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Smoking Cessation Message Board


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The following should be regarded as personal opinion only, and not as professional advice. The author accepts no responsibility for the contents of this opinion and individual professional advice may be advisable.

Hi Beebe,
Well, you seem like an intelligent enough person and you sound like you've been around so I'll cut to the chase and spare you the psycho babble. If you expecting some nicey nice client centered unconditional love thing, you're going to be very disappointed. Trying to rationalize unsuccessful attempts is not unheard of. However, rationalizing is just another way of making excuses. What's commendable are your attempts. So let's look at your story candidly.

First, you mention coughing more. This is normal for many as your body attempts to clear all the crap out of your system as your lungs become less anesthetized by the toxins and sense all the pollutants. A friend is going through the same thing. But it WILL pass. You were on your way, but mistook the event as a reason to surrender. Just a hair more perseverance would have proved this.

As for your jaw getting stiff, what the heck do you expect when you start chewing like crazy. First, the nicotine gum is not designed to be chewed for a long time, but just a little to soften it up and then placed in the buccal cavity (between cheek and gum). The buccal cavity has many fine capillaries that provide one of the fastest routes into the blood system. Personally, I chewed the crap out of mine at first, and my jaw killed me the first week. I would wake up feeling like I had lock jaw! But you know what, it PASSED. Now, unless I get real carried away, my jaw doth not protest. Again, you mistook the sign of progress for a reason to surrender. Unlikely that TMJ, which is a controversial diagnosis to begin with, was the culprit, as this is associated with extreme tension and possible misalignment. If your jaw still hurts significantly after several months, just chew less dramatically. You'll be doing far less harm than smoking!

Hypnosis. You did not mention if this was group or individual. Group has not been as promising as individual hypnotherapy. And hypnosis requires a completely devoted patient. It only puts you in a highly suggestive state of mind, nothing more. What goes in is up to the therapist, but what stays in and what goes out is up to the patient. And more than a single session is advised.

Relapse is almost a given. However, if you accept the possibility and plan for it, much like using your seatbelt when you get in your car, you won't be compelled to rationalize the event if and when they occur. The blame game is nothing new, but it's still just as valid (meaning not at all). Don't freak out about it and give up, just learn from it and move on.

Patches: Of course you can still smoke on them. I can't imagine why you couldn't. They are not like Antabuse for addicts that make the drug intolerable. While patches have been shown to be effective by themselves, they do not address any breakthrough withdrawal symptoms (a sudden increase). Again, for some they are fine, for others, they will not work well, at least by themselves.


Wellbutrin SR, Zyban: I share your frustration with the ignorance demonstrated by insurances that fail to support smoking cessation. But until recently, they had little to do with the treatment of substance abuse and still have a great deal of difficulty accepting the high rates of temporary relapses. Buproprion has been shown to be successful in helping folks quit and stay smoke-free. It does come with risks, like hypertension, and addiction, along with possible angry outbursts, sleeplessness, and anxiety. While it works for some people, it is not for everyone, and it takes some time (about two weeks) for the negative side effects to diminish and the positive effects to be realized. After 3 weeks, you should be able to fully assess the impact of this psychotropic for you. As for me, I already have enough of the last three signs and symptoms without buproprion ;o)

But it sounds like you've got it together enough to make it through the toughest time for most people, that is, the first few weeks. Now all it seems you need is just to stop making the same mistake during a relapse and hang in there. But where you might be dead wrong, literally, is in your thinking that these methods are worse than continued smoking. Like I mentioned in a previous post, there's nothing to prevent smart people from being dumb. I have personally demonstrated this law on a regular basis.

For some individuals, a combination of methods works very well. This means using gum, patches, nasal spray, Zyban, concurrently. But caution is advised, too much of a good thing can be very bad. HOWEVER, if you know the signs of nicotine overdose, and watch your BP, and do this under close medical supervision, these combination therapies offer a lot of help for really hard cases.

Generally, in therapy, I never share my personal experiences, as these may have little bearing on another person's specific needs. In other words, what works for me not might work for you at all. But this is a message board, you are not my patient, and this is not therapy. I've been smokeless for a little over two weeks after having a two pack a day habit for over a quarter of a century. But you've gone further than that before you turned around! I am using the gum (2mgs), the patch (21mgs), and the nasal spray. My systolic has risen 10pts (130). I have ceased all caffeine. I have LOST 5 lbs during these two weeks. Suffice to say I have NO physical withdrawal symptoms ;o) I drink lots of water. I monitor myself very closely for any signs of nicotine toxicity or significant BP change. I have also asked others to keep a close eye and report any unusual signs candidly. But the behavioral part persists, like reaching for a light switch during a black out, the habit continues to live and will for some time. Twenty-five years is a LOT of conditioning! I've coughed up a bunch, I've chewed a bunch (even accidentally falling asleep and waking up with a piece in my mouth). I even coughed once with the gum and ended up swallowing it! I only use the spray very remotely, and only one nostril each time. I've already tapered quite a bit on the gum and chew one pc for half a day or more. But I ALWAYS carry a spare, especially if I'm going out to eat. Even though I rarely use the spray, I ALWAYS carry it with me. And the patch is changed religiously and precisely each day. I also use Linda's "gourmet" lollipops from time to time because they are too hard and too big to bite into and last a very long time and enjoy such "adult" flavors as Grasshopper Pie and Cherry Cheesecake. What's a little tooth decay when compared to heart decay, lung decay, bone decay, and so on? Actually, I just brush more.

So why the hell am I doing all this? My jaw hurt, I bit into my cheek at least twice, the patch is a PITA, the nasal spray burns a little and is God awful if you let it go down the back of your throat, and there's nothing sexy or intelligent looking about a person with a big ball of candy and a stick stuck in their mouth. I do this because NOTHING IS WORSE THAN SMOKING!!!!!!!! After all, I was willing to suffer all the consequences of smoking while enduring coughing, shortness of breath, smelly clothes, cigarette burns, lessening sexual energy, and the wrath of many for many years. The risks or discomforts of these therapies pale in comparison to the risks incurred by continued smoking. Heck, I could become a heroin addict and still may be better off than a smoker. At least heroin addicts often grow out of their addiction! I've been in the field of addictions for some time, and have seen individuals addicted to all kinds of stuff, some that may surprise you, and some that still surprise me. While other addictions are more melodramatic, in context none are more deadly than smoking, even combined. I commend your progress to date. You have come a long way by already experiencing several relapses, whether you realize this or not. So I guess now is as good a time as any to realize this.

Understand that relapses are NOT failures, but a part of the process for many if not most people. Do not mistake them for failures and you'll have less need to make excuses when they occur. You know this. I hope you can take these experiences and learn from them. Look into combination therapies or alternative methods, a little individual counseling, try whatever you want, add to it, take some away, and do so wisely with the advise and under the close supervision of your physician, while continuing not to smoke as long and as much as you can. Again, individuality varies so greatly do not mistake my experience as a prescription for you. I strongly advise you do whatever drug therapies under the close a personal supervision of your physician. Finally, I share this to make a point and hope that in some way you find this report useful in your own endeavor. Good luck! (oh, yea, that doesn't hurt either ;o)

ax





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