydney NSW Australia


Disclaimer:

  • The information provided in this article is for information purposes only.

  • It is always advisable to speak with your treating doctor, health professionals, and legal representatives before making decisions.

  • This is particularly important if you have: health concerns; existing mental health or medical conditions; or feel you are not coping.


(c) Dean Harrison 2024



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