Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nurfika Osman

Hypnosis No Hocus-Pocus In Helping Smokers to Quit
A Jakarta-based psychiatrist claims that hypnosis can increase smokers’ chances of kicking the habit, and decrease their chances of kicking the bucket.

Tribowo Ginting, from the Smoking Cessation Clinic at the Persahabatan Pulmonary and Respiratory Hospital in East Jakarta, said on Monday that the alternative treatment could help some people quit smoking for whom willpower alone was not enough.

“Hypnosis and continued counseling will increase the chances of smokers giving up completely by as much as 30 percent,” Ginting claimed, adding that only about 5 percent of smokers were able to kick the habit without some form of help.

Ginting said that hypnosis was not the mind-control technique that was often depicted on television and in the media.

He said that hypnosis in medical treatment was about suggestion therapy.

“We are providing positive and negative suggestions to the patients so that they will enter the ‘undecided phase,’ ” Ginting said. “At this phase, we can help them stop smoking.”

Positive suggestions, he said, include the health benefits of stopping smoking, while negative suggestions cover the health risks of continuing the habit. Preaching the negative impacts alone, he said, is ineffective.

“We need to make them think, ‘Am I doing the right thing by smoking? Is it true that smoking is bad for my health? What do I get from smoking?’ ” he said.

Ginting said that due to the addictive nature of nicotine, which is up to 10 times stronger than morphine or cocaine, it could take between a month to a year or more for patients to fully stop smoking.

Besides regular counseling, Ginting said psychiatrists could also prescribe drugs to reduce patients’ cravings. He said that Varenicline was one of the safest drugs for reducing patients’ cravings.

According to data from the University of Indonesia’s Demographics Institute, in 2008 some 68 million Indonesians were active smokers and 427,948 people died nationwide from smoking-related illnesses, accounting for 22.5 percent of deaths in the country last year.

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