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The Effects of Smoking and Drinking On Mental Proficiency
Smoking Can Prime the Brain for Later Addiction
An article entitled “Adolescent Smokers Have A Greater Risk Of Developing Alcohol-use Disorders Than Nonsmokers” by Richard A. Grucza, and Kevin W. Chen revealed research findings that are problematic at best. Perhaps the most disturbing was this: research suggests that smoking “primes” the brain for later addiction to alcohol and perhaps other drugs. When added to the following statistic, this information is very disconcerting: alcohol and smoking, when considered independently or in combination, account for more than 20 percent of the annual fatalities in the United States.
It is common knowledge that many people started smoking and drinking when they were teenagers. According to research findings, moreover, smokers, especially adolescent smokers, unmistakably have a greater susceptibility to alcohol-use disorders (AUDs) than do non-smokers. Therefore, the earlier a person starts to smoke, the more vulnerable he or she may be to subsequent alcohol abuse, alcoholism, alcohol intoxication, and alcohol withdrawal.
Can Teens Quit Smoking Anytime They Choose?
Approximately 25 years ago I had a job as a child-care worker and worked with emotionally handicapped teens. I remember some of the older patients who were allowed to smoke tell me that they could quit smoking anytime they made up their mind to do so. My response to them, even then, was that this may in fact be true, but the longer they smoke the stronger the habit will become. At some point, moreover, the habit will be so compelling that quitting smoking will be extremely difficult. The point: many teenagers who start smoking see this as “no big deal.” Based on the current research, however, they couldn’t be more incorrect.
A Blueprint for Disease and Devastation
If smoking does in fact “prime” the brain for addiction to alcohol and potentially other drugs later in life, what are the consequences? Basically this: teens who smoke, no matter how “innocent” the intent, may be inadvertently constructing and following a blueprint that leads to the misery, broken relationships, financial ruin, psychological problems, and the physical diseases that are characteristic of long-tern drug and alcohol abuse.
Fifty to Eighty Percent of Alcoholics Smoke
According to another article entitled “Long-term Tobacco Use Associated With Dulled Thinking And Lower IQ, Study Finds,” researchers at the University of Michigan found that both smoking and alcoholism result in diminished thinking ability. The Michigan researchers also discovered that 50 to 80% of alcoholics smoke. If 50 to 80 percent of alcoholics smoke, and both smoking and alcoholism negatively impact the brain's higher functions, then most alcoholics are doing a double whammy on their mental proficiency. Pardon the pun, but this is a sobering thought, especially when teens and young adults are the ones who are doing the smoking and the drinking.
Let us keep in mind that for all intents and purposes every addict starts out as an occasional user who has made an intentional and conscious decision to involve himself or herself with a specific substance or activity. As time goes by and as the person continues to partake of the substance or activity, however, the person makes a transition from being a voluntary to a compulsive user. As a result, and in conjunction with the findings from the two studies outlined above, people, especially our youth, need to be educated and made aware of the risks and devastation than can result from smoking, alcohol abuse, and from alcoholism.
Copyright 2007 - Denny Soinski. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, and give the author credit.
About the Author:
Denny Soinski, Ph.D, writes about alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, alcohol testing, alcoholism, alcohol recovery, alcohol treatment, and alcohol rehab. For more information, please visit alcohol consumption info right away!
Counselors and therapists suggest that the best way to quit smoking is to have a stop smoking plan. It becomes your roadmap, a guide to give up smoking, when things get rough. However, the success of the plan depends on your will and determination, and they will keep you from smoking down the road. The best-laid plans go wrong because the smoker cannot give up the urge for that one last cigarette after quitting, which always leads to another one.
The first step in the stop smoking plan is to decide an actual date that you are going to take your last cigarette. The stop date can be any date - a week from now, a month from now or even three months from now. However, for your resolution to work it should be as early as possible. The next stage is the most difficult as it deals with withdrawal symptoms like mood changes, depression, irritability, emotional distress, etc.
If you don't think you will have any, you are totally underestimating the power of the nicotine, as you will go through actual pain withdrawals, similar to drug withdrawals. A nicotine replacement therapy is the best option to fight withdrawal symptoms as under this therapy, you can trade your cigarette for a nicotine patch or gum.
This ensures a minimum amount of nicotine in your body even though you are not smoking. The treatment usually spans a period of six months or more for complete withdrawal. The last step is called maintenance or not smoking or using an aid at all - the nicotine will be gone permanently from your system. By avoiding places and people where smoking is common, you will be more apt to succeed on this level. It is important to constantly remind yourself the reasons for quitting.
A common method adopted by most people is to smoke as normal until the day they actually quit, and then cold turkey all at once. This is a hard way, and most people do not have the incentive to do it successfully, as you need a very strong willpower to successfully succeed at stop smoking. A lot has to do with how addicted a person actually is to the nicotine.
A better way and easier on the body is to gradually reduce your nicotine intake, so that your cigarette consumption is down to the minimum by the time you the actual day designated to quit. There will always a danger of going back to cigarettes and to avoid this, a person can attend counseling sessions or become an active member of support programs.
You can also seek the support of friends and family members to avoid a rebound. Another good way to suppress the urge is to take up a new hobby that keeps you busy. If a relapse occurs do not be discouraged. You can try again.
Check out http://www.my-stop-smoking-zone.com/ for more articles on nicorette gum and stop smoking products.
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If your Loved One or someone you care about has tried to quit smoking recently, you can play a very supportive role in helping him or her. Not only are they doing themselves a big favor by saying goodbye to this unhealthy habit, they are helping their friends as well because of the harmful effects of second hand smoke.
Here are numerous ways to help your Loved One or someone you care about quit smoking.
If you are a smoker, then by joining your Loved One, your chances for quitting cigarettes can increase as you get feedback from someone you can relate to. Even if you are not a smoker, there surely must be an area in your life on which you have been meaning to work on. Make that your goal. It could be losing weight or eating healthy. Whatever it may be, start helping your partner quit smoking by setting goals for yourself too. So in case she feels the urge to light up a cigarette, you can help him by modeling how you too are staying away from garage sales.
Keep Him Away from Triggers and Triggers Away from Him
Some people or situations can be triggers for wanting to smoke again. As a way to help him quit smoking, try to make plans that do not revolve around friends who smoke or places where everyone is happily puffing away. Put away ashtrays and other smoking accessories from around office which can serve as constant reminders of the smoking habit. Unsubscribe from smoker promotional emails and mailings that send discount coupons and other incentives to continue smoking. Sporting Events can be littered with smokers and smoking advertising. Find alternative forms of entertainment.
Enroll in a cooking class or learn ballroom dancing together. It may not be a magic pill, but it may help you get his mind off smoking and in to some other creative outlet.
Look At on the Positive
Help Loved One quit smoking by clipping out articles (or emailing them to him) about the financial and health benefits of kicking the habit. Of course, he may know all of it already, but subtle reminders can act as motivation and may just make the difference between lighting up another cigarette or not.
Sign up for my free newsletter on help to quit smoking at www.stop-smoking-insider.com
Scientific studies suggest that working towards any goals becomes easier if done with someone. That’s what Weight Watchers is based on. They say those who join with a friend are thrice more likely to stick with the program and hence lose weight and keep it off. The same applies to helping someone quit smoking. Give them the support and the shoulder they need.
Walter Hilliam is a happy ex-smoker and an expert on quitting smoking.
His Squidoo Lens on Stop Smoking can be found at http://www.squidoo.com/help-quit-smoking/
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Tobacco is responsible for the death of 1 in 10 adults all over the world, which translates to around 5 million deaths every year. The disease mainly strikes the cardiovascular system, resulting to heart attack, respiratory tract diseases, and even cancer.
Regardless of the risks of smoking cigarettes, to quit smoking is not an easy task, yet it is possible.
Why is it hard to quit smoking?
Foremost, this is because most smokers become addicted to the nicotine contained in tobacco products. Nicotine has a deadly addictive power. When a person smokes a cigarette, nicotine particles find their way to the lungs through inhalation. From there, nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream just like the oxygen people breathe. It travels with the blood to the brain where it locks onto certain receptor areas. Dopamine is then released into the brain. This is the chemical that makes the smoker feel a euphoric sensation. Smokers find it difficult to quit smoking because they come to be dependent on this good feeling. And, this leads to dependence – addiction.
A person who attempts to quit smoking may experience withdrawal symptoms. Topping the bill of withdrawal symptoms is depression. With the absence of the chemical that produces the relaxing feeling, the brain becomes distressed without it. Other withdrawal symptoms from smoking include:
Headaches dizziness, and nausea
Cough, dry throat nasal drip
Constipation, gas or stomach pain
Not knowing what to do with their hands is another common complaint among people trying to quit smoking. Once people get hooked, smoking becomes a big part of their lives. They seem to actually enjoy holding onto a cigarette. And, after a long period of lighting up, it becomes a routine. As a fact, humans are creatures of habit. By some force of habit, smokers find themselves reaching for a cigarette and lighting it up automatically without thinking about it.
Certain “triggers” in the environment may also make it difficult to quit smoking. Little things may turn on a smoker’s need for a cigarette. These may be feelings, places, and moods. Even the things done routinely may trigger this craving for a smoke.
For those who have been smoking for quite a while already, they may not realize it but they form some emotional attachment to cigarettes. They find the cigarette calming and comforting during those stressful times. Cigarette smoking somehow becomes an extension of their social life, particularly when they are emotionally at the highest or lowest. Giving the smoker a feeling that to quit smoking would seem like giving up a trusted friend.
These are only some of the major reasons why it is hard to quit smoking. But there are also several strategies and quitting techniques that may aid smokers to finally give up on the habit. Quitting smoking all begins with one’s intention to stop. They must have the will power to overcome the craving for nicotine. There are also a lot of quit smoking products in the market. These may also be worth trying. Support groups have proved to be very helpful, too.
Those who smoke cigarettes must understand that to quit smoking may take more than one attempt. They must also try several methods before they can finally succeed. Smoking is a stubborn habit because it is closely tied to the acts in the course of people’s everyday lives. Even so, with determination, will power, and a strategy, anyone can quit smoking.
Adam Waxler publishes a series of health related information products including his new "Stop Smoking" resource filled with with FREE articles and tips on how to Stop Smoking at http://www.1-800-stop-smoking.com/quit-smoking
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Smoking can hook you because cigarettes contain nicotine which is highly addictive. But being hooked is not an excuse why you cannot quit smoking. Smoking has been proven by several researches to be great threat to one's health, that is why there is no reason why one who is already hooked to it should not quit smoking.
It is tough to quit smoking. People try at least 2 to 3 times before they can finally quit smoking. It takes hard work and lots of effort but if you're really determined then you can quit smoking for good.
Why quit smoking?
There are at least five reasons why you should quit smoking.
* First, if you quit smoking, you will definitely live longer and better.
* Second, each time you smoke, you take about 5 to 20 minutes off your life. Your chance of getting lung cancer, stroke or heart attack increases if you don't quit smoking.
* Third, the people you live with, especially the children, will be healthier only if you stop smoking. In fact, second hand smoke is more dangerous than the actual smoke users get from smoking.
* Fourth, if you quit smoking, you will have extra money to spend on other things than cigarettes.
* And lastly, if you’re pregnant, chances of having a healthier baby is more likely if you quit smoking.
So the next and most crucial question is "how do I quit smoking?"
Here are five ways that can help you quit smoking:
1. Get ready and prepare yourself to undetake your quit somking program? Set a quit smoking date. Change your environment by getting rid of all cigarettes in places you frequent and not allowing people to smoke near you or at your home.
2. Get support and encouragement. Studies have shown that you'll have better chances in quitting smoking if you can get support from families, friends, and co-workers.
3. Learn new skills and behavior. Always remember that your goal is to quit smoking, so distract yourself from urges of smoking. Change your routine in your first try of quit smoking program. Do something to reduce your stress such as taking a hot bath, exercise, or reading. Plan something to do enjoyable every day.
4. Get medication and use it correctly. Medications can help you lessen the urge to smoke. Five approved medications that can help you to quit smoking are: Bupropion SR, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler, nicotine nasal spray, and nicotine patch.
5. Be prepared for a relapse. If you quit smoking, chances of a relapse is high. Most relapses occur after 3 months of quitting, so watch out for situations that may trigger you get back to smoking such as alcohol, other smokers, weight gain and depression.
Everyone can quit smoking so don’t hesitate to at least try to quit smoking also.
Quit smoking now and I guarantee you a healthier, better and longer life.
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There is always an easy way to stop smoking. The question is how. Changing your mindset is the simplest thing to do to quit smoking. But often, simple things in life seem the toughest.
Years of smoking make your brain believe that smoking is an integral part of you. You become emotionally attached with cigarettes and the question is to severe the emotional links. Smoking habit is a psychologically addictive habit rather than a nicotine habit and the easiest way to quit it, is to shake up those beliefs associated with smoking.
Smokers never claim that their habit is a healthy one. They would say that smoking helps them to relax. Start with listing all the positives smoking brings to your life and then detach your self and question them. You would see those positives are nothing but illusions.
Every New Year people make resolutions to quit smoking but finally they fail. So you need something to assist you to make your resolution come true and find an easy way to stop smoking.
There are various aids, some of which are available in the market to help you to quit smoking:
- Nicotine patches, nasal sprays, gums, lozenges, inhalers are some of the stuffs to help you to reduce your nicotine craving.
- Natural cures to give up smoking are calamas and chamomile. Chew the root of the first one to reduce your desire of smoking and take the second one 3 to 6 times a day to help yourself relax.
- Hypnotherapy is one of the best ways to quit smoking. It is 60% to 70% successful to help you put off your bad habit. Hypnotherapy reaches your sub conscious to cleanse your mind from the cravings of nicotine. According to an analysis in 1992 by New Scientist Magazine, proved that hypnosis is 60% successful in helping people to quit smoke. Usually a single session may prove helpful or you may get a stop smoking CD to carry on with the session according to your time.
- Acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation and complete relaxation practices are other ways to put off the bad habit.
- Sheer determination and will power are very important to quit smoking.
- Counseling is a great support to boost your will power. Many private, governmental and charitable organizations provide stop smoking counseling.
- Proper medication can also help you to quit smoking according to doctor's recommendation.
You just have to opt the best and an easy way to stop smoking. In the beginning you may feel anxious, irritable and craving for nicotine but in the long run a healthy and strong life awaits you.
Summary of Author: Roy Dobson is a successful writer and publisher of Smoking related issues, for more informative articles go to http://www.stopsmokingtoday.net
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The best decision a chain smoker can make in his/her lifetime is deciding to quit smoking. Yes, this is the most vital part, once you show the courage of sacrificing the habit of smoking, you will be surprised at the amount of benefits you will have.
Stop smoking, benefits you will have aplenty. The first benefited will be your health after you stop smoking. This will drastically reduce the chances of smoking-related diseases, like lung cancer, heart attack, stroke, chronic lung diseases and other types of cancers.
After you quit smoking, you will find that there are improvements in your breathing problems, coughing and wheezing.
You will find it quite unbelievable, but yes it is true that after some minutes of your stopping smoking, the carbon monoxide levels in your system will drop down to normal and the heart rate and blood pressure also drops. The women chain smokers especially gain huge health benefits by quitting smoking. Women have less chances of delivering a low birth weight baby when she stops smoking.
You might never have given a thought to it, but smoking adversely affects your appearance. Smoking causes you to have bad breath, foul smelling hair and clothes, early wrinkling of the skin and yellowing of the fingernails and hair. When you stop smoking, there will be a decease in the chances of having a gum disease and stained teeth.
Once you quit smoking you will notice considerable improvements in your appearance.
What's more, you stop smoking, benefits will follow. Other than having an improved health and appearance, you will have a good sense of smell and will be able to enjoy the taste of the food better. You will also have better energy to jump up the stairs and doing the laundry. Yes, just stop smoking and get back the youthful exuberance that seemed to be lost to smoking. You will not be experiencing any shortness of breath that you might be having in the past.
You can also use the money you are wasting on buying cigarettes for some good purpose. Definitely, it would be silly to use your money on something that will gradually worsen your health. Life expectancy is sure to lengthen once you stop smoking. Benefits will be never-ending.
Do not lose heart if you are 65 years old and want to quit smoking now. Just do it, as even at this age, you can still reduce the chances of dying due to smoke-related diseases by fifty percent. Remember, it is better late than never.
If you are a smoker you may be wondering what happens when you quit smoking. After all, it's a big step to take especially if you have been smoking for a number of years.
What happens when you quit smoking is that you begin to notice some improvements in your health very quickly; other health improvements take a little longer. Are you curious about what happens when you quit smoking? Let me tell you more.
Within 8 hours what happens when you quit smoking is that nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood stream reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal. This has the effect of improving your circulation so you may find that you have a better skin color and your hands and feet will begin to feel a little warmer
Within 24 hours carbon monoxide and nicotine are flushed from your body. This is the time when you may experience withdrawal symptoms as you flush these toxins out of your system. You may feel irritable and have a headache.
After 48 hours excess risk of lung cancer stops increasing. It becomes frozen in time. Also the decline in lung function stops. It hasn't started to improve yet but at least it is not getting any worse.
Within 1 month you begin to look better. Smoking damages the skin, particularly the skin on the face. It causes premature ageing, wrinkling and coarseness. All of this will be improving at this stage. Deep wrinkles unfortunately won't disappear - but they won't be getting any worse.
Within 9 months your lung function begins to improve. Coughs will disappear, you won't be so breathless and you will not be so prone to chest infections and colds.
Within 1 year the excess risk of a heart attack that applied to you as a smoker has now reduced by half. Your body has begun to heal.
Within 15 years what happens when you quit smoking is that your risk of a heart attack falls to the same level as a non-smoker.
So now you're a little more educated. You know the benefits of quitting smoking. But knowing the benefits of quitting smoking is rarely enough to get people to quit. They need help. If you're looking to quit smoking and you're actually looking for a way to do it ON THE FIRST TRY, then
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If you want to quit smoking - and truly quit, not just have it as some passing fancy - you must hold yourself accountable not only to yourself but others as well. The nicotine beast, other smokers and your subconscious can all be very persuasive threats on the road to quitting so this is why I so firmly advocate a solid support group of at least two or three other people. Five is even better.
If you only have to answer to yourself when an overwhelming urge strikes, that's only one person the nicotine beast has to overcome, but if you have a group, that's a whole other story.
When you work with a group, you are accountable to others.
It kind of works backwards to just being accountable to yourself. For example, let's say you've been off cigarettes for a week and for whatever silly reason your mind has come up with, you figure you need a smoke. Well, before you can do that, you have to battle your inner demons and then live with the guilt that you have failed. But the nicotine beast, as I said, is very strong and you are only one person. Many people fall down at this point.
On the other hand, if you had five loyal soldiers standing between the overwhelming urge and you, then it would be an entirely different story.
So, it is best to set up a small support group for yourself via email, telephone, or a support forum. If you can find people who have gone through similar experience, they can be very supportive and encouraging. Once you have a group, tell them your goal to quit smoking. Let them know that you need them at times when you are feeling weak in your resolve, but they should not to pester you about it. They should just be there when you need help and positive support.
Now, let’s see what would be the scene when the overwhelming urge strikes you to have a smoke. Now, you will have to fight not only your own guilty conscience, but also get past five people. You will have to tell them that you have decided to start smoking again.
Once you have got it off your chest, you need not do anything more. You can sit back and listen to five voices reminding you of your resolve. Then, it is up to you to decide whether they are unfair and misguided and your deep down beliefs that you should quit are suddenly wrong. And, if you think that just that 'one' cigarette will do no harm to your determination, you are wrong. Because it’s never one; it’s invariably the first one that will get you.
The support system works because you have to fight six sane voices against the 'one'.
As I say, the more you know about quitting, the more successful you will be. So get all the information you need BEFORE you try to quit. It's much easier, believe me.
To your success,
Is there a magic stop smoking pill? - read some independent reviews of zyban, chantix, hypnosis etc. Also, click here to discover the stop smoking method Darren himself used.
You can get a unique content version of this article.
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Nicotine in tobacco is highly - addictive. Even the habit itself is addictive. For many smokers a cigarette is associated with relaxing, calming nerves, keeping your weight low, and taking a break. Many soldiers in the U.S. Army who were non-smokers complained that the smokers were able to take more breaks during training so they could smoke. In fact, if you are a non-smoker and work in an office building it can get rather irritating to see your friends be able to go outside and take a smoke break. They are only supposed to smoke one but end up smoking two or three while outside and overextend their break time.
If you have made the move to quit smoking or if you are advising a friend on how to quit smoking then here are some tips you need to know. Some might want to use nicotine patches to help them but remember that the smokers will have to wean themselves off of the nicotine eventually.
For the smoker, set a date as to when to stop smoking. If you tell others about it then you will have a sense of accountability to them to follow through with what you said. On that day, you need to make sure all of your cigarettes are gone and you will not light up. During this time, you need to get yourself a support group. Tell people who you know are going to support you and not criticize you in your adventure. This is important because in just a short time you will become very irritable and you will need understanding and supporting friends and family around you.
When you quit, you are going to feel very short-tempered, sleepy, hungry, and a little lazy. All you can do is stay with it because if you back down now, you'll have to go through it the next time you quit. When you feel the urge to smoke, chew some gum. The nicotine patches help to curb this craving tremendously but beware that when you do get off the nicotine patches, you will have to go through the pain as well. This is why it is especially important to tell family members that you are quitting because when you get cranky (and you will) they will at least understand you.
And lastly, if you cannot make it and smoke again, don't worry about it. Just try to quit again. Most smokers never quit the first time. You will gain some weight after you quit but remember that a little weight usually does not kill someone but smoking more than likely will.
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