The number of Australians quitting smoking has been steady rising for the past two decades. If you are a smoker, a visit to your doctor may help you to increase the chances that you will finally beat your addiction to nicotine. Below is a guide to 3 ways your doctor can help you quit smoking.
Smoking causes a range of health problems such as reduced lung capacity and high blood pressure. Your doctor will be able to carry out an assessment of your general health and can then use the test results to show you how you are doing compared to people of the same age. Being able to see the damage smoking is causing to your body in a tangible way can help to increase your motivation to quit.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Many smokers find it difficult to quit by going cold turkey. Thankfully, there is now a wide range of nicotine replacement products on the market. Nicotine replacement products are designed to slowly release nicotine into your bloodstream to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. The dose of nicotine provided by the replacement therapy is gradually reduced until you are completely nicotine free. Your doctor can work with you to identify the best product for you. You can choose between nicotine chewing gum, patches and lozenges. If you doctor prescribes nicotine replacement products, you may be able to claim for them on your health insurance.
Therapy and Medication
If you are a very heavy smoker who is having difficulty giving up, your doctor may be able to prescribe additional medication or refer you to a therapist. Medications such as the antidepressant bupropion can help to significantly reduce cravings and some withdrawal symptoms. Before prescribing these drugs, you doctor will check that they are suitable for you. You should never start taking this type of medication without first consulting a medical professional.
Smoking is as much of a mental addiction as it is a physical addiction. Even if you haven't had a cigarette for a number of months and your body is no longer physically addicted to nicotine, you may still suffer from strong physiological urges to smoke. A number of sessions with a psychotherapist or counsellor can help you to deal with this mental aspect of addiction so you can look forward to a smoke-free life.
If you would like to find out more about giving up smoking, you should contact a doctor today.