Nicotine Use and Recovery

There are many misconceptions regarding quitting nicotine products, and they are relevant whether you are in recovery or not. Nicotine habits have existed for hundreds of years, initially with users having no idea the negative effects nicotine has on the body until the 1900s. 

Reasons Why People Use Nicotine in Recovery

Like most harmful habits, nicotine product use is often used as a coping mechanism. Aside from the years where younger individuals \would be pressured into smoking because it was “cool,” many turn to nicotine products to feel the effects as a way of escaping from problems in their life, similarly to any addictive substance or agent. 

Yet, many individuals in recovery or treatment continue using nicotine products even after treatment. Why might that be? Are some addictive agents more addictive than others? Is nicotine harder to stop using than other substances? Or do people often struggle with the idea of learning to cope with things in a healthy way, and nicotine use is simply the less of other bad habits? 

Regardless of the reasons a person may decide to not give up nicotine, there’s no denying the health benefits that come with discontinuing nicotine use. There are, however, more policies being implemented to promote nicotine cessation. In fact, many programs have seen patients quit quite successfully. If stopping nicotine use is something you are interested in achieving, we have the means to help you do that here, at Lakehouse Recovery. 

Harmful Effects of Nicotine

It’s been commonly observed that although many nicotine users know the harmful effects of what can happen to their body, they continue to use. Nevertheless, it’s always important to consider and rethink those harmful effects. Some of them include: 

  • Increased risk of cancer
  • The continued damage to the lungs resulting in chronic illnesses such as Emphysema 
  • Effects on both the male and female reproductive systems
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Addiction

If you turn on the TV, chances are you’ll come across a few anti-smoking campaigns commercials within a half hour. All these health risks are commonly known, but people are not often successfully forced to quit nicotine use by persuasion or science. The data is there for their educational consumption, but someone needs to decide to quit for themselves at the end of the day. 

Health Benefits of Quitting Nicotine 

Quitting nicotine use can cause many benefits to an individual’s entire body. Some of those benefits include: 

  • A decrease in heart risks
  • Blood-thinning decrease the chances of blood clots 
  • Lower cholesterol 
  • Lessened chance of developing Emphysema and lung disease 
  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Increased white blood cell count  
  • A stronger immune system 

It’s also believed that quitting nicotine use, or smoking, can rewire your brain and “help break the cycle of addiction.” When the body is constantly exposed to nicotine through daily use, the brain’s nicotine receptors experience abnormal levels. Quitting allows for those levels to return to normal, breaking the addiction cycle. 

Additionally, studies have shown the damaging effect of nicotine use on DNA. This damage increases the chances of getting cancer; thus, by quitting, you can prevent further DNA damage and even repair some of the damage that has been done. 

Nicotine Use and Recovery 

To bring some good news to the conversation, according to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, the prevalence of smoking among adults “has declined dramatically in the United State over the past 50 years, from approximately 40% in 1965 to 16.8% in 2014.” However, many with SUDs continue smoking at high rates, sometimes dying “prematurely from smoking-related illnesses” according to the NIH. This has increased the level of awareness to address nicotine dependence for SUD patients. 

Some research has shown a correlation between nicotine dependency and recovery success. A study from 2014, concluded that individuals who “achieve nicotine abstinence may have better outcomes regarding their other drugs of abuse than those who continue smoking.” In recent years, treatment facilities have begun imposing smoking bans. There have been “11 state mandates for the provision of tobacco cessation services” within treatment centers. 

Recovery and Nicotine Use

Nicotine use and addiction is a commonly shared struggle among many people even today. Despite the back-to-back anti-smoking campaigns, peer-reviewed studies, and statistical data all discussing the negative health benefits of nicotine use, nicotine addiction remains relevant. While some studies have shown a correlation between an individual’s nicotine dependency and recovery success, many people still maintain a successful recovery while continuing to use nicotine. 

At the Lakehouse Recovery Center, we emphasize the importance of individualized treatment to empower those in recovery. We don’t have a strict set of rules that need to be maintained, because rigidity doesn’t always foster healthy recovery. If quitting nicotine use is something you desire to do, we’re here to help. If it’s not something you’re ready for yet, that’s ok too. Just as we believe individualized treatment aids in recovery success, we believe that patients should have the freedom to pick and choose their battles when it comes to substances. Maybe smoking a cigarette is the lesser of evils among other substances you may be struggling to break free from. It’s always important though to keep in mind the negative health effects long-term nicotine use will have on your body and brain and the amazing health benefits you can experience by quitting. If you would like help with substance and nicotine use, call us today at (877) 762-3707.