Withdrawal from nicotine; Smoking - nicotine addiction and withdrawal; Smokeless tobacco - nicotine addiction; Cigar smoking; Pipe smoking; Smokeless snuff; Tobacco use; Chewing tobacco
There are several strategies for treating nicotine withdrawal.
Nicotine supplements can help. All of them work well, if used properly. See: Nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine supplements come in several forms:
Nonhabit forming prescription medications may help you quit smoking and keep you from starting again. See: Smoking cessation medications
Such medicines include:
Like any addiction, quitting tobacco is difficult, especially if you are acting alone. If you join a smoking cessation program, you have a much better chance of success. See: Stop smoking support programs
Untreated depression can prevent you from quitting tobacco. A screening test for depression may help ensure proper treatment and increase the odds that you will stay off tobacco products.
People who are trying to quit smoking often become discouraged when they don't succeed at first. Research shows that the more times you try, the more likely you are to succeed -- so don't give up! If you aren't successful the first time you try to quit, look at what worked or didn't work, think of new ways to quit smoking, and try again. Many attempts are often necessary to finally "beat the habit." See: Smoking - tips on how to quit
Nicotine withdrawal is short-lived and symptoms pass in time, usually in less than a week. Withdrawal is the most uncomfortable part of quitting, but the real challenge is beating long-term cravings and staying away from tobacco.
Long-term use of nicotine products, whether smoking or using smokeless tobacco products, carries many risks, including:
Weight gain due to increased eating also may occur. This is much less unhealthy than continuing to smoke. People who have concerns about their weight should address them while quitting, so these concerns do not affect their attempts to stay away from cigarettes.
Nicotine withdrawal may also bring on a relapse of major depression, bipolar disorder, or other substance abuse problems.
See your health care provider if you wish to stop smoking, or have already done so and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Your provider can help provide treatments, some of which are only available by prescription.
Benowitz NL. Tobacco. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 30.
Burke MV, Ebbert JO, Hays JT. Treatment of tobacco dependence. Mayo Clin Proc. 2008;83:479-483.
Hays JT, Ebbert JO, Sood A. Treating tobacco dependence in light of the 2008 US Department of Health and Human Services clinical practice guideline. Mayo Clin Proc. 2009;84:730-735.
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