Prolonging Withdrawal Symptoms

Prolonging Withdrawal Symptoms

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Mar 2001, 19:23 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library
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Pharmacological Aids:
Prolonging Withdrawal Syndromes


"I could ring your neck! What is this 72 hour garbage you are preaching about. It is not getting any better! You lied to me from day one!" This warm greeting was thrust upon me on a Sunday night by an irate clinic participant. Sure, she had reason to be mad. After all, being in constant withdrawal for five days is enough to make any person lose their composure.

While she had every right to be angry, it was aimed at the wrong person. She had only herself to blame for this prolonged agony. For unlike the majority of people in her group, she did not throw out her cigarettes during the clinic session Tuesday night. Instead, she had a couple of cigarettes that evening. Then on Wednesday she took a couple of sticks of Nicorette chewing gum. I then told her that due to the administration of nicotine from the cigarettes and then the gum, she was back at square one. She was angry at me then, too. She wanted to know what right I had to tell her she was failing. But she said she would throw out the cigarettes and get rid of the gum.

Unfortunately for her, she did not dispose of the gum and continued to chew a couple of sticks a day. The next three days were horrendous. Every night she came back to the meeting and complained bitterly. But this is nothing out of the ordinary, many people are suffering in the initial three days. On Saturday, she still complained of bitter symptoms. But she knew that she quit a day late, so this too could have been expected. But by Sunday, it should have been getting better. It was not though, and she was fuming.

I told her the gum was prolonging the withdrawal process. "But it's only a couple of sticks, and it's not like I am smoking." It was her failure to recognize this point that was causing all of her problems. Chewing the gum was exactly like taking a couple of puffs. She was administering a small amount of nicotine - not enough to reach the peak nicotine level she desired, but just enough to reinforce her addiction and cause chronic withdrawal symptoms.

After the explanation she was still defiant. She would not accept that the nicotine gum was causing her problem. The next day, though, she came back to the clinic. All of the other participants had successfully overcome the first weekend. They all talked about how they still occasionally desired a cigarette but no longer were suffering the powerful cravings they had encountered the first few days. As usual, they were visibly calmer and enthusiastic about the progress they had made.

Almost everyone in the group expressed similar sentiment. Everyone except our friend with the gum, who still complained bitterly. And she still insisted she needed a cigarette or the gum to make quitting possible and bearable. In the beginning of the meeting she tried to monopolize the discussion. But soon she realized the group had no desire to sit and listen to her complain of the horrors of quitting. It was history to them, and they had more pertinent issues to address.

Finally, after sitting and listening to all the positive feeling expressed by her other classmates, she started to realize that she was the only one suffering. Our predictions of easing of withdrawal after 72 hours were true. And the only difference between her and the other group members was her first few cigarettes and her subsequent nicotine gum use.

Quitting smoking should be done in a manner which is as easy and effective as possible. Cease all administration of nicotine in any form. In a few days withdrawal symptoms will ease up, and in two weeks will stop all together. Then, to avoid ever having to quit again - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

NOTE: This was originally published in 1986. Since then, a number or similar products, (e.g., patches, gums, nasal sprays, and inhalers currently under development), have been or are soon to be introduced as over the counter cessation aids. The same principal applies to them all - they are transferring the delivery system of the drug nicotine. If the smoker simply stops, withdrawal will peak and start to subside within 72 hours. Use of theese agents will unnecessarily prolong the cessation process as well as add to the expense.


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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Jul 2001, 21:35 #3

I see where we have a couple of new members who recently have come off the gum or patch. I thought they would benefit from this article. One made a comment I thought was great, how she didn't want to go back and just try it cold turkey to see if it would be better. This is just one of those things you want to learn from other people's experience and not your own. A person who goes back just does not really know if he or she will ever have the strength, desire or opportunity to quit again. Everyone here must do everything possible to make this quit last. Although there is only one thing that each and every person has to do now to stay off now and that is simply remembering to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Aug 2001, 19:37 #4

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Last edited by Joel on 26 Jan 2012, 14:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

22 Aug 2001, 23:29 #5

New E-cigarette video touching on the issue of prolonging withdrawals:


Last edited by Joel on 07 Nov 2012, 14:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Nov 2001, 00:44 #6

I saw where a new member today asked Cliff who was just celebrating his 6 month quit if he had gone cold turkey. I thought this would be a good post to bring up in lieu of this question. Basically, all of our members that have joined in this year are all cold turkey quitters, and most of our longer-term members also initially quit that way. There are some exceptions--people who were members here when Freedom was a site that accommodated any smoker looking to quit--no matter how they were planning on doing it.

But over time while we saw that some people had quit while using nicotine replacement, it was a very small percentage as compared to the number of people actually using it and more significantly, we saw these people suffering and complaining of symptoms for weeks and months rather than just days. It really affected the mood and tone of the board--new people coming in and reading desperate and depressing posts of members who have been off smoking for long time periods but complaining of one symptom after another, likely scaring some people in the early days of a quit into throwing in the towel as opposed to having to experience a prolongation of these quit reactions.

So we went to a cold-turkey site. This was a concept criticized at the time as being discriminatory to some, but we felt the need to make a niche site where cold turkey quitters were not having to deal with prolonged complaining and negative imagery that will often be encountered and expressed by people in a prolonged withdrawal state. Our feeling is there is a real need for this site for people who want to try an anything goes approach have plenty of options on the Internet, but people who want to go with a highly focused quit cold-turkey site have a very little chance of finding such a program on the Internet or in their real world experiences either.

The difference of a cold-turkey withdrawal period in contrast to a NRT based withdrawal period will be obvious to any of our members who had quit at the same time as another family member, coworker or friend who started using a nicotine replacement product at the same time that they had just quit smoking. When comparing notes the first few days of the quit you will likely see a lot of similarities in the complaints. But as the days progress, it usually will become obvious that there will be a divergence in experiences, withdrawals easing up and quickly ending for the cold-turkey quitter, while the NRT user still is complaining of constant desires and symptoms.

In the group I just graduated a couple of weeks ago, one man had brought in a family member who had started the nicotine patch just a few days before he joined our clinic. For a few days they likely had a lot to share in conversation, but as the days progressed it had become painfully obvious to him that he was very comfortable and secure in his quit while his family member was still in constant discomfort and her attitude was degrading over time. While it was obvious to him, it was not obvious to her, for she still failed to recognize that while he was happy to be free, she was still complaining and suffering in a way that could have been avoided and even to this day she is still using NRT and still in a state of obvious discomfort.

So basically asking a member here if they quit cold turkey is pretty much an unnecessary question. Even some of our original members who did use NRT products adjusted their quit meters to reflect when they quit the NRT, not when they last smoked a cigarette. Because they recognized that the battle they were in was a nicotine addiction and they got their true Freedom when they finally got nicotine out of their system. At that point they finally got control of their health and they know now to keep that control all they need to do is keep all forms of nicotine out of their system by never administering it again via chewing, absorption through their skin, through their nasal passages, injecting it, and avoiding the most direct route of administering nicotine to the brain-by smoking it-by knowing now to never take another puff!

Joel
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kathryn
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 21:06

12 Nov 2001, 08:01 #7

Hi, It was me, Kathryn who asked about the cold turkey. I quit cold turkey
after much crazy **** using the NRT nicotine gum. However, I can see why you
basically have no need right here to discuss it.

thanks for responding though!!

kathryn
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Nov 2001, 09:00 #8

You are welcome Kathryn. I figured that if you didn't know our cold turkey policy, others may not have known either, plus I suspect many of our newest members don't know of how we evolved to our current state of being here at Freedom. Questions like yours always give us the opportunity to share some of our background and our reasons for how and why we operate here the way we do. I suspect one day in the future you will be able to answer a similar question for another new member. You will know what to answer them and more important than how they quit, you will know how to advise them as to how to stay off now--to be able to tell them from your first hand knowledge that the way you stay free now is by knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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kathryn
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 21:06

12 Nov 2001, 09:09 #9

Thanks again Joel! Smoking is just a hidious, addiction. Not to mention a
difficult one to overcome! I felt that the NRT method, was like a
half-measure. And with this addiction, there is no fooling around. No way.
hense the phrase Never take another puff. The thought cannot even enter your
mind. And if it does, it immediately has to be dismissed as--because one puff
is forever NOT an option! Very simple when you think about it!

That is my plan. To keep it simple. Do whatever it takes to stay away from
that one single first puff.

your friend,

kathryn
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Nov 2001, 12:16 #10

Hello Kathryn:

I just brought up a post on pharmacological crutches that really elaborates on the issue you are addressing here. People who see using NRT to help overcome a thought or a trigger as being the "lesser of two evils" are totally unaware and misinformed of what they are dealing with. They see cigarettes as the addiction and are not recognizing the true problem, that they are nicotine addicts.

When I first sent out the letter on Nicorette back in 1984 it was to avoid this same problem, for I was sure that people who were successfully off smoking were going to be encouraged by well meaning family and friends to use this new miracle product to take off an edge and were going to lose a perfectly good quit. The only way to guarantee ending nicotine withdrawal and never experiencing it again is to never administer nicotine in any way, shape or form, which simply translates to not taking nicotine from patches, gums, nicotine inhalers, drops, lozenges, or any other routes of administration a NRT or tobacco company comes up with and as far as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes to know to never take another puff!

Joel
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