I have to smoke because of all my stress

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

22 Mar 2002, 00:20 #21

I did a talk last night where I started alluding to the smoking and stress effects but ran out of time to get into the exact mechanisms involved. I figured on the longshot that any of the participants pop in here I better bring this post up.
Image
In the illustration above you can see on the left how a non-smokers reacts to stress. Without it they are happy and comfortable, when encountering stress they lose this comfort and depending on its severity they can get either mildly annoyed or really upset. The resolution of the stress will normally bring the non-smoker back to the original state of comfort, after a little time of cooling down of course.
Smokers are much more complex. Stress has an affect on all people--it makes the urine acidic. Both smokers and non-smokers experience this phenomena. In non-smoker smokers, the urine acidity has no real visible or perceivable effects--smokers are much more complicated. After the initial stress a smoker will feel like a non-smoker encountering stress, for a few seconds. But then the delineation occurs, the smoker's nicotine level depletes because of the urine acidity induced by the stress, and the smoker is kicked into a drug withdrawal state. The smoker has four ways to deal with the situation now.
First, the smoker can just smoke a cigarette. Well low and behold if the smoker does this he or she will feel "better." He or she will not feel good; he or she just won't be feeling withdrawal for the moment but still be feeling the initial stress. In essence, he or she will feel like a non-smoker under stress, not great, but not in withdrawal either.
The second way a smoker can handle the stress is to solve it and also smoke a cigarette. This results in one happy smoker. No stress now and no withdrawal, life is good at the moment. The feeling of bliss is basically the same feeling a non-smoker has who resolves his or her stress.
But then there are the other two scenarios. The smoker can solve the problem but not smoke. Here is the kicker here, the problem is resolved but the smoker is still in withdrawal, the nicotine level has dropped and problem resolution has no way to stop the nicotine depletion, only a cigarette can do that.
The worst of all situations is the smoker who cannot solve the problem and also cannot smoke a cigarette. This is a miserable situation to ever be in. You normally don't want to be around a smoker in this situation let alone being one yourself. Many smokers find themselves facing this dilemma daily since many jobs and social settings do not allow smoking yet constantly force the smoker to face stresses.
When you quit smoking these last four reactions to stress become a thing of the past. You still face stress, but you no longer have to face drug withdrawals induced by it. In essence you deal with stress in a totally different way when you don't have chronic drug withdrawals exaggerating it.
To stay in the position of being able to handle stresses with greater clarity and minimal discomfort always know that no matter what the stress, to avoid it having any long lasting and life threatening complications always remember to never take another puff!
Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Jun 2002, 18:59 #22

In the panel last night we had about 10 panelists. Some shared stories last night, others I know of issues that have happened in their lives since they had quit. One man who was off for just over a year and a half now recalled how his father had died just a few months into his quit and how this was the first major death he had ever experienced in his life and how he still got through it smoke free.

A couple of panelists referred to major scares that happened with their children, one man within months of a quit finding out that his daughter had a brain tumor. Luckily it turned out not to be non-malignant, but for a time he did not know that and yet he was still able to maintain his quit under such stress.

One man had numerous surgeries over the years and had been told by his doctors that the one real thing he had going for him was the fact he had quit smoking so long ago. If he had known at the time that he was quitting that he was going to have to go through such traumatic procedures, it may have interferred with his quitting because the person could think, "how can I get through the stress of such risky surgery without a cigarette?"

It all comes down to the fact that stress is not a reason for smoking, smoking is just a reason for stress. To reduce your causes for stress and likely your reaction to stresses that do occur over a lifetime always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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kris71780 ( Bronze )
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 00:18

27 Jun 2002, 20:52 #23

Joel...
You should also post that article titled..."A Safer Way to Smoke"....LOLOLOL!!!!
I am a culprit of the "I will just smoke lower tar and nicotine cigarettes".....
It's like those people who are on diets and order a large pizza with everything on it and then order a large diet coke.....They cancel each other out right? HAHAHA!!!
Now that I don't smoke and I continue to read your articles....I catch myself smack in the middle of them.
I have been the "closet smoker"....I have blamed it on "stress"....I have said "The government wouldn't sell something that was that bad for me" .....such good reading and so much valuable information.....I also think the article..."My Cigarette, My Friend" is great!!!!!!!!!!
I wish everyone I knew would come to Freedom.....


Thanks
KRIS71780
I have been Quit for: 1 Week 1 Day 15 Hours 52 Minutes 42 Seconds. I have NOT smoked 173, for a savings of $25.98. Life Saved: 14 Hours 25 Minutes.
Last edited by kris71780 ( Bronze ) on 28 Oct 2009, 00:19, edited 1 time in total.
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mirigirl (silver)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

12 Jul 2002, 06:43 #24

Oh thanks for bringing this one up Joel I was looking for it everywhere.
Good to see it on the boad again.
yqs mirigirl
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John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Aug 2002, 20:59 #25

Tensing up on tobacco road
New Zealand Herald

August 15, 2002

Even light smoking can make people grumpy and less able to handle stress, says a British study.
New Zealand anti-smoking lobby group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said the study results, published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behaviour, dispelled the myth that smoking had a calming effect.
Researchers from London's King's College subjected two groups to "a battery of cognitive tests that were mildly stressful".
Males and females who smoked between five and 12 cigarettes a day were tested immediately after smoking.
The second group were non-smokers.
The two groups were equivalent in age, intellect, personality measures, and levels of anxiety and depression.
The researchers found the smokers' group was "overall significantly more discontented, troubled, tense, quarrelsome, furious, impatient, hostile, annoyed and disgusted and experienced greater dizziness".
After cognitive tests, "both male and female smokers showed greater increases than non-smokers in feeling spiteful, rebellious, incompetent".
They also exhibited greater sweating, "suggesting that they experienced greater mood changes in response to cognitive stress".
No difference was apparent between the two groups for divided or sustained attention tasks or in episodic memory.
In this month's Ash newsletter, director Trish Fraser said the study was further evidence of myths that tobacco companies used to lure people into smoking.
"We hear a lot about the long-term serious health dangers of tobacco but this study makes the point that tobacco smoking has some immediate effects on mood and ability," she said.
"The tobacco industry has for decades promoted users of their products as calm, confident individualists in control of their own lives.
"However, this marketing image doesn't match up in practice against the sweating, impatient, incompetent person you can become if you smoke even a small amount."
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John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Oct 2002, 09:22 #26

"It relieves stress and anxiety"
It is normal and natural to believe that smoking is a stress buster, that it calms us during crisis. How could we not believe it? We felt it happen hundreds or maybe even thousands of times. But as reviewed in the previous chapter, stress relief is one the biggest rationalization shams of all.

According to a once secret 1983 Brown & Williamson research memo, "People smoke to maintain nicotine levels" and "stress robs the body of nicotine, implying a smoker smokes more in times of stress due to withdrawal, not to relax."
1

Stressful events turn body fluids more acidic, which accelerates depletion of blood serum reserves of the alkaloid nicotine. Whether smoked, chewed or dipped, nicotine does not relieve anxiety but only its own absence. Like taking the time to calm ourselves by counting to ten, the time needed for replenishment combines with the arrival of a new supply of nicotine and leaves us falsely yet totally convinced that nicotine was an emotional solution to crisis.

When did using nicotine ever resolve our underlying crisis? If the tire was flat, it was still flat. If some event had made us angry, nicotine replenishment totally ignored the event.

Feeling the physiological effects of stress causes kidney urine acidification. Sucking nicotine from the bloodstream has the effect of making every stressful event life throws our way far more stressful than it is for never-users or ex-users, as they only need to endure the stressful event, not nicotine withdrawal too.

Without replenishment, even if the flat tire or other stressful situation is tackled and resolved, the nicotine addict still is not going to feel good. Conflict resolution does not ease withdrawal. Only re-administration of nicotine or navigating withdrawal and the up to 72 hours needed to eliminate nicotine from the body can bring relief.

Unlike total nicotine elimination, replenishment's relief is temporary. While it calms for the moment, the user will again soon be forced to confront the chemical clock governing their life (nicotine's two-hour chemical half-life) or witness accelerated depletion brought on by encountering stress or by consuming alcohol.
Joel makes one final yet important point. Nicotine's false calming effect quickly becomes a rationalization crutch reached for during stressful situations. The crutch and nicotine's impact upon the user's life is "more far-reaching than just making initial stress effects more severe." According to Joel, "it affects how the person may deal with conflict and sadness in a way that may not be obvious, but is nonetheless serious. In a way, it affects the ability to communicate and maybe even in some way, grow from the experience." 2
Joel shares an example. "Let's say you don't like the way a significant other in your life squeezes toothpaste. If you point out how it's a problem to you in a calm rational manner, maybe the person will change and do it in a way that is not disturbing to you. By communicating your feelings you make a minor annoyance basically disappear. But now let's say you're a smoker who sees the tube of toothpaste, gets a little upset, and is about to say something, again, to address the problem. But wait. Because you are a little annoyed, you lose nicotine, go into withdrawal, and before you are able to deal with the problem, you have to go smoke. You smoke, alleviate the withdrawal and, in fact, you feel better. At the same time, you put a little time between you and the toothpaste situation and on further evaluation, you decide it's not that big of a deal, forget it."
"Sounds like and feels like you resolved the stress. But in fact, you didn't. You suppressed the feeling. It is still there, not resolved, not communicated. Next time it happens again, you again get mad. You go into withdrawal. You have to smoke. You repeat the cycle, again not communicating and not resolving the conflict," writes Joel. "Over and over again, maybe for years this pattern is repeated."
"One day you quit smoking. You may in fact be off for weeks, maybe months. All of a sudden, one day the exact problem presents itself again, that annoying toothpaste. You don't have that automatic withdrawal kicking in and pulling you away from the situation. You see it, nothing else affecting you and you blow up. If the person is within earshot, you may explode."
"When you look back in retrospect, you feel you have blown up inappropriately, the reaction was greatly exaggerated for the situation. You faced it hundreds of times before and nothing like this ever happened. You begin to question what happened to you to turn you into such a horrible or explosive person. Understand what happened," writes Joel. "You are not blowing up at what just happened, you are blowing up for what has been bothering you for years and now, because of the build up of frustration, you are blowing up much more severely than you ever would have if you addressed it early on. It is like pulling a cork out of a shaken carbonated bottle, the more shaken, the worse the explosion."
As Joel explains it, years of nicotine use stopped us from properly dealing with feelings early on. Instead, we allow them to fester and grow to a point where when they do come out, it is far more severe than if initially addressed. Sooner or later, even if we fail to break free from nicotine, that unresolved stress will most probably result in either a blowup or onset of one or more anxiety related diseases.
Don't for a second think that hiding from life by escaping into a central nervous system stimulated dopamine "aaah" sensation or hiding from life is an answer or solution. It's our problem. As we climb back into our mind's driver's seat we need to listen to our feelings and emotions. We may discover that we need to learn to address the root causes of once suppressed anxiety or anger in positive and healthy ways. The only lasting solution to anxieties brought on by rapidly falling nicotine reserves, anxieties that interfere with healthy conflict resolution, is to bring active nicotine dependence to an end.

John (Gold x9)
1 Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, Internal Correspondence, March 25, 1983, Bates Number: 670508492; http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/uly04f00

2 Spitzer, J, New Reactions to Anger as an Ex-smoker, an article in Joel's free PDF book Never Take Another Puff, http://whyquit.com/joel
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Last edited by John (Gold) on 15 Feb 2009, 20:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 Nov 2002, 05:03 #27

This article addresses the issue that often prevents many people from ever seriously considering getting rid of cigarettes--the issue that smokers feel that they need cigarettes to keep them calm. I suspect because of some heavier media exposure than normal over the next week we are going to have a lot of people looking in at us here at Freedom.

I am going to try to keep articles like this that dispel some of the major misconceptions that interfere with people attempting to quit. Maybe some of our members can address this from a more personal perspective. How have your reactions to stress changed since you quit? We know that since we have members who are off from months and years, that many of you have faced major life traumas since quitting.

Are you feeling calmer, more nervous, or the same as when you smoked? Personal insights of a variety of people will likely show a broad range of reactions. So share with others how your stress has changed, or more accurately, how your reactions to stress and mechanisms for dealing with stress have altered. Lets show the world that everyone is fully capable of facing good times as well as bad and still remain smoke free as long people know under all conditions to never take another puff!

Joel
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Roanne
Joined: 10 Jan 2009, 01:20

21 Dec 2002, 07:10 #28

Yes, thanks - that's the one. And in all the years I smoked, I thought it was because I am unable to handle stress, when in actuality it's the chemical that made me unable to handle stress! That was such a "light-bulb moment" for me.

I had not seen the article called "Tensing up on Tobacco Road." Thanks, that was very interesting and confirms what I've been noticing but couldn't put into words: that smokers are more hostile, temperamental, and volatile. And we're like that because we smoke, not because we don't smoke!
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DubiouslyDos
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

21 Dec 2002, 08:23 #29

Thank you Joel for pulling this up. Glad for the "refresher".

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Happy Holidays!!
Dos (Dubiously)
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 Feb 2003, 21:38 #30

I saw where a new member referred to how she was taking a homeopathic product to help with stress since she can no longer smoke. While it is true that when a person first quits smoking he or she may feel additional stresses, there is no real need to take a drug to deal with it. A product you are take for the expressed reason of dealing with a problem should be categorized as a drug, whether it is prescribed, over the counter, natural, or any other term. While the product may not be a drug in other settings, once a person is using it to specifically treat an emotional or physical reaction to anything there is no other term that can more accurately describe it.

The reason I am attaching the above comment in this particular string though is to address the concept of smoking actually being a cause of stress much more so that a treatment for stress. While most smokers actually believe that smoking was an effective stress treatment strategy (a drug that calmed them down), when it really comes down to it, smoking never truly calmed them down. All it did was administered nicotine alleviated nicotine withdrawal that was induced by stress. The illustration and text below covers this point.

The one true step that people are doing here to control their stress is getting rid of a product that should cause any thinking person a lot of worry and to stop the vicious cycle of drug feeding and drug withdrawal by always knowing now to never take another puff!

Joel


Image
In the illustration above you can see on the left how a non-smokers reacts to stress. Without it they are happy and comfortable, when encountering stress they lose this comfort and depending on its severity they can get either mildly annoyed or really upset. The resolution of the stress will normally bring the non-smoker back to the original state of comfort, after a little time of cooling down of course.
Smokers are much more complex. Stress has an affect on all people--it makes the urine acidic. Both smokers and non-smokers experience this phenomena. In non-smoker smokers, the urine acidity has no real visible or perceivable effects--smokers are much more complicated. After the initial stress a smoker will feel like a non-smoker encountering stress, for a few seconds. But then the delineation occurs, the smoker's nicotine level depletes because of the urine acidity induced by the stress, and the smoker is kicked into a drug withdrawal state. The smoker has four ways to deal with the situation now.
First, the smoker can just smoke a cigarette. Well low and behold if the smoker does this he or she will feel "better." He or she will not feel good; he or she just won't be feeling withdrawal for the moment but still be feeling the initial stress. In essence, he or she will feel like a non-smoker under stress, not great, but not in withdrawal either.
The second way a smoker can handle the stress is to solve it and also smoke a cigarette. This results in one happy smoker. No stress now and no withdrawal, life is good at the moment. The feeling of bliss is basically the same feeling a non-smoker has who resolves his or her stress.
But then there are the other two scenarios. The smoker can solve the problem but not smoke. Here is the kicker here, the problem is resolved but the smoker is still in withdrawal, the nicotine level has dropped and problem resolution has no way to stop the nicotine depletion, only a cigarette can do that.
The worst of all situations is the smoker who cannot solve the problem and also cannot smoke a cigarette. This is a miserable situation to ever be in. You normally don't want to be around a smoker in this situation let alone being one yourself. Many smokers find themselves facing this dilemma daily since many jobs and social settings do not allow smoking yet constantly force the smoker to face stresses.
When you quit smoking these last four reactions to stress become a thing of the past. You still face stress, but you no longer have to face drug withdrawals induced by it. In essence you deal with stress in a totally different way when you don't have chronic drug withdrawals exaggerating it.
To stay in the position of being able to handle stresses with greater clarity and minimal discomfort always know that no matter what the stress, to avoid it having any long lasting and life threatening complications always remember to never take another puff!
Joel
Reply