Nicotine alters the balance of chemicals in your brain. It mainly affects chemicals called dopamine and noradrenalin. When nicotine changes the levels of these chemicals, patient’s mood and concentration levels change. Many smokers find this enjoyable. While it's the nicotine in tobacco that causes nicotine dependence, the toxic effects of tobacco result from other substances in tobacco. Smokers have much higher rates of heart disease, stroke and cancer than nonsmokers do.
The changes happen very quickly. When patients inhale the nicotine, it immediately rushes to their brain where it takes effect to produce feeling of pleasure and reduces stress and anxiety. This is why many smokers enjoy the nicoevtine rush and become dependent on it.The more they smoke, the more their brain becomes used to the nicotine. This means that they have to smoke more to get the same effect.
When patients stop smoking, the loss of nicotine changes the levels of dopamine and noradrenalin. This can make them feel anxious, depressed and irritable.It’s normal to crave nicotine when they quit, as smoking provides an immediate fix to these problems.
Treating Smoking Addiction
Any physician is capable of providing the medication and the support to help a patient get off the drug and stay off. First of all, the Fagerstrom Questionnaire is administered to assess the degree of nicotine dependence. On the basis of this simple assessment the strength (megs/day) of the transdermal nicotine patch can be determined.
The dose of nicotine can be adjusted over a protocol lasting up to 21 days. The transdermal nicotine patch will greatly relieve the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
During this time the patient must pick a “quit date” at which time his smoking days are over. Nicotine withdrawal signs and symptoms include irritability, headache, insomnia, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, nausea and diarrhea. A substitute for the nicotine patch could be a gum, which supplies an amount of nicotine sufficient to allay symptoms of withdrawal. There is supportive literature to encourage the person who is going through the quitting process.
Some individuals are able to just stop smoking. For others, studies have shown that pharmacological treatment combined with behavioral treatment, including psychological support and skills training to overcome high-risk situations, results in some of the highest long-term abstinence rates. Generally, rates of relapse for smoking cessation are highest in the first few weeks and months and diminish considerably after about 3 months.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy for Treatment of Nicotine Addiction
For most people who are trying to quit smoking, nicotine replacement therapy is useful. According to one study, nicotine replacement therapy doubles your chances of quitting smoking. When used properly, all forms of nicotine replacement products appear to be about equally effective.
Non-Prescription Nicotine Replacement Products
Prescription Nicotine Replacement Products
Non-Nicotine Medication to Help with Smoking Cessation
This is not a nicotine replacement, as are the gum and patch. Rather, this works on other areas of the brain, and its effectiveness is in helping to make nicotine craving, or thoughts about cigarette use, more controllable in people who are trying to quit.
Who Benefits from Nicotine Addiction Therapy?
On the basis of current smoking patterns, with a global average of about 50% of young men and 10% of young women becoming smokers and relatively few stopping, annual tobacco-attributable deaths will rise as the young smokers of today reach middle and old age.
Persons who began smoking in early adulthood but stopped before 40 years of age avoid more than 90% of the excess risk during their next few decades of life, as compared with those who continue to smoke, and even those who stop at 50 years of age avoid more than half the excess risk, although substantial hazards persist.
Quitting Smoking Statistics
How Much Does Nicotine Addiction Therapy Programs Cost?
Quitting smoking can be difficult. People can be helped during the time an intervention is delivered; however, most intervention programs are short-term (1–3 months). Within 6 months, 75–80% of people who try to quit smoking relapse. However, extending treatment beyond the typical duration of a smoking cessation program can produce quit rates as high as 50 percent at 1 year.
Approximate Cost for 6 Weeks of Treatment*
|Nicotine Patch||$80 to $163|
|Nicotine Gum||$92 to $197|
$152 to $327
$197 to $208
$136 to $208
|Nicotine Nasal Spray||
*Prices aplly for the US and vary widely in different states due to variations in taxes
Behavioral interventions play an integral role in smoking cessation treatment, either in conjunction with medication or alone. A variety of methods can assist smokers with quitting, ranging from self-help materials to individual cognitive-behavioral therapy. These interventions teach individuals to recognize high-risk smoking situations, develop alternative coping strategies, manage stress, improve problem solving skills, and increase social support. The more therapy is tailored to a person’s situation, the greater the chances are for success.
Who Performs Nicotine Detoxification Treatments?
Detoxification can be done on both an outpatient basis (at mental health centers, addiction clinics or private clinics) or inpatient (at a hospital or residential treatment center). Inpatient detoxification allows the patient to be closely monitored, prevents use of the substance of abuse, and can speed up the process of detoxification. Outpatient detoxification has the advantage of being less disruptive to the patient's life and less expensive. The choice of setting depends on many factors such as the drug of abuse, amount and length of history of abuse, psychosocial issues, patient's age, and co-existing medical and/or psychiatric conditions among others.
It’s hard to quit smoking, but you can do it. To have the best chance of quitting and staying a non-smoker, you need to know what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help.
You can fight smoking addiction! We are here to help you!