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All about Nicotine addiction and the assistance you need.

Addiction is defined as the inability to regulate one's usage of a substance. Use becomes obsessive and uncontrolled for certain persons and with particular substances. In other situations, such as with nicotine, foregoing your morning smoke is like holding your breath: you can do it for a time, but your reflexes ultimately take over. 

Smoking appears to be a habit that can be broken by willpower since smokers may choose to skip each particular cigarette, and addiction was once just regarded as bad conduct. We now know that addiction is a neurological condition caused by alterations in the reward system of the brain. Addictive medications trigger direct activation of the reward region of the brain, fooling the brain into believing something good has just happened. The pleasant experience is the hook that keeps people coming back for more.

Read: How to effectively stop smoking.

Addiction is increasingly recognized as a chronic brain illness that responds to therapy, much like other chronic disorders. The Treatment for nicotine addiction should be combined with medications that help suppress the cravings. Counselling plays an important role in helping to retrain patients.

The FDA has approved varenicline (Chantix) as a smoking cessation aid. It works by partially activating and inhibiting the nicotine binding site in the central nervous system, decreasing the pleasant benefits of smoking but also lessening withdrawal by releasing dopamine (the chemical that communicates brain pleasure) at lesser levels than nicotine.

Large trials have proven varenicline to be successful and well-tolerated: smokers who took varenicline while trying to stop were more than two and a half times more likely to be cigarette-free one year after starting the study than those who took a placebo.

Efforts to assist smokers stop were recently hampered when nine batches of varenicline were recalled because certain tablets may contain amounts of probable carcinogens called nitrosamines that exceed the FDA's allowed limit.

Nicotine replacement medicines, such as gums, lozenges, or patches, can also aid in quitting smoking by alleviating withdrawal symptoms, which are typically a major deterrent. Because oral and skin absorption of nicotine is slower and produces lower peak levels than inhaled nicotine, these forms of nicotine are less rewarding than inhaled nicotine and can help smokers taper down. Antidepressant bupropion (brand names Wellbutrin, Zyban, and others) can also help smokers stop by simulating nicotine's effects and so decreasing withdrawal symptoms.

Side effects

The most successful of the three medicines used to assist individuals quit smoking is varenicline.

It contains adverse effects, just like any other drug. Nausea, insomnia, and headaches are among them. There have been concerns about whether varenicline might induce despair, suicidal thoughts, agitation, or aggressiveness. However, evidence shows that while all of these issues can occur when people try to stop smoking, none of them occurs more commonly among varenicline users than among non-users. However, users should be monitored, and individuals who have mood or behaviour problems should contact their doctor. 

Treatment that is supportive

Behavioural counselling is an important part of treatment for persons who have drug use disorders and can help them quit. Quitlines and digital tools, as well as individual or group treatment, are available and can be very beneficial. While the best therapy combines behavioural counselling with medicine, counselling can be beneficial on its own if drugs are not accessible. Patients who are addicted to nicotine can also benefit from health screenings to identify and treat medical concerns related to smoking, such as breathing problems and heart disease.

Despite the short disruption in pharmaceutical supply, initiatives to urge people to stop smoking and use medications may be one of the most sensible public health interventions available. This is especially true for younger smokers, who use medications at an alarmingly low rate.

Photo by Aviz from Pexels

Disclaimer:

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.

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