How Exactly Does Hypnosis Help You Stop Smoking?
Smoking can be one of the most difficult habits to break. If you’ve smoked for long enough in your life, it almost becomes a part of you. A close companion, your dearest friend. It’s there after a satisfying meal or during your coffee break. It also helps calm you down in stressful situations or may help you fill time during your breaks during the day. Let’s face it, if it were healthy or beneficial for your body, would you ever need to consider quitting? Unfortunately, it’s absolutely terrible for your health and quite possibly one of the worst things you can do to your body or lungs. It’s outright poison. You’ve probably heard it from your doctor and maybe you’re feeling the effects yourself. If your considering different alternatives to quit, this article will highlight various methods as well as go over how hypnosis works and can possibly help you along!
As a former smoker I really understand what it means as well as what it takes to quit. I smoked for 15 years and enjoyed doing it very much. Even worse, I knew exactly what I was doing to my body. I knew how bad it was and always had a few worries at the back of my mind. Will I eventually have a stroke? A heart attack? Will I eventually develop lung cancer later in my life? All valid concerns, and one day I knew I had enough. I was done with all the costs and nasty side effects of the habit. In fact, it took me a few attempts to quit before I was completely successful. I persisted, and it eventually stuck. Now, five years later, I’m totally smoke free. I don’t touch it or think about it anymore and I’ve never felt better. It’s amazing how your body heals and transforms once you drop it for good. You breathe better, feel better, taste food better, you even have way more energy! There are many reasons why you want to quit and most of the time they can get quite personal. Whatever your reasons or motivations are, know that you can and will do it eventually with enough persistence. Is it worth all the hard work and effort? Absolutely!
Different Interventions You Can Use To Help You Stop There are various methods you can use to help you stop. Different people respond in different ways to specific interventions. It’s important to figure out what will most likely work for you and to put a plan into place. There are a whole host of different nicotine replacement products out there that include, patches, gums, inhalers, lozenges etc. These can be quite helpful in the early stages of quitting. You have naturally occuring nicotinic receptors located in your body and brain, that are responsible for creating your nicotine craving. When you smoke, your body makes more of these receptors as it adapts to the abundance of nicotine that you introduce into your system. When you stop smoking, it takes time for these receptors to “downregulate” or go back to average levels prior to you starting smoking. During this process, you will probably experience a whole bunch of withdrawal symptoms. This is where the nicotine replacement products will come in handy. They are designed to slowly “wean” you off nicotine over time so that it’s not such a big “shock” to your system.
You can also opt for behaviour therapy (CBT) that will help you break your habit loop. You can work individually with a therapist or locate a group that may bring down your cost significantly. In addition, hypnosis is an excellent additional “tool” you can add to your toolbox.
How Science Is Proving The Inner Workings Of Hypnosis There is a mounting body of scientific evidence that shows the efficacy and use of hypnosis in different smoking cessation protocols. Various clinical trials have also proven that hypnosis can be more effective than nicotine replacement therapy (Hasan et al., 2014). In fact, using the two in combination may significantly improve some individuals chances of success (Hasan et al., 2014).
Scientists have always wondered how it works specifically. A recent study sought to investigate the specific neural mechanisms of hypnosis treatment for smoking cravings (Li et al., 2019). They studied 132 participants and monitored the activation of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (rDLPFC) of the brain with fMRI immediately after treatment with hypnosis (Li et al., 2019). They also sought to see what the effects where 1-week and 1-month after treatment with hypnosis. It was shown that the rDLPFC (known for its executive functions and decision making processes) was activated in most individuals who were treated with hypnosis. This is evidence that hypnosis is having a direct effect on the brain and helping people along with altering decision making processes. It’s important to note that certain individuals were more responsive than others. That all depended on specific traits of the individual and further studies need to be conducted. Nonetheless, very interesting proof that hypnosis does indeed have a direct functional effect on our brains. This can potentially help us create a desired positive change!
Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy & Self-Hypnosis are very empowering and offer you invaluable tools to help you along in your daily life. If you are interested in learning more about the process please reach out and I’d be happy to help out.
If you have any questions, interested in trying out a session, or getting a personalized self-hypnosis recording made, please reach out and feel free to send me an e-mail.
Written By: Sebastian Di Cesare PhD, RCH - a research scientist & practicing Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Vancouver, Canada.