March 19, 2010

How to Quit Without Nicotine Products

If you are a longtime smoker, then you know how difficult it is to quit smoking. And you’re not alone. Around the globe, about one third of the male adult population consistently smokes cigarettes. We’ve all heard the statistical reasons for quitting, that every eight seconds someone dies from tobacco use or that in 2030, if smoking rates continue, one in every six people will die from smoking. And then there are the emotional appeals, begging you to think about your children or loved ones and how your smoking habit affects them now and then also in the future. All of these are great reasons to quit, and you would’ve quit, or you tried to with the help of a nicotine product, and it really just didn’t work.

There is an argument that nicotine products don’t really help in fixing your nicotine addiction, as the nicotine is still being administered into your body, often straight into your blood stream, which meets the needs of your nicotine addiction and doesn’t help you to stop. But if you don’t use any nicotine products to help you quit; the other option is to go cold turkey. Though this may seem daunting, or impossible, there are several ways to help you through the process, and combat any feelings of nicotine withdrawal.

How to Quit Without Nicotine Products:

It’s All In Your Mind – Before you start abstaining from cigarettes, make sure that you are prepared mentally for the quitting process. This may include writing down reasons for quitting and placing them in a place where you keep your cigarettes, or charting out a financial plan for the money you will save when you stop buying your cigarette packages. It is often beneficial to target the reason for your continuation of smoking, if you smoke because you are stressed, figure out an alternative way to relieve your stress such as exercise, or if you smoke because you are bored, find alternative activities to distract yourself from the idea of smoking such as talking to a friend on the phone, or taking longer showers.

Don’t Stop Suddenly – To prevent severe withdrawal symptoms, work to have fewer cigarettes per day before taking the plunge. While decreasing your intake of nicotine, you can additionally utilize any of the techniques mentioned above or below.

Find a Support Group – Your family and friends will obviously support you in your decision to quit smoking, but it’s sometimes easier to deal with quitting if you can talk to someone who is going through the same experience. Support groups are a great way to learn more ways to help you quit smoking and reassure you that you are not alone.

Drink Water and Exercise – Exercising and staying hydrated will help your body to adjust to the absence of nicotine faster, especially after you stop using nicotine products. By sweating and introducing more liquid into your body, you will be able to expel the nicotine from your body more quickly.

Quitting smoking is possibly one of the hardest things you will ever have to do in your life. There are several different techniques, and it’s important to find a way that works for you, which may or may not include a prescription medication that doesn’t contain nicotine, use of a nicotine product or a change in lifestyle habits.

March 12, 2010

6 Ways to Recognize Depression

Learning to recognize signs of depression in yourself and others you are close to is the first step to overcoming depression.

1. Avoiding socialization – When people begin to draw away from their families and friends and spend more time alone this may be a sign of depression.

2. Lack of sleep (Insomnia) – Do you toss and turn every night, and find it difficult to fall asleep? Does someone you know get increasingly darker bags under their eyes? Do you have trouble getting out of bed each morning? Are you lacking motivation? This could mean you, or they are suffering from depression.

3. Consuming more alcohol – When the 5 o’clock happy hour becomes more frequent or turns into 3 o’clock or 2 o’clock this can be a sign that someone has a problem with depression.

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4. Eating habits change – If you notice a lack of appetite or unhealthy food choices in you or someone you are close to this should concern you as it may be a sign of depression. Either a major increase or a significant decrease in one’s weight can also be an indication that a person if affected by depression.

5. Worthless feeling or thoughts of harming yourself or suicide – This is the strongest sign of depression. An extreme change in ones emotion and behavior is most commonly a sign of a change in mental state and commonly this is depression.

6. Increased irritability – Being easily annoyed or irritated may just be a common thing in your personality, or can be caused by raging hormones in teenagers, but may also be a sign of depression, especially when accompanied by other symptoms or signals of depression.

Millions of people are diagnosed with depression each year. Small changes to your lifestyle can change, improve, and lesson the symptoms that you or someone you are close to could be dealing with. Contact a doctor as they can help lead you on a path to triumphant treatment.

March 4, 2010

Why Am I Losing My Hair?

Although many of us would like to avoid it, losing our hair is part of the natural cycle of hair growth. Each hair on your head grows for about two to three years, before it reaches it growth capacity and falls out in order for a new hair to grow in its place. This natural process accounts for the stray hairs that are found at the bottom of your shower. In some cases, however, hair loss can become excessive, to the point where you may be losing more than the normal amount of hairs per day. How much hair you are expected to lose per day is based on the length, healthiness and amount of hair that you have in your current hairstyle.

Excessive hair loss can be attributed to several different factors, dependent on the type of hair loss you experience.

If you experience:

  • Patchy Hair Loss, which affects both men and women, could be caused by a condition called alopecia areata, where a small bald spot appears on the head that will grow back within three to six months. Patchy hair loss can also be inflicted through certain hairstyles and habits; wearing a ponytail, or simply twisting your hair around your finger may be enough to pull hairs from their follicles. Fungal infections are an additional cause of patchy hair loss, when treated with antibiotics will allow hair to grow back.
  • General Hair Loss, which is categorized by simply losing more hair than you ought to be, is generally caused by the development of androgenetic hair loss, or baldness patterns in both men and women. Baldness occurs in all adults, how fast and how much your hair will thin out depends on your genetics and hormones.

Losing your hair is natural parts of life; however, if you think that you may be losing too much hair, talk to your healthcare provider about options for treating your hair loss, which may include taking medications like Finasteride for men and Minoxidil for both men and women.