More of a psychological addiction!

I was thinking about smoking, and the fact that we crave cigarettes when we try to quit, when something occurred to me.

Back before we knew that the nicotine in tobacco was addictive, if for whatever reason, you were unable to smoke and couldn't get access to tobacco, how would you even know that it was the lack of nicotine that was causing you to feel bad?

The point is this. When we quit now, we put so much emphasis on the fact that, if we smoked, it would make us feel better, that a large part of the cravings is your own mindset, not the physical withdrawal.

But... what if you didn't know it was that? You didn't even know it was addictive? You didn't realise, if you stopped it, it would make you feel bad?

That would mean, you'd stop smoking (maybe cigarettes aren't available because it's 300 years ago and they're in short supply). So you can't smoke, and the next day, you don't feel very well. That's strange! I don't feel very well today. Then on the next day the same. And on the third day, you feel a bit better, but still don't feel right.

BUT THEN, on the 4th day, you feel OK again. So you go "Oh well, that was strange, I felt a bit ill, and now I feel better"

So, a MASSIVE part of quitting is in our heads. WE constantly remind ourselves that it's all because we can't smoke, and if we could, everything would be better.

We're told so much that by quitting we'll feel bad, that in the end, we feel bad!

If there was a big room, just one door leading in, and all the walls in the room were painted green, and there was a guy in a science lab coat standing outside. If he said to you "everyone that goes in that room starts to feel really nauseas after 5 minutes of being in there", I guarantee a lot of people would start feeling sick, even though, the science guy made the whole thing up, it's just a green room!

In the end, you spend so much time reminding yourself it’s all because of smoking, that if you just stop telling yourself, you’ll be fine!

Just a few thoughts I had. I've got too much time to think!

38 Replies

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  • Hi, Yes I agree, I did go to the Alan Carr stop smoking clinic and as a part of the therapy and if you don’t stop they give money back, so any of you don’t manage to stop ) it’s worth a shot sadly I am one of these people that can’t seem to get hypnotised :-( Anyways, they made it clear during the 4 hour session that smoking is actually a mental addiction not physical. it does not actually hurt you stopping like heroin for an example it’s a mind game and that is what makes it much powerful drug then heroin, crazy to think that stuff we stick in our gobs day in day or one the most highly addictive drugs on this planet and one of the hardest to break! Scientifically proven.

    Nicotine is very powerful and no other drug can create two feelings at the same time, it can make you happy and it can make you depressed! if we had of known back in the day and the shop keeper said to you " if you buy this pack of cigs it will make you so happy and relaxed" the next day the shop keeper said " if you buy this packet of cigs it will make you depressed and will cause short tempers to ensure you have another" you simply would not do it and that is the trap we are in now!

    A harsh fact, if you took out the nicotine from pack of cigs and injected the pure liquid nicotine straight into your blood stream, it would kill you out right! a horrible shocking thought to consider. the reason it does not kill us and keeps us hooked is that its absorbed through chemicals and inhaled THEN soaked into the blood and evaporates within 20 mins max! Hence the constant cravings.

    I also learned in this session that, the nicotine is so powerful it actually changes the way you think, it can actually cause you to think negative thoughts to feel down so you automatically light up for a fix! it also dampens your high moments, when we get excited we go straight for a cig, to again claim down, this is where the brain thinks it needs calming and the only way to do that is though a cig and if we don’t have them, we get agitated and our moods change!!! Think about it, crazy I know but this is the most powerful drug on the planet remembers. Think about times where you got stressed for no reason? We all do it this is why, it’s the drug!!

    Take away all the smoking related deaths, i have personally saw my gran die of smoking related illness ( lung cancer ) my mum has COPD and in using inhalers to breath for 48 years of smoke, she had her lungs tested and they are of a 90 year old!! Bad isn’t it but this was still not enough to get me off them, this shows just how powerful this shit is!!!

    ok so it’s not 100% proven that smoking will kills us but we all know it does not help and contributes a lot, I look at it like walking on the M25 your risking your life by getting hit by a car at 70 or as some crazy people like to drive more like 100 MPH anyways, you may not get hit by a car and killed but you may not!! What you are doing is increasing your chances to crazy levels of being killed instead of walking on a quiet road in a country somewhere, where you decrease your chances by a good 80 %

    As the therapist told me, it is simple and easy to stop it does not hurt you! It won’t kill you! Nicotine starts to leave the body after 20 mins and no traces what so ever in 48 hours!! How can giving up something you hate be a bad thing? How can you crave something that more than likely will kill you, why should it be hard to give up something you really don’t like? It should be the opposite!

    When you feel light headed, or a bit sick, or a bit agitated, enjoy the feeling, what you are feeling is life coming back to you, feeling them slight withdrawal your freeing yourself of years of abuse! It is a mind drug and simply switching that around in your brain is easy. The easiest most painful way to stop is 1, don’t have one and 2, forget it move on! Just say I don’t smoke and smile, your mind will soon adapt.

    A key thing to remember is you are not quitting as you’re not quitting or changing your life or routine the only thing you’re not doing is not sticking a cig in your gob! still go to the pub, still go outside with the smokers on your break, still go outside with the smokers down the pub never ever change your routine, if you do you will feel like you’re giving something up or missing out when you’re not! if you start to change the routine you’re in this is part your brain feels its missing something.

    You could argue well why don’t you do this Derek? As I said, I need help with the mental side, I stopped for 4 months using this and not once did I crave or miss smoking, I ended up back on them with alcohol which is another story all together which I will tell you, this is my down fall every single time Alcohol when I get so drunk I have one and then bang its back, I understand what it up against now, I understand what I need to do and I intend to do this, I am not scared anymore of not smoking and not scared what I am going to miss out, I am not scared of thinking " I have a meal, I have a wine, I need a fag during work" I don’t need a bloody fag and I will enjoy not having one at these time as I don’t want a shitty little stick controlling me and I certainly don’t want to pay£8.00 for the pleasure of being warped.

    Alcohol, it’s true that whoever drinks alcohol may increase their intake of cigs me? I can get through about 40 on a night out or dinner party, I love the whole not smoking in bars as I get to go outside and mingle with others and I find it more sociable lol.. Anyways take away alcohol do you seriously think you could smoke 40 plus the 10-15 you had during the day totally 50-60 fags in one day? I would physically throw up! I only smoke 20 a day max, the reason we do this is alcohol numbs you and you are able to withstand it! So next time you’re drinking and have a minute craving (that’s all they last for) just push it from your mind.

    Keep going out side with smokers if that’s what you enjoy you don’t need to stick one in your gob to so******e any crazy thing nicotine has us believe.

    Like the smell I love the smell of fresh cigarette it calms me ( probably a childhood thing from mother lol ) any ways I love the smell of petrol too at the garage but I am not going to drink it!! Think of cigs this way, end of the day what’s in petrol is what’s in cigs after all, again it’s not like you will drink petrol? If so why smoke ?

    Derek

  • In the end, you spend so much time reminding yourself it’s all because of smoking, that if you just stop telling yourself, you’ll be fine!

    Just a few thoughts I had. I've got too much time to think!

    You've been told all along that the nicotine has left your body in 3 days and you believed it. That being the case, why did you write this yesterday????

    "Well, I feel absolutely awful. Anxious to hell, depressed, on edge, angry. I did not think this was going to happen after a week of being free "

  • You've been told all along that the nicotine has left your body in 3 days and you believed it. That being the case, why did you write this yesterday????

    "Well, I feel absolutely awful. Anxious to hell, depressed, on edge, angry. I did not think this was going to happen after a week of being free "

    I don't know what your point is?

    Just because the drug has left my body in 3 days, doesn't stop the receptors in my brain asking for more. The nicotine in my body may well have gone, but that's exactly the point, my body wants more, and hence we crave.

    I think they say after a couple of weeks that the receptors in your brain calm down and stop asking for more nicotine, so MY point is, that after THAT, a large part of it, is in your own head.

    And also, at no point did I say that I am super human and don't have the same thoughts about smoking as the next person. I was merely saying, that a lot of people, myself included, beat themselves up after a while for no reason.

  • I think that in general we place too much emphasis on trying to understand the nature of the addiction when it is a known fact that we can live without nicotine and especially without smoking.

    I don't mean to be funny, but how does it help to know at what rate nicotine leaves our body or for how long the receptors in our brains take to calm down? I really don't see how that contributes to quitting smoking, other than to speculate what is happening to us as we go through the process of quitting. And it would be pure speculation, because after reading literally thousands of posts on here, I can tell you that not everybody goes through the same physical or mental process while quitting.

    It would be better to focus on the fact that for the first few days you might feel crap, and for a few weeks you might feel tired, congested etc. as well as being a bit crabby. For a few months you might get triggers and have times when you would murder for a cig, but again, it's not a definable process.

    There is no standard roadmap to quitting!

    Don't get me wrong, I think it's "interesting" to know what happens during the quitting process, but at the end of the day, when we decide to quit we need to stick it out no matter what the short-term effects. To attribute certain specific events to the quit may be a means to guess at why one feels a certain way, but it is only a guess. Everyone's quit is different.

    Alex.

  • Why doesn't it help?

    It's very subjective. What helps one person, might not help the next person.

  • Why doesn't it help?

    It's very subjective. What helps one person, might not help the next person.

    Sure, I'm not arguing with that. I'm just saying that it is speculative.

    Alex.

  • I don't mean to be funny, but how does it help to know at what rate nicotine leaves our body or for how long the receptors in our brains take to calm down? I really don't see how that contributes to quitting smoking, other than to speculate what is happening to us as we go through the process of quitting.

    It's nothing to do with speculation. It's to do with scientific experiments, involving brain scans, to see the activity in an ex-smoker's brain.

    If I'd got the money, someone could show me, that the physical side of the quitting process was absolutely complete. They could show the activity in my brain going down, day by day. So I'd know, after that, I was just doing it all to myself.

    It's exactly the same as people that suffer really badly from OCD. They have to wash their hands 200 times a day. In their mind, they think something bad will happen if they don't do it, they are absolutely wrong, and by gradual desensitisation, they can realise this is the case.

    Quitting smoking comes massively down to cognitive behaviour.

  • It's nothing to do with speculation. It's to do with scientific experiments, involving brain scans, to see the activity in an ex-smoker's brain.

    Exactly, so unless you're a scientist with the appropriate equipment then you don't really know what exactly is causing the physical and psychological side-effects of your quit and at what point in time, so you may as well just get on with your quit as best you can, with the support of people around you, and on this forum.

    It's like having a pain in your side and telling a doctor that you know what is wrong with you, because you read something 'scientific' about it on the internet. It would be speculation.

    Alex.

  • I don't know what your point is?

    My point is that you just said that 300 years ago we wouldn't have known about addiction so we wouldn't have had withdrawals. By the same token we are now more or less brainwashed to believe that we are free from nicotine after 3 days so therefore we shouldn't get withdrawals after 3 days. Then you had withdrawals and wondered why that should happen when you'd passed your 3 days. Just saying :rolleyes:

  • Exactly, so unless you're a scientist with the appropriate equipment then you don't really know what exactly is causing the physical and psychological side-effects of your quit and at what point in time, so you may as well just get on with your quit as best you can, with the support of people around you, and on this forum.

    It's like having a pain in your side and telling a doctor that you know what is wrong with you, because you read something 'scientific' about it on the internet. It would be speculation.

    Alex.

    Not really.

    The average time for the brain activity to stop is 2 weeks. So some people will be slightly less, some slightly more.

    So I know that after 2 months, anything I feel then, is in my head.

  • My point is that you just said that 300 years ago we wouldn't have known about addiction so we wouldn't have had withdrawals. By the same token we are now more or less brainwashed to believe that we are free from nicotine after 3 days so therefore we shouldn't get withdrawals after 3 days. Then you had withdrawals and wondered why that should happen when you'd passed your 3 days. Just saying :rolleyes:

    You need to read the posts I've written to Alex. I absolutely do not believe I will not get no withdrawal symptoms as soon as I pass day 3. Quite the opposite.

    I'll certainly have no nicotine in my body. But my body will definitely want some!

  • I'll certainly have no nicotine in my body. But my body will definitely want some!

    And I'm saying that your body might or it might not want some. To assume it necessarily will is pure speculation. :rolleyes:

    Alex.

  • And I'm saying that your body might or it might not want some. To assume it necessarily will is pure speculation. :rolleyes:

    Alex.

    You're like a friend of mine. He argues black is white.

    You can do that all day long using reasonable intelligence, however, it's very boring.

    Yep, after 3 days, it might or it might not want some. After 6 months, it definitely won't.

  • You're like a friend of mine. He argues black is white.

    You can do that all day long using reasonable intelligence, however, it's very boring.

    Yep, after 3 days, it might or it might not want some. After 6 months, it definitely won't.

    Aww, come on, you give up too easily!

    For the most part, I'm actually agreeing with you, so to say that I'm arguing black is white is just a cop out. Maybe you didn't understand that what I was saying is that, even if we have a rough idea of the physical/mental quitting process from scientific evidence, at an individual level we are affected differently by the quitting process. Just ask many people who have quit! Some people have a smooth ride, and others go through hell.

    To 'guesstimate' how we will experience the quit based on science is... well, um, speculative. :D

    Man in tights needs a beer!

  • Well, I feel absolutely awful. Anxious to hell, depressed, on edge, angry. I did not think this was going to happen after a week of being free :(

    So you are going back on what you said previously

  • So you are going back on what you said previously

    How am I?

    I went a week OK, and said, I've done a week, I thought I'd be OK.

    I still don't understand your point?

  • Hi Ets. I agree and wrote something on that sort of line a while ago.

    My theory was that people say "knowledge is power". I believe that "ignorance is bliss".

    It seems to me that the only people who suffer are those that seek out Internet forums. Those that just get on with it feel strange for a few days and that's it. I really believe that reading about someone else struggling at 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months etc plants the thought that it's going to be difficult for everyone. People in the real world don't seem to suffer the terrible 3's and my reasoning is that they havent come to expect it.

    There is a lot of talk about the concious and sub concious when quitting ie it's not enough for your concious to want to quit, your sub concious has to be in line too. Surely then your sub concious is soaking up all these awful stories of quitting and waits to make you believe you are suffering too.

    Very true.

    I certainly don't think that forums such as this will help everybody. Quite the opposite as you say.

  • A need to take a seat...

  • A need to take a seat...

    Hahaha! :D

  • Our bodies will physically withdraw from nicotine for on average 21 days.

    I didn’t really feel too bad for the first week, so I said I “THOUGHT” I had got through the worst and I was surprised that it hit me like it did.

    However, whilst surprised, I can still fully expect to get physical withdrawal symptoms from nicotine at this stage, so that’s a nice reassurance for me. It MIGHT be in my head as Alex has said, or it MIGHT not be. But at this stage for ME, it helps to think that there’s a good chance it’s physical, so that’s good!

    If I get a really bad day after 4 months, then I’m doing that to myself. I will not physically need nicotine anymore, and I’ll deal with that in a different way.

  • Our bodies will physically withdraw from nicotine for on average 21 days.

    I didn’t really feel too bad for the first week, so I said I “THOUGHT” I had got through the worst and I was surprised that it hit me like it did.

    However, whilst surprised, I can still fully expect to get physical withdrawal symptoms from nicotine at this stage, so that’s a nice reassurance for me. It MIGHT be in my head as Alex has said, or it MIGHT not be. But at this stage for ME, it helps to think that there’s a good chance it’s physical, so that’s good!

    If I get a really bad day after 4 months, then I’m doing that to myself. I will not physically need nicotine anymore, and I’ll deal with that in a different way.

    At this stage I would say that just about anything could be in your head!

    I don't dispute that there are statistics that approximate the release rate of nicotine from your body. I dispute the relevance of using that information to determine how you are feeling during your quit.

    Is that so difficult to understand? Please re-read everything I said... FFS!

    Alex.

  • It's exactly like my mate I know, you forget what you're even arguing about.

    Statistically, I know that I'm probably still physically withdrawing from nicotine.

    That helps me. Are we arguing about whether or not it's allowed to help me?

  • It's exactly like my mate I know, you forget what you're even arguing about.

    Statistically, I know that I'm probably still physically withdrawing from nicotine.

    That helps me. Are we arguing about whether or not it's allowed to help me?

    I don't know your mate so I can't help you with that particular situation, but if it helps you to believe that your withdrawal symptoms are probably attributed to nicotine release, then I'll leave you to believe that.

    Alex.

  • I don't know your mate so I can't help you with that particular situation, but if it helps you to believe that your withdrawal symptoms are probably attributed to nicotine release, then I'll leave you to believe that.

    Alex.

    Nicotine release?

    We have receptors in our brains that up-regulate in response to nicotine. We know that on average, after 21 days, these receptors down-regulate to levels seen in non-smokers.

  • Nicotine release?

    We have receptors in our brains that up-regulate in response to nicotine. We know that on average, after 21 days, these receptors down-regulate to levels seen in non-smokers.

    Yes of course, how silly of me to have made such a basic mistake! :rolleyes:

  • Yes of course, how silly of me to have made such a basic mistake! :rolleyes:

    No matter how sarcastic you want to be Alex, that's just a fact.

  • No matter how sarcastic you want to be Alex, that's just a fact.

    I think you quite like your mate... He keeps you on your toes and makes you feel superior.

  • I don't feel superior to anybody. I piss and shit like everyone else.

    Nicotine is addictive. That's a fact.

    We're arguing over the fact that YOU think, the way I think about quitting is wrong. And that's impossible because it's subjective.

    You think, the timescales of the physical addiction are irrelevent, and because you can't pinpoint any symptom you get to anything specific (with science to back it up), it doesn't matter. Well it does to me.

    If a footballer injured his leg, the doctor might say "on average, it takes 3 weeks for injuries like that to go right". If after 4 weeks it still wasn't right, you'd probably give it another couple of weeks. If after 6 months it wasn't right, you'd want to know why.

    On average, the physical withdrawal from nicotine will last 21 days.

  • We're arguing over the fact that YOU think, the way I think about quitting is wrong.

    OK, now we're getting personal. You don't know what I think.

  • OK, now we're getting personal. You don't know what I think.

    How do you know, that I don't know, what you think?

  • After reading all these posts from these intellectual people, maybe one of you can tell me why after 6 months I still think about them at least once a Day. Is it psychological ???? after smoking 20 fags a Day for 50 years ???????

  • im putting this link in which i think Lills and Ets should read

    forum.nosmokingday.org.uk/s...

    hope it may help

  • Nicotine is addictive. That's a fact.

    ...and there I was trying so hard to keep my nose out of this thread. :(

    Life would be so much easier if we could distinguish between those facts that are actually factual and those facts that that sound plausible yet are complete codswallop yet regularly regurgitated as facts.

    I remember helping a secretary with her computer one day, the screen was black and she'd switched it off and on again with no luck. There was a crowd of us poking and prodding it with no success until it was spotted that when answering the phone she'd brushed against the brightness knob...

    We can all pull apart scenarios and try to investigate the minutiae of every crevice of smoking but I've ended up with the simplicity of:

    The Hypnotherapist & the stopwatch.

    It's my equivalent of 'finding the brightness knob is turned down'

    The Hypnotherapist.

    Many quitters go for hypnotherapy and walk home smoke and crave free.

    A physical addiction that you can have when you enter a room and lose whilst you're in it cannot be regarded as that gripping.

    The Stopwatch.

    Do an experiment with a smoking friend. Find one that's gagging for a smoke and ask them how soon after lighting up after a period of abstinence do they feel the calming effect of the cigarette.

    Despite what we're (mis) led to believe the answer is, 'near instantaneous.'

    The nerve conduits, working at close to the speed of light, convey the message to the brain and the calming starts.

    It does not wait for 7-9 seconds whilst the smoke and its chemical constituents pass the lung's air/blood capillary boundary and then meander their way via the heart to the brain.

    Once the penny drops that the root of smoking is totally and utterly in the head then the route to cessation becomes clearer. It doesn't always make it easy but at least it prevents a lot of barking up a lot of wrong trees!

    Ignore that 'fact' and you can spend months in turmoil and potentially never make it.

    Smoking is like swimming or riding a bike. We don't forget how to do it and months down the line we can easily take it up again if we wish, almost as if we never stopped.

  • well said Austin :)

    as normal you are able to put the right words together and make alot of sense

    thanks

  • Nicotine is addictive. That's a fact.

    On average, the physical withdrawal from nicotine will last 21 days.This is, to put it bluntly, absolute b%$$%&*s. 3 days & it's gone. Withdrawal from nicotine is fairly mild & very short-lived. If nicotine was the issue, NRT would work a treat. But it doesn't, ask any patch-wearer how they feel & they're all chewing the furniture & gasping for a smoke. How can this be?!

    Because we aren't addicted to nicotine, we're addicted to smoking. We use it all day as a crutch to get us through bad times & a reward or celebration of good times. After food, with a drink, a pastime when we're bored, whatever. We create subconscious triggers, & when those triggers are met, we smoke. It's like a form of Pavlovian conditioning. Ever notice that you crave a smoke when you know you can have one, like just before a break at work, or just before you land on a plane?

    Reversing that takes time, it's not a simple case of getting over nicotine withdrawal. It's reconditioning your brain.

  • I think that we all get used to smoking and it becomes just a damn routine more than anything else. I finally took a time out and pressed the pause button on my life and wanted to erase some of the movie i was watching...

    Maybe the first few days after quitting smoking our body is "needing" the drugs but then after its just a routine. I am 2 weeks since i quit and i am not craving anything. I am craving my normal routine in which i was so accustomed to, but will not give in.

    We all have our opinions on this subject, but if u really think about smoking its so much of routine. Wake up and smoke, go to work, break smoke, lunch eat, smoke, last break eat drink coffee, smoke, go home, drive and smoke, ect...just break the routine.

    i seriously am looking at smoking as terrible now and got my self syked to stay away from this dumb ass routine!!!

  • I was thinking about smoking, and the fact that we crave cigarettes when we try to quit, when something occurred to me.

    Back before we knew that the nicotine in tobacco was addictive, if for whatever reason, you were unable to smoke and couldn't get access to tobacco, how would you even know that it was the lack of nicotine that was causing you to feel bad?

    The point is this. When we quit now, we put so much emphasis on the fact that, if we smoked, it would make us feel better, that a large part of the cravings is your own mindset, not the physical withdrawal.

    But... what if you didn't know it was that? You didn't even know it was addictive? You didn't realise, if you stopped it, it would make you feel bad?

    That would mean, you'd stop smoking (maybe cigarettes aren't available because it's 300 years ago and they're in short supply). So you can't smoke, and the next day, you don't feel very well. That's strange! I don't feel very well today. Then on the next day the same. And on the third day, you feel a bit better, but still don't feel right.

    BUT THEN, on the 4th day, you feel OK again. So you go "Oh well, that was strange, I felt a bit ill, and now I feel better"

    So, a MASSIVE part of quitting is in our heads. WE constantly remind ourselves that it's all because we can't smoke, and if we could, everything would be better.

    We're told so much that by quitting we'll feel bad, that in the end, we feel bad!

    If there was a big room, just one door leading in, and all the walls in the room were painted green, and there was a guy in a science lab coat standing outside. If he said to you "everyone that goes in that room starts to feel really nauseas after 5 minutes of being in there", I guarantee a lot of people would start feeling sick, even though, the science guy made the whole thing up, it's just a green room!

    In the end, you spend so much time reminding yourself it’s all because of smoking, that if you just stop telling yourself, you’ll be fine!

    Just a few thoughts I had. I've got too much time to think!

    I think you make a fun point Ets.... totally get what you mean and there is no doubt that quitting smoking is mostly psychological.... the physical parts are done with like you said in a matter of 3-4 weeks max. But.... the suffering doesn't go on because we were told we'll feel badly but rather because we want what we want, and we want it even more when we can't have it.... this feeling of being deprived and the grass is greener on the other side is what causes the suffering. In time if one sticks with their quit and starts to think differently ie. life is better without smoking.... that's what ends the suffering. The quicker one shifts their thinking, the quicker one lets go of the discomforts of quitting.

  • Applause, applause!

    A most entertaining thread. Thank you all who contributed!

    By my count, not one person changed their original opinion. Perhaps I missed something, however.

    Perhaps I'm just in a "mood" tonight. If so, my apologies. But by all means, please continue! :D

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