Shock Therapy to Quit Smoking?

When I ran into my next-door-neighbor a few days ago outside my apartment, I mentioned that I hadn’t seen him or his wife for a while. “That’s because we quit smoking,” he said. They would always smoke outside and I admired their discipline in doing that. How did you quit? I asked. “She used Chantix and I got electroshock therapy in Bismarck at a chiropractic office for $44,” my neighbor said, watching for my reaction.

I don’t think he was disappointed — I was completely “shocked” to hear that news, since I had always associated shock therapy with something highly unpleasant, like from the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  So I had many questions — did it work? did you have any side effects? how did you hear about it?

He told me he hadn’t smoked for two months now and that he had had no side effects — he planned the treatment for a weekend just in case he did have any, but it turned out he didn’t have to worry about that. Originally, he had heard about from some of the guys he worked with that had it done, and he decided to give it a try.

Later that evening, I dug through one of my “junk” drawers and pulled my two boxes of nicotine lozenges. If I was going to quit, I would try the lozenges first definitely before (horrors) shock therapy. I am one of those who would be too frightened to get Lasik surgery, thinking that I would be part of the 1 percent who would go blind from it. So shock therapy? Are you kidding me now?

Well, just because I was curious, nothing more, I called the chiropractic office in Bismarck where the shock treatment is performed. The receptionist acted very casual about my questions: Yes, it’s only $44 and no, she’s never heard of any side effects. She mentioned they’ve been doing the shock therapy treatment to help people quit smoking since, believe it or not, 1989.

My neighbor quit smoking by getting electroshock therapy for $44 at a chiropractic office in Bismarck, N.D.

I doubt I would ever try to quit smoking the way my neighbor did, unless I was completely desperate. Nonetheless, I looked online for side effects of shock therapy, and one of them was short-term memory loss, say, the last two to three months of your life. Well, that would be the exact length of time I’ve been back in North Dakota after a long absence. I doubt my boss would be thrilled if I suddenly didn’t know her name and had forgotten all my training. So for now, I’ll keep glancing over at my box of nicotine lozenges.

Meanwhile, my neighbor keeps lining up new shock therapy recruits, sometimes driving them himself to Bismarck to get the treatments. And here I was thinking this was a story for the National Enquirer, but it ended up being one of my blog posts.

18 thoughts on “Shock Therapy to Quit Smoking?

  1. i would like to see you right a blog on the price differences from the oilfield to non oilfield towns in ND, such as Dickinson to Bismarck

  2. I can assure you that the “shock therapy” they are referring to is not the same procedure that you think it is. The procedure that is shown in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” is called Electroconvulsive therapy, or E.C.T. aka shock therapy. It is a medical procedure that is usually done in a hospital by a medical doctor who is trained to administer the procedure. A nurse and anesthesiologist are also present, as the patient is not concious during the treatment. It is definitely not something that would be used to help people stop smoking. It is usually a last resort option of treatment for those with severe, treatment resistant depression and other mental health conditions.

  3. I participated to the Shick Stop Smoking program 2 times. Both times I quit for 2 years. Unfortunately, it seems, that this program doen not exist anymore. I live in Italy and would like to know if there is some place in Europe that offers an eletro shock aversion therapy. Can you help me with this? Kind Regards

    • Dear Italy commenter — thanks for stopping by to comment. Perhaps you could call the Bismarck North Dakota chiropractic office called “Chiropractic Care Center” and ask them for a European referral… if I hear anything else I will email you. Best wishes!

  4. I smoke a pack a day thas not to bad is it?
    sometimes even less. but schock theoripy???
    man tats pathetic.. scuse me a min
    now wheres that light socket

    • As mentioned in an earlier post in the comment section — it is called Chiropractic Care Centre in Bismarck, ND — easily google the phone number. Please comment again if you try it! Thanks….

  5. Many years ago (in the 70′s?), there was a “Stop Smoking Clinic” in the Buffalo, NY area that used aversion therapy of a sort – they had a very small room with a stool, a couple narrow shelves that were overflowing with cigarette butts and ashes – a “tens” unit was strapped to your wrist and you smoked 6 cigarettes back to back while the counselor sat outside and every so often would briefly activate the “tens” on your wrist – the “tens” was not painful at all, just sort of annoying – I think there was a typical group therapy session (benefits, reasons for quitting, etc) either before or after the experience – When I walked out I was cigarette free for years – it was a pretty remarkable experience – it is unfortunate that whatever scheme they used is no longer available – as I recall, there was no weight gain, no mental issues afterwards -

  6. I did this therapy 3 years ago. I had smoked for 34 years. I wanted to quit but couldn’t do it on my own. I am very skeptical about taking any medicines as they all have horrible side effects. I am also afraid of pain. I can assure you that it is drug free and it is painless. I drove the 100 miles to get this done, and on the way there all I could think about is: what if I get it done and get in my car and light up a cigarette? I smoked like crazy all the way there. Well much to my surprise when I got to my car I looked at my cigarettes and I thought to myself I don’t need one because it feels like I just had one. I turned the key and left. I never had another cigarette. It took the cravings away. This therapy worked immediately. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to quit. It has also helped many people I work with too. All I can say is you don’t need to suffer through trying to quit if you choose this. Such as support groups, or Chantix, etc. Like I said earlier this works immediately. Thank you for listening.

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