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Smoking, an Illness and Not Just a Habit

Published on Jul 09, 2015 and last reviewed on Mar 25, 2019   -  3 min read



Apart from physical hazards, smoking causes behavioral problems in the form of dependence syndrome, characterized by progressively increasing the amount of smoke, intense craving and withdrawal symptoms in the absence of smoke. Though can be quit on its own, it also requires specific treatment for complete cure.

Smoking, an Illness and Not Just a Habit

Smoking is one of the common modes of substance use. Usually, people smoke cigarettes, pipes, bidis, chillums, hookahs. A common ingredient of smoke is tobacco, derived from dried leaves of the tobacco plant. Tobacco consists of an alkaloid known as nicotine, which is water soluble and is a psychoactive substance.

How Does One Get Addicted to Nicotine?

Withdrawal Effects:

There are a few criteria by which a person can be diagnosed with tobacco dependence. One such commonly used criteria is Modified Fagerstrom test, used by clinicians regularly.

Once diagnosed with dependence, the next question which arises is how to treat it. Currently, there are many modes to treat tobacco dependence. It is commonly divided into two broad categories, pharmacological and non-pharmacological.

Pharmacological Mode Includes Drugs:

Non-pharmacological Treatment:

Also, motivation assessment is also important and should be carried out alongside the treatment, because if the motivation level is low, the risk of relapses is high. Hence, the person should be motivated enough to quit smoking, and his/her motivation should always be increased by the therapist with every session to increase the success of treatment. To enhance motivation, motivational enhancement therapy can be used as well.

In the end, though smoking is easy to start, it is difficult to quit. But if one is motivated enough, it can be stopped, and the abstinence can be maintained as well.

Would you like to quit smoking? Consult a psychologist counsellor online for help -->


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Last reviewed at:
25 Mar 2019  -  3 min read


Dr. Bharat Udey

Dr. Bharat Udey

MD Psychiatry, MBBS

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