The use of tobacco and nicotine can become an addiction that is as difficult to break as alcohol, cocaine and morphine abuse. The CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates almost 44 million people in the U.S. smoke cigarettes with over 68% of those smokers making repeated attempts to quit. The desire to quit smoking continues throughout a person’s life, with almost 45% of smokers 65 years of age and older still fighting the battle against nicotine addiction.
The Physical and Psychological Addiction of Nicotine
The National Institute of Health reports that tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., accounts for one-fifth of deaths every year. Nicotine addiction comes with a variety of physical and psychological effects that are often tied together, making the attempt to quit even more difficult.
For example, smoking typically decreases appetite, and the fear of weight gain affects the ability to successfully quit. Nicotine also boosts mood and alertness, often masking underlying depression, which leaves those trying to quit with a loss of motivation and well-being.
Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal
Research indicates about 50% of smokers suffer from at least four symptoms associated with nicotine withdrawal. Common symptoms reported are:
- Irritability and anger
- Increased hunger, appetite, and weight gain
- Insomnia and drowsiness
- Intense craving for nicotine
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can begin within a couple hours of quitting, with symptoms peaking in about 3 days. Partnering with a nicotine addiction psychiatrist will ease symptoms experienced using prescription medication to reduce cravings in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy. A successful addiction withdrawal program will address both the physical and psychological obstacles to quitting.
Quitting Smoking with Mental Health Issues
A psychiatrist with a successful history of treating nicotine addiction and other mental health issues develops a treatment plan addressing both the addiction and any underlying psychiatric issues. A diagnosis of depression, anxiety disorder, ADD, or bipolar disorder significantly reduces the success rate in overcoming nicotine addiction. Treatment tailored to an individual’s overall needs plus their mental health concerns has proven most successful in prevention of relapse during and after nicotine withdrawal.
Medication Support during Withdrawal and Beyond
Several medications are available from a certified nicotine addiction psychiatrist. Chantix, a medication recently approved for nicotine addiction, has higher success rates for both 3 month and 1 year nicotine abstinence. Other medications with a history of success for tobacco and cigarette addiction withdrawal are Zyban, Wellbutrin, and buproprion. Diagnosis of mental health disorders may require a combination of medications to effectively treat the whole person and their needs.
Atlanta Tobacco and Nicotine Addiction Psychiatrist
Tobacco and nicotine withdrawal is difficult and repeated episodes of relapse are common. Dr. Hege, Atlanta’s tobacco and nicotine addiction psychiatrist has a long history of experience and documented success.
Call to set up an appointment, and let Dr. Hege work to help relieve your withdrawal symptoms, manage any mental health issues, and strengthen your resolve and ability to quit for good.