Smoking affects various functions in our body, specifically our respiratory system. However, despite the fact that smoking can bring a lot of harmful effects to our body, many people still prefer to use it and in some instances, a moderate use of cigarette cannot satisfy them. Hence, they tend to use more of it and failure to do so, results to a wide range of withdrawal symptoms. These include headache, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, falling heart rate and blood pressure, fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, irritability, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, depression, increased hunger and caloric intake, increased desire for the taste of sweets and tobacco cravings.
Smoking addiction or sometimes called nicotine dependence is multi-factorial because it involves both behavioral and physical factors. Nicotine is the chemical substance found in tobacco that keeps you smoking and it becomes addictive when delivered to the lungs as you inhale tobacco smoke. It increases the release of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which help regulate mood and behavior. One of these neurotransmitters is dopamine, which may improve your mood and activate feelings of pleasure. This effect of nicotine makes smoking more addictive.
The treatment for smoking addiction involves several goals. The primary goal of treatment and management focuses on smoking cessation. Counseling is necessary to motivate smokers to quit smoking because the willingness of the patient to quit is a key point. Smokers can be advised to engage in various activities to divert their attention. Relaxation techniques can also be done if stress is one of the major causes why the patient smokes. The use of cigarette should also be gradually minimized by using different interventions. This can be achieved by various methods such as nicotine replacement therapy which includes transdermal nicotine patch, nicotine nasal spray, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenge, sublingual nicotine tablet and nicotine inhaler. Aside from this, non-nicotine pharmacotherapy can also be utilized. Medications that can alleviate withdrawal symptoms such as depression are also beneficial in managing nicotine dependence.