What is Smoking Cessation?
Smoking cessation is the act of beating nicotine addiction and no longer smoking. People may choose to do this at their doctors’ request or because they know about the physical dangers of smoking. Someone may also want to stop smoking due to financial concerns or just wanting to take control of their lives. Regardless of why someone quits smoking, it can be difficult.
People use several different methods to quit smoking. Sometimes, the first thing a person tries doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean that hope is lost. Counseling often helps people identify triggers for smoking and learn new ways to cope with life’s stressors.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
When people quit smoking, they bring on several incredible health benefits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that people who complete smoking cessation lower their risks of developing:
- Several types of cancers
- Heart disease
- Infertility (in women)
- Peripheral vascular disease
The effects are most profound in people who quit smoking early in their lives. However, it is never too late for someone to reap the smoking cessation benefits.
Our Orlando Smoking Cessation Program
Many people need help to quit smoking, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The professionals at FLBH guide patients through smoking cessation methods and stay with clients until they meet their goals. The effectiveness and compassion make our smoking cessation program one of the most beneficial ways through which residents of Florida quit smoking.
FLBH provides patients with five convenient locations throughout the Orlando area. Our therapists and psychiatrists work side-by-side to help residents of Florida quit smoking once and for all. These professionals understand the possible side effects of quitting smoking and try to minimize the discomfort as much as possible.
One thing our smoking cessation patients often ask is, “How long does it take to quit smoking?” Unfortunately, there is no single timeline for smoking cessation. Instead of pushing our patients to quit smoking by an arbitrary deadline, we personalize plans for individual needs. Our therapists and psychiatrists understand the stages of quitting smoking and guide each patient through them at a pace that makes sense for them.
If you’re ready to stop, but you need some help to quit smoking, contact one of our clinics today. The sooner you start, the sooner you can be done with tobacco for good.
Stages of Quitting Smoking
Anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows that the process is not as straightforward as people want it to be. While it would be nice just to throw away the remaining cigarettes and never think about it again, it’s typically more complicated than that.
It’s essential for anyone who wants to quit to be realistic about what to expect. A firm understanding of withdrawal symptoms and timelines may help people avoid relapses since they know the worst of it is temporary.
Although each person experiences the symptoms of quitting smoking differently, the physical stages typically go as follows:
- 4 to 24 hours: first withdrawal symptoms begin
- 3 days: the withdrawal symptoms are at their worst
- 3 to 4 weeks: the physical symptoms are mostly gone
Depending on the person, cravings or thoughts of smoking may go on for much longer. People may find themselves in specific situations or around certain people that trigger the urge to smoke. Counseling can help clients find ways to curb those feelings.
Side Effects of Quitting Smoking
The benefits of quitting smoking tend to outweigh the side effects. After all, the withdrawal symptoms are temporary while the health benefits stick around as long as the patient refrains from smoking. However, it’s crucial for clients to prepare for the possible adverse side effects of quitting smoking, including:
- Mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased appetite
- Trouble concentrating
This list of symptoms should not discourage someone from taking on a smoking cessation program. FLBH professionals can help smokers prepare for these symptoms and devise strategies for overcoming them.
Alternative Methods to Quit Smoking
Several tools exist to help residents of Florida quit smoking. Some people use just one smoking cessation method, but many people need to combine tools to achieve success. Individuals can try:
Counselors and psychiatrists at FLBH can help clients choose the right methods for them.
Counseling is a Natural Smoking Cessation Method
Counseling offers a practical and natural smoking cessation method. An analysis of 49 clinical trials found that counseling can make clients 40% to 80% more likely to quit smoking than going cold turkey. The report also showed that Adding counseling to medication, the patch, or nicotine gum can make those methods more effective. The more often patients attended counseling sessions, the more likely they were to succeed.
CBT is one standard counseling method for quitting smoking and one of the most popular types of therapy for all disorders. Patients learn to identify the feelings that make them reach for cigarettes, then replace those thoughts with something positive. Counselors may use other types of therapy as well, depending on the needs of the patients.
Use the Patch
When patients want to combine counseling with other tools, the patch is a popular choice. These patches give patients doses of nicotine through the skin. This method of smoking cessation allows patients to slowly ramp down the amount of nicotine their bodies receive, causing fewer withdrawal symptoms. Patients who enter smoking cessation programs can use the patch under professional supervision.
Nicotine gum works much like the patch in that it helps patients slowly withdraw from nicotine with less severe symptoms. The gum also gives clients oral satisfaction, which can help them replace the habit of smoking with chewing gum, eventually without nicotine. Counselors and psychiatrists can help make this transition stick.
Smoking Cessation Medications
Prescriptions for smoking cessation work differently from the gum or patch. These FDA-approved medications do not use nicotine, which can be a relief for patients who want to “pull off the bandage,” so to speak, or those who need additional help. Currently, two approved medicines exist for this purpose:
- Bupropion (Zyban)
- Varenicline (Chantix)
Doctors first used bupropion as an antidepressant, but it can help people quit smoking whether or not they live with depression. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, the medication allows patients to experience fewer tobacco cravings. Patients start taking the pill about one week before they plan to quit and then continue the medication for seven to 12 weeks.
Varenicline helps by reducing the effects of withdrawal. Patients start with a low dose about one week before quitting smoking, then increase the dosage and continue for 12 to 24 weeks.