Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are part of the reason so many people are still smoking while knowing how harmful the habit is to their health. Cigarette smoking causes almost one fifth of the deaths in the United States each year and the reason is because the habit opens the door to a number of chronic diseases including several forms of cancer, lung disease and atherosclerosis. The Surgeon General has called cigarette smoking the number one preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. There have been no health risks more identified by the government through television, magazines and other media outlets than cigarette smoking, and unless there is a hermit living in a tree house somewhere in the Rockies, the entire population of the country knows the risks and consequences. Yet the habit almost always begins in these times during someone's early teen years and because of the incredible addictive properties of the nicotine in tobacco, many continue to smoke into their adult years and beyond.
Whether nicotine is smoked, chewed, drank, sprayed, swallowed or patched there are going to be very strong withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms have been said to be stronger than the withdrawal from heroin. In fact, after one year, 20% of those off heroin have remained off heroin while only five percent of nicotine users who tried to get off are still off. It's no wonder; nicotine in its purest form is more deadly than strychnine diamond back rattlesnake venom arsenic or cyanide. The drug takes control both directly and indirectly of over two hundred neurochemicals including dopamine, select adrenalin and serotonin. All of these chemicals are important in our moods, stimulation, rewards and anxiety patterns. So when nicotine is withheld from the body after having control of it for a period of time, emotional triggers will cause a number of symptoms perhaps not necessarily normally evidenced in the smoker's life such as anxiety, anger, irritability, impatience and restlessness.
In addition to these issues there may be some other physical signs of tobacco abandonment that can be quite difficult to suppress. These nicotine withdrawal symptoms include tiredness, trouble sleeping, chest tightness, sore throat, coughing or nasal drip, headaches, bleeding gums, stomach pain and nausea. The good news is that these nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually subside in about a week, but they are intense during those days, and more intense the longer a person has smoked and how heavy the habit has been. The symptoms will still be present for up to a month, especially if the smoker has been at it a long time and more than a pack a day addict. Should the smoker switch to a lower nicotine cigarette, the abstinence symptoms will be not as strong. For the Christian, there is hope beyond will power for things such as quitting smoking. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)
Most people try and quit smoking on their own, but the recidivism rate is high without the proper support. Starting with a visit to one's own family physician may not be a bad move because of course the key to quitting smoking is to reduce as much as possible the nicotine withdrawal symptoms. There are some over the counter agents that may help by replacing smoking with a patch containing the same addictive substance but in lesser dosages so that over time the addiction can be broken. Because there are some risks to these patches for certain heart or asthma issues, even over the counter helps ought to be first okayed by a doctor. Gum containing this substance is also available as well as nasal sprays, but the sprays are often accompanied by nasal irritation and they are available by prescription only. There are some drugs available only through prescription that may help the smoker overcome the depression that is often part of the tobacco abandonment syndrome. Zyban is often prescribed as well as Prozac to fight the sadness or depression that accompanies nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
One of the strongest helps in quitting smoking is that help that support groups can give to those fighting the nicotine withdrawal symptoms. To be able to sit with others who are also going through the same issues can certainly help encourage and spur on those who are struggling with the addiction. There is a strong accountability that comes with being a part of the group, having to share the defeats as well as the joys of overcoming urges and cravings. Women are more likely to join support groups, while men like playing the Lone Ranger role. When a person combines drug therapy as well as psychotherapy while quitting, the success rate jumps dramatically.
Just deciding to quit smoking and facing nicotine withdrawal symptoms alone usually doesn't work. There are enough resources out online and throughout the community that no one should ever have to believe that they are alone in the fight against addiction. There are even coaches who will talk on the phone to a person anytime the craving gets too strong. Getting help is easy, but making the decision to quit and taking the first steps are the most difficult. If a person has been treated for depression before quitting smoking, there must absolutely be a dialogue between physician and the addict quitting the habit of smoking. There are dangers of relapse into depression, bipolar disorder or substance abuse. Check with your local hospital, health department, community centers or see if your employer has resources for helping you quit.
Side Effects Of Chewing TobaccoSide effects of chewing tobacco are stained teeth, bad breath, sores on the gums and in the mouth that are stubborn to heal and other dental problems. Some of the effects on dental health are escalated by the sugar that is added to the tobacco during processing to improve the taste. The habit can also affect a person's ability to taste and smell. After prolonged use there is a risk of developing oral cancer which may become apparent through a sore that does not heal, a white patch, prolonged sore throat, difficulty chewing, or a feeling there is a lump in the throat. A person should stop chewing tobacco to reduce the side effects and health risks associated with it. Chewing or smokeless tobacco contains nicotine a very addictive substance. The nicotine gets into the bloodstream through absorption in the mouth and is slower acting than getting nicotine from smoking a cigarette. The most serious health risk associated with the smokeless habit is cancer.
The habit of snuff or chewing tobacco can be considered by many as a very unclean habit. The substance is held in the mouth and then spit out. Most chewers have a spit can that they carry around and spit into periodically. Some people may choose to engage in this habit because they believe it is not as harmful as smoking cigarettes. However, this is not necessarily true. The substance is still absorbed into the bloodstream and the side effects of chewing tobacco can be detrimental to health and can even lead to developing a serious illness such as cancer. For those who want to quit, there is hope found in the Word of God. "And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it" (Numbers 13:30).
Other serious health problems associated with the smokeless habit include an increased heart rate and blood pressure. People who are engaged in this habit should stop chewing tobacco before they have a heart attack or suffer from a stroke. Heart attack and stroke can happen because the arteries constrict; there is an increased risk of blood clots; both of these effects are caused by the nicotine. Oral or mouth cancer are not the only types of cancer associated with a smokeless habit; some of the cancer-causing chemicals can get into other vital organs such as the stomach, esophagus, bowels, and bladder. High doses of nicotine can cause respiratory and digestive distress. Quitting may be very difficult because of the nicotine addiction and may take some time but there is help out there for anyone who is serious about quitting. There are some good websites on the Internet that provide some valuable information on quitting.
Mint leaf is a substance that is harmless but has a consistency like smokeless snuff. A person who wants to quit gradually can substitute mint leaf for part of the tobacco until they are eventually chewing the mint leaf and no longer need the nicotine. Another idea that might help to stop chewing tobacco would be to chew the mint leaf by itself as long as possible. When a craving gets to be unbearable add some of the tobacco in with the mint leaf. Each time this happens add a smaller amount until no longer needed.
Some of the ways to quit the smokeless habit is by using a nicotine patch or gum and asking a doctor about taking antidepressants that may help with withdrawal symptoms. As a substitute a person can try chewing gum, hard candy, and other foods such as dried fruit or jerky. There is also a snuff that closely resembles tobacco called mint leaf that can be used as a substitution. For those who have great difficulty in quitting but do not want to suffer with the side effects of chewing tobacco should consider counseling and getting advice from a doctor. The withdrawals are primarily caused from the lack of nicotine and may include anxiety, depression, headaches, and fatigue.
There are twenty-eight different chemicals in snuff that are considered carcinogens or cancer-causing agents. Research has shown that there is actually more nicotine in a plug of chewing tobacco than in a cigarette. In addition, there are chemicals such as formaldehyde and arsenic in snuff. Even without considering other chemicals the nicotine alone should be enough of a reason to stop chewing tobacco. Nicotine is a potent substance and has even been used as insecticide. Nicotine cross the blood-brain barrier and can be absorbed into the skin. Using the substance causes the body to increase the flow of adrenaline which causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as well as increasing insulin. The byproduct of nicotine can stay in the body for 48 hours after being used. Nicotine also increases dopamine levels in the brain which is why a person feels good when they use it. This is one of the main reasons that a person becomes addicted. In addition, using snuff has been linked to developing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. These risks are related to nicotine and how it affects the brain. The best way to help someone with an addiction is to give him or her information that will educate them about the detriments to their body. There is a lot of information on the Internet that can be downloaded or requested through the mail by doing a search for side effects of chewing tobacco.