Self-help can be a valuable option for people who want to quit smoking. We present the most effective protocols.
Last update: 24 March, 2022
Smoking is the first cause of death we can eradicate today. The damage that this harmful habit causes to health is widely known. Although they have proven effective smoking cessation procedures, the percentage of smokers who benefit is minimal. For this reason, self-help programs to quit smoking are proposed as a useful alternative.
These self-administered measures are aimed at addressing numerous aspects of health and personal development. However, due to the lack of rigor, self-help often proves to be ineffective.
The truth, however, is that when based on empirically validated clinical programs it can deliver very positive results. And this is the case with those aimed at smokers.
What are self-help programs for quitting smoking?
Self-help to quit smoking consists of self-administered protocols based on proven clinical programs. In other words, it is the adaptation of treatments and techniques used successfully in conventional intensive care. However, in this case, they can be applied by the patient himself.
What are the benefits?
Smoking cessation self-help programs were born out of the need to reach a larger sector of the smoking population. Clinical resources are not suitable for all individuals who maintain this habit, instead theself-help allows you to reach more people more easily and at a much lower cost.
In addition to this, many people who want to quit smoking prefer to avoid contact with a therapist. These programs allow everyone to follow their own pace, without having to move from home or meet face to face with the professional.
What disadvantages do they have?
This alternative, however, also has several drawbacks. In the first place, the person needs a great motivation to be able to reach the goal. This is because you become your own therapist.
On the other hand, as these are general protocols, not all individuals will feel equally identified with them. It is not possible to personalize an individual or intensive treatment; this can reduce the motivation of many people.
Types of self-help programs to quit smoking
The so-called self-help to quit smoking includes several strategies. The common element consists of written materials that guide the person through a series of techniques and exercises to quit the habit of smoking.
These manuals usually contain the "step by step" that the individual must follow to achieve the goal. However, there are some variations:
- Some programs consist solely of self-application of the manual, without any contact with a therapist. On the other hand, there are alternatives where the professional contacts the patient by telephone. This can only happen at the beginning or during the self-help journey.
- In some cases, in addition to the step-by-step manual, a bibliography is included to inform patients about smoking and increase their motivation to quit. Likewise, materials are provided to prevent relapse.
- There are several attempts to customize self-administered treatment in some way so as to make it more effective for the individual patient. We can therefore find different programs aimed at people of different gender and culture or who are at a different time in the path of change.
Are smoking cessation self-help programs effective?
Despite the infamous self-help technique sometimes has, it has proven to be very effective when it comes to smoking. Generalizing protocols so that they can be self-administered saves money, time and personnel costs. In light of this, many people can benefit from these programs.
They are simple, accessible and proven alternatives. However, for them to be effective, the patient must be motivated and the program must be somewhat individualized. Likewise, protocols in which regular telephone contact with the therapist is maintained achieve higher success rates. In general, it is a valid therapeutic alternative.