Trying to quit smoking, but are nicotine withdrawal symptoms and your craving for smoking making the task tougher? The good news is that NRT or Nicotine Replacement Therapy can help you out.
It is important to mention here that you might experience an extremely strong craving for smoking especially at the initial stages of quitting. This is because your body undergoes through various withdrawal symptoms and you might even end up feeling tired, moody and start experiencing headaches.
Fortunately, there are many ways through which you can suppress your cravings. Distracting yourself, exercising, taking medications and NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) are a few such methods through which you can kill your cravings for smoking. However, so far, NRT is the best way to eliminate your craving for smoking. Let’s know more about it in detail.
Addiction and Therapy
Nicotine is an active alkaloid that is present in the tobacco leaves. The smoke produced by the burning of leaves gets into the lungs and stimulates the brain. Thus, once you stop smoking after getting addicted, the level of nicotine in the bloodstream falls and you start facing nicotine withdrawal symptoms including constipation, dizziness, increased appetite, irritability, and cravings. These symptoms become worse and reach a peak point in next twenty-four hours if you do not smoke.
This is where Nicotine Replacement Therapy comes to your rescue. Along with helping you in quitting smoking, it also helps you control your cravings slowly and gradually.
NRT allows you to intake nicotine with the help of other alternatives such as nicotine inhalers, patches, sprays, tablets, gums and the likes that are easily available in the market.
Method of Action of the Nicotine Replacement Therapy
NRT has been proven to be one of the best techniques to kick smoking. This therapy makes use of nicotine modifiers that provide nicotine to a smoker without tobacco. In this therapy, the amount of nicotine taken is just enough to get rid of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
How to Employ the Therapy?
NRT differs from person to person. As a first step, you need to determine the kind of nicotine modifier that will fit your requirements. You can choose it on your own or ask your therapist to choose for you.
In addition to practicing NRT, it is highly recommended to join programs like SmokefreeTXT, Quitline or the QuitGuide which will inspire you to quit smoking. At the initial stages, it is highly recommended to use the nicotine modifier regularly and then gradually reduce its dosage. Further, you should avoid taking medicines like Bupropion and Varenicline when taking NRT.
Efficiency of the Therapy
People who practice NRT have a greater chance of quitting smoking. A research has shown that the 70% of the smokers are able to quit smoking with this method. Further, the chances tend to increase significantly if you take help of counseling programs or use a combination of therapies.
Types of Nicotine Replacement Therapies
There are five types of NRT and all of them are equally beneficial, but their response varies from person to person. These therapies can be used singly or as a combination for better results.
These are chewing gums which when placed in the mouth release nicotine at a very slow rate with no risk. Each gum is equivalent to 1-2 cigarettes. 1-2 gums can be chewed in an hour but not more than twenty a day. It is highly recommended to chew the gum 15 -20 minutes after drinking or eating food.
Nicotine Lozenges require no prescription. These are better than gums. On chewing them, nicotine is released into the bloodstream instead of the mouth. It is highly recommended to avoid taking or drinking anything 15 minutes prior to taking the lozenges. Also, avoid smoking as it may cause nicotine poisoning.
These are transdermal patches that are placed on the skin. They release the alkaloid directly into the bloodstream.
The nicotine inhaler is just like gums but they act faster when compared to nicotine patches. It releases a consistent amount of nicotine in the blood. Its 80 puffs are equivalent to one cigarette. Thus, it is very useful in satisfying the oral urges.
These are nasal sprays and can be sprayed in each nostril. These sprays deliver a very quick dose of nicotine and its level peaks every 5-10 minutes. Nicotine sprays can be used in combination with the nicotine patches. However, for best results, it is highly recommended to avoid smoking while using nicotine sprays otherwise it can cause nicotine poisoning. Further, you can also try using nicotine mouth sprays twice a day whenever you face the cravings.
This is the best way to keep you off from the cravings. Ecigs are battery-operated devices that contain nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals that are inhaled in the form of vapors. These are comparatively less harmful than cigarettes. So, how e-cigs help kicking smoking habit? Well, this is because e-cigs allow you to adjust the nicotine level as per the needs, thus, allowing you to quit slowly and gradually.
Combination of NRTs
Combination of NRTs of two forms i.e. an oral NRT product and a patch can provide more effective results. Combination of NRTs is particularly useful for the heavy smokers who have a greater dependency on nicotine. This type of therapy is also useful for those who face tricky cravings.
Get Started with NRT
Simply put, NRT is an effective way through which you can control your cravings for smoking. However, it is always recommended to practice NRT under an expert’s supervision. You should talk to your therapist if you are on any specific medication or if you are breastfeeding or are pregnant. Avoid practicing NRT an hour before breastfeeding as nicotine can easily contaminate your breast milk which might be dangerous for your newborn. Further, you should always read the instructions carefully before using any NRT.
What are your views on this? Do share your NRT experience with us in the comments.