A once popular and socially acceptable practice, cigarettes are now seen as an extremely addictive and deadly drug. Everyone knows the physical health risks of smoking, such as lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, throat cancer…and the list goes on. Smoking has been banned in most establishments across the US, and even banned outdoors in many metro areas. As a result, cigarette smokers have been singled out and somewhat shunned by society, and a new hazard has developed.
Many cigarette smokers are now developing problems with depression and social anxiety disorders. Often times smokers who understand the health risk would like to quit, and are pressured to quit by their family and friends. However when they are not successful they are faced with feelings of failure, guilt, and a lack of self control.
These feelings can arise every time they smoke a cigarette, and will accumulate over time. What makes this even more upsetting is that the stress from guilt associated with not being able to quit sends the smoker into a downward spiral where they often begin unconsciously consuming more and more cigarettes in order to alleviate the stress.
Smokers diagnosed with lung cancer often suffer with a similar dilemma. They will continue to smoke even though they realize it may jeopardize their long term health outcome. A fatalistic outlook develops, where they believe it is too late to quit smoking. Researchers have found that one in five lung cancer patients continue to smoke, which in turn leads to feelings of guilt and depression.
Continued smoking after diagnosis with cancer also increases the risk for development of a secondary cancer, along with greatly decreasing the likelihood for recovery.
Luckily there are products now on the market that can help smokers quit. Products like Zyban can reduce the nicotine withdrawal symptoms and help your brain stop craving the nicotine. There are also nicotine gums and patches to help with the withdrawal.
However, the biggest help to people suffering with nicotine addiction is the support and encouragement of friends and family. Don’t let your loved ones fall victim to this vicious cycle. Let them know you support them and love them no matter what, and that you are there for them as they battle with this terrible addiction.
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