Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Change I Can Believe In? Stop Smoking, Mr. President-Elect!

Atlanta’s Stop Smoking Expert, Sean Wheeler challenges President-Elect Barack Obama to Quit Smoking on World Hypnotism Day - January 4th, 2009. Wheeler will hypnotize 88 smokers to quit the habit for good at a free event in Marietta, GA.

Atlanta, GA -- Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist Sean Wheeler has challenged President-Elect Barack Obama to stop smoking in conjunction with the 5th Annual World Hypnotism Day on January 4th, 2009. Obama recently admitted that he still struggles with the habit to Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press.



Each year, 390,000 Americans die from the effects of smoking, according to the American Red Cross.

“I challenge our next President to set an example for the American people,” said Wheeler, a certified member of the National Guild of Hypnotists. “I think he should take a stand, be a true leader and say to every smoker in America that ‘Yes, we can’ become smoke-free.”

January 4th is the day when hypnosis professionals in more than 20 countries around the world promote the benefits of hypnotism. At this year's seminar in Atlanta, the biggest free stop smoking event in Georgia’s history, anyone - even Mr. Obama - can learn to become smoke-free.

“Many thousands of people have used hypnosis to quit, including some well-known celebrities like Ellen Degeneres and Matt Damon,” Wheeler explained, “it only makes sense that Mr. Obama would use a proven method that would allow him to serve as a role model for the entire country.”

Wheeler is well aware of the implications of such a powerful figure using something as commonly misunderstood as hypnosis.

“Some people might worry I’d try to make him a Republican,” Wheeler laughed, “but hypnosis doesn’t work like that. If it did, I’d try to persuade him to change his mind about the Bailout Bill.”

The free event will take place in the Cabernet Room of the Doubletree Hotel on Windy Hill Rd from 4:00pm to 6:00pm on Sunday, January 4th, 2009. Information on how to register for the event is available at www.purehypnosis.com/worldhypnotismday.

---

Sean Wheeler is available for media interviews at 678-488-7362. Members of the press can find more information online at http://www.purehypnosis.com.

About Sean Wheeler

Sean Wheeler is a Board Certified Hypnotist with the National Guild of Hypnotists and the founder of Pure Hypnosis, LLC. He is the author of The Stop Smoking Solution - Atlanta’s premiere Smoking Cessation blog, and his articles have been published all over the web. Additionally, Sean Wheeler has appeared on CNN, CNN Headline News and TBS. He has performed as master of ceremonies, entertainer and speaker at venues including Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, as well as for academic and scientific organizations throughout Georgia and the Southeast.


Study: People continue smoking in bad economy

There's a brief little article from the Associated Press about smoking today.



Looks like some smokers out there are subscribing to the belief that smoking actually relieves stress... when in actuality, at best - smoking temporarily distracts you from the stress you're experiencing. Once the cigarette is put out, the problems (economic and otherwise) remain and you're right where you were before... only less healthy and wealthy.



The truth is that those of you who quit smoking will not only have more cash in your pockets, you'll also be less stressed out. You see, once you no longer have to worry about cigarettes and the effect smoking has on your health, you achieve peace of mind.

Also, if you choose to use hypnosis to quit, you'll learn how to relax yourself and eliminate stress in an easy and practical way. You just won't allow things to bother you as much.

Oh, and you'll save about $2,000 every single year you remain a non-smoker.

Here's the article from the AP:

---------------------

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Financial stress doesn't push people away from smoking. A study shows people are more likely to smoke than quit during an economic downturn.

A survey from the American Legacy Foundation found that 77 percent of current smokers are stressed by the national economy. This stress is causing some people to delay their attempt to quit smoking, and some are smoking more cigarettes than before.

Washington Secretary of Health Mary Selecky says the expense of smoking is a good reason to quit during bad economic times. The state's free tobacco quit line offers free coaching and a supply of nicotine patches or gum.

Since the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $5.38, Selecky says pack-a-day smokers could save nearly $2,000 by quitting.

12 Tips to Successfully Quit Smoking for New Years

Nice little article from About.com here for you. Click this link to read the 12 tips for yourself. These are all good things to do.

That said, there is a big difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it... which is why hypnosis is so helpful. With a good hypnosis program for smoking cessation, these 12 tips are incorporated into the work done during the session, which allows you to really absorb the ideas at a deeper level and implement them into your life.

We change your awareness and focus, so that you're automatically doing these things (and others) without having to consciously remind yourself all the time.

So take a look at the article and take the advice to heart. For those of you planning to attend my free event on Sunday, January 4th... know that these things will all be integrated into the work we do that day, and will remain with you long after you've left.

Monday, December 29, 2008

How To Prepare to Quit Smoking

Okay, let's say you've picked out a date and decided you're going to quit. Maybe it's my FREE event on January 4th in honor of World Hypnotism Day, maybe you're scheduling a 1-on-1 session with a hypnotherapist, or maybe you're going to try it cold turkey.

Whatever method you choose, there are some important things you should do prior to your target date that'll give you the best chance for long-term success.

The following are essential:
  1. Get rid of all cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters or other items related to smoking
  2. Tell people close to you that you are quitting
  3. Make a decision to give it 100% of your effort


If you are going to be a non-smoker, you have no reason to keep an "emergency pack" of cigarettes hidden away someplace. It's amazing how many people do this, "just in case" they "really need" a cigarette. The truth is that, whatever situation arises, you can get through it without smoking a cigarette.

Additionally, by removing these items from your life, it makes it easier to forget about the habit. The more reminders you have of your former habit, the more you will think about it. The more you think about it, the more likely it is that you'll smoke again.

By telling close family members, co-worker and friends, they'll be less likely to remind you about it or (gasp!) offer you a cigarette. Additionally, you'll want their support and encouragement. If they genuinely care about you, this will come naturally.

Making a decision to be a non-smoker and giving it 100% is absolutely essential to being successful. This means you're not going to "try" to quit smoking, you're going to DO it. By simply realizing that no matter what happens, you're in control of your body and your actions, you become incredibly empowered.

The result is this: when something stressful happens in your life, rather than using it as an excuse to lean on your old crutch, you deal with it - just like every other non-smoker out there. Now matter how upset or anxious you become, trust me, you'll live to tell about it.

Do these three things, and you wil dramatically increase the likelihood of long-term success.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

L.A. Times: Obama and Smoking - Now's Not the Time to Quit?

An amusing editorial from the Los Angeles Times advises Barack Obama NOT to quit smoking now... that he should wait until after he's served as President before giving it up.

Why?

Because the author - Amy Goldman Koss - quit smoking 10 years ago and suffered through the cravings, the mind-battles, the associations and all the other difficulties people encounter when quitting without the right guidance.



I encourage you to read the article, then return to this page and view the youtube videos below. They are interviews I conducted with two ex-smokers who used hypnosis to quit... without experiencing withdrawal, cravings, irritability or weight gain.

Barack Obama is perfectly capable, not only of quitting for good, but also of keeping his composure, sanity and his recently publicized svelte physique.

So read the article for a perspective from someone who did it the wrong way, and then watch the videos below for a perspective from some people who did it the right way - with hypnosis.



FREE Stop Smoking Event is One Week Away!

Just a reminder that the big Stop Smoking hypnosis event - and the 5th Annual World Hypnotism Day - is only a week away.

Now's the time to start counting down... planning things out so you're ready to become a non-smoker. This means that by the time next Sunday arrives, you'll have eliminated all cigarettes, ashtrays, lighters and other smoking items from your home, vehicle and workspace. This will make it easier to forget about the habit after you leave the event.

Plan to feel really good about yourself. Plan to start feeling more relaxed and stress-free. Plan to begin breathing easier. Plan to have more energy. Plan to take 20 minutes a day to listen to a hypnosis CD (which you can pick up at the event on Sunday) for the first 21 days.

But most of all, plan to quit smoking in the most enjoyable way possible... to be focused on what you want rather than what you're giving up... to forget to remember to smoke... and enjoy the benefits of being free from the habit forever.

Pass this on to your friends and let's get a packed house for this big event.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

VA Testing Chantix on Vets Without Warning of Dangers

Here's an article from the Washington Times which details the problems with testing drugs on a very vulnerable portion of the population - veterans of the armed forces returning from duty in Iraq.

The pertinent section to you as the reader involves Chantix, the drug that has been linked to depression and suicide in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere.

Click here for the full article at the Washington Times.

Here's the portion that pertains to Chantix:

--------------



[President-Elect Barack] Obama, [Rep. Bob] Filner and other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle called for an investigation into a smoking cessation study, which Mr. Peake immediately initiated.

The experiment tracked 240 veterans taking the drug Chantix to examine which forms of counseling were more beneficiary - smoking clinics or through a separate counselor. James Elliott, an Army infantryman who was wounded in Iraq, says the drug caused him to experience a mental breakdown and a showdown with police who used a Taser to subdue him in February.

Mr. Elliott said the VA didn't warn him about new FDA concerns that Chantix was linked to psychotic behavior and nearly 40 suicides until nearly a month after his disturbing incident occurred earlier this year.

The internal investigation confirmed that Mr. Elliott was not alone. It took medical professionals involved in the study anywhere from 16 to 134 days to notify participants taking Chantix about the new warnings.

------------

As with any mention of Chantix, I will take this opportunity to remind the reader of my personal stance on psychotropic drugs, which is, quite simply, "don't take them." The benefits very rarely outweigh the risks, and there are nearly always side-effects.

As for the ability of a drug like Chantix to assist you with smoking cessation, my advice is more specific: "you don't need it." You can quit smoking on your own, without drugs, patches, gums, lasers, needles or even hypnosis.

You can do it.

When I use hypnosis with my clients, I give to them what some ex-smokers have given to themselves -- a clear awareness of their motivation, along with a focus on the benefits of being a non-smoker. This not only works, it also produces a feeling of accomplishment and self-sufficiency - independence, if you will... that can only be achieved through learning to use the power of your mind.

Those who are successful quitting through other methods do receive the benefits of being smoke-free, which is fantastic. What they don't receive are the benefits of learning just how powerful they truly are when their mind is properly focused.

It's not just getting the results you desire that's important - it's also the sense of pride you feel that fuels your ability to accomplish other things in life that are perhaps even more meaningful.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jan 4th Stop Smoking Event Now has a Location!

Alright, we've finally got all the details in place...

My FREE Stop Smoking Seminar in honor of World Hypnotism Day on January 4th will officially take place at (drum roll, please) the Doubletree Hotel on Windy Hill in Marietta!



[crowd cheers]

The above link will take you to contact information at Meetup.com. Here's the official Meetup page where you can register. Do so quickly, as space is limited.



Here are the full details:

Who: 88 Future Non-Smokers
What: Stop Smoking Group Hypnosis Seminar
Where: Doubletree Hotel on Windy Hill (Cabernet Room)
When: January 4th, 2009 @ 4:00pm
Why: World Hypnotism Day
Cost: FREE
Parking: FREE

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity... so register NOW to secure your spot!

More updates will follow as we draw closer to the event.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

World Hypnotism Day Event... Details Coming SOON

Just a quick update for you here.

The big World Hypnotism Day (WHD) event is coming more into focus by the day. The venue should be decided very, very soon.



It will definitely be somewhere in the southern tip of Marietta, likely Windy Hill Rd... not too far from my home office.

As of this moment, here's what we DO know about this FREE Stop Smoking Hypnosis Event:

Date: Sunday, January 4th
Time: 4:00pm
Location: TBD (Marietta/Smyrna area)
Cost: FREE

This event will include information about hypnosis and how it can benefit YOU... all presented in a very entertaining and non-boring fashion (hey, I'm a comedian at heart). The main event will be the finale - a group hypnosis session that will help the Lucky 88 guests to become non-smokers for life.

I will also be giving away more FREE goodies... including 1-on-1 sessions in my office, hypnosis CD's and more. Basically, if you're a smoker who wants to quit, you have absolutely NOTHING to lose, and EVERYTHING to gain.

So tell all your smoker friends to save the date. Better yet, sign yourselves up at the Meetup.com site we've set up: http://www.meetup.com/Metro-Atlanta-s-Stop-Smoking-Solution/calendar/9279995/.

For more info about World Hypnotism Day: http://www.worldhypnotismday.com/

Check back soon for more updates!

Top 10 Biggest Medical Stories of 2008

This list was compiled by attorneyatlaw.com. My belief is that if anyone knows where legal problems (and the potential for lawsuits) reside, it's a bunch of lawyers!

In any case, #4 on this list should be of special importance to readers of this blog:

4) ANTI-SMOKING DRUG CHANTIX’S DEADLY SIDE EFFECTS

People who took the stop-smoking drug Chantix complained of psychotic, irrational behavior. The negative side effects of the anti-smoking drug Chantix caught the attention of federal drug safety officials. Reports of psychotic dreams and irrational, suicidal behavior in people taking Chantix started pouring in after the former guitarist for Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians was shot and killed while trying to break into the house of a friend. The family of Jeffrey Albrecht blamed his bizarre behavior that night on Chantix, which he had started taking to stop smoking just a few months earlier.

Click here for the complete list.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chantix Spam Alert

Before we kick this article off, I will get right to the point: Chantix is very dangerous and NOT a safe alternative for people who want to quit smoking. Here's why:

Top 10 Biggest Medical Stories of 2008 (#4: Chantix's Deadly Side Effects)
FDA Official Video: Warning of Chantix and Suicide
Chantix Label Updated To Warn Of Suicide Risk
Chantix an Antidepressant or a Source of Suicidal Thoughts?
Chantix Suicide a Real Possibility
Widow Sues Pfizer Over Chantix Suicide
Chantix: Miracle Drug Or Dangerous Problem?



Now, you are about to discover just how hard Big Pharma (or their minions) is willing to work to get you to take their drugs... in this case the anti-smoking medication Chantix. What follows here is an analysis and description of what can only be viewed as outright deception (as well as what we have come to know as "spamming").



Do a quick Google search for "Chris James" and Chantix, and you'll find the results quite interesting. This seemingly innocuous blogger appears to have made the same exact post about Chantix (occasionally altered slightly) hundreds and hundreds of times.

Here are some examples:

Chantix, is it really a magic pill? (this is a supposed "acne treatment" blog)
Is Chantix all it claims to be?
Chantix, is it really a magic pill? (this one has a prominent link for penis enlargement)
Is Chantix really a wonder drug?
Is Chantix all it claims to be? (this is a "weight loss" blog)
Is Chantix all it claims to be?
Chantix, is it really a magic pill?
Is Chantix all it claims to be?

These, and hundreds of others, are pretty much the exact same story.

Since smoking cessation is the focus of my practice, and I want to stay informed of the most current news developments in the industry, I have taken advantage of what are known as Google Alerts, which allow you to receive regular updates directly from Google via email on any search you choose (ex. "chantix").

As I monitored the alerts, I began to notice the exact same article - written by the mysterious "Chris James" - appearing over and over again, yet always on different sites. Upon closer inspection, I came to notice that not only were these articles nearly word-for-word identical, the websites/blogs that hosted them weren't actually "real"... meaning, if you click on other articles or links on any of the sites, you'll find generic entries filled with misspellings and grammatical errors.

One of these posts caught my attention because it's on a website named "conversationalhypnotherapy.com." One article I clicked begins as such:

"Directed conversation is done to induce hypnosis in people. It is called a conversationally hypnosis."

Huh??

Later in the article...

"He must submit some questions to let the patient more aware of the things. As an example, “If you are a sole human on the Earth, how it will be like?”

These sentences make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Even if the omitted words were replaced, the sentences would have no intellectual value. I could go on and list more examples, but I'll save you the time. It's clear that these articles were never meant to be read.

They list authors who do not exist... when links are clicked for their websites (example below: www.effective-hypnotherapy.com), you are directed to a page like this:


Clearly, this website does not exist.

Now, the sheer magnitude of this gargantuan effort on behalf of Chantix (or whoever) should stop you in your tracks. Here are the facts:
  • One very pro-Chantix article is being posted hundreds of times all over the internet.
  • The author is attempting to portray himself as an impartial blogger/consumer.
  • Entire websites are being created to make this one article appear legitimate.
  • These websites contain links to other sites that do not exist.
  • The authors of the articles appearing on these websites do not actually exist.
  • Chantix is being marketed by any means necessary.
Here is the point: Chantix is currently being taken by more than 8 million people worldwide. The profits are in the billions. They market Chantix to you via TV commercials with a cute little turtle.



Now, having realized that internet blogs and articles can reach millions more potential customers, they have resorted to the most hated of all marketing ploys - spamming. They deceptively post the same exact article on hundreds of fake blogs all over the internet in the hopes that someone will click on the article and view it as an honest opinion from an individual.

So, who is "they?" Well, all you have to do is ask "who benefits?" Who benefits from you taking Chantix? Well, Pfizer, of course, as well as others who might make a profit from being middle men.



Here is a company facing lawsuit after lawsuit for the damaging effects of its drugs, now promoting a drug that in 2008 has been linked to seizures, violent accidents, depression and numerous cases of suicide. Heck, these lawsuits are so numerous, a quick internet search will show dozens of law firms that actually specialize in lawsuits for users/victims of Chantix.

When deciding what method to use in order to stop smoking, you have to ask yourself - Who is pushing me to use this particular method? What kind of individual is this? Can this person or organization be trusted? Does this person actually exist?

I've always made it clear on this blog that hypnosis is not the answer for everyone, and it in fact is not a magic pill. However, there are no deadly or harmful side-effects to using hypnosis... none whatsoever. Furthermore, the average hypnotherapist doesn't have a fraction of the budget Pfizer has... or the moral ambiguity... that allows it to go to absurd lengths to get anyone and everyone to use its product.

So go do a little search for the mysterious Chris James and see for yourself.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Chantix "The Worst Drug"

Here's another first-hand account of the dangerous psychotic side-effects of the anti-smoking pharmaceutical creation known as Chantix (and Champix in the U.K.).

Click the headline above or the link below for the full story.

Gardena, CA: For some patients, the two words go together all too well: Chantix suicide is not an abstract phenomenon for these people. In fact, it is a very real possibility. Mitchell W. says he was surprised by the Chantix side effects he suffered, especially since he had not experienced any side effects during an earlier round of the anti-smoking drug. While Mitchell did not even attempt to commit suicide, he certainly had thoughts about doing so. Luckily, he recognized what was happening and got help before it was too late. Sadly, some patients do not get help in time, and for their families Chantix and suicide are forever intertwined.



"I actually took Chantix in December 2006, for 3 weeks," Mitchell says. "I guess I didn't take it long enough to notice any problems, but after 3 weeks I was cut off by the government from having it paid for. So then, in 2008—I think I took it in about October—I took Chantix for 5 weeks. By the second week, Chantix made me so tired all day long that all I could do was sit in my recliner with my head back and my eyes closed. Every so often I would try to go to bed and sleep, but it wouldn't let me sleep.

"That went on for weeks and weeks until finally it messed up my sleep cycle so badly that I couldn't sleep at all at night. After 5 weeks of that, I was so depressed I was suicidal. I know all about that because I've been bipolar for 30 years plus, so I made a run into my psychiatrist's office. She took me off Chantix, but because of my HMO, I couldn't check into the psychiatric hospital and keep myself safe until my new meds kicked in."

Mitchell says that it took 3 months until he felt better. "It was 3 months of depression—severe depression. I had thoughts of suicide, of stepping in front of a big rig on the freeway or hanging myself from the bridge. Things like that. I've got 30 years with my illness, so I've learned the triggers and what they mean and how to ignore them."

Click here for the full story.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

FREE Stop Smoking Hypnosis Event on January 4th

Ladies, gentlemen, wannabe non-smokers... here's your chance: get your New Year's Resolutions started off with a BANG in 2009. I'll be offering a FREE event in honor of World Hypnotism Day on January 4th, which is a Sunday... perfect to get your week started on the right foot.



This event will include a group hypnosis session to help all attendees stop smoking on the spot. All who attend will also qualify for a complimentary followup session in my Marietta office. The total value of these services is anywhere from $150-$500 or more, so if you're serious about quitting and your budget is tight, this could be your Golden Ticket.

Check back with this blog for details on time and location, and register for this event here: http://www.meetup.com/Metro-Atlanta-s-Stop-Smoking-Solution/calendar/9279995/

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Chantix Problems in Britain

Found this article yesterday and thought I'd share the most interesting bits with you here. It actually details problems with Chantix all over the world, not only in the UK.

Click the headline above or the link at the bottom for the full article.

-------------------

The controversial smoking cessation drug known as Chantix in the U.S., was introduced by Pfizer as Champix nearly two years ago in Great Britain. The drug is known generically as varenicline in both countries and, in Great Britain, about 400,000 prescriptions have been written says BBC News’ online site. Internationally, says the BBC, about nine million prescriptions have been written.

The BBC explains that Chantix is a nicotine-mimicking drug that enables the body to reduce its urge for cigarettes while also reducing its withdrawal symptoms. However, in studies, the drug did not provide increased efficacy over other methods of smoking cessation. Despite this, notes the BBC, Pfizer earned over $883 million from the drug in its first year.

In Britain, according to the piece, over 3,000 people have “complained about adverse reactions to Champix,” with nearly 200 reporting suicidal reactions, 16 attempting suicide and 10 succeeding in committing suicide.

The BBC investigation led to similar findings in the U.S. with one man creating a night-long scene of fighting with his girlfriend and with a handgun, causing an armed, police stand-off. All this occurred after the man, an Iraq vet with post-traumatic stress, had taken Chantix for only a few days.

The BBC also discussed a father of three who killed himself with a shotgun to his mouth, another man who killed himself with a shot to the head, and a mother who hanged herself. All three were on the drug and none had prior psychiatric history.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said it linked 37 suicides to Chantix.

Meanwhile, MedPageToday.com, also reported that Chantix has been linked with over 1,000 adverse events that include 50 deaths, in the first quarter of this year alone.

Since its approval in 2006, Chantix has been associated with 3,325 reported serious injuries in this country that include 112 deaths, the institute said, according to MedPageToday.com. Because the FDA’s post-market surveillance system is voluntary, the report may be underestimating actual figures.

Click here for the full article.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chantix and Suicide

Here's an article with first-hand information about the dangers of Chantix and how it can affect you psychologically. This, along with the lawsuits currently being brought against the drug in both the US and the UK (marketed there are "Champix," perhaps because it's supposed to turn you into a "Champ"), paints a pretty scary picture of what could happen if you begin taking it.

This is a drug so dangerous that it has been banned by the FAA, as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, mainly because it has been linked to seizures that cause a driver (or potentially a pilot) to lose control of his vehicle.



My recommendation, as always, is to find a way to quit smoking that doesn't involve putting more drugs into your system. I know, I know... that seems like a crazy idea in today's world... but there it is.

Taking a dangerous drug to cure an addiction to a dangerous drug simply doesn't make sense.

Here's a portion of the article. The link to the full article follows below.

Chantix Suicide a Real Possibility
November 22, 2008. By Heidi Turner

Mound, MN: Amy M. can tell you that the possibility of a Chantix suicide is very real, especially for people who already experience depression. She was on Chantix for just over a week when she began suffering serious side effects. Amy has since stopped taking Chantix, but says she is worried about other people who may be severely affected by the drug.

"Before I started taking Chantix, I called the doctor. I have borderline personality and anxiety disorder and depression. I am being treated for all of them and I'm doing fine. I see a counselor and the only medication I was on was 50 mg of Zoloft. I read all the side effects of Chantix and told the doctor that it sounded a little risky, but she wanted me to try taking it anyway.

"So, I started on August 21, 2008. On August 29, 2008, I called the Chantix hotline because I had that support system in place. I was a frantic mess. They [the Chantix hotline alerted the health department to Amy's situation and passed along their notes] wrote down that I had irritability, I was screaming and crying, I was out of control and depressed, I felt like killing myself and I was yelling at everyone around me. I was afraid to eat and I could not sleep. There was probably much more than that, but I do know that I wanted to kill myself and I was out of control. I don't remember everything I said because I was so out of it, but I know I was frantic.

"Then, on September 2 [after moving up to 2 Chantix pills a day] I really went out of control. I called my mom and she told me to get to the ER because I told her I wanted to kill myself and I was screaming and crying. I went to the ER and they asked me if I would kill myself. I said that I would not, which was why I had gone to the ER, so they gave me Ativan. The doctor felt it was safe to let me go because I was not psychotic. I was to take one Ativan every 8 hours until the Chantix was out of my system. Two days after the Chantix was out of my system, I was 100 percent back to myself.

"I would not recommend this drug to anybody. I have heard good and bad about and I am very afraid that it will take someone's life. If this can happen to me, it can happen to multiple people. I can't believe how bad it is. It's not good."

Click here for the full article.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Great American Smokeout is Today

Today marks the 33rd Annual Great American Smokeout, an event originally intended to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the American Cancer Society's website is built to funnel wannabe ex-smokers into NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) and even drugs like Chantix.



There is a brief paragraph on hypnosis on the site, but it's on a secondary page and is mentioned almost as an afterthought... sort of like "well, the results of hypnosis are inconclusive, but hey... if you want to try it go ahead."

Now, it's become sort of a mission of mine to point out the dangers of Chantix, and to an extent, the other prescription drugs created to assist with smoking cessation. In spite of the warnings on the labels and in commercials, the public remains largely unaware of just how serious the side-effects can be.

As you can find elsewhere on this blog as well, Chantix is currently involved in multiple lawsuits related to users who committed suicide shortly after taking it. There have also been cases where seizures have occurred and led to auto accidents, which is why the Federal Aviation Administration banned its pilots from using the drug earlier this year.


Regardless of the outcome of these lawsuits (which, if like other lawsuits brought against Pfizer and the other Big Pharma giants, will likely end in settlements), the plain truth is that it simply isn't worth the risk.

There are just too many other ways to quit smoking that don't involve imbibing chemicals that interact with your psychology.

So, if you want to quit smoking, cross Chantix, Zyban and Wellbutrin off your list. You are strong enough and resourceful enough to quit without them.

You don't need NRT, either. There is overwhelming evidence that the majority of the addiction to smoking is mental, not physical. NRT methods only address physical symptoms; they do nothing to address the myriad associations you have with smoking, nor do they address your beliefs and attitudes related to smoking, which are powerful factors in determining your long-term success in becoming a non-smoker.

To put it simply - your body isn't nearly as addicted to cigarettes as is your mind. Once the mind forgets about the habit, whatever physical attachments remain are insignificant. It's just like going to the movies and, while absorbed in the story, forgetting about smoking until the movie is over and you exit the theatre, There is no battle with will power; no cravings or withdrawal.

When you deal with the mental aspect, quitting becomes far easier. For those with a sincere desire to quit, and who are through making excuses or rationalizations, the mental adjustment is enough to get through the stressful situations or other negative emotional experiences that would otherwise lead to relapse.

To be fair, the American Cancer Society's website does recommend counseling sessions for smoking cessation. However, it also says that the greater the length and frequency of the sessions, the greater your chances for success. That's just not true.

Whenever I discuss my clients' experiences, please keep in mind that I am not endorsing hypnosis as a magical cure-all that works 100% of the time. The truth is that what is discussed and covered during a session of hypnotherapy, in combination with the techniques employed, is what determines the individual's success.

That said, the majority of my clients are successful quitting after one session lasting approximately 1.5 hours. This success has been measured over time, with many of them now smoke-free for three, four and five or more years. They haven't had another puff after that initial session.

Remember that when you see another commercial telling you that, because you've been smoking a long time, it should take a long time to quit.

Nonsense.

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have at your disposal. So if you've chosen today as your stopping point, don't give your brain a chemical cocktail of pharmceutical drugs; instead, let it operate at its maximum capacity and lead you to success naturally.

Hypnosis is one of many ways to achieve that outcome. Find one that suits you and you'll be on your way to success.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quit Smoking, Save a Grand?

Keep in mind that the numbers in the story below are conservative... meaning that they are based on an average for all smokers in a given state. For example, they point out that in Delaware, where residents smoke more than in any other state, the average smoker spends nearly $1000/year on cigarettes.



That number is based on an average of 185 packs in a year. Therefore, if you smoke one pack per day, you're spending roughly twice that amount per year (for those of you without calculators, that's about $2000/year).

For more info on the true cost of smoking, see the results of this study by Duke University that put the cost closer to $40/pack. I commented on this story myself just a short while ago as well.

Here's the story from Forbes.com:

What You'll Save By Quitting Smoking
Francesca Levy, 11.12.08, 04:00 PM EST
A state-by-state look at the dollars kept by kicking the habit.

Most smokers already know that they can help preserve their health, hygiene and personal relationships by kicking the habit, and that holds true across the country. But in strictly financial terms, smokers in Delaware stand to save the most cash by quitting.

That's because in Delaware, where a pack of cigarettes costs about $5.39, residents smoke more than in any other state--just over 185 packs per year. That comes out to $998.23 spent individually on smoking every year.


Click here for the full story at Forbes.com.

Friday, November 14, 2008

12 Reasons to Really Quit Smoking

Let me preface this by saying that I've never met a smoker who wasn't already aware of the risks. However, what many smokers admit is that they simply don't think about (i.e. ignore) these risks, because they know that if they did give them more than a moment's thought, it would be very difficult to rationalize that next cigarette.

Here, I'll simply list the 12 reasons. The full article is available at the US News and World Report website.



1. It fogs the mind.
2. It may bring on diabetes.
3. It invites infections.
4. It may stultify a sex life
5. It may lead to wrinkles...everywhere. [including the hind quarters]
6. It may hasten menopause.
7. It may dull vision.
8. It hurts bones.
9. It may injure the insides.
10. It may stifle sleep.
11. It shaves years—and quality— off life.
12. It's tied to lots of cancers!

I want to close by mentioning something important about #11 on this list. From the article...

"Men who have never smoked live on average 10 years longer than their peers who smoke heavily, according to an October report in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Moreover, they enjoyed a higher quality of life throughout those extra years, throwing sand in the face of the old smokers' defense that an early death is a small price to pay for a lifetime of pleasure . The study's Finnish authors drew their conclusion after scrutinizing data on more than 1,600 men tracked for nearly 30 years."



This caught my attention in particular because my best friend in the world used to use this defense for continuing to smoke. He would joke around and say "yeah, it might shave off a few years at the end of my life... but those are the worst years anyway."

That gave me a laugh at the time, but the truth is that it doesn't quite work that way. Not only will you die sooner, but the last years of your life are likely to be spent coughing, hacking, having difficulty breathing, possibly strapped to a hospital bed or slowly fading away in a nursing home.

I'm happy that my friend did eventually quit. He had some serious health problems a few years back, and he found out that he absolutely hates being in the hospital... even for a few days.

Imagine spending a few weeks, months or years sitting alone in that uncomfortable bed, eating that lousy food, watching reruns on that TV up on the wall, breathing through the tubes running out of your nostrils, unable to go where you want to go or do what you want to do for the remainder of your life.

It's not as easy to light up that next one when you're looking at things honestly.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Remedy for Hard Times: Cigarettes and Big Mac's?

Please note the sarcasm in the above headline.

[yes, hypnotherapists are permitted to have a sense of humor]

I found this story today from Reuters, wherein we discover that due to the increased stress of the financial crisis and struggling economy, smokers are lighting up more often. Even a few non-smokers are falling off the wagon, citing the economy and stress as reasons for resuming the habit. More on Mickey D's follows below...

Check it out:

Hard Times Prompt Americans to Increase Smoking

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Stress caused by a slowing economy, shrinking retirement accounts and rising unemployment rates is driving some American smokers to increase the habit or delay quitting, according to a new survey.

A quarter of smokers who are worried about the economy said fretting over it has driven them to smoke more each day, while
another 13 percent said they have delayed quitting.


What's that? Smoking has become cool again?

"The turbulent global stock markets have caused virtually every American a certain level of stress. Those who also struggle with an addiction to tobacco products are at an increased disadvantage as they contemplate quitting, or feel the urge to smoke more cigarettes," Cheryl Healton, the president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation, said in a statement.


View the full story here.

If that weren't bad enough... on the very same day, I see this headline on the Drudge Report:

McDonald's Same-Store Sales Rise 8.2 Percent



NEW YORK (AP) -- Consumers worldwide who are watching their spending bought more burgers and chicken breakfast biscuits at McDonald's in October, leading to a big rise in sales at established locations for the fast-food leader.

Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

Now listen, I understand that times are tough. Unemployment is up, there are bills to pay, credit card debt is piling up, and you just don't know what the heck you're going to do about it.

One thing is certain, though - poisoning yourself with cigarettes and greasy food is not the answer. These things make you feel worse, not better... that's in the short-term and the long-term.

If you're going to cut corners, cut out the $4/day nicotine habit. Replace it with a decent, home-cooked meal. You'll not only feel better immediately, your body will reward you down the road:

You won't get sick as often.
When you do get sick, it won't be as bad or as long.
You'll have more energy.
You'll look better.

I could really go on, but the very simple point is that these crutches don't work. Cigarettes don't eliminate stress... they just distract you for a few minutes. The problems return as soon as you put it out (oh, I know... you clever ones will say "that means you just light up another one!"... but there's really no need to try to reason with you).

Your financial difficulties are going to be best addressed when you're healthy and in a good frame of mind. Try relaxing a bit - naturally. Eat a healthy meal. Find the best, most efficient method of quitting the smoking habit and do it right away. The money you save on cigarettes will add up quickly, no matter how much you spend to quit.

Oh, and go watch the documentary "Super-Size Me"... that'll cure your McDonald's addiction very quickly.

Hypnosis No Sure Way to Quit Smoking

To your surprise, I whole-heartedly agree with that headline. There IS no "sure way to quit smoking," but there are ways that are better than others.

First, I'll post this brief article from Harvard Professor Dr. Michael Craig Miller that appears today in the Denver Post. Afterwards, I'll comment.



Here's the letter (click here for the original story at the Denver Post):

Q: I've smoked for 20 years and want to quit. A friend recommended a hypnotist but it scares me. Does hypnosis work? How can I find out if this hypnotist is qualified and reliable?

A: Hypnosis is one of the oldest forms of psychotherapy in the Western world. It may also be the most misunderstood, given its association with entertainers and charlatans. But, in fact it is a specialized form of meditation and a relaxation technique.


Hypnosis involves focusing attention inward and using your imagination and positive mental images to alter your perceptions. It's similar to what happens when you daydream or meditate, and are unaware of what's going on around you. It may seem as if you're in a trance, but hypnosis is actually a heightened state of concentration.

The aim is to focus the mind on a specific image, sensation or goal while ignoring distractions. This tends to make you more open to suggestions that can help with treatment.
Clinicians have proposed many uses, but it is most helpful for treating pain and anxiety. The studies evaluating the effectiveness of hypnosis for smoking cessation show a mixed picture.

Some studies suggest that hypnosis might help you stop smoking by reducing cravings, bolstering willpower or increasing motivation to take care of your health. Hypnosis can be used to soothe yourself while you have a craving. It also can help you replace your preoccupation with smoking with thoughts like, "I feel good about taking care of my body."


But a comprehensive review found that most of the current evidence is based on case reports or poorly designed studies. It concluded that hypnosis is no better than other interventions — or even no treatment at all — for increasing six-month quit rates.


I support your desire to find out more about the person who's doing the hypnotism. Many states do not regulate hypnotherapy. To make sure a therapist is qualified, ask if he or she is licensed (not just certified) to practice. Or check for membership in the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis or the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, two nationally recognized organizations for licensed professionals in this field.

Remember that the technique of hypnosis, which is intended to induce a meditative, focused state of mind, is easy to learn. You don't need any specialized training to invoke a soothing voice or to suggest focusing on some repetitive stimulus or a relaxing image.
But a hypnotherapist does need specialized mental health training to understand emotional and behavioral problems, to evaluate them and plan a treatment.

Most therapists who practice hypnosis employ it as one tool among many that they are trained to use.
Hypnosis, after all, is not magic. Rather, it's a specialized technique that may help you harness your brainpower to solve problems. And smoking cessation may be one of them.

--------------------

I would have to say that I agree with most of what Dr. Miller writes, right up to the point where he says that a "comprehensive review" (which he does not name or specify) "concluded that hypnosis is no better than other interventions - or no intervention at all," etc.

First of all, the methods used in the comprehensive review are extremely important. Who was doing the hypnotizing? How experienced or skilled was the hypnotist? What specific methods were used? Was NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) employed as well? Who were the subjects? What did subjects invest in the study? How many sessions were provided? Did subjects use self-hypnosis or a CD to reinforce the sessions?

Without knowing the answers to these and other important questions, the conclusions of this "comprehensive study" are questionable themselves.

Furthermore, by stating that hypnosis is "no better than other interventions," Dr. Miller is making a very grand statement. Nearly every other intervention used for smoking cessation involves taking harmful or addictive drugs that have dangerous side-effects. The patch, gum and lozenges all inject more addictive nicotine into your system, in spite of the fact that it may be in smaller amounts. You only need to do a quick Google search (or simply search this blog) to find that Chantix has been linked to seizures, violent tendencies, depression and suicide, as well as other side-effects. Wellbutrin is another powerful drug that produces a wide array of psychological effects on users.

Therefore, I'd have to say that hypnosis is most certainly better than other interventions, simply due to the fact that it has absolutely no dangerous side-effects. The only thing you risk with hypnotherapy is the possibility of losing a few hundred bucks. This is a far lesser risk than the possibility of becoming depressed or suicidal. Additionally, you just might learn something useful about how you can influence yourself through focused concentration.

Other inteventions promise a solution that comes from outside yourself... a shot, a drug, a patch, a pill, a laser, etc. Hypnosis is the only intervention that gives you the power to make the change yourself, and encourages you to take the responsibility for that change.

No one who quits via other methods will ever know what it feels like not only to be successful and free of the habit, but also to enjoy the sense of pride and accomplishment that goes along with being completely responsible for that success.

As for the question of a hypnotherapist being licensed by the state, your odds of finding such a hypnotherapist may not be so great. There are very few state-licensed therapists who specialize in hypnosis or smoking cessation. In fact, the reality is that if you do find a licensed therapist who also happens to practice hypnosis, it's likely they spend a very small percentage of their time actually hypnotizing people. It's not their bread-and-butter.

You are better off finding a hypnotherapist who hypnotizes people on a daily basis, and does nothing else. This is the kind of person who has the experience necessary to help you.

There's a grand misconception in this society that says you can't trust anyone who doesn't have a degree and fancy letters next to their name. The truth is that there are many competent people in all walks of life who do things exceedingly well. They may not have paid a university a hundred thousand dollars for the priviledge of being licensed, but they have the experience and the training that produce results.

I have no state license (there is no such requirement in the state of Georgia), and yet I have clients who haven't touched a cigarette in more than five years after one session of hypnosis... and those were my very first clients.

But a hypnotherapist does need specialized mental health training to understand emotional and behavioral problems, to evaluate them and plan a treatment.

Maybe, but what if you don't have "emotional and behavioral problems?" What if you're a well-adjusted, capable human being who just wants to stop smoking?

Most therapists who practice hypnosis employ it as one tool among many that they are trained to use.

This one is demonstrably false. "Most therapists who practice hypnosis" are hypnotherapists. One only need to attend the yearly National Guild of Hypnotists Conference to see that. Hypnotherapists may indeed have many tools, but they almost always use hypnosis.

Who would you want to hypnotize you -- a licensed therapist who does hypnosis only on rare occasions, or someone who hypnotizes people several times every day?

Hypnosis, after all, is not magic. Rather, it's a specialized technique that may help you harness your brainpower to solve problems. And smoking cessation may be one of them.

True and true. There is no sure way to do anything, and there is no magic fix. But don't mistake the headline of this letter as a statement that hypnosis can't help you. It can, if you have a sincere desire to quit and you find a therapist who knows what he or she is doing.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Anti-Smoking Drug Linked to 10 British Suicides

It seems that these stories are coming by far too often. Drugs which are supposed to treat depression and anxiety are causing people to become depressed and kill themselves.

I'll have more on this later. For now, here's the original story from the London Daily Mail:

--------------------------

By JO MACFARLANE
Last updated at 9:59 PM on 08th November 2008

Health chiefs have revealed that ten people have committed suicide after taking a controversial anti-smoking drug linked to depression.

The disclosure by the Government’s drugs watchdog is the first time officials have revealed the link between Champix and suicide in this country. Earlier this year, US authorities announced they were investigating 37 similar cases there.


Omer Jama with his nieces. It is thought he committed suicide as a result of taking the stop-smoking drug Champix.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) website says a total of 24 people taking the nicotine-replacement have died, of whom ten took their own lives.

A further 213 claimed they had experienced suicidal thoughts and 407 said they were suffering depression.

There is no evidence that Champix has been a factor in any of the deaths. However, some experts are concerned that the drug, used by almost half a million people in Britain, may cause depressive thoughts and mood swings.

Last April an inquest heard how TV producer Omer Jama, 39, slashed his wrists eight weeks after starting a course of pills. A toxicologist told the hearing: ‘There is a possibility he could have been influenced by the side-effects of the drug.’

Click here for the full story.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Give it a Shot?

Today I had a booth at a trade show, proudly displaying my hypnosis cd's, as well as sharing information about my private sessions to all who had an interest.

While I was there, my display caught the attention of an older man with a big round belly. He quickly struck up a conversation with me, telling me that, using "the shot," he quit smoking a year ago after smoking a pack a day for more than 48 years... and he hasn't touched one since.



While he was certainly happy at his success and the benefits it has brought, he did mention a strange side-effect... that he immediately began noticing shortness of breath within a week of quitting. That shortness of breath remains, and he's looking for help with that issue. Also, he quickly put on about 30 pounds... by his own account within just a couple months.

He said that he was completely exhausted for about three weeks following the shot (actually three shots: one behind each ear, and one in the arm), and couldn't really do much of anything.

I encourage every smoker who'd like to quit to seek out all the information available before making a choice as to what method is the best fit. I always come back to hypnosis because it's one of the only available methods that is not only effective when administered properly, but is also devoid of any negative side-effects.

Apparently, the shot has been effective for quite a few people. Of course, there will always be those who experience no benefits... just as is the case with hypnosis.

The key is always that you, the wannabe non-smoker, bring all your desire and will to the table. Do that, and one method or another will eventually help you reach your goal.

I happen to practice hypnotherapy, and having seen the success my clients have enjoyed, I am understandably biased. For me, you just can't beat a method that is non-invasive, involves no needles, injections, drugs, nicotine-replacement or side-effects, is extremely relaxing and allows you to enjoy feeling a sense of pride at having taken responsibility for your own situation and all the ensuing success.

Oh, and you just might lose a few pounds... rather than packing them on.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Stop Smoking Hypnosis: How it Works

The YouTube video below is a podcast in which I describe in detail how my Stop Smoking Hypnosis program actually works, what you can expect and whether or not it could work for you.

So take a look and have a listen. This should answer some, if not all, of your questions.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Smokers See Decline In Ability To Smell, Rise In Laryngitis

ScienceDaily (Nov. 3, 2008) — As Americans prepare for a day without cigarettes and tobacco products as part of the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout (R) (November 21), new research gives them more reasons to extend that break to a lifetime, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF).



Among the new research presented at the organization's annual meeting in September 2008 are studies that link cigarette smoking and upper airway symptoms ("smoker's nose"), the loss of smokers' ability to smell common odors, and most alarming, the role second-hand smoke plays in the rise of cases of "environmental laryngitis."

The first study, presented by Norwegian researchers, reveals that among 2,294 patients being evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea, snoring, or nose-related issues, smokers were 12 to 27 percent higher than non-smokers in 8 of the 13 possible symptoms. The researchers believe that quitting smoking should be a primary therapeutic measure for patients with these upper airway ailments.

Click here for the full story at Science Daily.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What happens when I have a few drinks?

This is a very common question that comes up with more than 50% of my clients seeking to quit smoking. Smoking and drinking have gone hand-in-hand for so long, and having a few drinks tends to loosen the inhibitions so much, that they find it hard to believe they can have a few drinks without lighting up.



The very first client I helped to quit smoking, more than five years ago, had that very same concern. He was successful immediately following his first session, and when he came back for his follow-up a week later, he said he was doing great. However, he was worried because some old college friends were coming to town for the weekend and they were going to be out drinking. Some of them were smokers, so he wondered, in spite of how great he was doing, what would happen once the drinks were flowing and the smoke was in the air.

We incorporated that possibility and prepared him for it during the session. He emailed the next week that all went well, and a while after that he sent me this message:

"Sean,

I want to thank you so much for helping me quit smoking. I smoked cigarettes for 14 years, and was beginning to believe that I would never be able to quit. I had tried everything from quitting cold turkey, to the patch, to gum, to nicotine lozenges... EVERYTHING! To make it even more difficult, I was an "all-day smoker," averaging a pack or more a day. So, I associated smoking with all facets of my life.

As much of a skeptic as I can be, I was very reluctant to try hypnosis. However, having now gone through your program, I am reaching my 4-month anniversary without so much as a single puff. I have no desire to start the habit again, and in fact, have recommended you to many of my friends so they can quit, too.

Thanks again, Sean, for helping me breathe freely again!

Here's to a healthy future!!

Cheers!"

-L.M.
Atlanta, GA

--------------

I've stayed in touch with him through the years, and I'm proud to say that he still hasn't had a puff in what has now been more than 5 and a half years.

When you quit smoking with my program, I don't just tell you to close your eyes and suggest that cigarettes will taste bad, I have to get to know you first. Once I understand the nature of your habit and your most important concerns, we incorporate them into the work we do.

Because of that, the message is personal, meaningful and motivating for you as an individual. You are like no one else, and because of that, you have your own reasons and motivations for making this choice.

When you're finished with this program, you're prepared for anything and everything... even a few drinks.

"It's harder to have cancer than it is to quit smoking"

As you may or may not know, November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month. I found a story over at About.com that will be of massive interest to anyone, especially those of you who are struggling to stop smoking.



Here's a brief excerpt. I highly encourage you to click the link below to continue reading the full story.

Hi Everyone,

My name is Cheryl, and I have been here before in one of my many attempts to stop smoking. I believe I lasted 3 months that time.


This is a very good site for great information and support. This site, and the good people I knew here, did not fail me. I failed myself. It just wasn't enough for me. I went back out to smoke yet again.


Of course I had reasons why my quit attempts did not work. They were many and varied, but the bottom line was this: I didn't try hard enough.


...Nicotine withdrawal was too hard.
...I figured I could always try again.

...I had plenty of time.

...People in my family never had cancer, and they all smoked, so I was safe.


I was diagnosed with limited small cell lung cancer and squamous third stage B, on November 19, 2003. It's inoperable and incurable. I had finally pushed my luck as far as my body could handle.

Full story: http://quitsmoking.about.com/cs/ourstories/a/cheryl.htm

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Doctors Lack Smoking Cessation Training

Here's a new story I found yesterday at Forbes.com (click the headline above for the full story). This is no surprise. Doctors have been trained to do many things with a high degree of skill, but helping people quit smoking is not one of them.

"It found that 87 percent to 93 percent of doctors and other health-care workers receive less than five hours of training on tobacco dependence," says a study at the North Shore-LIJ Health System Center for Tobacco Control in Great Neck, N.Y.



This is especially important to recognize, as many people put the utmost faith and trust in their doctors when it comes to anything related to their health. As for their "training," the less than five hours could be anything from 0.0 hours up to 4.99. It means that many of them receive absolutely no training at all.

"They surveyed 322 prescribers (physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants) and 278 nonprescribers (pharmacists, registered nurses, social workers, counselors, respiratory therapists, and students)."

The best luck a person will likely have in seeking assistance from one's doctor is that he will prescribe a form of nicotine replacement like the patch, gum or lozenges... or perhaps he'll prescribe a drug like wellbutrin.

This is what doctors are trained to do.

To their credit, many doctors continually recommend that their patients quit smoking, lose weight and exercise more. The understand that taking a proactive approach is the most effective way to stay healthy. "An apple a day," as the saying goes.



However, there's a big difference between making recommendations and actually teaching someone how to make such significant changes. I can recommend you go to the dentist, but I can't do the root canal myself. I'm not trained for it. Likewise, doctors can recommend you quit smoking, but they can't help you quit.

Many people lack faith in practitioners of alternative therapies because they lack the fancy credentials awarded by esteemed institutions. It's important to consider the background and training of anyone in whom you're going to place your trust, especially with regard to your health.

However, it has been my experience that many people who have been stuck in one form of therapy or another for years (and years), whether with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other state-licensed counselor, have noticed little or no positive change.

After all of these "official" therapies fail, they call a hypnotherapist. Quite often, they notice benefits immediately -- actual changes in thought, feeling and behavior.

If you have a broken arm, see a doctor. If you have a toothache, see a dentist. If you want to stop smoking, lose weight or banish a phobia, see a hypnotherapist.

It's what we're trained to do.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Does Quitting Make You Think Bad Thoughts?

Ever noticed yourself becoming so irritable while trying to quit that you had a desire to become violent? Maybe you were just focusing on some very negative thoughts.

Here's an interview with a client of mine who quit smoking with the assistance of my Stop Smoking hypnosis CD... and thankfully, he didn't listen to those voices in his head just prior to using it (listen just a couple minutes in for the specifics).

This is a man who realized he'd spent over $10,000 on cigarettes in the past eight years, and just decided that it was time to stop. While you're watching this, you may find yourself wondering: "How much have I spent on cigarettes throughout the years?"

Enjoy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don't Expect Help Paying for Hypnosis

Many of my prospective clients ask if I accept various forms of insurance as payment, and while I would certainly welcome the support and participation of insurance companies with hypnosis and other alternative forms of therapy, the answer is typically "no."

It's not that I choose not to accept insurance, it's that insurance companies refuse to cover most alternative forms of therapy. Now this is a topic deserving of a lengthy article and discussion in its own right, but for now, I wanted to bring attention to this recent story from the state of Nebraska.

Neb. officials expect 3000+ to take advantage of quit help
Associated Press - October 25, 2008 2:35 PM ET

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - State officials estimate that about 3,130 Nebraskans will take advantage of the new Medicaid coverage for smoking cessation from December through the end of June.

But their chances to quit with help from Medicaid won't be limitless.

During the course of a year, Medicaid will cover two attempts by a person to quit smoking, allowing a maximum of 2, 90-day supplies of drugs. A maximum of 4 counseling sessions per year will be covered, and patients must enroll and participate in the state's Tobacco Free Quitline.

Hypnosis and other alternative treatments will not be covered. [my emphasis]

------------

This is not at all surprising.

Excuse my sarcasm (I'm sure you are aware that hypnotherapists aren't allowed to be cynical), but this is very typical. When it comes to health care, your tax dollars will only be spent on therapy supported by drugs and funneled through to the pharmaceutical industry.

If you think this viewpoint is cynical, consider the facts in the article. Medicaid will cover a 6-month supply of drugs for more than 3,000 Nebraskans, but only 4 counseling sessions. So who is going to receive the majority of these funds?

Hint: it's not your friendly neighborhood counselor.

I feel the need to continually remind the readers of this blog that simply because I'm a hypnotherapist, and thereby interested in generating new business to make a profit, doesn't mean I believe hypnosis will work for everyone, or that wellbutrin or other drugs don't help people to stop smoking.

I do, however, believe in freedom of choice in health care... that you, the individual, should be able to choose whatever form of assistance you desire in your effort to become healthier. If these companies were genuinely interested in your well-being, they would cover any and all forms of therapy, like hypnosis and acupuncture, that have been demonstrated to be effective.

It's unfortunate that an individual who would like to stop putting poisons (nicotine) into his/her body, when asking his insurance company for assistance, is told that they will only pay for him/her to do so by consuming even more drugs (the patch, the gum, wellbutrin, etc.)... all provided, of course, by Big Pharma.



So whether you choose hypnotherapy, acupuncture or any other alternative form of therapy that doesn't require you to continue to put drugs into your body, chances are you'll be paying out of your own pocket. I tell my clients to think of it as an investment, because really... the returns outweigh the expenditures exponentially.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

You Don't Have to Become a Jerk!

In all my years of helping people to stop smoking, this roadblock comes up as often as any other. My clients will talk about how, in the past, when they tried to stop smoking, they became moody, irritable and ill-tempered.

Yes, in their own estimation, they simply turned into great big jerks.













Don't make people cry because you're a jerk.


So you want to quit, but you don't want to be in a bad mood, you don't want to put on an extra 20 pounds, and you don't want to feel stressed, nervous or anxious all the time.

If you take a look at some of the most popular methods used for smoking cessation, several of them attempt to address those physical feelings that directly cause you to start acting like a jerk (sorry, no scientific data to back up that assertion, nor is any needed).

Here are a few options that can help you feel more relaxed:
  • Laser Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Wellbutrin (or similar drugs)
  • Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy
Now let's talk about how each of these options have been demonstrated to work.

Laser therapy and acupuncture work in similar ways. They cause you to feel more relaxed, which can be of tremendous value to someone who's been smoking for quite a long time. The feelings of stress, anxiousness and irritability are generally what smokers refer to when they talk about having a craving. If these feelings are reduced, the cravings are likely reduced.

However, many of my clients have told me that although they felt more relaxed, they continued to have a desire to smoke after trying these therapies. You see, because most people try hypnosis as a last resort, I get to hear about their failed attempts at using all the other methods.

Wellbutrin has worked for many people, however as with most pharmaceutical drugs, it also has some negative and dangerous side-effects. All one has to do is visit www.askapatient.com to hear it from the horse's mouth. Here's one quote from someone who used wellbutrin and who had experienced some success:

"However, now at the end of 3 months, I am feeling extremely depressed, to the point even of contemplating suicide--very unlike me. I also have bouts of extreme almost uncontrollable anger."

Here are two more from people who recently began using wellbutrin:

"had my first panic attack on this drug. shortly after starting it was diagnosed with high blood pressure (at 28)."

"I can't concentrate on anything, I feel like I can't think. I'm dizzy all the time, and nauseous. I have a constant headache in my temple."

There are literally hundreds of similar responses (just at this one website), with more being added every day. Needless to say, even if you stop smoking (which is nowhere near a guarantee), the side-effects should give you pause.

Laser therapy and acupuncture do some of the same things that hypnotherapy can do -- mainly taking away some of the stress and anxiety that often lead smokers to relapse -- but what they don't provide is what generally leads even those who experience short-term success to eventually pick up the habit again... your thoughts.

No matter how relaxed you feel, there are certain times of day, situations, locations, etc., that remind a smoker that he/she used to smoke. Even when the individual is feeling calm and relaxed, if the thought remains, the likelihood increases that a relapse will occur.

Hypnosis, when performed correctly by a trained professional, is the only available method that adequately addresses all the factors that contribute to smoking.
  • Physical feelings (stress, anxiety, etc.)
  • Associations (after meals, while driving, etc.)
  • Thoughts (self-talk, unconscious visualization)
When you not only feel relaxed, but also understand how to focus your attention in a way that allows you to forget about smoking most of the time, while changing how you think about smoking on the rare occasions when it does enter into your consciousness, well... that's what brings about long-term success.

So, if you want to quit smoking but you don't want to become a big jerk, there are several options available to you. It's up to you to choose which is best for you. Hopefully, the information provided here (although not entirely unbiased) will help you make a decision that will allow you to feel confident that you're investing your money wisely.

Be more like this person when you quit:









Because hey, the world has enough jerks already, right?