Quit Smoking – The Nicotine Patch
Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known. Study after study shows that one can get addicted to nicotine as quickly as cocaine and other illegal drugs that we associate with crippling addictions. It is for this reason, of course, that can be so difficult to quit smoking. One top of this physical addiction – that is, the body’s craving of nicotine – there is a psychological component: because smoking is both legal and socially acceptable in many situations, it can be difficult to avoid it completely.
Any attempt to quit smoking, therefore, should involve a comprehensive plan that deals with both the physical and psychological side of the addiction. One way to address the physical addition to nicotine, to leave yourself free to concentrate on the psychological aspects of your addiction, is to use a nicotine patch.
The nicotine patch is one of the oldest, and certainly best-known, medical aids to quitting smoking. Patches are placed on the skin, and work by releasing a slow and steady supply of nicotine into the bloodstream. The idea is that the patch helps wean your body off nicotine – instead of nicotine being immediately absent from your system when you quit smoking, it is gradually reduced.
The way the patch works is to break your body’s desire for nicotine “spikes.” When you smoke a cigarette, your body receives an immediate spike in its nicotine levels. As the level of nicotine slowly dissipates after the spike, it will eventually drop to a point where you desire to have it “topped up” again – the need for another cigarette.
If you picture a graph of your body’s nicotine levels when you smoke, you will see a steady series of peaks and valleys – the peaks corresponding to the spike in nicotine levels when you smoke a cigarette. A graph of your nicotine levels when wearing the patch, on the other hand, would show a steady line: the line would not be as high as your peaks, but it would not be as low as your valleys either. The idea is that the patch goes for the middle ground, and your body slowly adjusts to not having spikes in its nicotine levels.
As you become increasingly used to lower levels of nicotine in your system, you can reduce the dosage of the patches you wear, until eventually your body is nicotine free. Another good thing about the patch is that it is an extremely strong deterrent against smoking: if you smoke while you are on the patch, your levels of nicotine will become too high and you could suffer from a nicotine overdose, which can result in sickness and even death.
The patch is an amazingly effective stop smoking aid. It does, however, have some disadvantages: it is expensive, and at the initial stages of quitting it can often cost more than cigarettes did. The patch can also cause problems with sleeping if you wear it to bed – and at the same time if you do not you will wake up with no nicotine in your system and feel bad until you put on a morning patch, and it starts working.
Despite these drawbacks, the patch remains the medical aid of choice for people dealing with serious nicotine addictions.
Quit Smoking – Using Zyban
In general, an addiction to smoking can be an exceedingly difficult one to overcome. Depending on how long you have smoked, how much you smoke, and genetic factors, you may find it extremely difficult to quit smoking. It is a well-known fact the genetic factors are at play and determine how susceptible someone is to a nicotine addiction, and for this reason some people need more than their will power to quit smoking.
There are medical aids to quit smoking that help address the body’s dependence on nicotine, leaving you to concentrate your will power on other aspects of the addiction: namely, the social associations you have with smoking.
For many years, the standard medical stop-smoking aid was the nicotine patch, which is attached to the skin and releases a steady supply of nicotine to the bloodstream. Fairly recently, though, another approach has become popular: the use of the drug Zyban (bupropion hydrochloride.)
Zyban’s development as an anti-smoking aid is a curious one: it was originally designed as an anti-depressant, and during clinical trials of the drug it was discovered that as a side effect, many smokers participating in the trails lost interest in cigarettes and found it extremely easy to quit. Further research revealed that the drug was an effective stop-smoking aid, and it was approved for use as such in 1997 by the FDA.
Zyban works in a completely unique way from the nicotine patch. Instead of supplying nicotine to the bloodstream, Zyban alters brain chemistry in such a way that the desire for smoking is reduced – many people find that cigarettes simply become unappealing after taking the drug. At no point does Zyban supply or regulate nicotine in the bloodstream.
To work effectively, Zyban usually takes a few weeks before you stop smoking. Like all anti-depressants, it takes time for its effects to manifest. Once you have been taking the drug for some time, you stop smoking, and if all goes well, you will find the process much easier than an unaided attempt.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that Zyban is a prescription drug that alters brain chemistry – in fact, researchers are not even exactly sure how it works, only that it does for many people. Naturally, you doctor will be consulted in your decision to take Zyban, and it is crucial that Zyban is not taken in combination with other drugs.
Make sure you talk to your doctor about the possible side effects of using Zyban to quit smoking: some common side effects include insomnia, dizziness, and dry mouth. In rarer cases, more serious side effects like seizures can occur. You must also discuss with your doctor the situations in which Zyban should not be taken, like if you are abruptly stopping the use of alcohol or have a history of seizures.
While Zyban should be approached with some caution, if it is properly discussed with your doctor, it can be an amazingly effective aid in your battle to quit smoking.
See Next: “Stick with It When Trying to Quit Smoking”
Just use your name and valid email address – I will never sell or share your email address with anyone. Never. You may unsubscribe anytime. I hate spam just as much as you do.