Skip navigation
All People > Thomas3.20.2010 > Thomas3.20.2010 Blog > 2016 > July
2016
  

Every smoker and ex-smoker knows that nicotine is the major culprit of the smoking addiction. In addition, they may even know that cigarette manufacturers use ammonia  to free-base nicotine in order to boost it's addictive hook up to 35 times. Yet, scarce is the man or woman who understands how nicotine functions like a dopamine imposter, raising levels of this "feel good" chemical in the body artificially.

  

 Dopamine can also raise levels of awareness and general pleasure, but the problem is that as dopamine levels increase from the use of cigarettes, natural chemical reactions in the body like dopamine and serotonin decrease  their natural production. When a smoker tries to quit cold turkey, they experience days, weeks, and sometimes months of depression and anxiety, mainly because their dopamine production levels cannot recover quickly enough. Ever hear of people getting very "cranky" after they quit? The central nervous system is so accustomed to being nurtured with nicotine, it's almost like a border-line diabetic's body, which barely produces insulin because it's so accustomed to a high sugar diet.

  

 Dopamine functions in your brain to help you deal with stress, anxiety, and relaxation, and should occur naturally, instead of being chemically induced. This is what cigarette manufacturers realized 50 years ago and this is the hook which keeps smokers addicted and pulls them "back in" when they quit.

  

A new study in Biological Psychiatry reports that smoking-related deficits in brain dopamine, a chemical implicated in reward and addiction, return to normal three months after quitting. The normalization of dopamine systems suggests smoking-related deficits are a consequence of chronic smoking, rather than a risk factor. 

  

Initial scans revealed a 15-20% reduction in the capacity for dopamine production in smokers compared with nonsmokers. The researchers expected this impairment to persist even after quitting, which would suggest it could be a marker of vulnerability for nicotine addiction. However, the alterations in dopamine synthesis capacity normalized through abstinence. Thus, altered dopamine function of smokers is a consequence of nicotine consumption rather than the cause.

  

The first three months after one stops smoking may be a particularly vulnerable time for relapse, in part, because of persisting dopamine deficits.

  

So what can we do to boost natural dopamine levels until they return to normal through abstinence?

  

To supplement the production of dopamine is the ultimate way to help a smoker quit, and quit for good. Even though the smoking habit is also a behavior addiction, the "feel good" drug aspect is stronger and is the driving force for smokers to return to the habit when something stressful comes along, unless they know how to supplement.

  

Nutrition

  

Dopamine production is boosted by the consumption of certain foods, especially those containing the amino acid tyrosine. Eating these special foods adds to our ability to respond optimally to our lives both physically and emotionally.

  

·         Proteins

  

Protein are high in amino acids, which are necessary for dopamine production. Include foods such as fish, eggs, chicken, turkey and red meat to supply your body with adequate amino acids. Fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso and other legumes are considered incomplete proteins; however, form complete proteins when eaten in combination with grains, becoming excellent sources for dopamine-related amino acids.

  

           Vegetables

  

Certain vegetables in particular are excellent sources of amino acids that stimulate dopamine production. For example, beets supply the amino acid called betaine, that aids in the regulation neurotransmitters like dopamine. Artichokes and avocados have also been found to increase dopamine levels.

  

           Fruits

  

Ripe bananas are a major source of tyrosine, explains MedHelp.com; and as they continue to ripen and become sweeter, their tyrosine component becomes more potent. Tyrosine helps regulate and stimulate dopamine levels, increasing memory and alertness. Apples are recommended for being high in quercetin, a potent antioxidant, according to MedHelp.com, and shown to aid in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases by triggering the production of dopamine in the brain. Remember to eat strawberries, blueberries and prunes to round out the best fruits supplying nutrients that trigger dopamine release.

  

           Nuts and Seeds

  

Raw almonds, sesame and pumpkin seeds make a great snack and help regulate dopamine levels. Almond butter or tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, are excellent sources for the amino acids needed for dopamine production.

  

           Wheat Germ

  

Wheat germ supplies the essential amino acid phenylalanine, that's converted to tyrosine, which then stimulates additional dopamine release. Do not use wheat germ if you are gluten intolerant or allergic to wheat.

  

            Herbs

  

Several common herbs are known for helping to regulate dopamine levels. These include nettles fenugreek, ginseng, milk thistle, red clover, and peppermint. They are best consumed as herbal teas.

  

           Supplements

  

Adding supplements to your diet to increase dopamine levels may be helpful if you're unable to get those nutrients from foods. Tyrosine, plus several vitamins such as B, C and E as well as iron, folic acid and niacin all help to trigger dopamine release. Check with your health care practitioner before including additional iron in your diet.

  

 

  

EXercise regularly

  

Exercise increases blood calcium, which stimulates dopamine production and uptake in your brain. Try 30 to 60 minutes of walking, swimming or jogging to jump-start your dopamine levels.

  

It also ups your endorphins. A genuine laugh or a stretch gets your endorphins going, which is similar to a dopamine high. Except for if you were actually on an endorphin high it'd be seriously dangerous -- it's a pain inhibitor.

  

 

  

Practice Mindfulness

  

Mindfulness has been described as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.” The objective is to help individuals learn, at times, to become aware of thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations rather than trying to modify them or acting on them.  This suggests that mindfulness  might not only decrease relapse in depression and addiction but also prevent the onset of the first episode of depression in susceptible people. 

  

 

  

Another reason mindfulness is helpful in terms of recovery is that it yields The Now Effect, that “aha” moment of clarity where we enter into a choice point, a moment where we access possibilities and opportunities we didn’t know were there before. This is crucial when it comes to our addictive behaviors to take a step back, “think through that just one smoke” and recognize the various options that lie before us. We can learn to step into the pause, notice the sensation of the urge that’s there and as the late Alan Marlatt, PhD says, “Surf the Urge” as it peaks, crests and falls back down like a wave in the ocean.

  

 

  

Just because our brains have been altered by addiction, doesn’t mean we’re destined to fall into the same habits. With the right skills, community and support we can learn how to break out of routine and into a life worth living.

  

 

  

Get plenty of sleep

  

One of the best ways to feel energized and ready to tackle the day is to get plenty of sleep. Dopamine has been tied to feelings of wakefulness, so in order to get that wakeful feeling, get 7 to 8 hour of sleep a night.

  

Or...don't get any. If you're actually looking to up your dopamine levels as opposed  to feeling good, dopamine levels skyrocket with sleep deprivation. You'll feel fatigued, groggy, and irritable, but your dopamine levels will be through the roof. 

  

 

  

Reach a new goal

  

Dopamine is all about pleasure; it's one hedonistic brain chemical, that's for sure. Luckily, all you have to do is train your brain. Whether it's important to you to get to work on time or finally get that PhD, reaching a new goal will put your pleasure centers into party mode. 

  

 

  

It doesn't have to be big. Start thinking of your little daily activities as goals. Did you make it through the morning without checking Facebook?! FANTASTIC. Reward time, because that goal has been achieved! Keep in mind that celebrations of our little goals – per week, month, 50 day increments or simply FREEDOM Train and Bonfire Parties all serve a very important purpose! We all need to find natural ways to replace natural dopamine and serotonin in our systems when we quit smoking!

  

 

  

 

   
   

I’m not making excuses! I’m giving you a reality check on what you have to do to launch and protect your quit!

Check out the Blog yesterday by MePlus3 and especially pay attention to the comments. You can learn so much by reading other people’s blogs!

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/MePlus3-blog/2016/07/28/social-smokers-trigger

Surveys have shown that 31% of smokers admitted sabotaging another person's attempt to quit.

The reasons to wreck other people's quitting attempts include jealousy, guilt about their own addiction and wanting a smoking "buddy". 72 per cent of smokers who have tried to quit think someone has tried to ruin their attempts. 

On average, smokers have tried to break the addiction at least three times. One in five  have tried five times or more. 

Beating a smoking addiction is hard enough without the negative influence of others around you casting doubt.

BUT you don't have to go it alone! There is support both in your 3D world and right here 24/7! Tell everybody you know that you are quitting - including those cashiers who know your and your favorite brand by heart! Come here every day as often as you want and need to. We are never bored talking about your addiction and helping you get and stay Smoke Free!

Even a brief conversation with your Doctor can increase your chances of success!

PLEASE think before you endanger your quit! I forfeited a one year quit because I thought hanging around my smoking buddies meant that I was morally superior to those ex-smokers I'd met who couldn't stand to be around 2nd hand smoke! 

What I was is morally stupid! My next quit attempt was several TEARS later! God expects us to take care of our bodies! 

[Freudian Slip - I meant to say YEARS! }

 

Addiction FREE is the Only Way to BE!

Please wish me luck!

I think working in a Hospital sounds totally cool!

No smoking anywhere on campus, Thank Goodness!

Thomas3.20.2010

Right NOW!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 26, 2016

As I have said before many times up to 50% of our Community will develop COPD in their lifetime. Horrible statistics! What's more, 1 in 13 men and 1 in 15 women who have been smokers will develop lung cancer! 

That's the bad news!

Here is the Good News! I would say Great News!

Today, right now, there is amazing new Research that requires very little Development that can identify, stop and prevent both disease!

Australian Researchers from Melbourne’s Hudson Institute of Medical Science have identified an inflammation-causing molecule that is responsible for signalling both lung cancer and emphysema to wreck their havoc.

In a major step, the researchers have discovered an existing drug called sgp130Fc — now in European human trials to fight inflammatory bowel disease — that appears able to shut down the signalling system and offer new hope.

The drug contains a naturally occurring receptor that is designed to bind to the IInterleukin 6 molecule like a key fitting into a lock. When it does, the molecule is blocked from attaching itself to lung cells and cannot pass on signals to grow of self destruct.

"If you target the molecule Interleukin 6 and block it you will see a suppression of disease in both lung cancer and emphysema,” Prof Brendan Jenkins said.

“You see a dramatic reduction in the amount of tumors forming — they just don’t seem to grow anywhere near as well as the tumors would if was not there,” Prof Jenkins said.

“It is very effective at blocking and retarding the growth of these tumors."

The Hudson team is now working with Monash Health to analyse more patient blood samples to further develop the blood test for both diseases.

We could stop the illness before it even gets started just by looking for Il-6! 

Hang in there, Folks! Stop Smoking Today and protect your Quit as if your Life depends on it - because IT DOES! The solution is coming very soon!

I fell into a hole - I know it well.

It even has a name - depression.

I tried not to fall - grasping hold of something, anything, that I know is important

But it all seemed so meaningless....

Finally, I landed and stopped to take a breath 

(what little I have left)

And began the slow process of climbing my way out.

Falling takes hours - climbing takes weeks, even Months.

But I'm grateful that yes, I know my way out.

When I get there, I'll let you know...

I'm not smoking - no sickerettes down here.

Chapter One:
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three:
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in...it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four:

I walk down the same street.
There is a hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five:
I walk down another street.

Are you tired of climbing out of that hole yet? I know I am!

image

Thomas3.20.2010

Healthy Smokers

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 21, 2016

I have heard many tiimes here how somebody was quitting because they dislike the "habit" but so lucky to have dodged the health bullet! Well, in my opinion that is another Myth, i.e. Nico-lie! But what do I know?

Here's an article published today that might shed some llight on the matter:

7 Reasons Why There Is No Such Thing As A Healthy Smoker

Posted On July 21, 2016 By Kimberly Hayes Taylor

You’ve smoked since college, one or two here and there, and you’ve never experienced any ill effects from your bad habit. You’re a social smoker, and in fact, you seem to be a healthy smoker.

Just because you don’t have a nagging cough or trouble breathing doesn’t mean you’ve escaped the lung-damaging effects of inhaled tobacco smoke, two major new studies indicate, including one the author originally titled “Myth of the Healthy Smoker.”

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is perhaps one of the most common lung diseases caused by smoking. Current and former smokers could get a spirometry, a test that checks how much air can be inhaled and how quickly it’s exhaled. Trouble is, most people with a history of smoking will never get this test during a routine medical exam, so they won’t find out they’re unhealthy this way. Then, even if they have the test, the new studies show the tests often fail to detect serious lung abnormalities that lead to chronic cough, sputum production and compromise a person’s breathing, energy levels, risk of serious infections, and quality of life.

Actually, there’s simply no such thing as a healthy smoker. Here’s why:

You’re sick, you just don’t know it.

You work out and eat right, so you assume you’re healthy. But that may not be true. “Current or former smokers without airflow obstruction may assume they are disease-free,” but that’s not necessarily so, one of the research teams showed. Researchers estimated about 35 million current or former smokers older than 55 in the United States have unrecognized smoking-caused lung disease or disorders. Even if they quit smoking, many, if not most, of these individuals will get worse in time. Most likely, they never will be referred for pulmonary rehabilitation, a treatment that can help prevent oncoming disability.

Your annual bout of bronchitis probably means something.

Even when the spirometry results are normal, smokers have respiratory symptoms that they think little about because they’re so used to it. “A lot of smokers have respiratory symptoms,” said Dr. Elizabeth A. Regan, the lead author of one of the new studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine last year and a clinical researcher at National Jewish Health in Denver. “They get sick often, are more likely to be hospitalized with bronchitis or pneumonia, and have evidence on CT scans of thickened airway walls or emphysema that impair breathing.”

Your symptoms are not just because you’re aging.

Dr. Prescott G. Woodruff, lead author of the second study, published May 12 in The New England Journal of Medicine, said in an interview, “Smokers have much more lung disease than we previously thought. The 15 to 20 percent who get C.O.P.D. is a gross underestimate.” Regan’s team reported that symptoms such as shortness of breath and inabilities in exercise are too often dismissed as normal aging.

Your doctor may never warn you.

Because you’ve seemed to escape symptoms so far, if you’re a current smoker you may think you’re safe, so you continue smoking. Truth is, your doctor may never tell you that you’re in danger. Doctors often are reluctant to urge patients with symptoms to quit smoking, so they may be even less likely to recommend smoking cessation to patients with normal spirometry test results.

The tests are not the best.

“We live happily in the world thinking that only a small percentage of people who smoke get this devastating disease,” Regan, told The New York Times during an interview. “However, the lungs of millions of people in the United States are negatively impacted by smoking, and our methods for identifying their lung disease are relatively insensitive.”

You could have other ailments.

Lung disease may not be the only adverse health effect from smoking. Toxins from the smoke can damage any organ in the body. Since the first surgeon general’s report on smoking 52 years ago, the list of potential ailments such as lung cancer has grown exponentially. The list now includes COPD, heart disease, many deadly cancers, stroke, high blood pressure, blood clots, peripheral artery disease, type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts and macular degeneration.

If you smoke, that is the disease.

The new study findings by the two investigative teams inspired Italian researcher, Dr. Leonardo M. Fabbri of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy to write an editorial accompanying The New England Journal of Medicine study, titled, “Smoking, Not COPD, as the Disease.” Fabbri explained that the study results “suggest that smoking itself should be considered the disease and should be approached in all its complexity.”

—Kimberly Hayes Taylor

[When you're launching your Quit Journey please do it under a Doctor's supervision even for those who choose "Cold Turkey" or "Smart Turkey"! ]  - Thomas

This is a motivation for me - perhaps you will find it useful, too!

http://theconversation.com/philip-morris-speaks-at-and-promotes-an-obscure-lung-disease-conference-62497

image

As reasonable as it sounds that 5 is better than 10 is better than 20 - Smoking is not like that!

The only way to quit is 100%!

You can't smoke just on weekends or after 5 pm or every other day or only so many a day or any other plan you dream up to have your cake and eat it too!

The only way to have your cake is to quit!

Yes, at first you might miss smoking! But you'll soon realize that you have given up absolutely nothing of importance! The real treasure isn't your Addiction - it's your FREEDOM!

Thomas3.20.2010

TODAY

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 12, 2016

Those 2305 days before today mean nothing if I decide to take a puff today!

TODAY is the most important Day of my Recovery!

I can stack it or toss it - I choose to stack it!

Freedom doesn't eliminate my right to decide - it gifts me with it!

When I was an Addict I didn't know I could choose differently!

If you don't know you have a choice - then You Don't!

ROCK YOUR QUITS One Day at a Time!

Thomas3.20.2010

Oh My Goodness!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 11, 2016

I keep saying that if those of us with COPD can just hang in there then R&D will send us HOPE!

And that's EXactly what's happening!

Yesterday I read an article about how in England Scientists are cauterizing the nerve endings in the eosophagus of COPD patients which alleviates the airway swelling and the mucus buildup. The mildly invasive procedure takes about an hour and doesn't hurt. It can be repeated as necessary from time to time. 

Last Saturday I read that in New Zealand Doctors are freezing the outer layer of cells in the airway with similar results.

Both of these methods potentially will not only lead to a better quality of daily living but will extend life for COPD sufferers!

Meanwhile, cellular research is vastly expanding our knowledge of the protein that triggers COPD response which means that one day a medicine can block that protein and reverse the damage to lungs and bronchials. And stem cell research is learning how to repair lung diseased tissue.

This is real and going on right now! 

Our job is to do all we can to halt our own progression of the disease while these guys catch up and there's only one way to do that - stay away from every form of smoke as well as air born pollutants. 

Even if it takes another decade I will be ready when they find a cure - will you?

"You don't understand! I'm not like you, it's harder for me, I relapsed too many times, I never "tried' to quit before, I smoked more years than you, I'm a closet smoker, I'm a chain smoker,..........I'm different!" 

We hear it quite often! And Yes, you ARE Special!

I know that each of us is an individual with our own personal quit history but it doesn't change the Law of Addiction! The Law of Addiction doesn't even know or care who you are! It's an equal opportunity law, like the Law of Gravity!

The Law of Addiction says "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause re-establishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance."

It applies whether you've been hooked for 2 weeks or 50 years and everything in between!

It applies to the social smoker just as it does the closet smoker and the chain smoker.

It applies to the 15 year old and the 60 year old.

It applies to the healthy and the ill, to men and women, straight and gay, religious and atheist, all of us equally!

Bottom line - the only way to quit smoking is to Not take One Puff Ever!!!! N.O.P.E.!

N.O.P.E. is not just a mantra - although it is, it's not just a slogan, although it is.

N.O.P.E. is a way of LIFE! LIFE is what we're all about - your LIFE! No less! LIFE free from Addiction! LIFE healthy and happy and unhooked from a deadly, albeit legal, EXtremely Addictive Drug! 

YOU ARE SPECIAL!

That is the very reason I believe in you and I'll continue to prove it to you! Because, maybe, just maybe, one of these days you'll stop making EXcuses and actually honor yourself by Living your Quit!

Never Quit the Quit! I won't quit believing in YOU!

Isn't it time to believe in Yourself?

I have been working 2 jobs for the last 6 Months and it's getting old! I like both of my jobs, one of which I've had for 6 Years working at an Assisted Living Faciity. But now I feel like I need a change.

Honestly, I'm burned out! I've tried to get my second wind but it's just not there!

My other job is custodial and I like the contrast with ALF because I don't have to talk to anybody! I clean when nobody is around.

The whole purpose of taking the second job is to provide me a gateway to the next step for me. Now I have been hired to work in Hospital Environmental Services ( fancy words for custodian!LOL!) So I think this is like the best of both worlds and most important about a $5/hour pay raise - starting! My first day willl be July 20. Honestly it's a Great thing!

Nevertheless, I'm apprehensive! What if I fail? What if I don't like it? What if I can't cope? Sound familiar? There is no doubt in anybody's mind that Smoking Cessation is good for ALL of us! Yet we still have doubts! The only way to face those doubts is to jump in! So that's what I intend to do! 

Scary! But I just know this is the right thing at the right time for me and for my Family! What about you? Will you jump in? I promise you that the water is just fine! And you will never regret it! Hopefully I won't either! The time is NOW!

image