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Dr. Mark King
Changing your habits can be hard, but the new year can be a good time to get a fresh start, said psychologist Mark King.
King was recently certified by the Mayo Clinic as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist and uses a combination of pharmaceuticals and psychotherapy to help people quit smoking for good.
"You can’t just use a single approach," King said. "It’s a physiological addiction."
Each person is unique, King said.
After an initial visit with a patient, he will make a recommendation to the person’s doctor for what medications may best help a patient quit.
Nicotine replacement products, like gums and patches, help people get the nicotine their brain desires.
"The withdrawal symptoms are what we’re treating," King said.
As time goes on, King reduces the amount of nicotine through other medications, which block nicotine from getting to the brain.
"It allows a certain amount of nicotine to get to the receptor," King said. "It’s very common to use the medications in tandem.
While treating the physical symptoms of nicotine addiction, King also works on the mental aspect of smoking.
"We always talk to them about relapse prevention," King said.
King said people who are not psychologically ready to quit are more prone to pick up a cigarette again.
Social situations that involve smoking, like having a cigar while playing golf, can be tempting for many former smokers.
"If I wasn’t psychologically ready, I would bargain and say ‘I think I can have that cigar today and it won’t throw me off too much,’" King said. "‘Then I’m going to enjoy it and tell myself I can control this.’"
King said the next group class will start Jan. 12.
"The keys to success for anyone is that you have to have knowledge, you have to have be prepared and you have to be motivated," King said.