Friday, January 30, 2015
Researchers Believe in Quitting Smoking Gradually
A study was conducted on the brains immediate reaction after quitting smoking, 12 hours after quitting the oxygen uptake and blood flow in the brain decrease significantly compared to never-smokers, Science Daily reports. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen believe this could explain why it is so difficult to quit smoking for good, and that quitting smoking gradually may have the most promise for success.
"Regular smokers experience an almost dementia-like condition in the early hours after quitting, as suggested by brain scans. This can be quite an unpleasant experience, and is probably one of the reasons why it can be very difficult to quit smoking once and for all. Smokers drift back into abuse, perhaps not to obtain a pleasant effect - that ship has sailed - but simply because the withdrawal symptoms are unbearable," says Professor Albert Gjedde, neuroscience researcher at the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen.
Just like other drugs that are used over a long period, nicotine may no longer produce the desired effect. But, if you stop taking the drug withdrawal will still occur.
"After a period of time, many users of medicine will no longer experience an effect from treatment -- for example with antidepressants. However, the consequences of discontinuing treatment could still be overwhelming if the withdrawal symptoms are very unpleasant," says Albert Gjedde.
Smokers continue to smoke long after the honeymoon effects disappear, which researchers believe is done simply to keep their brain functioning normally. The researchers do not know how long it takes after quitting before the brain has regained its normal energy consumption and blood flow.
"We assume that it takes weeks or months, but we do not know for sure. The new findings suggest that it may be a good idea to stop smoking gradually -- simply to avoid the worst withdrawal symptoms that make it so difficult to stick to the otherwise very sensible decision to stop smoking," says Albert Gjedde.
The findings were published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism.