The idea of giving up smoking while in addiction recovery may seem like an impossible feat, but many people have found that being in rehab is a great time to quit. The need for recovering addicts to quit smoking is significant. According to a 2009 article from Psychiatric Times, approximately 20 percent of the general population the U.S. currently smokes, but between 75-95 percent of people in rehab are cigarette smokers. This is significant because in one study, approximately 50 percent of people who had been in inpatient addiction treatment died of tobacco-related causes.
The Value of Quitting in Rehab
Some treatment centers hesitate to encourage clients to quit for fear of derailing their rehab. However, according to a 2003 article from Addictive Behaviors, stopping tobacco use does not negatively impact the outcome of treatment. Furthermore, a 2008 article from the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, addicts who received smoking cessation treatment while in rehab saw higher rates of quitting and significantly higher rates of lower tobacco use. The smoking cessation treatment also resulted in lower carbon monoxide levels, lower cigarette cravings and less nicotine withdrawal. Some aftercare plans include smoking cessation support, phone calls, counseling, support groups or medication.
How To Quit Smoking
Fortunately, many treatment centers offer help for those who want to stop smoking during rehab. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), additional counseling, along with prescription drugs (Chantix, Wellbutrin SR, Zyban), are the most used treatment techniques during recovery. These techniques are often combined and can be used after rehab is complete. Other resources, such as telephone helplines (available in all 50 states) and Internet assistance are also helpful. Other help to quit smoking include the following:
- Don’t quit cold turkey – Nicotine is addictive just like drugs, so the brain will crave it just like it craves drugs. If you quit all at once, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Work with those in the treatment facility to crate goals for lower usage leading to cessation.
- Use medication – Nicotine-replacement therapy (patches, nasal sprays, gum, etc.) can significantly increase your chances of quitting. In addition, prescription medication can help. Some medications help reduce cravings by altering the brain’s chemicals. Others help reduce withdrawal symptoms.
- Try again if necessary – Just like with drug addiction, relapse is common when you are trying to quit smoking. If you relapse, examine what led to the relapse just like you would with a drug relapse. Then work with your treatment team to set new goals to stop smoking.
- Don’t go solo – Join a cessation support group in rehab if offered. Get help from a counselor. Many types of therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), can be used both for addiction recovery and smoking cessation. Be sure and tell family, friends, and co-workers once you leave rehab. They need to support your decision to quit.
- Manage your stress – Many people smoke as a means to relax from a stressful experience. This means you’ll need to learn healthier ways to deal with your stress. Fortunately, you will learn stress management techniques while in addiction recovery, and those skills can be used when you’re tempted to smoke. Massages, yoga, exercise, and hobbies can be great stress reducers.
- Get moving – Exercise can help you not only reduce your craving for nicotine and drugs, but it can also help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Go jogging. Walk the dog. Take up lacrosse, basketball, rock climbing or cycling. Do something to get you moving. As an added benefit, you’ll get your heart pumping, which is important for your health, but you can also keep from gaining weight as you quit.
- Ask family to clean house – While you are in rehab, ask a family member or loved one to rid your house of anything related to smoking or drugs. This means throwing away ashtrays, filters, papers and the cigarettes themselves. Also, ask them to wash clothes that smell like smoke and clean carpets and other household items that reek of smoke and remind you of smoking.
- Try mindfulness meditation – This practice involves focusing on the present moment and examining one’s thoughts as they occur but not acting