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January 5, 2012

Alternative Therapies To Quit Smoking

Even if you're not keen on the idea of using nicotine-replacement therapy, there are plenty of treatment options that can help you stop smoking-once and for all! Quitting smoking may be one of the MOST important health decisions you will ever make, but it can be a difficult process. While many smokers turn to nicotine-replacement therapy, like the gum or the patch, there are a number of other unique options available! One smoking cessation option is a prescription medication that has been called the "non-nicotine" pill. This medication, bupropion hydrochloride, is trademarked under the name Zyban. Bupropion is not new. In fact, it has also been sold as an anti-depressant medication under the name Wellbutrin since 1985. In smokers, zyban boosts the levels of the chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, a process that also occurs when you light a cigarette. The resulting effect is a sense of energy and well-being that is similar to smoking a cigarette. Zyban is usually taken twice a day for up to 12 weeks. Because it takes a week for zyban to become fully effective, it is recommended that a smoker begin taking the medication a week before quitting. It is important that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people with a history of eating disorders, people taking MAO medications, and those who have seizures, all avoid taking zyban. Another non-nicotine prescription medication is called varenicline, which is sold under the brand name Chantix. Chantix is usually taken twice a day after eating. When you smoke a cigarette, the nicotine in the product enters your brain, binding to the neurotransmitter receptors there. Varenicline works by attaching to these receptors instead, creating a similar feeling of euphoria. It is important that pregnant and nursing women, as well as people with kidney disease do not take chantix. Another therapy that some ex-smokers swear by is hypnosis. Hypnosis is a state of focused concentration induced by a skilled practitioner. Once in a hypnotic state, you may be more open to suggestions from the hypnotist, and therefore be better able to recognize smoking's harmful effects. Eventually, a patient may learn to self-hypnotize, reinforcing these key messages. Those who experience the best results with this therapy use it in conjunction with other quitting aids. Some smokers also find the ancient Chinese therapy of acupuncture to be helpful in the quitting process. During this procedure, needles are placed at key points in the body, thus correcting an imbalanced flow of chi, or energy. Acupuncturists believe that once chi is corrected, health can be restored. Of course, some people who decide to quit smoking do so "cold turkey." This process involves completely giving up cigarettes with no aid from medication or therapy. While the cold turkey method works for a small percentage, many people find their psychical addiction to nicotine, and their psychological addition to smoking, to be too difficult to control without some initial help. Quitting smoking can be tough, but it's not impossible! Remember as you quit that it's important to talk to you doctor before using ANY prescription medications or alternative therapies.

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Last Updated:
December 20, 2012