Psychiatrist gives advice on how to quit smoking | metropolis

Smoking is undeniably a big bad for good health. The habit is associated with the risk of developing various diseases, such as cancer, for example, and therefore quitting smoking is one of the first resolutions to be included in the New Year’s list.

According to psychiatrist Patrick Bigaouette, when you see how harmful smoking is, that’s when you’re ready to quit. However, he stresses that the decision has to come from the smoker himself: it’s a commitment to himself.

To help with the challenge, the psychiatrist lists the following suggestions:

  • Talk to family, friends, and close people about the decision who will be a part of your support system;
  • Choose a date to put the plan into practice;
  • You might try finding someone to quit smoking with you, join an online social networking or support group, or seek therapy to help you deal with all the cravings, withdrawal, and emotional challenges.
  • Find out what makes you want to smoke: maybe it’s driving, doing some specific activity or stress. Think about how you will handle these situations or if you will avoid them altogether;
  • Think of all the possibilities for managing cravings and dealing with withdrawal symptoms;
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand, and meditate, go for a walk, or text someone in your support system when you get the urge to smoke.
  • Consider resources such as nicotine replacement therapy, patches, gum, lozenges, an inhaler, or medications that contain bupropion and varenicline;
  • Dealing with lack of motivation.

In the event of a relapse, Bigaouette says people tend to think the worst, that they’ve been wrong and that they’ve failed. But he cautions against the anxiety that hitting each other causes and advises the individual he is trying to quit to be kind to themselves.

Doctors say less than one in ten adults quit smoking each year. Many need to try several times before they can finally kick the habit, but 60% of people who try to quit are successful.

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A survey by the biopharmaceutical AstraZeneca points out that the average of Brazilians who consume more than 11 cigarettes a day (more than half a pack) is 39%. Bigaouette explains that it’s difficult to quit because nicotine simulates the idea of ​​reward in the brain, a process that releases dopamine and causes a good feeling in the individual.

Therefore, explains the doctor, the body begins to crave the sensation caused by nicotine and begins to feel that it is normal. When the body doesn’t have access to the substance, it goes into withdrawal.

Bigaouette suggests that smokers considering quitting should, for example, calculate the costs of addiction. “A pack of cigarettes costs about five reais. One unit per day equals 150 reais per month,” he notes.

It also warns of:

  • Risk of new diseases. Cancer, for example, is one of the conditions linked to smoking, as are cardiovascular problems and chronic pulmonary complications. In addition to reducing life expectancy, smoking can harm the health of people who accidentally inhale smoke;
  • Lost time. Smoking can keep you away from work, family and friends;
  • Use of electronic cigarettes. With health risks still uncertain from new technologies, vapers have similar physical and financial costs to traditional cigarettes. They are not admitted by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).

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