If you are a cigarette smoker, you already know what I’m going to say, QUIT! You’ve probably heard this piece of advice before and maybe you’ve tried to quit multiple times without success. You already know the health risks of Lung, mouth and throat cancer, emphysema, and COPD. You are aware of the yellow stains on your teeth, the nagging cough that never goes away, and the damage to your skin. Maybe you think you can’t quit, maybe you’re scared to try, or maybe quitting hasn’t even crossed your mind. There are plenty of options for helping you quit smoking, but which ones work and which don’t?
We all know that quitting smoking can significantly reduce your risks for heart disease and lung cancer. After only 12 weeks your lungs regain the ability to ‘clean’ themselves, and in only a year it will halve the risk of heart disease. It will also save the pack-a-day smoker approximately four thousand dollars a year. So, how do you do it?
Prepare to Quit
Think of this stage as getting pumped to quit. Some find it easy to write down a list or keep a journal, thinking about things like “What don’t I like about smoking?” or “What do I miss out on when I smoke?” The best piece of advice for quitting would be to plan for cravings and triggers.
11 Ways to Bust Cravings and Cope with Stress
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
According to the National Institute of Health, Nicotine Replacement therapy is the MOST commonly used method for quitting. NRT reduces both cravings and withdrawal symptoms by giving you small, controlled amounts of Nicotine, while withholding all the other harmful chemicals found in cigarettes.
NRT comes in a variety of forms and can be used in different ways. Research shows that Nicotine Replacement therapy is safe and effective and can be an important part of every smoker’s quit strategy.
Types of NRT
Prescription Quitting Aids
Medications like Chantix can curb cravings and make smoking less satisfying. Other prescriptions, like Wellbutrin can ease withdrawal symptoms, such as depression and issues concentrating. Your insurance company may require you to take a Smoking Cessation Class before paying for Chantix and prescriptions like it, to find out more, contact the customer service desk at your insurance company.
Smoking Cessation Groups
Finding a smoking cessation program is easy! Talk to your primary care physician, your local health department, or even your employer. You can also call The National Cancer Institute Quitline at 877-448-7848, The American Cancer Society Quitline at 800-227-2345, the Idaho quit line at 1-800-784-8669, or The American Lung Association, which has online and phone advice programs.
Having a group of people who are there to support you, and going through the same thing can make quitting easier. The best programs combine numerous approaches to quitting and can help target fears and road blocks that often occur when you are trying to quit.
The most important thing to remember when you are quitting is that you will make mistakes and that is okay. It is normal to slip once and awhile and smoke a cigarette, the important thing is to keep trying and making an effort to quit. Don’t give up on quitting.
What is the Opioid Crisis?
We’ve all heard it over the last year, the phrase “opioid crisis” has cropped up in the news, on the radio and in most doctors’ offices, but what is the opioid crisis? The epidemic of addiction, overdose, and death from misuse of prescribed opiate medications and heroin has increased tenfold since the early nineties. A staggering 115 people die every day from opioid abuse. Statistics show that up to 29% of patients prescribed opiate medications for legitimate pain misuse them. An estimated 6% of patients who misuse their prescription pain medications make the transition to heroin.
What does this Mean for You?
If you are a patient who takes pain medications regularly, you may have to consider other pain management options with your provider. Insurance companies such as Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare, and many more, are restricting access to pain medications for all their clients, not just those who are at high-risk of abusing the prescriptions. Many have implemented strict guidelines to access medications. Some insurance companies will only agree to cover abuse-deterrent medications or none at all.
While there are many options for support or counseling based addiction treatment, such as one-on-one or group therapy. Hundreds of programs are cropping up all over the united states and there are many here in Idaho. Comprehensive programs that can treat addiction on several levels have proven to be effective, having medication, counseling, and peer support is one of the best ways to beat addiction. What medication helps with addiction to opiates? The three medications approved to treat opiate addiction are suboxone, methadone, and naltrexone. See the table below for more information on each of these medications.
Click Table to View Larger Image...