Quitting With Alternative Medicine
Most smokers know they need to quit. Smoking leads to cardiovascular disease, stroke, lung cancer, and a whole host of other chronic and potentially fatal diseases. Some smokers, however, are not sure about the medications and other smoking cessation aids available.
There are numerous reasons why these methods may not be for everyone, including potential side effects, drug interactions, or issues with cost. This has led to an increasing number of alternative therapies being introduced to help smokers kick the habit. Some of these treatments have shown great promise, while others may fall short of the high expectations placed on them.
Types of Alternative Smoking Cessation
The number of alternative therapies aimed at helping people quit is extensive. Anything aside from conventional nicotine patches or gum, the “cold turkey,” approach and prescription medications may be considered an alternative. The most common include hypnosis, meditation, and some supplements. Success rates among these methods vary, with some proving to be quite effective for some smokers.
Studies have shown that hypnosis may be a very promising smoking cessation aid for some people. This method focuses on asking the smoker to make negative mental connections with cigarettes, associating them with such things such as fumes or dry mouth. The most popular of these is Spiegel’s method
This is the method which has the smoker focus on three main points:
In a study conducted at Scott and White Memorial Hospital, it was shown that forty percent of patients who underwent hypnosis were able to quit smoking. Some research indicates that this method may be more effective for men than women, although the reasons behind this aren’t clear yet.
Meditation can have religious undertones, but not always. Smokers can use this method whether they want to add prayer into the mix or not.
Meditation is a form of deep breathing and relaxation which often has participants envisioning certain thoughts or pictures, repeating specific mantras, or just focusing on their breathing pattern.
There are many methods of performing meditation, and those who choose to try this aspect of treatment may want to explore several variations to determine which works best for them.
This tactic’s success in aiding smoking cessation may be accredited to its effect on calming the mind and reducing stress. Since many smokers feel anxiety and high stress levels in the days after quitting, meditation has the potential to help curb nicotine cravings.
Jean Kristeller, Ph.D. of The Center for Mindful Eating supports the idea of using mindfulness to make big life changes such as quitting a negative habit because it
There has been some buzz about over-the-counter supplements for use as smoking cessation aids. One such example is St. John’s wort, which has antidepressant properties. The theory was that the supplement may act in much the same way as prescription antidepressants as a smoking cessation therapy, but studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic have not backed up this claim.
Ginseng, however, has shown to suppress nicotine receptors in the brain, which can actually help some smokers quit.
There are many natural supplement widely available to the public. However, one should take caution before reaching for them as an assistant to quitting and make sure to consult a doctor beforehand.
Smoking, in addition to affecting the respiratory system and heart, also drastically decreases the levels of vitamins in the body, especially vitamins B and C. Vitamin C is responsible, among others, for tissue regeneration, strengthening the immune system and has even been suggested to lower the risk of cancer. The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of vitamin C for adults over the age of 19 is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women (according to the National Institutes of Health).
As vitamin C helps rebuild degenerated tissue it is vital for anyone attempting to quit smoking to make sure he or she is providing enough of this vitamin, to support the recuperation of the body in the period after quitting. This will also help keep them energized and boost their immune system.
Vitamin B is not just one but eight different vitamins.They are responsible for various processes in the human body, such as producing healthy red blood cells and producing cellular energy. The most popular vitamin B12 has even been suggested to lower homocysteine levels, that in turn could with further research prove to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
This is why it is important for anyone wanting to quit to make sure they are providing their body with the necessary amount of vitamin B either through carefully selected food choices or a vitamin B-complex supplement.
Talking to Your Doctor
Believe it or not, speaking with a physician is a treatment approach all on its own. Studies have shown that those who talk to their doctor about smoking, even in passing, are more likely to quit. This may be because once this has been discussed, the smoker knows that he or she will be held accountable and does not want to disappoint.
Research has indicated that sucking on glucose tablets, like those sold for diabetics, can help curb nicotine cravings. The same may be true for sugary sweets. When we consume sugar our body releases dopamine, the same way it does when we smoke a cigarette or introduce drugs into our system. Because of this, sugar can serve as a substitute to nicotine when those cravings hit.
However, as a temporary helper along the way, sugar can help you beat your nicotine addiction. This method shouldn’t be used long-term and it should also be noted that it may actually have the opposite effect on some causing even more nicotine cravings.
Those who want to quit smoking should remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. You might turn to prayer, nicotine gum, and light snacks throughout the day to keep your cool during cravings. There is no right or wrong way to quit, as long as you quit.
For more motivation to quit smoking once and for all, visit The Real Cost of Smoking.
Read more about the effects cigarette smoke has on the human body at The Effects of Smoking.
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