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Medical Treatments for Smoking Cessation

Smoking is never an easy habit to get rid of, but most people are able to do it with enough perseverance, support from their friends and family, and motivation. However, people who have been chain smokers for decades or who start smoking at a young age often find themselves unable to quit just as easily.

For them, smoking is a part of their lifestyle that is very difficult to replace. The mind has become so accustomed to the habit that it fights hard all the way, and it takes a lot of time, even years, to kick the habit effectively. This is where medical treatment comes into the picture.

  1. When is medical treatment needed for smoking cessation?

As mentioned above, medical treatment may be best for people who repeatedly fail to kick the habit on their own or with the help of their friends and loved ones. Medical treatment is also recommended when the smoker is suffering from conditions that make it necessary for them to stop smoking immediately to avoid complications.

Medical treatment for smoking cessation often involves integrated steps, where the smokers talk to their doctors, spouses, families, counselors, and even employers to help them quit the habit successfully. It is often a long and winding process, because quitting smoking is never easy for them. It applies to a lot of smokers too: only 34 percent of smokers try to quit every year, and of this number, just 2.5 percent are successful.

  1. What does the treatment involve?

Medical treatment for smoking cessation can often be split into two areas:

  • The nicotine addiction, which is addressed through a combination of nicotine replacement therapy and counseling or medicines if needed
  • The medical conditions due to smoking, like heart disease, circulatory problems, cancer, respiratory illnesses, and ulcers

The medical conditions associated with smoking need to be treated along with the smoking addiction itself. These conditions are addressed by the doctor, and the treatment prescribed depends a lot on the condition the smoker has been diagnosed with. Smokers looking to kick the habit need to discuss their diagnoses with their doctor and talk about the treatment options available to them.

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The nicotine addiction, on the other hand, usually involves replacement therapy by using nicotine gum, inhalers, nasal sprays, lozenges, patches, and even electronic cigarettes. The best nicotine replacement options would be recommended by the doctor. Some products, like gum and patches, are available over the counter. Others, like inhalers and nasal sprays, are only available with a prescription.

Some doctors may also prescribe medicines like Chantix to help smokers quit their habit. Chantix stimulates nicotine receptors in the brain and blocks the ability of the chemical from affecting these receptors. Other drugs may also be given to reduce the craving or make cigarettes less desirable and satisfying to smokers. Apart from purely medical treatment, doctors may also suggest behavioral or group counseling. Some of the most successful quitting programs involve a combination of counseling and medicines.