Calm Down Without Cigarettes

Stopping smoking is a challenge. But it's sill considered a NEW YEAR and there are even more ways to try to quit than ever! Gums, patches, prescriptions, distractions, are all popular ways to do it, and we won't be getting away from them too soon. And quitting success means that the good things you got from smoking (ok, "good" or the so called Smoker's Paradoxes aren't really 'good', in that they kept you smoking) need to be addressed. What I mean is there are some health effects you will be missing sorely and to really quit successfully you need to address those health issues one by one. Calming those fears, and setting up ways to relax without the lighting up is important. One is going to be weight. Nicotine increases metabolism, and you'll need a strategy to boost it without nicotine or the calm of the new year will definitely be broken!

The FDA is warning people on Varenicline (Chantix) that some serious neuropsychiatric events can occur in individuals on this as a smoking aid. In plain terms there have been reports of changes in mood (including depression and mania), psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, homicidal ideation, hostility, agitation, anxiety, and panic, as well as suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and completed suicide; even in individuals without  preexisting psychiatric disease. Yes, these are also nicotine withdrawal symptoms, so proper gum and patch use is probably as important as the verenicline use itself. Specifically nicotine has beneficial effects on ADD, so getting a proper perspective on your pscyhe is important: do you have ADD, do you have PMDD, do you have depression, and then do you have a plan to communicate with family, friends, your gyno for instructions if you note said withdrawal symptoms. Like other medications, patients with serious psychiatric illnesses were not in the original safety trials, so that the drug's effectiveness and safety have not been established in this group of patients. And calm is what we seek. It's a commonly reported reason for smoking initiation and continuation. So if calm is what you seek. You need a calming mechanism other than your smoking. I suggest some breathing exercises, some decaf green tea, yoga, reading a good book, swimming or knitting. Write back with your plan for calm!

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