If you have smoked cigarettes for many years but want to give up, you are aware that it is an extremely difficult thing to do, especially without help. The good news is that your doctor can certainly help you by suggesting many potential options for you to try.
It is important to understand that smoking is an addiction, which is precisely why it’s very hard to quit. Your brain creates feelings of euphoria every time you light up a cigar.
Norepinephrine and dopamine are the neurotransmitters that are related to cravings and this addiction to nicotine.
Your doctor can prescribe recommended medication to help control the neurotransmitters, suppress the cravings and make it easier for you to slowly wean yourself off cigarettes, which probably drive away many of your non-smoking friends.
Your doctor may recommend the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), which look like normal ones, but don’t have any nicotine. You still “smoke” them and they give off a fake smoke so your hands are occupied, but you’re not taking in the harmful nicotine which is slowly poisoning your body.
In addition to this, you may be asked to use patches, inhalers and gum, which all help to reduce the cravings until, eventually, they no longer exist. This does take time indeed, but every day that you don’t smoke adds to the extra time that you can live. It is known that every cigarette reduces your lifespan, so if you do smoke heavily, you generally won’t live as long as a non-smoker.
Your doctor may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy, which analyzes your thoughts, emotions and the reasons why you smoke. Your therapist can talk you through stressors in your life that may be causing you to smoke, and if these stressors can be pinpointed and reduced, you may not feel the need to keep smoking. In addition to this, the therapist could help change your thoughts to ones that are more positive for you and those around you.
Seek support from family and friends so you don’t feel alone while trying to quit. Ask other smokers you know not to smoke around you if possible and, if necessary, vent your frustrations instead of bottling them up.
If you choose to give up smoking and have been doing it for a long time, there may be some side effects, depending on your course of action. These include: headaches, dizziness, nausea, sore throat, dry mouth, constipation, anxiety, agitation, depression and trouble sleeping.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t quit smoking. It just means it may not be easy. The longer you maintain your treatment regime, the quicker the side effects will diminish. Your doctor can help you with various remedies to counteract the possible side effects.
It is essential to discuss any form of action with your doctor before starting, as you may have other medical conditions that may preclude you from certain treatments. For example, the medications that control the neurotransmitters may be contraindicated if you have other maladies.
The decision to quit smoking is a very smart one for the sake of your health, but it can be an extremely difficult one. Having your doctor’s support will help to make it easier, because he can help you discover the best solution for your particular case.