What are the treatment options for nicotine addiction recovery?

Once a patient is truly ready to quit, an action plan should be devised. The first step in this plan should be a quit date, which should be within two weeks. The three proven elements of successfully quitting smoking are social support, pharmacologic therapy, and coping skills. All of these elements are encouraged; however, one should be part of the treatment plan if the expectation is to quit once and for all. Counseling and support have shown greater success rates for quitting than those that "go at it alone." This counseling can be done in person or over the phone. Multiple pharmacologic therapies exist including over-the-counter nicotine replacement, as well as prescription medications. Talk with you doctor about all of the options. Coping skills are also important in that a smoker trying to quit must be able to recognize situations that will make them want to smoke and how to avoid or deal with these occurrences without needing a cigarette.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

There are loads of treatments you can use to help you quit smoking. While many smokers choose to go cold turkey, that isn't always the most effective path. Nicotine is highly addictive and some people find it too hard to deal with the withdrawal symptoms without some medical or psychological help.

I find that one-on-one or group counseling with or without medications provides better results. Face-to-face programs, Web-based programs, and mobile apps can do wonders for someone trying to stop. These step-wise smoking cessation programs use tried and true methods that can increase your chances for success. Since nicotine withdrawal is the part of quitting that gets people tied up in knots, we like to see if a nicotine replacement option is possible. Not everyone will be able or willing to take nicotine replacement therapies, but it does help take the edge off of quitting. Nicotine replacements are available in different dosages to match the amount of cigarettes you would normally smoke. They come in different forms to work with your needs and preferences. There's nicotine gum, a transdermal nicotine patch, nicotine nasal spray, nicotine lozenges and nicotine oral inhaler.

We can also prescribe a couple non-nicotine smoking cessation medications, including antidepressants, varenicline, and buproprion. They don't work directly on the nicotine pathways in the brain, but they quell cravings in other ways.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
There was a time when going cold turkey - simply stopping all tobacco use - was pretty much the only way to quit smoking. This strategy actually works for some people. Today, though, there are a lot of safe, really helpful tools to help as you recover from your addiction to nicotine, like:
- Nicotine replacement therapy uses patches, gum, lozenges, and even inhaled sprays to replace the nicotine from tobacco to help you gradually taper off.

- Smoking cessation medications such as Chantix (varenicline) help you quit for good.

- Smoking cessation programs give you counseling and the emotional support you need as you quit.

If you want to quit smoking, you have several options. Setting a quit date is very important, but deciding how to quit is important as well. You can quit immediately and experience the effects of withdrawal, or you can choose a variety of cessation techniques. Behavior modification, counseling, or nicotine replacement products like gum, a patch, or nasal sprays may help minimize withdrawal symptoms. Bupropion, an antidepressant, may be used to complement products designed to reduce nicotine slowly. Varenicline, which affects the brain-nicotine relationship and decreases both withdrawal symptoms and cravings, must be used alone.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.