In the first installment of “Nicotine Addiction – Fact or Fiction”, I mentioned the following information about smokers which I believe are backed up by research in the area: 1) Smokers are psychologically-addicted to the effects of nicotine rather than physically-addicted to nicotine – due to the effect on the neurotransmitter dopamine (the “feeling good” neurotransmitter); 2) most chronic tobacco users who have trouble quitting are deficient in dopamine and were probably dopamine-deficient before they started smoking, and 3) attempting to quit smoking soley by reducing the amount of nicotine over time – without taking other measures to increase dopamine levels – is almost impossible as a dopamine-deficient smoker will experience withdrawal symptoms in proportion to the lack of dopamine e.g., anxiety, irritability, depression. We have all heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. When it comes to dopamine, however, the consumption of beets has been shown to raise increase the production of serotonin and dopamine. Perhaps a beet-a-day would keep the psychiatrist away – and help smokers to quit.
There is another side to the smokers dilemma. All smokers associate cigarettes with other activities like eating, drinking coffee or alcohol, driving and so on. These are habitual associations. As a Bio-medical hypnotherapist as well as an ND, I am aware that the subconscious mind has everything to do with creating and maintaining addictions and these habitual associations. The Subconscious Mind is very strong. In fact, the Subconscious Mind via its Right Brain Hemisphere connections runs all the “automatic” actions in the body below your conscious control. In other words, actions that you don’t have to think about that happen automatically. The problem with the right brain is that it is based on emotions, not logic. The right brain and subconscious mind are like the hard drive on your computer. It has all your beliefs about yourself and life, as well as the associations between thought forms and actions, but these beliefs and associations are not often logical and get acted upon anyway.
In the case of a chronic smoker, the primary associative belief is often “smoking is the ONLY way that I can feel good”. If this associative belief remains active, unchallenged and unchanged, the right brain/subconscious mind has no choice but to continue the internal drive to smoke. This is why the natural mind-state we call “hypnosis” can be beneficial – because it allows access to the subconscious mind and can eliminate these unwanted associations and beliefs. I will have more to say about this in the final installment.
Until next time….be miraculous!