Tobacco is one of the most widely abused substances in the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that tobacco causes 6 million deaths per year. This makes tobacco the leading cause of preventable death.
Nicotine is the main chemical in tobacco. It causes a rush of adrenaline when absorbed in the bloodstream or inhaled via cigarette smoke or vaping. Nicotine also triggers an increase in dopamine, sometimes referred to as the brain’s “happy” chemical.
Dopamine stimulates the area of the brain associated with pleasure and reward. Like any other drug, use of tobacco over time can cause a physical and psychological addiction. This is also true for smokeless forms of tobacco, such as snuff and chewing tobacco.
Common Treatments Available
There are several different treatment options for those battling a tobacco dependency:
Nicotine Replacement Therapies: Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) poses the lowest risk to health among all nicotine-containing products, and thus falls on the opposite end of the nicotine-delivery risk spectrum, whereas cigarettes are the most harmful. FDA-approved NRTs are designed to reduce symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and help adults quit smoking by delivering small amounts of nicotine to the brain without the toxic chemicals present in cigarette smoke. If used properly, NRTs are safe and effective cessation methods and can double an dependent smoker’s chances of successfully quitting cigarettes.11 NRTs are available both by prescription in the form of oral inhaler and nasal spray, and over-the-counter for adults age 18 and over as skin patches, lozenges, and gum. 2
NRT patch: The patch is known as a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). It’s a small, bandage-like sticker that you apply to your arm or back. The patch delivers low levels of nicotine to the body. This helps gradually wean the body off it. 1
Nicotine gum: Another form of NRT, nicotine gum can help people who need the oral fixation of smoking or chewing. This is common, as people who are quitting smoking may have the urge to put something into their mouths. The gum also delivers small doses of nicotine to help the you manage cravings. 1
Spray or inhaler: Nicotine sprays and inhalers can help by giving low doses of nicotine without tobacco use. These are sold over the counter and are widely available. The spray is inhaled, sending nicotine into the lungs. 1
Medications: Some doctors recommend the use of medication to help with tobacco dependencies. Certain antidepressants or high blood pressure drugs might be able to help manage cravings. One medication that’s commonly used is varenicline (Chantix). But it is up to your doctor to decide which medications should be prescribed to help you with your tobacco dependency.
Psychological and behavioral treatments: Some people who use tobacco have success with methods such as: hypnotherapy; cognitive-behavioral therapy; neuro-linguistic programming. These methods help the user change their thoughts about dependency. They work to alter feelings or behaviors that your brain associates with tobacco use.
Find Help Now at Rocky Mountain Frontier Boys Ranch and School.
Rocky Mountain Frontier Boys Ranch and School provides a complete course of addiction treatment, including tobacco and nicotine addictions. Call (307) 645-3363 today to learn more about our program. Help your loved one recover, and return home as a changed young man for good!