How Do I Give Up Smoking in Recovery?

How Do I Give Up Smoking in Recovery?

Addiction treatment patients who smoke may find that choosing to quit helps in their recovery

Smoking is very common among people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs like Xanax. Sometimes people who are addressing drug or alcohol use do not feel ready to quit their use of cigarettes as well. There are many good reasons to do so, however, and the skills learned in recovery can be put to good use confronting tobacco addiction as well as addiction to other substances.

Reasons to Give up Smoking in Rehab

Reasons to give up smoking in rehab include the following:

  • Smoking cessation can increase the odds of remaining abstinent from other substances. An article on the website notes that smoking and drinking are behaviors that are often performed together. Because of this, they become associated in people’s minds, and smoking can therefore serve as a relapse trigger for alcohol use. For people in recovery avoiding as many behaviors as possible that are associated with drug and alcohol use is important.
  • Smoking can impede brain healing. A 2008 HealthDay News article reported on a study of individuals in treatment for alcohol addiction. The study followed subjects over six to nine months of abstinence and found that those who smoked did not recover all the same types of brain function that the non-smokers did. Various cognitive skills such as decision-making, thinking speed and short-term memory were affected and these skills may be important for maintaining sobriety.
  • Smoking is a serious threat to the health of substance abuse patients. A publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that smoking causes more fatalities among substance abuse treatment clients than their other addictions do. The report notes that a study of individuals who had been in addiction treatment found that over half of subsequent deaths were due to tobacco-related causes.

People who suffer from other addictions tend to smoke more heavily than the general population and therefore have higher risk of smoking-related health effects. The article notes that there is a four times greater rate of smoking among people in recovery from alcohol than among the general population and that smokers in recovery may be more strongly addicted to nicotine. SAMHSA notes that the tobacco-related fatality rate for addiction treatment clients is double the rate of the general population.

  • An increasing number of addiction treatment facilities are becoming tobacco-free zones. Some states have enacted regulations about smoking in publicly funded buildings including rehab facilities. Many private programs have also decided to forbid smoking to help preserve the health of their patients, staff and visitors.

Using Addiction Recovery Skills to Address Smoking

People who wish to quit smoking during rehab may find it easier than at other times because they have the support and assistance of clinic personnel. The skills used to address an addiction to alcohol or drugs like Xanax can also be used to address addiction to tobacco. These include recognizing and avoiding relapse triggers, learning to deal with negative emotions in healthier ways, caring for physical health, resolving ambivalence and tapping into professional, peer, family and spiritual resources. Medications can also be useful.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported on a 2013 study of rehab patients addressing addiction to cocaine and/or methamphetamine. Some of the patients also received ten weeks of smoking cessation therapy, which included weekly counseling sessions, extended-release bupropion, a nicotine inhaler and contingency management (positive reinforcement). The therapy was shown to significantly increase smoking cessation rates without negatively affecting treatment for stimulant addiction.

The SAMHSA publication advises addiction treatment practitioners to ask, advise, assess, assist and arrange when addressing smoking. The first step is to ask about and document the smoking status of patients. The second step involves urging patients to quit their tobacco use and assessing a patient’s willingness to give up smoking follows. Assisting involves explaining medication options, helping the patient set a quit date and providing counseling. The final step is to arrange follow-up, which involves including smoking cessation in the treatment plan and discussing it at every counseling session.

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If you are ready to address an addiction issue to drugs like Xanax, we can help you find a program that is right for you. Our helpline is toll-free and staffed with caring and knowledgeable individuals who understand your needs and questions. They can help you identify your treatment options and can check your health insurance coverage for you if you wish, at no cost or obligation. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, so there is never a wrong time to call. Why not call now, and begin your journey to health and freedom?

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