Mental health, emotional wellbeing & personal development

How Can Hypnotherapy Help You Quit Smoking

How Can Hypnotherapy Help You Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is a challenge. The deadly habit puts one at risk for heart and lung disease, stroke and cancer.  Most smokers are hooked on a habit they can’t break. Close to 80% of smokers would be pleased if they never touch another cigarette again.

The effects of smoking have adverse effects on one’s health. The World Health Organisation notes that tobacco is responsible for 7 million deaths across the globe per year.  Smokers all have a variety of reasons to quit- saving money, for their family or to be more energetic and lead a healthy life. Nicotine is a difficult habit to break due to mental and physical addiction. The nicotine addiction is deeply seeded in the subconscious mind. Mealtime, driving, socializing with alcohol and stress all subconsciously provoke the mind with a constant craving for cigarettes.

The physical side to the addiction can also cause withdrawal symptoms such as:

  •         vomiting/nausea
  •         impatience or irritability
  •         body pain
  •         scratchy throat
  •         migraines
  •         mental fatigue

 

Research has shown how hypnosis is an effective tool to aid a person to quit smoking and the success rates easily beat more traditional methods such as the use of nicotine patches, lozenges, chewing gum and counseling.  Recent studies have discussed the benefits of hypnotherapy for smoking. Hypnotherapy should be used if you are absolutely sure you want to quit for yourself and not for someone else. Do not undergo a session with a therapist if you are not completely sure of your goals. It is necessary to want the best results.

 

What Is Hypnotherapy?

In the early 20th century, Sigmund Freud became the founding father of psychoanalysis. Freud used hypnosis to aid his patients to take hold of their wants and fears in their unconscious mind. He played a large role in how hypnosis has been used in psychology and modern medicine. After entering a trance-like state, his patients would share their deepest thoughts while in conversation with a hypnotherapist. Freud suggested that this form of therapy would enable patients to recover from the factors that cause them debilitating distress and emotional hysteria.

cigarette

Therapy through hypnosis is characterized as an altered state of awareness wherein a person appears to be asleep or in a trance. Clinical hypnosis is known to help treat psychological problems and alleviate physical pain.  It is believed that when one is hypnotized, the mind concentrates more and is able to listen to suggestions from the therapist, such as giving up smoking.

Hypnotherapy for Smokers

While under hypnosis for smoking cessation, the patient is asked to visualize the negative outcomes of smoking. Researchers at Stanford have concluded that some parts of the brain function differently while under hypnosis than during consciousness.  For example, when one feels stressed, the stress triggers the mind to think of smoking which is associated as a stress reliever. Hypnosis for nicotine addiction enables the mind to break down thoughts. So when a patient experiences stimuli that may lead to a craving, the mind already has received suggestions that are in place that can alter the response.

Hypnotic suggestions that are delivered in a trance-like state can focus on how to break a habit. A therapist may suggest reframing the smell of cigarette smoke that can lead a person to think that it smells like burning rubber. One of the most popular hypnosis techniques for smoking cessation is based on the work of renowned American psychiatrist Dr. Herbert Spiegel (1914-2009). During sessions, Spiegel would provide suggestions such as:

 

  •         Smoking is poison
  •         You need a healthy body to live
  •         You should respect your body and protect it

 

During the hypnotherapy session, the therapist will choose words to help you relax completely, then offer suggestions- through mental images or stories. The practitioner assists a smoker with statements such as “You are free from the desire to smoke.” They may also teach self-hypnosis, and then ask the patient to repeat the affirmations anytime an urge to smoke comes to mind.

 

A hypnotherapist can provide positive suggestions that can linger. After receiving therapy, when you experience the urge to smoke, the mind will not automatically react- it will slow down to process the situation and use the new information and suggestions provided.  

 

How to Find a Hypnotherapist?

It is essential to talk with your personal doctor to discuss your current physical and mental condition before asking for a recommendation for a hypnotherapist.

Certified hypnotherapists are listed on the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis or through the Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.  Hypnosis for smoking cessation should be conducted by practitioners who have a current license in the healthcare field, such as medicine, psychiatry, psychology, nursing or social work.

Remember to inquire if your insurance plan will cover the hypnotherapy for smoking cessation.  Be aware of over the top promises and guarantees. Hypnosis is not for everyone but has been known to help diminish the urges of nicotine addiction.

It is never too late to give up smoking. Choosing to do so has instantaneous health benefits. It can cut your risk of dying in the next decade in half, as compared to those who continue to light up every day.

Mandy X

Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash

 



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