Breaking a Bad Habit

Even though both are methods of achieving the same ultimate goal, they are inconsiderably different in how the quitter experiences becoming a non smoker. Quitting cold turkey is the simplest method to quit smoking. There are no outside resources needed. Only the quitter’s willingness to quit absolutely is required. While this is the simplest method, it is also the most difficult. The director of Cancer Science and Trends at the American Cancer Society, Thomas Glenn, stated, “It is like tight-rope walking without a net. ” Long term success rates with cold turkey quitters are only a meager three and one half percent.

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A cold turkey quitter would not be using any arms of quitting aids, like patches or gum, so feeling the withdrawal effects and dealing with the symptoms could not be avoided. The quitter could suffer from headache, nausea, irritability, anxiety, depression and more. Any combination of these symptoms can create a challenging experience for a quitter. Withdrawal symptoms significantly affect the quitter’s positive mentality and will to quit. Using aids, such as nicotine patches, gum, or counseling requires the quitter to follow a weaning program within which the quitter must participate exactly as instructed.

While this process may be less simplistic, with the counseling appointments, patch schedules and weaning process, it is actually less difficult. Assuming the quitter could afford this method, the quitter can expect an easier transition into becoming a non smoker. Nicotine medications have been proven to help or even alleviate withdrawal symptoms in tobacco quitters. William Hudson, the Medical Producer for CNN, estimates, “an approximately 50 to 70% greater success rate overall of quitting with a nicotine replacement then when relying on willpower lone. Without physical withdrawals, the smoker would have an easier experience quitting. Besides the physical benefits quit-smoking medications may have, there are still mental benefits to be achieved. This is when having a support system or support aid is beneficial. Aside from the challenges that the cold turkey quitter feels physically, there is also a significant mental aspect to this process. One of the reasons quitting cold turkey is so tough is that it is likely the quitter was addicted both physically and mentally to the nicotine.

Just dealing with the physical addiction can be as difficult as actually experiencing the physical withdrawals. According to the New York Times health guide, “Nearly every moderate-to-heavy smoker experiences one of the following strong emotional and mental responses to withdrawal: temper tantrums, intense needs, feeling of dependency, a state of near paralysis, insomnia, mental confusion, anxiety and depression. ” Facing difficulties such as these also attribute to the cold turkey quitters three and one half percent long term success rate.

Mental withdrawal room nicotine can cause the quitter to relapse most often in the first three months. Choosing the cold turkey method requires a great deal of self discipline to abruptly cease use of an addictive substance and never touch it again. Quitting becomes more difficult still if the quitter does not have a strong support system. Although the quitter using aids will have an easier experience with the mental aspect of the quitting process since most withdrawal symptoms are being avoided, there still are social situations where the smoker may experience emotional distress that lead to relapse.

When asked about how he relapsed, Saxon Rhodes, a Butte College student and smoker of seven years, answered, “When I was out with my friends, a lot of the time I would end up sitting at the bar alone while everyone was outside for a cigarette. I got tired of the awkwardness and one night I gave in. ” Even though Saxon was using quitting aids, the social pressure became too much to bare, resulting in relapse. Quitting cold turkey and quitting with aid are similar here in that it is vital to both methods that the quitter has a strong support group to help with the mental aspect of quitting.

Whichever quitting method one chooses, a strong support group or support system is critical to successfully becoming a non smoker. The first few weeks of quitting are often the toughest times. Quitters are faced with the temptation to smoke, withdrawal symptoms, and cigarette cravings. To help cope with these uncomfortable feelings quitters, of either kind, have many support options. These options include support from close friends, counselors, local county support groups, quit hotness and many more.

While it is entirely up to the quitter to decide which support will work best for his or her situation, a quitter should make sure that he or she has support options available at all times. Only about five percent of smokers are successful in quitting smoking without quit-smoking support. There are many differences between the two ways of becoming a non smoker, but the end goal of these processes always remains the same. The smoker wants to become a non smoker and stay a non smoker.

Since the possibility of relapse is real or both methods, having a better understanding of the differences and similarities between quitting cold turkey and quitting with aid will further empower the smoker in making the correct choice for his or her own situation and will grant the smoker his or her best chance at becoming a non smoker. Fully understanding the differences between the methods and how they will affect a quitter’s day to day life will better allow a smoker to have an accurate portrayal of what the quitting process will actually be like. This will ultimately lead to breaking the addictive habit.

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