Tim Brunson DCH

Welcome to The International Hypnosis Research Institute Web site. Our intention is to support and promote the further worldwide integration of comprehensive evidence-based research and clinical hypnotherapy with mainstream mental health, medicine, and coaching. We do so by disseminating, supporting, and conducting research, providing professional level education, advocating increased level of practitioner competency, and supporting the viability and success of clinical practitioners. Although currently over 80% of our membership is comprised of mental health practitioners, we fully recognize the role, support, involvement, and needs of those in the medical and coaching fields. This site is not intended as a source of medical or psychological advice. Tim Brunson, PhD

The Great American Nicotine Myth

Hypnosis is Needed More Than Ever for Safe and Effective Smoking Cessation

by George Wissing

Twenty years ago, the esteemed C. Everett Koop penned the words, "Nicotine is addictive in the same sense as heroin." [Emphasis added.] This provocative statement opened the 1988 Surgeon General's report on the topic of nicotine addiction.

Using the 1988 US Surgeon General's report itself as a reference, only 10 percent of smokers needed medical treatment programs to quit. Today, almost every smoker tries some type of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or other pharmaceutical.

What happened since 1988?

My theory is that the medical and pharmaceutical communities have turned Dr. Koop's precise statement, which took hundreds of pages to explain, into a convenient and inappropriate sound bite. Simply, most smokers now believe they are helplessly addicted to nicotine.

For example, somewhere in America today, a smoker is reading the disempowering and false statement, "It's more difficult to get off nicotine than heroin". Yet, when a person is physically addicted to heroin, sudden physical withdrawal is terrible and includes hallucinations, sweating, vomiting, cramps and a rushing of blood to the internal organs, which results in pale skin and goose bumps (the true meaning of "cold turkey"). Some people can even die from heroin withdrawal.

The 1988 report stated that approximately 70 percent of heroin addicts need medical support to quit. As for nicotine, millions of heavy smokers have stopped instantly without any of these symptoms and, as stated earlier, the same report implied that 90% of smokers quit naturally a few decades ago.

I could understand this trend toward pharmaceuticals if it was safe and wildly effective, but one study reports that 93 percent of smokers using NRT relapsed after six months (Hughes, Shiffman, et al 2003), and it's safe to say that pharmaceuticals designed for smoking cessation generally fail more than they succeed. In addition to less-than-stellar success rates, side effects of the nicotine patch include rashes and stomach upset; the smoking cessation drug Chantix earned a public warning from the FDA, with side effects that include potential suicide! (http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/chantix020508.html) and has been banned by the Federal Aviation Administration (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/22/business/22drug.html)

Yet smokers turn to these methods in droves.

Hypnosis has been shown to be effective (Chockalingam and Schmidt 1992, Law & Tang 1995), and the July 2005 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that hypnosis has a scientific basis (see "This is Your Brain Under Hypnosis" by Sandra Blakeslee http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/22/science/22hypno.html) . Yet hypnosis is seen as a last resort by many.

Maybe the problem is that many people think hypnosis is brainwashing, but in my opinion, the only mind control occurring is the media and pharmaceutical companies bombarding smokers with the message that it's so hard to quit naturally and continually ignore the efficacy of hypnosis.

Hypnosis is needed more than ever to unravel the addictive mindset of a smoker. To ensure hypnosis is ultimately effective, it makes sense to provide smokers with information and a new way of looking at their habit. – a complete reframing of how a smoker looks at the habit itself.. I wrote, Stop Smoking for the Last Time as an attempt to provide this significant reframe so that smokers are better prepared to quit. More than ever it's important to change the mindset of the smoker to ensure long term success of hypnosis.

For more information visit: www.Hypnosis4Smokers.com

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