Smokers who successfully quit feel less anxious afterwards – despite the belief that smoking relieves stress, researchers say.
The British Journal of Psychiatry study followed nearly 500 smokers attending NHS hypnotherapy for Stop Smoking clinics in England.
It found a “significant” decrease in anxiety levels among the 68 smokers who had quit after six months.
The effect was greater among those who had mood and anxiety disorders than those that smoked for pleasure.
The researchers – drawn from several universities including Cambridge, Oxford and Kings’s College in London – said the findings should be used to reassure smokers attempting to quit that concerns about increased anxiety levels were unfounded.
The researchers said it seemed that smokers – particularly those that smoked to cope – were more likely to have a cigarette soon after waking up to stave off withdrawal symptoms, which include anxiety.
By quitting, they removed these repeated episodes of anxiety and felt less anxious as a result, they added.
The most significant thing in this study is that only 68 out of 500 people manage to stop smoking using the NHS stop smoking clinics. This equates to a pitiful 13% success rate after just six months. Where as, in general we tend to achieve around 70 – 80% success rate, based on clients that stop for over a year, using hypnotherapy.
The fact that anxiety feelings drop is no real surprise because although smokers believe that smoking relaxes them in fact the opposite is true. Smoking actually stresses the body.
Using hypnotherapy allows you to feel more relaxed and not really bother to think about smoking as smoking for you is a thing of the past.
It comes as the government has launched a graphic anti-smoking advertising campaign, which features a cigarette with a tumour growing from it, and as many smokers prepare to quit as part of their new year resolutions.
Most smokers tend to try hypnotherapy last. This is because we don’t have the advertising budget of the drug companies but in fact research shows that you are around 5 times more likely to stop with hypnotherapy than by using nicotine gum and the like.
So if you are thinking of getting rid of smoking and breaking that habit why not break a trend whilst your at it and try hypnotherapy first and succeed the first time.