August 3rd, 2010
06:14 PM ET
Change your thinking to kick that cigarette habit
Imagine how tantalizing, how powerful the craving for a cigarette is. Then imagine you could stem that craving by merely changing the way you think. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that merely thinking differently could help control cravings.
"Most people think that the reason smokers use substances is because of a lack of self-control," said Kevin Ochsner, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University. "We show they don't lack it, the problem they have is they may not know what strategy to use."
Let's face it, our brains are wired for short-term rewards, whether it is the first drag on a cigarette or the first bite of a hot stack of pancakes. According to study authors, the strategy to curb those cravings is almost deceptively simple: re-wiring the brain to think long-term.
Ochsner and colleagues gave brain scans to 21 people who reported regularly smoking. They posed two scenarios. In one, they measured what happened in the brain after asking smokers to think about the immediate rewards of smoking, for example the first drag on a cigarette, how the smoke would feel entering the lungs, or the sensation of smoke curling out of the mouth. In the second scenario smokers were asked to imagine the long-term consequences of smoking - health problems associated with it - such as emphysema or heart disease.
By way of comparison, the same was done with food. Study respondents were shown photos of delectable, fatty foods and asked to think about the short-term rewards (how great the food would taste), and the long-term consequences (obesity, diabetes, heart disease) while their brain activity was measured.
Turns out, something as simple as focusing on the long-term consequences of smoking (or eating fatty foods) could control the craving.
"This gives us a biological explanation for how cognitive regulation of craving works," said Hedy Kober, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and the study's lead author. "By changing the way they think about cigarettes in moments of craving, by focusing on the negative long-term consequences, [smokers] can reduce craving and change their own brain activity."
Two areas of the brain are at work when we crave things - the prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum. The prefrontal cortex is an area associated with reasoning and the ventral striatum is associated with emotion, desire, and craving. Among study participants, successfully curbing cravings involved activating the reasoning part of the brain more than the craving-driven region.
Except re-wiring the brain, re-shaping how one thinks about craving, is far from simple - it is a long process. And then there are important questions about the biological underpinnings of addiction. Still, study authors say that thinking differently is powerful therapy.
"It takes a sustained, continuous effort," said Ochsner. "It is teaching you a new kind of emotional response instead of just going reflexively. It's slow and painful but we absolutely have the potential to do it."
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you need to write more on this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but typically folks don't speak about these issues. To the next! Kind regards!!
It is the best time to make some plans for the future and it's
time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I
desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips.
Maybe you could write next articles referring to
this article. I desire to read more things about it!
Also visit my homepage: oakleysunglasseseyeglasses
You have made some good points there. I checked on the net for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.
Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It is the little changes that make the greatest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!
You're so interesting! I don't believe I've read through a single thing like this before. So good to find somebody with original thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!
4g мобильные прокси
aralen for lupus https://www.pharmaceptica.com/
I really like it when individuals come together and share ideas. Great website, stick with it!
Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to make a really good articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a lot and don't manage to get anything done.
Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be exciting to read articles from other authors and practice a little something from other sites.
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the rest of the site is really good.
Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is very useful. Thank you for sharing!
There is definately a lot to find out about this subject. I like all of the points you have made.
Itís nearly impossible to find well-informed people about this topic, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks
Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be interesting to read through articles from other authors and practice something from their websites.
Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the issues. It was truly informative. Your site is very useful. Thank you for sharing!
The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not disappoint me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I truly believed you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.
After going over a number of the blog posts on your website, I honestly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my website as well and let me know what you think.
What's up to every body, it's my first visit of this blog; this website carries amazing and actually good data in support of
Itís difficult to find knowledgeable people about this topic, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks
You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest websites on the net. I am going to highly recommend this web site!
Iím impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís both equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I came across this during my search for something relating to this.
When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Kudos!
Great information. Lucky me I discovered your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!
Good site you have here.. Itís difficult to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!
Hello there, I do believe your web site could possibly be having internet browser compatibility issues. Whenever I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic site!
Can I simply just say what a comfort to discover someone that actually knows what they are talking about over the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people ought to read this and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you aren't more popular because you most certainly have the gift.
This excellent website definitely has all of the info I needed concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.
Your style is so unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.
This is a really good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate infoÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!
I used to be able to find good info from your blog articles.
what is hydroxychloroquine 200 mg https://pharmaceptica.com/
Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thanks, However I am going through problems with your RSS. I donít understand why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting similar RSS problems? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanks!!