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How to treat nicotine addiction

Are you addicted to nicotine (or know someone who is)?

Are cigarettes considered addictive?  You bet.

In fact, the slightly euphoric sensation experienced by nicotine users is a huge factor in habitual use.  Note here that intention is one of the critical signs of nicotine addiction.  A habit can quickly become addiction, and the addict develops a psychological and physical dependence on the drug for its stimulant and sedative effects on the body.

Here, we will explore how to treat nicotine addiction and what types of treatments, including treatments for nicotine withdrawal, are available to help. We will also list types of support that you can contact to get further information. Then, we invite your questions about nicotine at the end.

Am I addicted to nicotine?

If you use nicotine because it gives you a rush, a peak in motivation, and the feeling of pleasure, then you are most likely addicted to nicotine. This is because nicotine causes stimulation of the adrenal glands which results in a discharge of epinephrine (adrenaline). Continuous exposure to nicotine results in development of tolerance, and you will need to consume more nicotine in order for the drug to produce the same effect initially experienced. Possible signs and symptoms of nicotine addiction include:

  • Continual use of nicotine in spite of adverse effects to your health, social, work, or personal life
  • Continued use of nicotine over time while ignoring negative mental results
  • Experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms after not having nicotine
  • Giving up recreational or social activities in order to smoke nicotine
  • Smoking despite health problems
  • Smoking even when you are sick
  • Smoking several cigarettes a day
  • Taking nicotine while being aware of negative physical or emotional effects
  • You have tried to stop smoking before but cannot

Now that you know more about the characteristics of nicotine addiction, you can better prepare yourself or a loved one for treatment. So how exactly do you treat nicotine addiction?

Treating nicotine addiction

Medical professionals treat nicotine addiction using a combination of psychological and pharmaceutical therapies. A combination of the following treatments for nicotine addiction can help:

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1. Pharmaceutical treatments for nicotine addiction

There are multiple medications that your health care provider can prescribe to help you quit nicotine and help prevent you from starting smoking again. Unlike nicotine replacement therapy, these medications do not contain nicotine. Prescription meds include bupropion, which helps decrease your craving for nicotine and helps you cope with depression, and varenicline, which helps with the physical withdrawal symptoms.

2. Counseling treatments for nicotine addiction

Nicotine dependence counseling services address the reasons behind nicotine use and offer solutions. However, the effectiveness of such services is dependent upon the patient’s willingness to see them through. Nicotine dependence counseling combined with nicotine replacement therapy is recommended by doctors as they treat both the psychological and physical addictive properties of nicotine. Your family doctor can help you locate these services.

Treatment for nicotine addiction

Nicotine addiction telephone counseling

Telephone counseling services provide user friendly programs that can help you design a program to stop smoking that works best for you. They can help you avoid common mistakes that could result in you relapsing. Telephone programs are usually available throughout the day, including nights and weekends. Professional counselors will help screen you to decide if medications, nicotine replacement therapy, or support groups may be right for you.

Nicotine replacement therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy, in general, benefit heavy smokers who smoke half a pack of cigarettes or more every day. So what is replacement therapy, exactly? Nicotine replacement therapy are products that give you low doses of nicotine to help relieve the cravings for nicotine and ease the symptoms when you stop. Nicotine replacement products do not contain any of the toxins that are found in smoke. Nicotine replacement therapy products come in forms such as a skin patch, inhalers, nasal spray, and gum. These products can be very effective if used correctly.

Nicotine addiction support groups

Drug addiction support groups for nicotine can provide great benefits when combined with nicotine replacement therapy. If you decide to join a support group, you should let your family, friends, and coworkers know that you plan to quit so that they can be aware of your intentions and be helpful, especially when you are irritated.

Stop smoking classes

Stop smoking programs and classes can help you design a method that works best when quitting nicotine. They will help you acknowledge problems that may arise while you are trying to quit, and give you tips or tools that can help you cope. Stop smoking programs are available in one-on-one sessions and group counseling. Sometimes a combination of the two is helpful and offers a better chance of success. These programs and classes can be provided by employers, hospitals, or health insurance plans so make sure to check with them. Alternatively, you can call the National Cancer Institute’s hotline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

How to treat nicotine addiction questions

Are you unsure about nicotine addiction treatment? Do you think you may have a problem with nicotine? We invite you to ask questions about nicotine in the comments section below. We will get back to you with personal responses as soon as possible.

Reference sources: NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse: Tobacco Addiction (Nicotine)
MedlinePlus: Nicotine and Tobacco

Photo credit: Take Charge, Live Well State of Ohio health campaign

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