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Quit Smoking Support Programs

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/25/2007 | Self Improvement

Smoking is one of the most difficult habits to break largely on account of the post smoking withdrawal symptoms. A smoker needs both emotional and medicinal support to overcome the nicotine cravings. Fortunately, several quit smoking support programs have been set up throughout the country to help smokers fight the withdrawal symptoms.

The most common withdrawal symptoms are mood changes, anxiety, depression and frustration. One also tends to be irritable and restless during the initial days.

Both self-help groups and clinics offer the quit smoking support programs. Most of these programs are run by professionals and can be customized to meet your needs. You can either attend an intensive quit smoking support program that runs for a week to fifteen days or enroll yourself for weekly sessions.

The popularity of the quit smoking support programs is mainly due to the extensive counseling that they provide to smokers. They teach you to deal with withdrawal symptoms. They also provide you support and guidance at every step by understanding your problems. You can talk with the counselors even after you have finished the program. This can help prevent a relapse.

Besides counseling, most quit smoking support programs also prescribe nicotine replacement therapy or NRT. Some also suggest medication like Zyban. You can also choose from alternative treatments like hypnosis procedures, acupressure and meditation though these are often not very successful.

The advantage with NRT is that it reduces your craving for nicotine. You can use NRT in the form of gums, patches, sprays and inhalers. Though gums and patches are available over the counter other forms of NRT can be taken only under medical supervision. They reduce your nicotine dependency by releasing a small quantity of nicotine into the body. The dosage can be regulated to control the withdrawal symptoms, and stopped completely once your urge to smoke disappears.

Zyban creates a false feeling of pleasure in the person, a feeling that is similar to the one experienced while smoking. This drug should be taken strictly under medical supervision. It has a few side effects associated with it, and should be avoided by people suffering from heart disease, epilepsy and pregnant women.

Along with medication, the quit smoking support professionals counsel the smokers about the benefits of not smoking. The sessions can be on an individual basis or in the form of group sessions. Sometimes an ex-addict can also share his experiences. Such sessions are extremely motivating because they give the smokers the belief that they can actually quit smoking.

Since the chances of a relapse are very high, most quit smoking support programs have a 24-hour help line service where counselors listen to queries and provide solutions. At the end of a program the smokers are given listening and reading material to reinforce their resolve to quit smoking.

Quit smoking support can also be extended by friends and family members. They can play a big role in keeping their friend or relative occupied. They can also help in preventing relapse by urging the smokers to return to the quit smoking support program if the need arises.