HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 7 (UPI) — Smokers trying to quit the habit can reduce their cravings with the right kind of thinking about the consequences of their addiction, U.S. researchers say.
Scientists at the Yale School of Medicine say thinking about the long-term effects of smoking can amp up the activity in the brain responsible for rational thought, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Saturday.
Research with smokers found that thinking about the long-term consequences decreased activity in the striatum — the area of the brain responsible for drug cravings and reward-seeking behavior –while increasing activity in the area associated with rational thought, the prefrontal cortex.
In other words, training yourself to think about long-term consequences, instead of short-term satisfactions, can help you control cravings, they said.
“Think about how a food commercial works, when you see a picture of a hot stack of pancakes,” Hedy Kober, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale, says. “People immediately think ‘That looks so good.’ They think about the immediate sensual experience. It’s the same with cigarettes.
“Craving is like a wave; it comes up and it gets really intense and goes away even if you don’t do anything,” Kober says. “But if smokers are taught what they can do in the moment, they can have control.”
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