Help me.. I want to stop smoking!
Article: Dr. Amal Al Fahdi – Consultant Psychiatrist
Nicotine, a stimulant in many products like cigars and cigarettes, creates a pleasurable sensation that can lead to addiction. Social pressures play an essential role in the emergence of smoking addiction, as it relates to people having social acceptance. And over time, the different external factors create an environment that promotes smoking despite its negative effect on health and its serious consequences.
Many claims that quitting nicotine is challenging due to withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and an increased appetite. Some people smoke to reduce stress or experience a temporary feeling of positivity and relief. However, smoking is not an anxiolytic; it only temporarily relieves withdrawal symptoms. It is essential for people who smoke to explore stress management techniques rather than relying on smoking.
The dangers of smoking:
Smoking cessation is a crucial goal for those addicted to nicotine, as most smokers try to quit smoking at least twice a year. Daily smokers are more likely to develop mental illnesses, psychological discomfort, cancer, cardiovascular, lung, and other disorders. It is life-threatening and is associated with the deaths of approximately 8 million people annually.
What are the desired benefits of stopping smoking for cancer patients?
1. Reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and the emergence of new cancers.
2. It can improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments and reduce the side effects experience after treatment.
3. It may reduce the risk of death from cancer and other diseases.
4. It helps improve breathing and recovery after surgery.
5. It enables the heart and lungs to work better.
6. Improve the sense of smell and taste and increase appetite.
7. It improves sleep and energy level.
8. It helps reduce stress, tension and enjoy a better quality of life.
9. It can enhance an individual’s self-esteem and help to gain more control over one’s life.
Treatment methods and motives:
If an individual chooses to stop smoking, this can lead to a positive effect on their health. It is crucial to respect their choice and understand their motives. Various reasons may lead a person to quit smoking, including its harmful physical and mental effects on the body, financial pressure, and the ambition to spend time with loved ones without health concerns.
If an individual continues to smoke, there are widely known risks, and if they quit, there are also known benefits, regardless of the type or stage of cancer. It is ideal to quit smoking as soon as possible. If an individual is receiving treatment for cancer, a change in priorities and perspective may trigger quitting smoking. Knowing they have beaten cancer may encourage them to lead a healthier lifestyle if they are survivors. There are many reasons to quit smoking.
The best way to quit smoking is a combination of behavioral and pharmacological therapies, such as nicotine replacement therapy. Research has shown that smoking cessation is more successful when focusing on the patient’s behavior.
· Focus on the patient’s feelings and beliefs.
· Patient and the therapist work together and focus on the patient’s main issue.
· The therapist considers the patient’s symptoms and directs them to act appropriately.
· Behavioral therapy involves developing general skills such as decision-making, goal-setting, motivation, self-efficacy, and other smoking-related activities.
There are five rules for quitting smoking, including the following:
1. Choose a day to quit smoking.
2. Inform family, friends, and colleagues of the plans
3. Prepare for any difficulties you may encounter while quitting smoking.
4. Eliminate all tobacco products from your home, car, and workplace.
5. Seek advice from a healthcare professional or a smoking cessation specialist
It is essential to realize that when you quit smoking, your body may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms usually last for a week or two, but they may last for a more extended period. To relieve these symptoms, using medications such as nicotine replacement therapy can be helpful.
It can be difficult during the first days to quit smoking. Please remember that feeling upset, irritable, or frustrated is normal when dealing with early nicotine withdrawal symptoms. However, these symptoms will eventually subside. In fact, after a few weeks, the individual may experience lower stress levels. It is essential to remind yourself of the reasons that prompted you to quit smoking and to continue using the strategies you have identified to deal with the triggers. At the same time, withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person.
We suggest that individuals use the “Four Tips” because they can help them maintain smoking cessation since cravings usually only last for a short time. It may also be helpful to take some time to stop and examine your thoughts.
1. Drink a glass of water or take a warm bath to help relieve any discomfort or pain.
2. Engage in another activity to redirect your focus or engage in activities that bring happiness and occupy your time, such as pursuing a hobby or socializing with friends.
3. Practice deep breathing exercises and inhaling deeply.
4. Use medications to control nicotine cravings and other nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Nicotine replacement therapy was developed to combat the negative consequences of smoking. These include gum, patch, inhalers, and smoke cessation sprays. It continuously delivers nicotine to the brain to reduce cravings and treat withdrawal symptoms. Although these products are available without a prescription, assistance is often required to use them correctly.
Other medications used to treat smoking addiction are nicotine-free medications, which can help you quit smoking. Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is also recommended for treating symptoms of depression and for smoking cessation. Another drug called varenicline (Champix) reduces addiction by blocking nicotine receptors in the brain.
To help cancer patients, the Sultan Qaboos Center for Cancer Treatment established a smoking cessation clinic intending to assist smokers in quitting smoking and thus reducing the incidence of cancer, as scientific evidence indicates that the success rate in quitting smoking without obtaining specialized aid is low. While the percentage multiplies four times once medical assistance is obtained from specialists. The smoking cessation clinic provides integrated services that include individual cessation plans, behavioral therapy (counseling and guidance), and drug therapy supplied by specialized physicians in treating tobacco addiction.