Integrative Healthcare Center (IHC) has licensed and certified medical, clinical, and psychiatric experts who deliver a range of mental and behavioral healthcare treatments. These treatments are offered in various combinations to improve your overall health and wellness. Let’s take quitting smoking, for example. Every year around this time, people explore ways to incorporate healthier lifestyles into their routines but often look for a single solution rather than a blend of options.
While there are single-step choices (such as cold turkey), there are also multi-layer solutions, like combining gradual reduction with transcranial therapy (see below). Our goal is to define the most effective methods in this blog while also exploring how a combination of treatments can prove better suited for many.
1. Quitting Tobacco Cold Turkey
Even the experts at Harvard Health Publishing agree that quitting tobacco use “cold turkey” is a popular option for those looking to break their smoking habit. This approach involves immediately ceasing all use of tobacco products, with no gradual tapering or other assistance.
While going cold turkey is often seen as the most challenging approach to quitting, it has its advantages. When it comes to quitting tobacco, going cold turkey may be the best choice if you’re highly motivated and want to stop quickly. Those who choose this method can benefit from feeling the effects of being smoke-free immediately, and it will reduce the amount of nicotine in their bodies over a short period. Additionally, this approach can help people avoid the cravings associated with gradually decreased consumption.
It’s important to note that going cold turkey can also have disadvantages. It can be challenging to overcome the physical and psychological addiction to nicotine without any assistance. Those attempting to quit “cold turkey” often find themselves reaching for cigarettes or nicotine products mere weeks after deciding to quit.
Furthermore, quitting nicotine can also have adverse effects on one’s family. Studies have shown that when one partner quits smoking, they may become more irritable or hostile. It’s crucial for those planning to quit smoking “cold turkey” to get support from their loved ones to focus on their goal of becoming smoke-free and being mindful of their mental health.
2. Gradually Reducing Tobacco Consumption
Quitting addictive chemicals like nicotine can be a complex process, but with a solid plan and strong willpower, it is possible to reduce your consumption. A great way to do this is to set a goal, such as quitting before the end of 2023. One method for reducing your consumption over time is setting limits. For example, you can smoke one less cigarette each week until you eventually stop altogether. Or you can give yourself specific windows of time during which you can smoke. Another option is to switch from regular cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, which contain lower nicotine levels.
If you are looking to quit smoking gradually, much like cold turkey, it is vital to understand your habit’s effects on your family and your health. When trying to reduce your consumption, it’s essential to have a support system in place. You can ask friends or family members to help you stay on track and hold you accountable for meeting your goals. However, they should prepare for any changes to your disposition. Just because you’ve asked for help doesn’t mean you will be mentally prepared to receive it.
Additionally, for those seeking an extra boost, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy (or TMS) may be a helpful supplement to this approach. TMS therapy is a non-invasive procedure that can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms while providing mental clarity and renewed motivation. This therapy is a safe and effective way to aid those trying to quit tobacco and can be part of an overall quitting strategy. More on that later.
3. Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Number one on the Mayo Clinic’s list of ways to resist cravings, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is an excellent option for those who want to quit smoking. It involves replacing nicotine from cigarettes with nicotine found in other forms, such as patches, gum, inhalers, and lozenges. NRT reduces cravings and the effects of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. NRT also has been proven to be an effective way to quit smoking but in combination with other methods.
Combining NRT with other lifestyle changes, such as exercising and eating healthy, is essential to increase the chances of successfully quitting. And the effects of NRT on family and friends are better on average. When someone quits smoking, they have a significantly reduced risk of developing smoking-related diseases. Between a healthier lifestyle and a gradual tapering off from dependency, those closest to you will feel a more positive impact than other treatments, which can be more intense.
4. Prescription Medications for Quitting Tobacco
Prescription medications are a more clinical route to take when quitting smoking. Other cessation methods, such as counseling and nicotine replacement therapies, regularly support such medications. They can help reduce the craving for nicotine and the symptoms of withdrawal. Commonly prescribed medications include Wellbutrin, varenicline, and nortriptyline, which block the pleasant effects of nicotine in the brain. For more information about varenicline and other prescription medicine aids, check out an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.
This brings us back to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Combined with prescription medications and other therapies, TMS has the potential to improve people’s lives drastically. TMS therapy has been proven effective in helping people quit smoking over time, using magnetic fields to stimulate specific parts of the brain associated with addiction. It has been successful in helping patients reduce their nicotine cravings and avoid relapses. It may be worth considering if other methods have not worked or if you are trying to quit at any point during this new year.
No matter what route you choose, quitting smoking significantly and positively affects your health and your family’s health. Not only will it lower your risk for diseases like lung cancer, but it also improves air quality in your surroundings. After quitting, you will see improvements in your mental health and an overall reduction in stress and anxiety. Quitting can benefit all family members, even your pets, so consider them when making your decisions.
Integrative Healthcare Center is Here to Help You Quit Tobacco
After completing one of the methods above, focus on long-term lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and eating healthier. These healthy habits will help ensure that you remain smoke-free for good! Remember that quitting smoking affects not only you but also those around you. Remind yourself why you chose to quit in the first place and the positive effects it will have on your friend’s and family’s health. With dedication and determination, you can successfully quit smoking and begin to enjoy a healthier lifestyle in 2023!
Integrative Healthcare Center offers psychiatry, autism care, and wellness therapies that are available, affordable, and accessible to everyone. All calls are free and confidential, and we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us today at (844) 222-3176 or complete the form here.