The Best Ways to Quit Smoking

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Smoking is among the toughest of habits to break. Although quitting can obviously improve one's health, the powerful addiction to nicotine can cause some smokers to try quitting multiple times. However, medical-intervention techniques such as nicotine patches or residential programs can be among the best ways to quit smoking.

Residential Programs

  • A residential program puts together smokers with doctors and mental-health professionals who can administer a variety of techniques to aid in smoking cessation. They could use group therapy to bring smokers together to share their frustrations. Fitness experts can teach exercises programs to rebuild endurance that may be lost from smoking. Psychologists perform an in-depth behavioral analysis of the smoker's lifestyle and how it contributes to smoking. Nutritionists may be on hand to teach better eating habits in order to combat weight gain, while other doctors can provide treatment to handle withdrawal symptoms. These residential programs can be a week long, intensifying the treatment for immediate results.

Nicotine Replacement

  • A smoking habit may be hard to quit because of an addiction to nicotine; the key to quitting may be through nicotine replacement and gradual withdrawal. This avoids inhalation of smoke and carcinogens. Withdrawal symptoms could include appetite cravings, depression, lack of concentration and difficulty sleeping. By using nicotine-replacement therapy, nicotine can enter the bloodstream through special patches or chewing gum like Nicorette. They also are available over the counter, making it easier to access. It is optimal to use these products for at least 8 to 12 weeks. If you are pregnant and trying to quit smoking, some risks are associated with nicotine replacement. Consult your physician.

Non-Nicotine Medications

  • Some medicinal options for smoking do not involve nicotine replacements. The FDA has approved two medications for treating smoking: Zyban and Chantix. Zyban works by acting as an antidepressant by controlling levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that help monitor moods. They are also associated with cravings, nicotine addiction and withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking. Chantix works by reactivating nicotine receptors in the brain, which reduces the craving for nicotine. Although these medications have FDA approval, Zyban and Chantix have some inherent risks. The FDA recently put out a warning to monitor negative, suicidal thoughts that can happen as a result of these medications. Consult your physician should they occur.

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