Using a nicotine patch, controlling breathing, and seeing a psychiatrist can help

“Looking for a professional to help during this period is very important for the person to be able to quit smoking once and for all “, says psychiatrist Alessandra Maria Julião, from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein. Clarify some of the most common questions.

Does the degree of dependence vary depending on the person’s sex?

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The degree of dependence may vary according to the number of cigarettes per day, in addition to biological and psychological factors, but both men and women have the same chances of having a severe degree of dependence on nicotine.

Do nicotine patches really help when it comes to quitting the addiction? How do they act?

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Well known and used, the patches really help to end the addiction to smoking. They are drugs based on nicotine that help control nicotine withdrawal symptoms, facilitating the process of smoking cessation. But, according to the team of psychiatrists at the Center for Alcohol and Drugs at the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, for this to happen, it is important that the dose of nicotine is calculated according to the needs of each patient. “The work is done to gradually reduce the levels of nicotine, until the complete removal of the adhesive”, says Alessandra Maria Julião.

Who stops smoking really makes you fat?

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Not all patients who stop smoking gain weight, but the gain can actually occur. According to data collected at Albert Einstein Hospital, the average weight gain is five to six kilos, but about 10% of former smokers gain more than 10 kilos.

Is it better to decrease the number of cigarettes gradually or stop altogether?

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Contrary to what many people think, quitting smoking completely, all at once, is better than trying to gradually quit smoking. This happens because, when the patient remains in contact with the addiction, the risks of going back to smoking as before are quite high. However, according to psychiatrists at the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, the treatment must be evaluated by the physician individually.

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Keeping a bottle of water close at all times is very important to keep the body hydrated, but it does not alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine or other addictive substances contained in cigarettes.

Does quitting smoking really cause stress?

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Quitting smoking can trigger withdrawal symptoms in the patient, such as unusual anxiety and irritability. According to the team of psychiatrists at the Center for Alcohol and Drugs at the Albert Einstein Hospital, these symptoms last as long as the person’s body misses the habit. Therefore, the patient must be accompanied by a professional qualified to help him in this process and control stress.

Breathing techniques common in yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi Chuan classes, aimed at controlling symptoms such as anxiety and irritability, are helpful in helping the patient to remain abstinent.

Are there medications that help to control the craving for cigarettes?

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The arsenal of drugs that help quit smoking is huge nowadays. In addition to patches, other forms of nicotine replacement, such as drugs based on bupropion and varenicline, can help the patient to stop smoking.

Does a person who smoked for a long time have more difficulty quitting the cigarette?

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According to experts, it cannot be said that the length of time using tobacco is associated with the severity of nicotine dependence and the difficulty encountered in quitting smoking. “However, the habitual use of tobacco for many years can be an obstacle to the success of the treatment in a percentage of patients”, warns psychiatrist Alessandra Maria Julião.

Does the age at which the person started smoking also influence the time to quit smoking?

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According to the team of specialists at Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, the earlier the onset of addiction, the greater the severity of the addiction and the problems associated with it. Unfortunately, tobacco use usually starts in adolescence. In such cases, it may be more difficult to quit smoking.

Is alcoholic beverages related to the desire to smoke?

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According to a survey by American scientists in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, people who have problems with alcohol have greater difficulty quitting smoking. “There is evidence in the literature of a close association between nicotine dependence and the presence of alcohol dependence, as well as other psychiatric disorders”, says psychiatrist Alessandra Maria