Anti-Depressants Dampening Your Sex Drive?

Anti-Depressants Dampening Your Sex Drive?

These days, it seems like there’s a pill for everything. Weight lose? There’s a pill for that. Aches and pains? There are pills for those. Better health? Vitamins are pills too. There are pills that make you well, and pills that make you sick, and with the latter lies the problem. While most medications are designed to improve mental and physical well being, they often come with a long list of side effects, that can be equally, if not more, detrimental than the condition they made to treat. When it comes to combatting depression, pills can be very uplifting, but not for all parts of the body. Here is some information on some of the side effects of antidepressants, and what you might want to consider before taking them.

Antidepressants and Sexual Dysfunction

Sexual side effects are probably the leading complaint about antidepressants. Most antidepressants are members of a classification of drugs called SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These work to raise levels of serotonin in the body, causing the person taking the drug to experience less anxiety. Unfortunately, this sense of relaxation can have a calming effect on the libido as well. SSRIs prevent hormones in the body from transmitting sexual messages to our brain, dialing down sex drives in the person taking them.

Side Effects of Antidepressants

Women taking SSRIs may experience blocked orgasms, delayed lubrication, and lack of desire for sex. Men who are affected by the serotonin stimulation from antidepressants may have trouble getting and maintaining erections, and will also show a decrease in libido. Males taking antidepressants may report blocked or delayed orgasms, and some drugs, such as Celexa, can cause sperm count to drop to nearly zero.

Both men and women often experience nausea, dizziness, sluggishness, and weight gain as a result of taking antidepressants. All of these can contribute to making the idea of sex less appealing. Weight gain, in particular, can cause self-consciousness that can lead to decreased sexual desire. Sometimes, weight management or the addition of an exercise routine can give you more energy and increase sexual appetite.

Ways Of Coping

Adjust Dosage

While no serious steps should be taken without first consulting a doctor, switching to a smaller does my help to decrease your risk of side effects. However, if you decide on this course of action, you will probably need to be monitored by a professional for several weeks, to ensure that its benefits outweigh its detriments.

Timing

You may be able to solve your sexual intercourse problems by taking your medication after your daily tryst. It may make sex less spontaneous, but it is an available option.

Rethink Your Prescription

If changing the timing and dosage does not help, you may want to consider changing your brand of antidepressant. Your doctor may be able to suggest a brand less likely to affect you sexually. Men may want to try using erectile dysfunction medications to maintain erections, while women may want to try an antidepressant aid called bupropion to increase libido.

Give It A While

One of the easiest ways to solve sexual dysfunction is to let it solve itself. Sometimes it takes the body time to adjust to antidepressants. Be patient, and discuss setting a timeline with your doctor to see if the side effects work themselves out on their own before taking alternate action.

Let us know how you cope with the side effects of your medications. More medicine or less?

Hidden Signs Of Osteoporosis

These days there is a lot of emphasis on Extreme Exercise. With celebrity gym instructor singing the praises of the time saving high-intensity workouts and kick-starting metabolisms, it sometimes seems like the extreme is the routine. Sure, you can work at moderate levels of intensity, as long as you scale a hill at a full speed first thing in the morning. Exercise can be good, but pushing yourself too far may come with a few health setbacks, osteoporosis is one of them. Lots of women who have osteoporosis don’t know about it until they break a bone. Here are a few red flags that might help you figure it out a little sooner.

Too Much Exercise
Exercise is a good thing, right? Sure, but it turns out it can also be too much of one. Women who exercise too much are at risk of female athlete triad syndrome. The symptoms include an abnormal or absent menstrual cycle, decrease bone density and low energy. According to Fredrick Singer, Md, “Women are often a high school of college athletes who run 40 to 50 miles a week. If you run that much and don’t consume enough calories, you’re at risk for bone loss.”

However, what’s too much for one person, may not be excessive for another, so be sure to consult a doctor if you start missing periods. You may be able to get help from a fitness professional or nutritionist who can customize a diet and exercise program best suited to your needs.

You’re Very Thin
Very skinny women who stop menstruating can experience changes in hormones in the bones and brain, a condition which occurs frequently with eating disorders. Dr. Singer says, “When you lose an excessive amount of weight, a signal is sent to the hypothalamic area of the brain which shuts down the pituitary hormones, which in turn shuts down the ovaries.” How do you know when skinny is too skinny? If your body mass index,(BMI) is lower than 18.5, you’re too skinny.

Little Nightcap
If you’re drinking more than one to two glasses of vino per night, your bones may be paying the price. Health professionals say: stop at two. In fact,y you may want to have one or two. According to a 2012 study from Oregon State University, those one or two drinks may actually improve bone health, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.

You Binge Watch TV
What? “Orange is the New Black” is bad for your bones? Apparently, lying prone on the couch can lead to bone breakdown with a 24 to 48 hour period. Says Dr. Singer, “Total lack of weight bearing activity is one of the fastest ways to develop osteoporosis, which happens within months.”

While Singer isn’t suggesting you miss the finale of your favorite shows, he does recommend getting up when you can and says even brief periods of walking may help to prevent bone loss.

You Take Antidepressants
If you’re depending on SSRIs to keep depression at bay, you may want to pay attention to your bone health. A review of nineteen studies in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience says these types of antidepressants can accelerate bone loss and affect bone mineral density. If you are taking SSRIs, you may want to explore other options with your doctor.

Do you think you may be at risk for osteoporosis? Let us know how you’re boning up and getting in shape to keep this “silent disease” away.

Good Sleep Tips For Pregnant Moms

Sleep does not come easily to the pregnant woman. It is understandably quite difficult to assume the fetal position with a fetus inside you. Hormonal changes and discomfort associated with pregnancy can affect a pregnant woman’s quality of sleep, and pregnant women need all the sleep they can get – it may be their last chance for a while. The National Sleep Foundation knows that each trimester of pregnancy brings with it a new set of challenges. Here is some of their advice for handling them.

First Trimester Of Pregnancy
In the first trimester of pregnancy, there are a number of challenges to a good night’s sleep you’ll need to be prepared for. Pregnant moms wake up frequently in need of the bathroom and emotional and physical stress may cause sleep disruptions and increased daytime sleepiness.

Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
The second trimester of pregnancy may be considered the metaphorical “calm before the storm.” Nighttime urination will become less of an issue because the fetus moves above the bladder, reducing the amount of pressure on it. However, sleep may still be interrupted by the growth of the child and the emotional stress.

Third Trimester Of Pregnancy
This one’s the doozy. In the third trimester of pregnancy, not only can you expect to feel discomfort as a result of your expanding belly, you may also experience, effects heartburn, leg cramps, and sinus congestion, all keeping you from a good night’s sleep. In addition, you’ll find the nighttime urination increasing in frequency again as the baby’s position puts pressure on your bladder once more.

Tips For A Good Sleep
Extra Pillows: Get some extra pillows to pad the tummy and back. A pillow positioned between the legs can help to give support to the lower back to make sleeping on your side more comfortable. Consider the wedge shaped pillow or the full-length body pillow for best results.

Nutrition: A nice glass of warm milk is always a good remedy for sleeplessness. Also, foods rich in carbohydrates, such as crackers and bread can help bring on sleep, and a high protein snack can keep levels of blood sugar from falling and prevent headaches, bad dreams, and hot flashes.

Relaxation: Relaxation is also another great way to induce sleep, soothing your muscles, while calming your mind. Stretching, massage, yoga, and deep breathing are all effective relaxation techniques, and a warm bath and shower before bed may also prove quite soothing.

Exercise: Not only is regular exercise important during pregnancy to promote physical and mental health, it can also help you to sleep more deeply. However, keep in mind that stimulating exercise within four hours of bedtime is more like affect your sleep adversely than positively.

Medications: While most medications should be kept out of the equation when one is pregnant, there may be some herbal and dietary supplements that can help you sleep better. Make sure to discuss taking any type of drug, OTC, or prescription with a doctor before purchasing them.

If you have any good tips for sleeping while pregnant, we would love to hear them. Let us know!

Can Exercise Help Improve Hypersomnia?

Hypersomnia: A condition causing excessive daytime drowsiness. Aerobic exercise: an activity requiring excessive daytime energy. The two would seem to be in direct contrast to one another, but could one be the cure for the other? While it may seem vigorous exercise would be the last thing on a drowsy person’s to do list, new studies show that exercise may be a way to alleviate the symptoms of hypersomnia in depressed individuals. Could there be a science behind this theory? Let’s take a look.

Symptoms of Hypersomnia
Individuals with hypersomnia are likely to doze off regularly and repeatedly during the day, often at inappropriate times, including during meals, at work, or in conversation. They may show difficulty waking from a long sleep and feel disoriented upon waking. Anxiety, decreased energy, slowness of thought and speech, memory lapses, loss of appetite, and increased irritation are also among the symptoms of the condition. In severe cases, patients may lose their ability to function in social, family, and occupational settings.

Demographics
Hypersomnia is a rather uncommon disorder affecting a very small percentage of the population. Only 5% or fewer adults complain about feeling excessively sleepy during the day, and of that 5% only 5-10% are diagnosed with hypersomnia. It generally appears in a patient between the ages of 15 and 30, and tends to happen gradually, sometimes taking years to develop fully.

woman exercising indoors

The Research
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care are the group behind the findings about the positive effect of aerobic exercise upon the depressive condition. These researchers found that exercise lowered the levels of two biological markers for hypersomnia in blood samples, reducing the likelihood of excess sleepiness.

According to senior study author, Madukar Trivedi, MD, “Hypersomnia, as well as insomnia have been linked in the development, treatment, and recurrence of depression. Identifying these biomarkers, combined with new understanding of the important role of exercise in reducing hyperemia, have potential implications in the treatment of major depressive disorder.”

Previous research had found a negative loop in which sleep, depression, and inflammation interact, with detrimental results. The current findings suggest that exercise may be the key to resetting the loop. Researchers identified biomarkers based on the blood samples of 100 participants who were asked to perform two kinds of aerobic excersises. The subjects consisted of people ages 18 to 70 who all suffered from major depression disorder.

After a 12 week period,researchers had located reductions in tow biomarkers related to hypersomnia. Lead author Chad Rethorst, PhD says, “Identification of biomarkers that uniquely predict or correlate with improvement in hypersomnia and insomnia is an important step toward more effective treatment of MDD.

Do you suffer from hypersomnia or know someone who does? Let us know what you think of the new findings.

What Are DHEA Supplements?

You see them on news programs. The octogenarian, nonagenarians, and even centenarians, those lucky people who seem to be age defiant, surviving years of life, still remaining active, cognizant and even rather attractive. Inevitably, these people are asked how they do it; what is the secret to the fountain of youth, and inevitably some saucy senior will reply by saying they credit regular sex with their youthful appearance. True, we do often associate higher sex drive with youthfulness, but is it possible that the opposite is true? Is there anything substantial behind the idea that increased sex drive can lead to a more healthy, longer life? Read on to find out about the possible benefits of DHEA supplements.

What is DHEA?
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone found naturally in your body, manufactured by the adrenal glands. There, it is converted into male and female sex hormones, like estrogen and testosterone. Recent studies suggest that taking DHEA in the form of a supplement can boost levels of estrogen and testosterone, protecting the body from health problems stemming from hormonal imbalance or age related decline in hormonal levels.

How Can It Help?
Studies Show some degrees of success in DHEA supplementation in the following areas:

Depression
Research supports the possibility of a link between depression and DHEA levels. According to recent research reports, DHEA supplements may be useful in the treatment of major depression. However, further studies need to be done before any affirmative conclusions can be reached.

Bone Density
The aging process and diseases such as anorexia and lupus, have all been associated with bone loss. There is some evidence to suggest that higher DHEA levels may be associated with higher bone density, specifically in post menopausal women and that DHEA supplements may have the ability to increase of bone density.

Weight Loss
Could DHEA be the key to shedding those extra pounds? Studies show that 7-KETO, a DHEA containing product may help stimulate metabolism and assist in weight loss. Again, more long term research still remains to be done.

Adrenal Insufficiency
Adrenal Insufficiently is a condition in which adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones. Recent studies show that DHEA supplements may improve hormone levels, and quality of life for people with the condition. However, other research found that DHEA had little effect of symptoms of depression, and heart health.

Sexual Function
Here’s where you’d think it would make perfect sense. Because research has shown a link between lower levels of DHEA in man and erectile dysfunction, it would seem to be a no brainer that DHEA supplements can boost low libido. However, higher quality studies reveal inconsistent results in the effect of DHEA on libido, sexual performance and erectile dysfunction. Although research looks promising, additional studies are required.

Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder which affects the organs and skin. Women suffering from this condition also exhibit lower levels of DHEA, hence,the suggestion that DHEA may improve immune function. While some trials report a lack of effect of DHEA treatment on lupus activity, there is evidence that it can be effective when used regularly.

What do you think of the use of DHEA supplements to improve health? Have you tried them? Let us know about your DHEA experiences.

woman on sofa biting her nails

Try These Gadgets For Folks Who Fidget

Are you a leg bouncer? Knuckle cracker? Nail biter? Pen tapper? Hair twirler? Paper shredder? Nose picker? Just an all around fidgeter? Surely, it seems like a victimless crime, if it is a crime at all. A study done in England says the habit can make it easier for children to concentrate, providing an outlet for excess energy, allowing students to better focus on their work. Others disagree, claiming that the mere multitasking elements can only provide a distraction from learning. Either way, you can safely say that manufacturers will seldom miss an opportunity to capitalize on a human habit. Here are some fidget friendly gadgets for the fidgeters in your life.

Squigz
Otherwise known as fat brain toys, these may be the next thing for those who can’t put down the bubble wrap. These suction cupped beauties can stick to any flat surface, and even each other, and best of all, they pull a part with a satisfying pop.

Mashems
These squishy critters, shaped like popular character can be stuck to flat surfaces or squeezed to watch them balloon up in your hand. Look for them in the likeness of Marvel or DC characters, Paw Patrol, and My Little Pony.

man playing with rubik's cube

Anastasiia Moiseieva / Shutterstock.com

Rubik’s Cube
One of the original, if not the original, the Rubik’s Cube has been a fidget fixture for decades. While mixing up the various colors may not seem too perplexing, matching them back is quite another story.

Swingy Thing
This portable desk toy features several pendulums that can swing around, providing over 52 spinning challenges for different color combinations.

Madballs
They’re back! You were fidgeting with them in the 1980’s and you’re fidgeting with them now. These mummies, monster, werewolves, zombies perfect for bouncing and squeezing are making a mad comeback in the fidgety millennium.

Slinky
How could we forget the commercials with the kids watching their slinks climbing down the stairs. Plastic, or metallic, you can still enjoy the calming effect of bouncing it on your palms. Good luck getting it down the whole flight!

woman holding fidget spinner

Fidget Spinners
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last month or so, it is highly unlikely that you have missed the fidget spinner. The tri- shaped toys feature ball bearing that spin around the center when you flick them. Available in all sorts of irresistible colors and patterns, these are a great way to keep your hands occupied, providing hours of fidgeting fun.

Thumb chucks
The name alone sounds intriguing. Thumb chucks actually can help provide exercise for the fingers. The ingenious invention consists of two small rubber balls connected by a strap. The object is to flick your fingers and wrist to send the balls swinging, and rolling over your hand for awe inducing hours of fun. The LED lights in the balls light up on impact with any surface, so prepare for fireworks.

Morph
Give this squishy compound a try for morphing fun that never dries out and gets softer as you play with it. Squeeze it, mold it, stretch it or bounce it, this no mess toy is a fidgeter’s dream.

Tangle Therapy
If you enjoy getting knots out of jewelry, this one may be for you. Composed of elbow pieces covered in texturized rubbers, this twistable tool can be snapped, bent, and squeezed for a unique tactile experience.

What do you think of fidgeting? Harmless fun or major distraction. Let us know how you weigh in on this latest sensation.

senior woman smiling at her caregiver

A Generous Heart May Help You Live Longer

Usually, when it is said of someone that he or she has a good heart, it means that someone is generous, or caring. That they take time out to do unto others. However, in more literal terms, a good heart is associated with good cardiovascular health. Having a good heart means quite simply that your heart is in good condition. But, could they be one and the same? New studies show that volunteering, besides being mentally beneficial, can also have a positive impact on physical health. Need evidence? Here are what some experts are saying about how having a good heart can lead to having a good heart.

Mental and Physical Benefits
Anyone who has ever volunteered knows how mentally and emotionally rewarding it can be. Not only do volunteers feel as if they have made a positive change, studies show that donating time can lead to a feeling of greater social connectedness, and less depression and loneliness. However, new evidence reveals that people who volunteer may also be gifted with long lifespans and low blood pressure readings.

A study from Carnegie Mellon University, published in this month’s edition of Psychology and Aging, shows that those who give time to others may have better health than those who do not. Findings revealed that adults over 40 who volunteered regularly were at a lower risk for high blood pressure than those who did not volunteer. High blood pressure is an accurate health indicator because it is linked to stroke, heart disease, and premature death.

Because it is possible that volunteers may also take part in other health conscious activities, such as exercise and healthy eating, it is not possible to prove that volunteering was the sole reason for the lower blood pressure readings, but the results do seem to point in that direction.

woman working at animal shelter

How It Works
If you are wondering how exactly volunteering contributes to better health and longer life, Rodlescia Sneed, lead author of the Carnegie Mellon study, may have some insight on the phenomena. One explanation may be the increased physical activity volunteering can provide for those who are not otherwise very active. Another may be stress reduction. According to Sneed, “Many people find volunteer work to be helpful with respect to stress reduction, and we know that stress is very strongly linked with health outcomes.”

If you are thinking of volunteering, and want to know how to get the maximum benefits from your do-gooding, Carnegie Mellon is on top of it. According to the study, it takes 200 hours of volunteering annually to reap the rewards of low blood pressure, although other studies have found as little as 100 hours will do the trick. As for types of volunteering, that remains unknown. However, Sneed speculates that it is the more mentally stimulating activities, like reading and tutoring, that lead to sharper thinking and memory skills, whereas “activities that promote physical activity would be helpful with respect to cardiovascular health, but no studies have really explored this.”

In conclusion, one thing does seem clear; the best results of volunteering come when it is done for the right reasons. A 2012 study published in the Health Psychology journal found that those who benefitted most from volunteer work were those whose intentions were altruistic. In other words, it has to come from the heart if the rewards are going to end up there.

Do you do volunteer work? How do you find it affects you? Let us know what you’re doing for others and what you think it might be doing for you!

couple doing walking lunges

Exercises That Help Shape Your Body

Some people look great exercising. Their limbs seem to relax into certain positions, their faces full of fierce determination, their bodies long and lithe. For others, however, the struggle is a little more evident. Graceful angles seem unattainable, body parts jiggle, eyes cross, mouths gasp, hip width and sweat drips. If you find yourself in the latter category, exercising publicly may not be on the agenda. However, if you are one of the blessed, for whom physical exercise comes effortlessly, you can exercise just about anywhere. Here are some exercises for those without issues.

Walking Lunges
If you don’t mind people wondering why you’re taking such emphasized steps, walking lunges are a great way to get some outside exercise in. Start off standing with you hip-width apart. Take a giant step forward and bend your knees until your rear knee almost reaches the ground. You will know if you are doing them correctly if your shoulder, hip, and knee form a straight line. Be sure to keep your shoulders back and continue, alternating legs.

Body Weight of Air Squats
The squat is another great way of toning the legs and butt. Begin with the feet about a shoulder width apart, turning toes out slightly. Hold your chest up and shoulders back as you bend your knees and begin to sit back onto your heels. Lower yourself to an angle of approximately 90 degrees, or a little less, and then use your muscles to power your body back up with a little more speed, without overextending your knee. Do three to five sets of 20-30 repetitions.

woman doing mountain climbers

Mountain Climber
This is a great exercise which targets the whole body and is great for alternating between lunges and air squats. Start in a plank position with lips lined up directly under your shoulder with your stomach muscles tight. Alternate lifting feet up toward your hands in a running motion. Do three to five sets of 30- 40 reps of this, making sure to keep your tummy tight while trying to keep hips from sagging.

Push Ups
Because women often lack the upper body strength for pushups, stabilizing the upper body may be a helpful strategy in execution. Begin with hands just beyond your shoulders and stomach, keeping your glutes tight. Lower yourself, leading with the chest and then push yourself away whatever you are leaning on. Allow your chest to stretch and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lower yourself. Use your legs, abs, and chest to pull yourself back up. Try to get in three to five sets of 10 to 15 pushup repetitions.

woman doing step-ups outdoors

Step Ups
Another great booty shaper, step ups are done by first finding something stable to step your foot on. Keep all your weight on the heel of the raised foot, and step up. Try to prevent going forward as you go up, keeping your upper body in a straight line. Use your butt, keeping your weight centered on your heel. You can add a little more core resistance by starting with the foot on the ground slightly bent. Aim for three to five sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, alternating legs.

If you give any of these a try, let us know how they go. And let us know what other exercises we can do without a gym membership.

woman weightlifting

Exercisers Have More Youthful Brains

If Amanda spends 20 minutes on the stationary bike, jogs half a mile, and does 10 minutes of yoga poses, how long will it take her to burn 60 percent of the cheesecake she ate last night? Don’t know? Maybe if you started exercising, you would! According to studies, people who exercise not only have larger muscles in their arms and legs, they have them in their heads, too. Healthy body, healthy mind? Read on to find out.

Studies show that people who exercise have larger brain volume and a greater amount of intact white matter ( the filler that conducts nerve impulses and interconnects the brain) than those who don’t. In a study published in the journal PLoS ONE, scientist looked at brain activity measuring brain activity at rest and changes in blood oxygen levels with MRIs and evaluated white matter fibers.

White Matter
According to the study, exercise stimulates the brain, and that stimulation can cause people to perform better on cognitive tasks. According to Agnieszka Burzynska, the University of Illinois postdoctoral researcher who led the study, “We found that spontaneous brain activity showed more moment to moment fluctuations in the more active adults.” She adds, “In a previous study, we showed that in some of the same regions of the brain, those people who have a higher brain variability also performed better on complex cognitive tasks, especially intelligence tasks and memory.” The study also found that the white matter in more active people had a more youthful structure.

Burzynska expresses hopefulness in the usefulness and application of such studies in the future. “We want to know how the brain relates to the body, and how physical health influences mental and brain health in aging. Here, instead of a structural measure, we are taking a functional measure of brain health. And we are finding that tracking changes in blood oxygenation levels over time is useful for predicting cognitive functioning and physical health in aging.”

Best Exercises for Brain Health
Yet another study, published in the Journal of Physiology, aimed to find out which exercises increased brain volume most effectively. Researchers in Finland gathered a group of rats injected with a substance to mark the growth of new brain cells and set them on a variety of workouts. After seven weeks, the results came in.

senior couple jogging

Jogging
Rats who’d jogged on wheels showed the largest improvement in neurogenesis. Their brain tissue was full of new neurons, and the greater the distance the runner jogged, the greater the number of cells produced.

HIIT
For the rats perfuming high-intensity interval training, the results were less promising. Although they showed higher amounts of new neurons than sedentary animals, the results were far less impressive than those of the runners.

Weight Training
Although weight training rats were physically stronger at the end of the experiment, their brains showed no such improvement. Their brain tissue was identical to the animals that had not exercised at all.

Of course, animals are not humans, and weight training and HIIT may lead to changes elsewhere in the brain, implications of these studies may carry some weight. Miriam Nokia, a research fellow who led the study speculates that “sustained aerobic activity might be most beneficial for brain health also in humans.”

What do you think? Is aerobics the key to a fitter and smarter population? Let us know how you weigh in on the findings.

Kick Butts This Summer

If you’re still smoking, you must be a pretty tough cookie. Let’s face it, those anti-smoking ads can be pretty discouraging if you don’t want to shake the habit. In fact, if you’re still smoking, that means you’ve toughed it out through media scare tactics, dirty looks, bad seating, no seating, fines, and price hikes- OUCH! But there is one thing that’s going to break you- smoking itself. You may have pretty thick skin when it comes to popular opinion, but lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke can be a lot harder to take in stride. If you are looking to quit this summer, here are a few tips that might be worth checking out.

Find A Reason
If you’re going to do something, you need a reason to do it, and giving up smoking is no exception. Why is it you want to quit? Is it to feel better, look better, lessen your risk of disease, or just to protect loved ones from second-hand smoke? Remember, the first step is motivation.

Don’t Try To Go Cold Turkey
One of the biggest mistakes people, when they attempt to quit smoke, is by trying to do it “cold turkey.” Nicotine withdrawal needs to be done in small doses to avoid unpleasant symptoms.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy
If nicotine cravings prove too overwhelming, replacement treatments including nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches are available, just don’t smoke while you’re using them.

Prescription Pills
Talk about nicotine replacement with a doctor. Medical professionals may be able to refer you to prescription medications that can help to reduce cravings and reduce symptoms of withdrawal.

Get Support
You’re never too tough to ask for help. If you don’t like the idea of asking for assistance from the same people who kept bugging you to quit, consider going to a counselor. Behavioral therapy has been used to varying degrees of success and can increase the odds of quitting in certain people.

Manage Stress
If you look to cigarettes for stress relief, you may want to consider other options. Yoga, massage, Tai Chai, and exercise are all good ways of relaxing butt free.

Avoid Alcohol
Smoking and drinking often go together, as do coffee and cigarettes, and it can be very tempting to smoke after meals. Try to find replacements for cigarette triggering activities and chew gum or brush your teeth after a meal.

Clean Your House
So, you’re probably thinking you’d rather smoke than clean your house any day, but that’s not quite what this advice is getting at. Ashtrays, lighters, and smells can all trigger the desire to smoke. Empty your house of those reminders and try using some air fresheners to rid your home of the smell.

If At First, You Don’t Succeed….
Remember, relapses happen. If you find yourself returning to the nasty habit, just ask yourself what got you smoking again and try to avoid it next time.

Exercise
Movement and exercise can be a good way of curbing your nicotine cravings, and it also keeps your weight down. Next time you find yourself getting the urge to light up, light out!

Are you trying to kick butts this summer? Let us know your best advice! And good luck, we know you can do it!

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