The Science of Quitting Cold Turkey: How to Break Free from Addiction
Tobacco addiction is a formidable adversary to face. Like a toxic relationship you know is bad for you, it has a knack of keeping us hooked to it. You want to get out of it but can't find a way to convince yourself that it has run its course.
Breaking free from tobacco addiction by going cold turkey is one of the most demanding yet rewarding challenges you will ever face. It will mean cutting off your dependence completely by going all-in and saying "Bas, ab aur nahi" instead of "Sirf ek aur!" So, what does it mean to go cold turkey? And how can you succeed if you choose this path? Read on to find out more.
What Is Addiction To Tobacco?
Before getting into the science of quitting cold turkey, it is essential to understand addiction to tobacco. It is a complex condition that involves compulsive substance use even though the consequences are harmful. Addiction affects the brain and causes intense cravings. It can be caused by environmental influences, psychological factors, or genetic predisposition and lead to difficulty in impulse control.
The main chemical (there are about 7000) found in tobacco is nicotine. Since it is in very high quantity, it can cause an adrenaline rush when it enters the body. Nicotine also triggers the release of dopamine, stimulating the area of the brain linked with reward and pleasure.
The pleasing effects of nicotine are temporary, causing a repeated need to light up a cigarette or chew another packet of gutka. The more you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco, the more nicotine you need to feel good, making it addictive.
What Does Quitting Tobacco Cold Turkey Mean?
Once you decide to quit smoking or chewing tobacco, the next step is to choose your method. Either you quit gradually, or go cold turkey.
Quitting cold turkey is an abrupt method to break free from tobacco. It means you stop using tobacco wholly and suddenly, without any external aid. The rationale behind this is that sudden tobacco cessation forces the brain to adapt to the new 'you' and rewire itself without any aids.
Quitting tobacco cold turkey has almost immediate health benefits, with your body starting its healing process within a few minutes. However, this abrupt method may not work for everyone- some people do well with this, and others respond better to a more gradual approach. The duration and intensity of your tobacco use may influence your withdrawal symptoms significantly.
Varying from person to person, withdrawal symptoms can be mild or intense and uncomfortable. But remember, these symptoms are temporary. Here are a few symptoms you may experience once you quit tobacco cold turkey.
- Intense cravings for tobacco
- Disturbed digestion
- Trouble sleeping
- Sore throat
Quitting Tobacco Cold Turkey: The Science Behind It
"The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you're not going to stay where you are." – J. P. Morgan
Some people may have the willpower to stop buying that next pack of cigarettes or khaini and be done with tobacco. For others, it might seem like an impossible task. Here's where strategizing will work.
Once you have decided to quit cold turkey, prepare yourself for the process. Find your reason for stopping tobacco consumption. It could be better health, concern for your loved ones, or better quality of life. Use this reason to motivate yourself to quit tobacco.
Pick a date for 'The Big Switch' to a tobacco-free life. Deciding a date beforehand will help you to plan for any hindrances that could come your way.
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Here are a few tips you can follow to make quitting day manageable and increase your chances of succeeding.
- Removing Temptations: Saying goodbye to cigarettes, tobacco packets, matches, ashtrays, etc., has been a time-tested strategy to support going cold turkey. Sobering up your environment will make it easier to resist cravings. You may want to tell your 'smoke buddies' that smoke breaks are a no-go for you. You could also delay hanging out with friends who smoke or chew tobacco until your quit-tobacco game is going strong.
- Setting Up A Support Network: By surrounding yourself with friends, family, or even therapists, who can encourage you and help you through the challenges of quitting tobacco cold turkey will go a long way in supporting this transition to a smoke-free life. You can always consider guidance from a healthcare professional who will help you plan your quitting journey according to your unique circumstances.
- Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New: Do old habits work as triggers for you? Do you follow a 'wake up and smell the coffee but with a smoke' pattern? Identify what makes you want to smoke or chew tobacco and try doing something different. If you want a smoke with your morning coffee, try going for a walk instead. If you need a packet of gutka after lunch, consider chewing on some fruit instead. Identifying your triggers can help you formulate a battle plan to Manage Your Cravings or combat them when they strike.
- Preparing For Withdrawal Symptoms: Have you always wanted to learn Salsa? Consider scheduling a class for yourself. Or how about buying yourself that book you've been wanting to read? Keeping busy works as an effective distraction against withdrawal symptoms. You can also stock up on healthy snacks for when symptoms strike.
- Celebrating Milestones: Acknowledging your progress and celebrating your victories is sure to boost your morale and your quit-smoking plan. Keep reminding yourself that each day away from tobacco is one step closer to breaking free from habit dependency on tobacco. Positive reinforcement will motivate you and only strengthen your resolve to stay tobacco-free.
We understand that quitting tobacco cold turkey can be very challenging. However, it can also be a powerful method to break free from the clutches of tobacco. With tons of support, preparation, a thorough understanding of the effects of nicotine, and an unwavering belief in yourself, you can increase your chances of kicking tobacco to the curb for good. And remember, we've always got your back.