How Tobacco Influences Addiction
If you have ever engaged with a drug treatment center, you are likely to see men and women outside smoking cigarettes. The theory will allowing smoking in treatment is to focus on one addiction at a time. However, not treating a tobacco addiction can often lead to relapse. This is a common “third-rail” topic in treatment that many do not want to address. Here are some answers to the question of does tobacco influence addiction?
After years of experience in helping addicts break their chemical dependencies, we have found that overlooking nicotine dependency was detrimental to the overall treatment experience of addicts. How does tobacco use play a role in other substance abuse? Here are some factors to consider about tobacco’s connection to addiction.
Distracting one’s focus
We know from tobacco research that nicotine is anxiety-inducing. Even though smokers might perceive tobacco as a stress reliever, research shows tobacco’s addicting properties actually create more stress for the smoker. The stress levels of smokers are typically higher than nonsmokers, and smoking cessation leads to reduced stress.
For many going through addiction treatment, the withdrawal process includes heavy emotions that come with facing their disease. When an addict is frequently using tobacco during treatment, the individual becomes constantly agitated and anxious for the next time they can smoke. This can take away from the treatment of the primary addiction. This is also a primary reason why long term treatment is the best option for changing one’s life.
The tension and irritability of craving the next cigarette distracts them from getting the most meaning and fulfillment out of their group and individual counseling sessions. Along with residential treatment, research supports that addicts are much more successful in long-term recovery when they stop smoking.
Compounding health risks With Tobacco Addiction
As an addict is making changes to develop a healthier lifestyle, continuing to smoke only prolongs those health benefits. Smoking can also defeat those benefits that are being achieved. The health risks of tobacco are well-documented. Even as smoking trends have evolved, tobacco-related disease remains the number one cause of preventable death. In the United States, more people are addicted to nicotine than any other drug. And with the introduction of vapes, and other smoking mediums, the transition for many is not going to be simple.
With all this said, quitting smoking is possible. Doing so, would be difficult initially, but the stress would decrease over time and you will start leading a healthier life. There is no better feeling than leaving treatment free from ALL mood altering substances. Even those that are so socially acceptable as smoking or vaping.
Breaking the habit of smoking should be of primary importance to those addicted, but unfortunately it isn’t. There are many methods that people use to quit smoking. From tapered use to cold turkey, there are multiple methods that can be used.
As new kinds of tobacco products have grown in popularity, such as vaping and other smokeless products which use carts, health researchers are finding that these trendy solutions can be just as harmful as traditional smoking.
For example, e-cigarettes have been found to trigger the same inflammatory responses as cigarettes, along with potential damage to the heart, nervous system, and other areas of the body. People who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk of numerous diseases, including lung disease, stroke, respiratory problems, and cancer. As many addicts will tell you, swapping one addiction for another is never a good thing. This is why treating the problem is so important and not just treating the symptom.
Increased likelihood of relapsing
A recent health study found that cigarette use increased one’s likelihood of relapsing while in recovery for a substance use disorder (SUD). The study found a correlation between smoking and relapsing: the heavier the smoker, the more likely that person relapsed.
The results supported that someone recovering from substance abuse is better off by quitting and abstaining from smoking to improve their chances of avoiding other kinds of drugs. Along with these findings, tobacco can generally serve as a reminder and trigger for using other substances. Perhaps someone’s previous habits included having a cigarette while they were drinking.
While that person is re-learning how to live without drinking, keeping that cigarette available becomes a critical relapse trigger, likely increasing the person’s cravings for alcohol.
All these are reasons why quitting smoking is important for addicts, both in and out of treatment. However, if you or a loved one, find themselves in treatment and addicted to smoking, set a goal to leave that place free from all mood altering substances. You can do it and we can help at San Diego Sober Living. Call us today!