Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nicotine hijacks the survival instinct of the brain

Have you ever gone without smoking and developed an overwhelming craving that felt like, "I'M GOING TO DIE OR GO CRAZY IF I DONT' HAVE A CIGARETTE!"?
If so, nicotine has hijacked the survival part of your brain. From the very first puff of a cigarette, nicotine produced a powerful effect on the primate part of our brain that controls our survival instincts. Often people will say that smoking is just a "bad habit". Picking your nose is a bad habit, something that you have control over and you can change easily. But we don't have control over our survival instinct and quitting smoking is not easy. Willpower is not stronger than the survival instinct. This is why it's so difficult to quit smoking. Medications can help take the edge off, which allows the thinking part of our brain or our willpower, to make the decision to not give into the craving. Meds move the craving from an "I'M GOING TO DIE OR GO CRAZY"  to "I'm having a desire to smoke right now but I can do something else to take my mind off the cigarette."
A smoker does not need to take cessation medications to quit smoking, just like a dieter does not need medications to lose weight. It be successful at either, it takes a plan of how to resist temptation and overcome that strong survival instinct.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
VJ Sleight, Queen of Quitting said...

I removed this post because of the commercial link in it but I used his question for the July 29, 2012 post.