Tobacco is considered one of the most difficult substances for people to give up.
Many smokers find themselves in a never-ending cycle of quitting then starting again. If you’re using tobacco more than you want to and just can’t quit, you might benefit from treatment for tobacco use disorder. Treatment can help you overcome your cravings for nicotine—the addictive substance in tobacco.
Cravings for nicotine make it hard to quit.
Here are some situations that suggest you could benefit from treatment:
Spending more time using tobacco and using more than you planned
Feeling overwhelmed by cravings for tobacco/nicotine
Smoking interferes with other activities
Struggling to quit for good
Imagine how it would feel to quit for good.
At Eappen Clinic, we know that tobacco use disorder is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, so we will be with you every step of the way on what can prove to be an immensely rewarding path to feel well again.
What is tobacco use disorder?
Similar to other addictions, tobacco use disorder is a problematic pattern of tobacco use that can lead to physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms and other problems.
The severity of the disorder depends on certain criteria. A few of the criteria include:
- Cravings for nicotine
- Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or quit tobacco use
- Trouble finishing tasks because of smoking
- Continued use despite negative consequences
It’s important to note that while cigarette smoking remains the most common way people use nicotine, other methods have also become popular.
For example, e-cigarette use (“vaping”) is growing. While e-cigarettes do not contain some of the cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco, they are still highly addictive because they contain nicotine. Also, research hasn’t proved that using e-cigarettes will help a smoker break the nicotine habit completely.
Nicotine’s effects in the brain are rapid and only last a short time, so many smokers feel cravings and withdrawal many times in a typical day. Signs of withdrawal can include irritability, anxiety, restlessness, problems concentrating and increased appetite. Treatment for tobacco use disorder can help you overcome these symptoms.
Who gets tobacco use disorder?
Men are generally more susceptible to tobacco use disorder because, simply put, they smoke more than women. This is the case worldwide, with most countries seeing at least one in four men smoking.
If you started smoking in your teen years, there’s a good chance you will continue smoking in adulthood, with a risk of developing tobacco use disorder. Nearly 9 in 10 adult smokers starting smoking before they turned 18.
Researchers are starting to realize that your genes may influence whether you are at more risk of having a tobacco use disorder. What we continue to learn about genetics and tobacco use will help medical teams create new treatment methods.
People with mental health conditions are at particularly high risk of having tobacco use disorder. Someone with a mental illness is twice as likely to smoke and less likely to quit.
If you have anxiety or bipolar disorder, for example, you may find that nicotine temporarily relieves some of your symptoms. But these effects are brief. The truth is, if we can help you to reduce or stop smoking, in the long run your other symptoms will improve greatly.
How is tobacco use disorder treated?
You don’t have to go it alone in trying to quit tobacco. Many new treatments are available, and a combination of medication and therapy usually offers the best results.
Most of the approved medication treatments for tobacco use disorder are known as “nicotine replacement” therapies. They satisfy the parts of your brain that are sensitive to nicotine, but they deliver less nicotine and at a slower speed. As a result, they don’t have the same quick hit of a cigarette that makes you want to smoke more.
These replacement treatments are available in several forms: gum, lozenges, patches, nasal spray and inhaler.
There also are two approved non-nicotine medication options: bupropion and varenicline. Both of these can reduce cravings and withdrawal. Your smoking history and the issues you’re experiencing will help determine which of these treatments might be the best fit for you.
These treatments will work best when they are combined with counseling that can help you understand smoking’s harms and boost your motivation to quit. We can help you create better ways to cope with everyday situations so you don’t feel like rushing out for a cigarette. We also will help you identify others in your life who can support your efforts to quit.
How long will my treatment for tobacco use disorder last?
If you’ve smoked for a long time, you already know how difficult it can be to quit!
You may even quit for a long stretch, only to have some life event return you to smoking. Nicotine addiction is one of the most powerful substance use disorders, so it is difficult to put a time frame on how long it will take for you to reach your goals.
What we can tell you is the combination of medications and therapy can give you the time you need to build skills and resist going back to smoking.
Even if you tried a medication at one time and it didn’t help, you could be a good candidate for another medication treatment. Research shows you may not need to be on medication treatment for a very long time.
If you also have another mental health disorder, however, your treatment may need to be more intensive than it would be for a patient who does not.
We will work with you as you make progress, as tobacco use disorder is an illness where relapse is very common. We will never treat a return to smoking as a personal failure. Instead, we will use it as an opportunity to make adjustments to your treatment plan. We’ll help you keep at it, however!
Should I get treatment for my tobacco use disorder?
Some smokers are able to reduce or stop their use without treatment.
But if you find yourself smoking more than you’d like, not doing certain activities because of smoking, or feeling bothersome cravings or other withdrawal symptoms, treatment may be the key to better health and well-being. Even if you aren’t a heavy smoker, treatment could help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.
At Eappen Clinic, we can help you understand the many risks associated with smoking and help you identify a treatment plan that won’t duplicate any disappointing results of the past.
The key is building your resilience against nicotine. Your first appointment with us is a detailed evaluation. At the end of your evaluation, you’ll know the next steps.
Let’s work together to help you feel well again and live a smoke-free life.