Do PTSD & ADHD make it hard to quit smoking?

Neither trauma nor specific learning difficulty/difference (SpLD) need prevent you from quitting easily.

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“How will I fill my time on quit day?”

You just need to do what you normally do, other than smoking. The belief that smoking somehow “fills time” or “relieves boredom” is flawed. When you’re smoking you’re not “doing” anything. There will be moments after you’ve quit, on the first day and afterwards, when you’ll be aware that something is missing, and it might occur to you that this might be a moment when you would previously have smoked, but as long as you’re happy to be free — those won’t be challenging moments.

“What should I do with my hands?”

You don’t smoke to give yourself something to do with your hands. See my answer above. You didn’t get into the habit of having cigarettes in your hand — which then caused you to get addicted you to nicotine! It’s the other way around, you got addicted to nicotine and subsequently got into the habit of having cigarettes in your hand. We make and break habits every day of our lives — the habitual thing is not why you smoke.

“What will I eat?”

You can just eat whatever you normally eat, whenever you normally eat it. Don’t assume that you’ll feel the need to eat instead of smoking. That’s called “substitution” and only happens to willpower quitters who feel they’re missing out on something and try to replace it with something else, normally food, candy, or drinks.

“I really felt like a moron for not ‘getting it’…”

You are definitely not a moron Hetty and the reason we offer free of charge advice to book readers all over the world is because some need a little extra help and guidance to get free.

Live Group Seminars — equally effective whether you “attend” in the room — or via Zoom

“What about those of us who must fidget and aren’t doing much all day”

I’d refer you to my earlier answer about filling time and boredom. This isn’t a function that smoking fills, and more importantly, isn’t why you smoke. Please do not compile a list of hand-items to fidget with physically (Rubik’s cube, tops, fidget spinners etc) let alone use them once you’ve stubbed out your final cigarette. Again, it’s a substitution kind of reaction, the sense that you’re bound to need something in place of a cigarette. You won’t. That starts with you understanding that smoking didn’t help you with this — so you really don’t need to replace it with anything (other than allow yourself to be amused, rather than worried, when you notice that “something is missing”).

“What about a list of healthy snacks to munch on when needed (not to replace smokes, but so we have something to do!)”

This is covered by my answers above — it would still be classic substitution activity and would ensure your failure rather than your success.



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John C. Dicey

Former 80-a-day smoker who was freed by Allen Carr. Now Global CEO & Senior Therapist at Allen Carr’s Easyway (since 1998) & co-author of Allen Carr books.