Smoking and Addictions

Over the past thirty years the number of smokers in this country has reduced by three quarters. The adult population now consists of less than one fifth smokers, over one third ex-smokers, and over one third who have never smoked. Most of the ex-smokers have quit smoking without any professional help.

Nonetheless, young people are still taking up this habit. The average age for starting smoking is now fourteen years old. So people start smoking at a time when their priorities are entirely different to what they will be even ten years later in the mid-twenties. At twenty-five or thirty, smoking no longer seems glamorous or exciting, and at this point many people choose to quit before the habit has done any serious damage. Most of them find quitting smoking surprisingly easy. The withdrawal symptoms may be annoying but they are bearable, and the good news is that they only last about two weeks. The majority of people can stop smoking without any therapy. They should choose the right time, get clear in their minds why they are doing it, and prepare themselves for any likely difficulties. Then just go ahead and quit! To make things as easy for themselves as possible, they should first read the book “The Only Way to Stop Smoking Permanently” by Allen Carr. I have never met anyone who did not find this book very helpful.
A minority of people, however, do need therapeutic help to stop smoking permanently. There are those who cannot imagine enjoying anything if they are not smoking. Others use it as a relaxant, without which they’d experience severe anxiety or even outbursts of aggression. Others too use it as an appetite suppressant, and fear massive weight gain if they were to quit.
Obviously these people all have quite serious underlying problems, and it’s unlikely they’ll quit smoking permanently until these problems are tackled in some other way. When working with these people, my first goal is to teach them to control their own emotional and nervous state, and their appetite if eating is an issue. Once this is achieved, they can quit smoking quite easily and not miss it, because smoking no longer fills an important role in their lives.
The same applies to excessive drinking and drug consumption. People rarely become drug addicts or alcoholics if they have happy lives and stable emotions. The underlying problems must be addressed. The same applies even more so to “sex addiction” and “porn addiction.” These are always the symptoms of other problems, which generally have little to do with sex.
If you have tried to stop smoking, drinking excessively, or using drugs, and been unable to do so, you’re welcome to contact me for a free initial discussion where I can assess your underlying problems and discuss how I might help you. The therapy will be focused mainly on these underlying problems, rather than directly on smoking, drinking, or drug use. Of course, results will vary from person to person as with any therapy. In my experience the difference between success and failure is mostly down to the client’s level of motivation, which is why no therapist or doctor can ever guarantee success.