Alcohol & Smoking Treatment


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Alcohol & Smoking Treatment

One of the ways that people with mental health condition try to manage their symptoms is to start smoking or consume alcohol. People who find themselves in this state try to self-medicate to get momentary diversion from the symptoms. Unfortunately, this can make total recovery very difficult on the long run. Understanding the adverse effects of consuming alcohol and smoking is the first crucial step towards making a positive shift.

Individuals dealing with mental conditions have a high rate of tobacco consumption. According to research, half of the cigarettes in the United States are consumed by individuals who are dealing with mental health conditions. The implication of this is that people with mental conditions are likely to smoke twice as other normal people. There are different reasons why people smoke on a continuous basis. Smoking might be very common in your social circle, and among your family members. As a matter of fact, there are many people who believe that smoking is a great trigger to relaxation. Whatever reasons make you smoke, you should know that there are greater and better reasons why you should live a smoke-free life. When you stop smoking, you have more time, money and energy to get involved in different things you are passionate about.

Positive effects of quitting smoking

There are both immediate and long term effects that are associated with quitting smoking.

The immediate effects are:

  • You save more money;
  • You can easily associate and socialize with non-smokers;
  • You have more time and energy that can be used in other productive activities;
  • Your fingernails and teeth stop turning yellow;
  • Your cloth, hair, and breath smell better;
  • Your sense of smell and taste significantly improve.

The long term effects are:

  • Your blood pressure reduces;
  • Your lung function would return to normal;
  • The risk of heart disease and cancer significantly reduce;
  • Your blood circulation gets better;
  • Your lifespan increases.

Anti-smoking drugs that decreases alcohol dependency

Anti-smoking drugs are also very effective in lowering the dependence and cravings for alcohol. Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence is a chronic health condition. The symptoms of this condition include loss of control over drinking, cravings for alcohol, increase in tolerance level of alcohol consumption, and withdrawal symptoms. Alcoholism usually has a huge negative effect on the drinker's health and the quality of their life. People dealing with alcohol dependence spend a huge part of their time drinking, ensuring they get enough alcohol into their system, and recovering from the effects of alcohol. Mostly, people dealing with this issue are rarely able to do anything worthwhile in their normal lives.

Prior to this period, the treatment of alcohol dependence was totally restricted to the mutual support group of Alcoholics Anonymous. However, alcoholism treatment and therapies now include behavioral and medications approaches. Scientists have been investigating different alternative tactics that can help people dealing with alcoholism change their habits. Chantix (Varenicline) was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2006 to help people cease smoking. The medication works by partly stimulating the receptors associated with nicotinic acetylcholine on specific nerve cells. These receptors are well known in both alcohol and nicotine disorders. During the early findings of Varenicline, participants mentioned a reduction in their alcohol cravings as well as low alcohol consumption. Studies have found that this drug significantly reduce the consumption of alcohol in rodents.

Some studies have also shown that the drug significantly reduces the quantity of alcohol consumption in comparison to placebo. The effectiveness of Varenicline was similar to drugs that have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of alcohol dependence. This medicament is also very well tolerated. There are however some minor side effects of the medication which include abnormal dreams, nausea, and constipation.

It is important to note that smoking and drinking usually occur together, and considering their neuro-chemical and genetic comparisons, it is definitely not unanticipated that a smoking-cessation treatment will also act as a treatment for alcohol dependency. Follow up assessments as well as longer treatment is needed to establish if the drug is indeed very effective for the treatment of alcoholism on a long term basis.

It is important to note that there are different ways to deal with alcoholism. The available treatment options that you can opt for include:

  • Social support such as family, community organizations, and friends;
  • Treatment facilities that are specially set up to help people withdraw from alcohol;
  • Outpatient behavioral therapies that you can engage in to help change your behaviors;
  • Prescribed drugs to relieve withdrawal symptoms and reinstate normal functioning of an individual.

Support and self-help groups can be very important in your journey towards recovery. Members of the group usually share successes, frustrations, specialists' referrals, tips on the best treatment options, and community resources. Members also form friendships and help each other cope and get better.

In conclusion, whatever actions you engage in towards getting out of smoking and drinking habits, it is very important that you prioritize your mental health. You should continue using your medication and ensure that the support group you join understand and respect your need for recovery.