Quitting smoking with behavior therapy: does it work?

CBTs are particularly effective in quitting smoking, but they require a lot of personal investment. Focus on this non-drug approach with Dr Philippe Guichenez, tobacco specialist.

For several years now you have been trying to quit smoking . You may have experimented with different methods, but none have worked so far . How about cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)? This non-drug approach aims to help people change behavior. A smoker will thus learn to manage his stress other than by smoking, not to crack at the sight of a cigarette … CBT is indicated in first intention in any individual in withdrawal. This is also the case in pregnant women. However, ” smoking cessation is difficult for pregnant women because there was often no personal approach before pregnancy.“, specifies Dr Philippe Guichenez, tobacco specialist at the Béziers hospital center.

But what does it actually consist of? In TBI , the patient and the doctor work together to understand and change the behavior that is causing the problem. Thus, a true therapeutic alliance is created. They will jointly recontextualize, reformulate, summarize the situation and reinforce positive behaviors. Each cigarette will also be analyzed to determine, for example, if it is a reward cigarette or a cigarette that regulates mood.

The therapist will also try to increase the patient’s motivation to quit smoking through various therapeutic methods. To do this, the smoker will, for example, list the advantages and disadvantages of continuing and stopping smoking, highlighting vicious circles, setting up constructive circles, writing a break-up letter … During a CBT , he will also highlight his automatic thoughts and specific solutions through Beck’s columns, which list ” the situation, the associated emotion, automatic thinking, alternative thinking, the new emotion and a new behavior “, explains the tobacco specialist.

During the sessions, summaries are regularly made both by the therapist and by the patient himself. At the same time, the latter must perform various tasks, such as completing a decisional balance, which will be analyzed during subsequent consultations.

Behavioral and cognitive therapy (CBT): carried out, for whom?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly recognized for its effectiveness in the treatment of phobias, anxiety, eating disorders or OCD. How is it going? Should you go see a psychiatrist or a psychologist? How long does the therapy last? Explanations with Dr Dominique Servant, psychiatrist.

Does it works ? ” This technique doubles the chances of success. It must be combined with a nicotine replacement or varenicline (contraindicated in pregnant women). It is also one of the rare scientifically validated non-drug approaches “, says Dr Guichenez. However, embarking on such therapy requires real motivation. The patient must in fact follow for a year, between 10 and 25 individual sessions, each lasting about 45 minutes. ” It is essential that the person is motivated because CBT requires a lot of personal work. He must want to be fully involved “.


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