Isn't nicotine a drug like heroin?

Nicotine is a plant poison. Most plants have poisons as protection against foreign insects. Even the plants we eat do; almonds have arsenic and potatoes have nightshade. Some plant poisons are psychoactive, meaning they’re drugs. A psychoactive plant poison changes a person’s emotional state and their perception. Nicotine doesn’t do either and that’s why it’s not a drug. It’s also the reason that people are able to smoke cigarettes and still go to work, because they’re not high!

Humans have been aware of and used the known psychoactive plant poisons like marijuana, cocaine from the cocoa leaf and heroin from the poppy flower for thousands of years. And nicotine has never been sold on the street as a drug. Nobody would buy it, because you can’t get high from it. In fact it is quite unpleasant to consume nicotine. If a non-smoker, without a tolerance to nicotine, were to use a nicotine patch, within a short period of time they would experience the side effects of poisoning, including elevated heart rate, nausea and anxiety.

Most people know about the plant poison arsenic. Nicotine is the protective plant poison of the tobacco plant and it is in fact three times more toxic than arsenic.

Isn’t nicotine physically addictive?
It has been scientifically proven that smoking is not a result of a physical addiction to nicotine. Two very well respected professors of psychology, at the University of Tel Aviv, have reviewed every published experiment proving that nicotine is addictive. Of the more that 700 experiments reviewed not one experiment tests whether nicotine is addictive or not. They were all conducted to confirm that it is addictive, starting with the assumption that it’s true. There isn’t a single experiment that conclusively proves that nicotine is addictive, because in fact it’s not.

Their work was published in 2002 and it was open to peer review, so the scientists that did those more than 700 experiments had an opportunity to defend their work. And they didn’t get a single response from the scientific community. They received one response, from The Addiction Journal, questioning their funding.

Interestingly there are a number of experiments proving that nicotine is not addictive. In studies in which nicotine is introduced directly into an ex-smokers body, bypassing the structure of the smoking habit, not one person started smoking again. And in studies in which ex-smokers smoked nicotine-free tobacco cigarettes many started smoking again, because it is the structure of the smoking habit not an addiction to nicotine.

Is smoking really just a habit?
It has been proven since 2002 that smoking is a compulsive behaviour, similar to a compulsion to gamble. If a gambler were to try and stop gambling they would experience what a smoker does. Apart from a 3-day nicotine detox, of course. A gambler would experience physical cravings that last about 3 to 5 minutes. And if they were to continue to restrict themselves they might begin to feel irritable and experience mood swings.

Most compulsive behaviours express themselves through a physical craving, including “addictions” to watching television and playing internet games. Almost any behaviour that is repeated consistently, where there is also an anticipation of a reward from the behaviour, will eventually develop a physical craving.

Prior to 1993 the definition of compulsive behaviours was quite distinct from the definition of addictions. The word addiction used to refer to a substance dependency. Now the word addiction applies to any behaviour that is repetitive in nature over which we feel we don’t have control. No substance required.

What is a craving?
The unconscious mind is the automatic mind and one of the ways that it learns is through repetition. If a behaviour is repeated consistently enough, like driving a car, and there is also an anticipation of a reward from the behaviour, then an unconscious craving is generated at those times that the behaviour is repeated.

The reason most of us don’t have a craving for driving a car, is because there wasn’t that anticipation of a reward from driving when we learned to drive, that there was from smoking when we learned to smoke.

An unconscious craving is a physical sensation in the area of the abdomen. It can be described as an empty feeling that needs to be filled. It is often referred to as a physical urge to do something. It usually lasts 3 to 5 minutes and if one is distracted by something else, it simply disappears.

Smokers use the word cravings to describe detox symptoms, desirable conscious thoughts of smoking as well as actual unconscious cravings and the reason that they do this is they are all impulses to smoke. The three impulses are distinctly different and require different solutions and that’s why there are three parts to the MINDCODE session.

Will I experience withdrawal symptoms afterwards?
When a smoker attempts to stop smoking with willpower they describe a number of side effects, which are collectively referred to as withdrawal symptoms. The term withdrawal symptom is misleading since we know that nicotine is not a drug. Typically a heroin addict, that is physically addicted, would experience withdrawals.

Smoking “withdrawal symptoms” are a combination of detox symptoms, desirable conscious thoughts of smoking as well as unconscious cravings. The extent to which a smoker experiences one or all of these varies from person to person. The MINDCODE method is designed to address all three of these smoking symptoms.

Most smokers that stop smoking experience a 3-day nicotine detox. The effect of the detox can include a sensation of anxiety. Fortunately, with MINDCODE the detox effect can be completely overridden, or at the very least drastically reduced.

And the breathing technique that is included in the MINDCODE program assists in alleviating anxiety. So the breath will be your tool. However, if it’s not as easy as you think it should be there is seven-day telephonic support following your session.

What is a relapse?
When a person that has successfully stopped smoking for a period of time relapses, it simply means that they have not yet completely changed their conscious perception of smoking. And we can be sure of this because they made a conscious decision to smoke again.

The Trans-theoretical model of change includes Relapse as one of the stages one goes through on the journey to stopping smoking permanently. It takes one back to the contemplation stage in which one can convince oneself of the merits of stopping smoking permanently. A relapse should be seen as a part of the process of stopping smoking permanently, as long as one learns from the experience it is not a failure.

Stopping smoking permanently can be compared to ending a toxic relationship with another human being. Occasionally after ending a relationship a couple will get back together, only to be reminded of why they ended the relationship. Usually after that the break-up is permanent.

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