How To Get The Most Out Of Your Nicotine Patch

Smoking is so bad for your health that it can damage just about every organ in the human body. It's known to cause cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and even stroke. Further, smoking increases the odds of developing rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Needless to say, quitting smoking has a host of health benefits, like improving your quality of life, lowering your risk of dying at an early age, adding as many as 10 years to your life expectancy, and lowering the risk of diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But quitting smoking is easier said than done. One of the main reasons quitting smoking is hard is because of the addictive chemical called nicotine. Therefore, people often use nicotine patches to try to quit smoking. Keep reading to learn more about nicotine and how to use a nicotine patch to help you quit smoking.

Why nicotine is so addictive

Nicotine is the chemical substance in tobacco products, like cigarettes, that makes smoking such an addictive behavior (per Mayo Clinic). Not only does nicotine make you feel good and change the activity of your brain, but it also is a short-lived experience. So in order to repeat that good feeling, you often need another hit of nicotine. Once hooked, chronic users of nicotine continue chasing that first pleasant feeling and pick up the habit of smoking. Some people, for example, might smoke first thing in the morning, or after a stressful event.

It is hard to quit smoking because without the nicotine you feel bad mentally and physically. In other words, you encounter withdrawal symptoms. For starters, you may experience anxiety, have intense cravings, lose the ability to concentrate, or even be unable to fall asleep. Luckily, those trying to quit smoking and avoid symptoms of withdrawal may utilize a nicotine patch, colloquially known as the patch.

How to use a nicotine patch

Nowadays, nicotine patches are available over the counter at many stores, according to Everyday Health. Most patches are intended for all-day use, which means that you can sleep with them on. Notably, you might have a stronger craving in the morning if you decide to sleep without the patch. They are usually used for around eight weeks to help quit smoking. However, for the first four weeks, you'll use a stronger dose, while during the last four weeks, you'll use a weaker dose. 

Fortunately, putting on a nicotine patch is as simple as putting on a bandage. For starters, make sure to place it on a clean and dry area that is generally unobstructed by body hair, like the upper arm. Nonetheless, wear the patch during the day and replace it every 24 hours. You should not use the same application site two days in a row in order to avoid any irritation of the skin. Unfortunately, there are other side effects that can occur from using nicotine patches, such as muscle aches. It can also prevent you from falling asleep, or even cause graphic and troubling dreams.