What is tobacco addiction?

Tobacco addiction is a health disorder that is characterized by the specific symptoms described in the Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization ICD-10 (category F-17: mental disorders and behavioral disorders due to smoking). A person addicted to tobacco, as well as addicted to other psychoactive substances, creates and presents his reality, using such mechanisms that distort thinking, which allow him to continue his addiction, including:

denial – denial of any problem with controlling smoking-related behavior;
minimizing – giving a smaller number of cigarettes smoked in an interview than in reality, only accurate counting and recording verifies the perception;
rationalization – the claim that inflammation promotes more effective teamwork, whereas it is known that nicotine only improves concentration for a short while, and then intellectual performance decreases;
regression – providing support, stress relief, e.g. smoking before bedtime,
crowding out – removing threatening content related to smoking from your consciousness.

Over time, smoking accompanies difficult situations, and a person reaching for a cigarette develops a pattern of coping with emotional states through this very activity, which ensures her quick relief or strengthening of positive emotional states. Also in the case of withdrawal symptoms (nicotine craving), once addiction develops, smoking is a way of reducing the severity of these symptoms. Among other things, the mechanism of regulating emotions through smoking is directly related to such basic symptoms of addiction as: compulsive use of substances, a subjective sense of relief after taking them, or withdrawal syndrome after stopping use.

Smoking gradually takes an important place in life, regulating the functioning of personality. Life activities are subordinated to smoking; the addicted person plans work time so that he can smoke, he meets more eagerly with people who also smoke, goes shopping in such stores, where he can also buy cigarettes.  Chewing tobacco. Sometimes he breaks the law by smoking in forbidden places, he also experiences a sense of enslavement by smoking, which becomes a source of suffering, shame, harm and powerlessness in the face of addiction.

How to free yourself from addiction?

It is never too late to stop smoking. Even after decades of smoking, the body is able, at least in part, to repair the damage caused by tobacco smoke. And it is never too late to gain control over your life and free yourself from the addiction of tobacco addiction. Research indicates that among tobacco smokers in the last year, more than 1/3 attempted to quit smoking. As many as half of smokers declare that they want to quit smoking.

So the question arises: Why are these people still smoking? In the case of tobacco addiction, specific mechanisms operate, on the one hand, physiological, related to the effects of nicotine on the central nervous system, and, on the other, psychological regulatory mechanisms, especially those related to emotional-motivational, cognitive and behavioral processes. As practice shows, it is not easy to stop smoking and maintain permanent abstinence, because it is a process spread over time and many difficulties at various stages of this process result from the specificity of tobacco addiction syndrome, which is a chronic disease.

Smoking cessation is a process in which it is important to be ready to change how you smoke without acting, decide to take action, and motivate yourself to keep that change in order to prevent smoking relapse. Sometimes specialist help is needed to cope with smoking addiction, especially when it has become addictive.

In the early stages of becoming a non-smoker, you should look for arguments for stopping smoking, get information on smoking or identifying addiction symptoms, and data on methods that help you maintain abstinence. You should ask others for support, and sometimes seek specialist advice from a doctor, psychologist or addiction therapist. At the beginning it is worth considering the reasons for the addiction and “compare the losses and profits from smoking and non-smoking”. The answer to this question is a valuable guide for the next steps.