Why is it So Hard to Stop Smoking?

Old habits die hard, so the saying goes. Once we fall into a routine, it is difficult to break the cycle, even when we want to. This applies to a number of habits, such as having a morning cup of coffee and exercise habits. While a number of habits that are hard to change are harmless, some are not. Smoking cigarettes is a habit that has serious consequences to physical health, and it can be very hard to stop smoking. There are two primary reasons for the difficulty faced by those attempting smoking cessation Los Angeles: physical and psychological addiction.

Physical Reasons it is So Hard to Stop SmokingStop smoking in Los Angeles

The primary reason that it is so hard to quit smoking cigarettes is the nicotine addiction that results from long-term use. When you use tobacco products, nicotine is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream, and reaches your brain in 10 seconds, notes BeTobaccoFree.gov. This causes your brain to release a number of different chemicals, including adrenaline and dopamine. Adrenaline is a stimulating hormone, which causes feelings of alertness and calmness, while dopamine acts on the rewards center of the brain to reinforce behaviors and feelings. When you consume nicotine, you will experience a short high, often referred to as a buzz. However, this buzz is short-lived, and people often want to continue to experience the sensation, so they keep smoking. Eventually, the body builds up a tolerance to the effects of nicotine, meaning that more cigarettes are required to experience the same high. Additionally, because the body eventually grows used to having a certain level of nicotine in it, when you do not consume the same amount of the chemical, you body will go through withdrawal. This cyclic pattern leads to addiction, which makes it difficult to stop smoking. The symptoms of withdrawal are unpleasant and consist of:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Hunger
  • Cravings for nicotine

Psychological Reasons it is So Hard to Stop Smoking

Smoking cessation Los Angeles is also difficult due to psychological reasons. When you smoke, the activity becomes linked with certain aspects of your daily life. Specific times, places, and people can all be associated with smoking cigarettes. A number of smokers claim to highly enjoy the social aspect that smoking provides. These psychological associations eventually become triggers. This means that any time you are exposed to a circumstance in which you would typically smoke, you experience the urge to have a cigarette. For example, some people may reach for a cigarette when they are under stress, as the feelings of nicotine consumption are relaxing and rewarding. Continued practice of this method of anxiety relief would lead to associating stressful situations with the need to smoke. Studies have found that when a smoker is presented with a trigger that is associated with smoking, particular structures in the brain are activated, causing the mind to pay more attention to that stimuli and the necessity to consume nicotine. To add to that, researchers believe that those who smoke have a higher level of impulsivity than those who do not. This, paired with smoking triggers can make it very difficult to stop smoking.

Smoking Cessation Los Angeles Treatment

There are many options available to help when you are trying to quit smoking in Los Angeles, which are provided over-the-counter and by prescription. As well, there is new technology that has proved promising in regards to easing the hardship with smoking cessation. Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (deep TMS) is among these innovative technologies, which was revolutionized by Brainsway. The technique involves the use of electromagnetic waves delivered to the brain via a coil-filled helmet placed on the patient’s head. These pulses are able to stimulate areas of the brain that are impossible to reach by other means. The procedure is non-invasive, and generally has no ill effects on those who receive it.

In a study conducted to assess the efficiency of deep TMS as a tool to help people quit smoking, 115 people who smoked at least 20 cigarettes per day were administered 13 days of high frequency, low frequency, or placebo deep TMS. Treatment was administered either in the presence of a smoking trigger, or without one. Those in the high frequency group who received deep transcranial magnetic stimulation had an overall smoking abstinence rate of 44% at the end of the second week, notes The National Center for Biotechnological Innovation. After a six-month period, abstinence rates were 33.6%.

If you are trying to quit smoking, you may find that it is much more difficult than you had anticipated. Physical and psychological addictions are the reasons why it is so hard to stop smoking. However, it is not an impossible feat by any means. New technologies like deep transcranial magnetic stimulation have shown to help people end bad smoking habits, and maintain progress for a long period of time.

For more information about dTMS treatments for smoking cessation in Los Angeles, contact Westside Neurotherapeutics by phone at 310.946.0008 or online at https://westsideneurotherapeutics.com.

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