Nicotine Replacement Therapy

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Nicotine is basically the most dangerous part of smoking. It is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and blood pressure and that causes you to become addicted to smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco. You would think it would be important to get rid of the nicotine first if you want to quit, but it isn’t that simple for many people.

Your body is going to crave that nicotine if you deprive yourself of it. Those cravings can be what bring many people back to smoking after they quit. Without their nicotine, they will be helpless to the cravings and end up failing on their goal to quit smoking.

That’s why nicotine replacement therapy is often recommended as a way to cope with withdrawal symptoms and ease people off of their smoking habit.

What Is Nicotine Replacement Therapy?

This therapy involves substituting the nicotine from a cigarette with nicotine from another source. Usually it comes in a patch that can be applied to the body. This patch feeds nicotine slowly into the person’s system and helps them deal with their cravings easily. The patches can come in varying strengths, and multiple patches can be used at once if needed.

But the patch form isn’t the only means of replacing cigarettes. There Are also lozenges, chewing gum and other means of administering nicotine. The idea behind this therapy is to slowly decrease the dosage until no more nicotine is required and the nicotine addict can simply stop the therapy altogether and not really feel like they need any more nicotine.

For most people, this therapy is able to fully take the place of a cigarette. For others, they still need a little cigarette every now and then. But if they are reducing their nicotine intake overall, then the therapy is working, and they can gradually work themselves down to no nicotine at all.

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Effectiveness of the Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy can work for smokers as they try to quit. It has already worked for many of them, and it tends to be the quitting method most recommended by medical professionals. Those who do use this therapy have a good chance of completely quitting their habit, but they do need to watch for some dangers.

The biggest danger is nicotine overdose or simply taking in too much of the drug. While one nicotine patch is usually administering less of the drug to the body than a cigarette would, many people use more than one patch at a time. It can be easy to take in too much nicotine at once and make the addiction worse than it was before.

Those trying to quit need to be aware of the temptation that comes with self-medicating nicotine. They should consult with a doctor before they use a replacement therapy and follow the doctor’s instructions precisely. As hard as it may be to fight the cravings, it is important that they work their way down to lower and lower doses of nicotine.

4 Comments

  1. So relieved to read this. Was feeling really bad about having to use the patches!! And was thinking it was the wrong thing to do. I DO NOT WANT TO SMOKE ANYMORE!!!!! Seems so easy to so many to just quit. Getting migraines and reg. Ol’headaches, irritable, chills, emotional, etc WITH patches. I do still smoke 2-3 a day, down from 35-40 a day.. Knew it was going to be hard HAHAHA little did I know cause I had no idea how hard this was going to be.

  2. I don’t know what cloud the writer of this article is on, but nicotine is only a very small part of why I smoke. Nicotine replacement therapy takes a very small edge off the cravings, but does not begin to “fully take the place of a cigarette”. Smoking is a habit pattern, a reward for a job well done or an unpleasant task completed, a way to get a few minutes of peace and quiet away from the group, a chance to take a break, etc. And then you are thought to be a failure when the patches and gum don’t fully replace cigarettes.

    • I agree with you! I’m on day 4, a pack and a half a day smoker for 30 years and the NRT doesn’t really take the edge off it for me. I’m using the patch and gum (highest dose on both) and I still have really bad cravings. Its the triggers that get me… my lunch break, after eating etc.. I’ve been going through some really bad withdrawal with headaches and depression. I am determined to quit.. too many people around me are dying from smoking and I’m taking it as a wake up call.

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