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Understanding Nicotine Withdrawal -- Treatment

Before talking about nicotine withdrawal, you must want to stop smoking. Wanting to stop will greatly enhance your chances of remaining tobacco free.

To help you quit, a combination of drugs and behavior-modification programs can be effective. Your doctor can offer both nicotine and non-nicotine medications. Zyban, also known as the antidepressant Wellbutrin (buproprion), may be effective. It seems to reduce the craving for nicotine and may even curb your appetite.

Another prescription medication, Chantix (varenicline), works by blocking the pleasant effects on the brain of nicotine from smoking. The short-term and long-term effectiveness of Chantix exceeded that of bupropionin in at least one study.

Many over-the-counter nicotine replacement products are available, including patches, lozenges, and gum. Your doctor can also prescribe a nasal spray or an oral inhaler.

Your doctor also may recommend a smoking (or other tobacco-use) cessation program.

Home Remedies for Nicotine Withdrawal

Most tobacco cessation programs recommend the following steps to help you quit and ease the unpleasantness of nicotine withdrawal:

  • Analyze your habit for a few weeks. Keep a log of when, where, and why you use tobacco.
  • List the reasons you want to quit.
  • Set a "quit" date and stick to it.
  • Find substitutes -- sugarless gum to chew or a pen or pencil to hold -- and change your routines to avoid triggering a desire for tobacco.
  • Reward your resolve. Treat yourself with the money you would have spent on your habit.
  • Enjoy food and eat as much low-calorie food as you want during withdrawal.
  • Never let a relapse deter you from continuing efforts to quit. Smokers who become former smokers try an average of six times before they quit for good.
  • Don’t buy cigarettes!

How Can I Prevent Nicotine Withdrawal?

The best way to prevent nicotine withdrawal, obviously, is not to start using tobacco in the first place -- and to educate your children about its dangers. Most tobacco users start in their teens because of peer pressure, a need to rebel, or a desire to appear more mature.

Children of tobacco users are more likely to be users because they view tobacco use as acceptable. If you use tobacco and you're serious about preventing your children from doing so, provide the best example by quitting.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on March 17, 2014

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