Smoking Cessation: Success May Lie In An Integrated Approach

The failure of both mainstream and alternative medicine to improve the chances of quitting likely stems from the fact that quitting smoking is a two-sided problem. First, you have to contend with the physical dependence on nicotine. Then, you have overcome all those situations in life that make you want to smoke a cigarette. And depending on how long you've smoked, the chance of quitting on any single attempt is low.

Modern medicine's solution of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or drugs, like Chantix, that alter your brain chemistry, even combined with psychotherapy, have so far done little to improve the odds.

The alternative medical solution of homeopathy, nutritional supplements, lifestyle changes, and even acupuncture have also done little to improve the odds of successfully quitting, mainly because they fail to address the biochemical addiction to nicotine.

A Better Solution May Be to Try an Integrated Approach

The integrated medical approach to quitting smoking attempts to overcome the two main hurdles to success by attacking the problem from both sides. First, the patient utilizes NRTs or psychiatric medications to combat the physical addiction to nicotine. Then, alternative medical solutions like herbal medicine and meditation are used to alleviate the stress or promote a lifestyle change that doesn't make the patient want to smoke.

Example 1

On the selected quit day, the patient begins using nicotine gum per the manufacturer's instructions. They also start taking yoga and mediation classes to help alleviate the stress and promote a flexible and relaxed state of the body. All of this is in addition to beginning an exercise routine, which both the mainstream and alternative medical communities view as beneficial to smoking cessation.

Example 2

Before attempting to quit smoking, the patient makes the necessary lifestyle changes that are making them want to smoke. Then, they quit smoking, cold turkey, with no nicotine replacement, which mainstream medicine still says is a good method to quit. On the day they quit, they also begin taking herbal supplements that alternative medicine promotes to treat insomnia, chills, and stress that quitting nicotine incurs.

The Bottom Line

The odds of quitting on any successful attempt will probably remain long even with an integrated approach like the examples above. However, it seems reasonable that attempting to overcome both the hurdles of quitting smoking will yield a better result than trying to address just one by itself.

One last thing, you should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before making an attempt to quit smoking in an unorthodox fashion. Just to be safe. 

For more information, contact a local integrative care clinic.