There’s no arguing about the convenience of the nicotine patch. It’s small, sticks to your skin and provides a steady dose of nicotine into your system. Just slap it on and you’re good-to-go. But is the nicotine patch your best bet for quitting smoking? In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of the patch, and talk about popular alternatives to it.
The Dangers of Not Quitting Smoking
There’s no easy way to put this: smoking is bad – very bad – for your body. Chances are you’re well aware of the damage smoking causes to your lungs – destroying air sacs around the lung that are intended to keep oxygen flowing properly – but the damage is far more extensive. Smoking has been shown to negatively impact your vision, cause gum disease and ulcers in the throat, contribute to hearing loss, weaken your immune system and frame your heart with fatty deposits.
The Patch at a Glance
The main reason people have such difficulty in quitting smoking can be summed up in one word; nicotine. It’s a powerfully addictive drug that gets you hooked mentally and physically. Because most people get their nicotine fix through smoking, the habit can be an exceedingly tough one to break. The patch was designed to slowly release nicotine into your system through your skin throughout the day so that withdrawal symptoms are curtailed as much as possible.
Pros and Cons of the Patch
The nicotine patch is relatively easy to purchase as no prescription is required. Its ease of use is nicely coupled with its 24-hours of effectively curbing things like cravings. It can also be used in conjunction with other forms of smoking cessation products.
There are, however, some potential drawbacks for the patch. Users may become addicted to nicotine through the patch itself, experience problems with sleeping, and experience itching and skin rashes where it’s applied.
Alternatives to the Patch
Since there are so many of us addicted to nicotine, there is an abundance of smoking cessation methods.
Because they enable you to smoke virtually anywhere and are able to produce a host of flavors, e-electronic cigarettes are all the rage these days. It can be difficult to gain a definitive understanding of exactly what e-cigarette manufacturers are putting into their product because there is no FDA approval.
Test results recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicate that the patch is no better than lozenges or Chantix, which comes in pill form. Another study by the American Journal of Public Health produced similar results with one startling caveat: e-cigarette smokers may actually be at more risk than tobacco cigarette smokers because of their inability to stop smoking.
Deep TMS therapy
As a method for smoking cessation, deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) – originally designed for treating depression – jumpstarts our brains with electromagnetic pulses so that the neurotransmitters are operating more clearly.
Performed as an outpatient procedure and requiring no sedation, dTMS has shown positive results in treating depression, autism, bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s also proving itself to be an especially effective method to quit smoking. One study in particular [Dinur-Klein et al., In Press] tested 115 participants who smoked at least 20 cigarettes daily and had failed previous forms of cessation approaches. For 13 daily sessions, participants were randomly selected to receive high-frequency, low-frequency or sham (very weak or brief) stimulation.
Those who received the high-frequency stimulation significantly reduced their cigarette and nicotine addiction. During the study, their response rate was 81%. The after-treatment abstinence rate was 44%, and the complete abstinence rate in a follow-up six (6) months later was 33%.
Find The Right Fit
Whether you want to take your chances with the patch or e-cigarettes or experience the promise of dTMS, success in your efforts to quit smoking is dependent upon which method is right for your system. If you’re having difficulty deciding which way to go, make an appointment with your personal doctor.
Westside Neurotherapeutics offers dTMS treatments in Los Angeles. For more information, contact them by phone at 310.946.0008 or visit us online at www.westsideneurotherapeutics.com.