It’s common to smoke while also regularly drinking or using drugs. But when you’re in recovery for drinking or drug use, your addiction to nicotine might continue. At some point in your recovery, you might make the choice to put an end to smoking too.
It’s not an easy task. Although there are many choices for nicotine replacement products, such as patches, gum, and inhalers, actually never having a craving for nicotine may take some time after you decide to quit. And because there are often constant cravings for nicotine after you stop smoking, there are often relapses, making a smoking-free life difficult to achieve.
Furthermore, one of the challenges behind smoking is that nicotine often makes people feel good. A study found that nicotine receptors in the brain actually improved mood in certain types of depression. At the same time, this study also found that those who smoke are more likely to have symptoms of depression than those who do not. Depression is associated with an increased risk for smoking, and research has found that smoking is often a behavior that depressed adults engage in as a way to self-medicate. Learning this can perhaps encourage adults to find another, healthier way to feel better. However, at this time, nicotine remains to be a highly addictive substance. Sadly, approximately 1000 people die from nicotine-related illnesses every day, including lung cancer.
Nicotine is found in the roots of certain plants known as the nightshade family of plants and is considered a stimulant. In small doses, nicotine is used in cigarettes and has a stimulating effect when smoked. However, in large doses nicotine can be harmful. Unfortunately, the nicotine content found in cigarettes has increased over time. One study found that American made cigarettes has an increase of nicotine of about 1.78 percent. Approximately 1000 people die from nicotine-related illnesses every day, including lung cancer.
Most people with schizophrenia have an addiction to nicotine. In fact, they are three times more likely to be addicted to nicotine than the rest of the general population. Because the majority of adults with schizophrenia have a nicotine addiction, researchers are exploring whether they have a biological need something that nicotine delivers. Sadly, nicotine can also make antipsychotic medication less effective, which is the cause for many psychiatrists’ encouragement of their patients to quit smoking.
Despite the reasons that might keep you smoking, if you’re ready to quit once and for all, there are various options to help you wean off nicotine. For instance, there are the products mentioned earlier – patches, gum, lozenges, and inhalers – which have side effects to using them. For instance, although it helps lessen the body’s cravings for nicotine, these products might also cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These products could be an effective tool to use when trying to quit smoking.
If you wanted a few more options. You might also choose medication. Instead of feeding your body nicotine, for example, you might take an antidepressant to help you quit. Because nicotine tends to help lift one’s mood and may be (knowingly or unknowingly) used when someone is depressed, taking an anti-depressant might actually replace the need for nicotine. For instance, Bupropion is a drug that is prescribed to help people resist the urge to smoke. It’s often used for 7-12 weeks helping someone wean off the habit of smoking. Side effects include insomnia, dry mouth, dizziness, headaches, and nausea.
Lastly, another drug to try is Varenicline. This drug was specifically designed to address nicotine dependence. It stimulate dopamine in the brain as well as limits or blocks nicotine receptors. Although this drug is successful for some, it comes with some serious health warnings from the Food and Drug Administration.
These are some choices to facilitate your smoking cessation when you’re ready.
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