Nicotine Addiction: Break the Habit Once and for All

Nicotine addiction happens quickly. Whether you smoke or chew tobacco, outside help is often sought in order to successfully quit the habit. Hundreds of thousands try to stop their nicotine addiction “cold turkey,” by using nicotine patches, gum, or through use of relaxation and bio-feedback techniques. Almost 30 million nicotine addicts a year find themselves making multiple unsuccessful attempts in an effort to break their nicotine addiction.


Nicotine Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms Sabotage Quitting

Withdrawal symptoms, associated with breaking a nicotine addiction, sabotage success by impacting both physiological and psychological components. Trying to live with multiple symptoms gives way to allowing those nicotine cravings to turn into another failed attempt. When trying to break the strangle-hold of nicotine addiction, more than 50% of those working to quit the habit experience at least four of the following symptoms:


  • Increased appetite and feeling like you need to eat
  • Weight gain that follows the fear of gaining weight
  • Depression
  • Loss of motivation and energy
  • Feeling irritable, angry, or agitated for no apparent reason
  • Increased feelings of being anxious and stressed
  • Insomnia, tossing and turning in bed, night sweats
  • Feeling drowsy and sleepy with decreased concentration or focus
  • Headaches that may stay with you for hours on end
  • An intense craving for nicotine where you feel driven to satisfy the urge


Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms Manageable with Medications

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can begin as soon as the last cigarette is put out – prescription medication in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy or other adjunct therapy has proven most successful in stopping nicotine’s hold on your life. Your psychiatrist may choose to prescribe Chantix, Zyban, Wellbutrin or Buproprion, and recommend over-the-counter products such as nicotine patches, inhalers, gum, or nicotine nasal spray. Treating the whole person and their unique needs makes for a successful outcome in ending nicotine addiction. An experienced doctor will develop a plan that meets your own individual needs and personality.


Nicotine Addiction Psychiatrist

Stopping the nicotine habit is hard. When multiple attempts end in failure, it is time to seek out professional assistance. Working with an experienced psychiatrist gives you the best opportunity for success and freedom.  Call Dr. Hege’s office today.


Non-Medication Anxiety Treatment Options Successful

Medications for the management of anxiety disorders may be a useful tool in the overall treatment strategy. Non-medication and alternative practices are becoming a very viable and successful option in the treatment of anxiety. Reducing symptoms that impact one’s daily life without the use of medication can be achieved through a multifaceted therapeutic plan.

Non-Medication for Anxiety Disorders

The most common psychiatric complaint is anxiety, with up to 40-million Americans suffering from an anxiety disorder. While medication may be prescribed in the short-term to get symptoms under control, use of a mix of cognitive-behavioral therapy, biofeedback, and other non-medication treatment techniques have been shown good success in the reduction of symptoms, including worry, fear, and panic.

Anxiety Disorders Respond to Non-Medication Treatment

Treatment options vary with individual needs and symptoms experienced. Non-medication options have shown to be effective for those with:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Phobias
  • PTSD
  • OCD
  • Panic Disorder

Working with an experienced anxiety psychiatrist, your recommended plan may include a variety of therapeutic techniques that may or may not include use of medication.

Medication versus Non-Medication for Anxiety

Medication may be recommended following a comprehensive evaluation by a specialist in anxiety disorders. Treatment strategies may include prescription of non-abusable medications over the use of addictive drugs such as Xanax, Klonopin, or Ativan, depending on the individual needs, prescription history, and behaviors of the patient.

Non-Medication Treatment Options

Use of a multi-faceted or combination treatment approach may be part of the prescribed plan of recovery from an anxiety disorder. Some of the non-medication alternatives include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Biofeedback of physiological reactions
  • Physical exercise
  • Relaxation and deep breathing techniques
  • Dietary shifts (avoiding certain foods and substances, following healthy diet plan)
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Structured sleeping patterns and rest periods
  • Herbal and nutritional supplements with doctor approval
  • Massage therapy
  • Other alternative medicines such as Yoga or acupuncture

Atlanta Specialist in Anxiety Disorders

While anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions in the U.S., many are hesitant to seek treatment for a variety of personal reasons. Working with a specialist in anxiety can be your path to a life of peace and calm – Call Dr. Hege for a treatment approach that includes medication, non-medication options, adjunct therapy, and alternative medicine practices.

Nicotine Addiction Recovery That Lasts

Tobacco products which include cigarettes, cigars, pipe smoking, or smokeless tobacco can all be addictive due to the nicotine they contain. Nicotine addiction recovery is difficult with about 35-million people making the attempt to quit smoking every year. Relapse is common, often within the very first week.

Nicotine Addiction Recovery from Smoking

For smokers, it is the nicotine in the tobacco that is addictive. While each cigarette may contain about 10-milligrams of nicotine, only about 1-to-2 milligrams from each cigarette is actually absorbed into the lungs. Nicotine is highly addictive, and even in the small amounts actually absorbed by the body, a person soon finds the compulsion to smoke turn into an addiction.

Nicotine and Body Chemistry

Once inhaled, nicotine travels to the brain within 7-to-10 seconds and its influence on body functions is immediately felt. One of nicotine’s effects on the brain is in the release of adrenaline, which in turn increases heart rate, and blood pressure while restricting blood flow to the heart. While the release of adrenaline also moves excess glucose into the bloodstream, the nicotine works to hinder the release of insulin from the pancreas, thus allowing a state of blood sugar higher than normal to exist.

Another significant effect of nicotine on the brain is that it activates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, which gives the smoker feelings of euphoria, which plays a major role in nicotine addiction recovery.

Nicotine Addiction Recovery Treatments

Recovery from tobacco addiction can become your new reality. Working with a nicotine addiction professional provides the specialized direction, use of cognitive-behavioral treatment programs, and prescribed medications, like Chantix, while following a successful individualized plan to quit smoking, ending your addiction to nicotine.

Nicotine Addiction Recovery Doctor

Research has shown the most effective way to quit smoking is to utilize both medication and cognitive behavioral therapy. Free yourself from the prison of nicotine addiction and start enjoying living nicotine free – Call Dr. Hege for a convenient appointment that meets your life schedule.


Prescription Drug Addiction on the Rise

Prescription drug addiction is a growing problem in the U.S. affecting more than 15 million people at any one time. More than 48 million have abused prescription drugs during the course of their lifetime. Prescription drug addiction is on the rise, with The National Institute on Drug Abuse reporting the numbers of adults who abuse these medications now exceeding those that abuse the illegal drugs of cocaine, heroin, inhalants, and hallucinogens combined.

Prescription Drug Addiction Growing Problem

Increased visits to one or multiple physicians, or the ER show a significant increase in the request for more medications such as opioid pain relievers, stimulants for complaints of ADHD symptoms, or depressants prescribed for anxiety or sleep issues. In addition, the purchase of over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medications, especially those that contain dextromethorphan, have shown a sharp rise. Drug treatment programs report a sharp rise in admissions related to prescription drug addiction that now rival admissions for addiction to illegal drugs.

Prescription Medications Commonly Abused

Prescription drug addiction generally involves three classes of medications. The medication classes that may lead to addiction are:

  • Opioids, which include Vicodin, Opana, OxyContin, Codeine, Morphine, may be used effectively to treat pain on a short term basis. When used long-term they may lead to prescription drug addiction and physical dependence.
  • Stimulants, such as Adderall, Concerta, or Ritalin, may be used to treat medical issues of ADHD, ADD, depression, narcolepsy and numerous other problems.
  • Central nervous system depressant medications such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin or Ativan may be used to treat anxiety, panic, insomnia, and sleep disorders. These medications typically decrease brain activity resulting in a calm or drowsy state.

Prescription Drug Addiction Help Locally

An experienced addiction psychiatrist can help change the direction your prescription drug use is taking. Call Dr. Hege, Atlanta’s prescription drug addiction professional to regain your ability to live and function without the turmoil and pain of addiction. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

CBT Non-Medication Option with Psychiatric Management

CBT, cognitive behavior therapy, has been found to be effective over hundreds of clinical trials as part of a comprehensive treatment program for many different mental health disorders. CBT focuses on the present, where the goal is to change patterns of thinking, or specific behaviors (cognitive processes), that have negatively impacted one’s life. CBT works to develop skills that can be used for a lifetime – skills where distorted thinking can be identified, beliefs modified, interaction and relationship skills enhanced, or destructive behaviors changed for the positive.

CBT and Mental Health Disorders

Cognitive behavior therapy is successfully used in the treatment of a wide range of issues including major depressive disorder, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, substance abuse, ADHD, generalized anxiety, eating disorders, specific phobias, and numerous other mental health issues. Working with an experienced psychiatrist who is able to refer to qualified CBT providers allows for a fully personalized and individualized approach with the highest reported treatment success.

Medication and CBT

Working with a psychiatrist dedicated to providing the optimal care for his patients allows for the option to receive treatment with or without the use of medication. While some respond to treatment without the use of any medications, many disorders may respond better to a combination of both medication and cognitive behavior therapy – your psychiatrist will determine what strategies and treatment plan will best meet your specific needs and concerns.

CBT Focus in Treatment

Cognitive behavior therapists may need some information about past history, however the emphasis surrounds one’s current life. The focus of CBT is on moving forward, developing effective coping methods, learning to change ways of negative or destructive behaviors, thoughts, and emotions.

CBT Treatment Strategies

Throughout the course of cognitive behavior therapy, efforts are made to change problematic patterns of thinking, behavioral patterns, or prepare for problematic social interactions. Some of the strategies utilized may include:

  • Learning problem solving skills to cope with difficult or feared situations
  • Developing an improved sense of confidence in one’s self
  • Gaining a better understanding of how other’s behaviors may affect you
  • Learn to recognize and identify distorted thoughts that create problems
  • Learn how to evaluate inaccurate thoughts and feelings to make changes
  • Facings fears instead of avoiding them
  • Role play difficult situations or interactions
  • Learn relaxation techniques and strategies
  • Challenging one’s beliefs
  • Journaling or reflective writing exercises
  • Social, physical, and cognitive exercises related to emotional and behavioral patterns

CBT Referrals with Psychiatric Management

Atlanta based psychiatrist Dr. Hege is ready to provide comprehensive mental health evaluation and treatment planning which may include medication management and referral to a qualified network of cognitive behavior therapists in the community. Call the office for a confidential appointment offered at a time convenient to meet your lifestyle and needs.


Opioid Addiction Recovery with Suboxone

Opioid addiction recovery often results in as many as 91% relapsing. The statistics for addiction relapse with opioid addiction recovery have higher numbers than for any other drug addiction. Research has also shown that at least 59% of those who had an opiate relapse do so within the first week of sobriety, 80% with a month after detox.

Opioid Addiction Recovery with MAT

Medication assisted treatment (MAT) with Suboxone significantly reduces relapse through its unique properties and therapeutic effects – relapse does not have to be an inevitable part of recovery from opioid addiction.  With prescription pain reliever drugs that contain opioids turning into a national crisis for substance and opioid addiction, there is treatment now available that benefits patients by helping keep them sober while reducing the side effects of withdrawal and curbing the cravings that typically lead to a relapse.

Suboxone MAT

Suboxone, which can only be prescribed by a qualified and certified professional, is a growing preferred option in the medication assisted treatment of opioid addiction. Suboxone can allow those in recovery to regain a state of mind that is free of withdrawal symptoms, free of cravings, and free of the drug-induced highs and lows of opioid addiction.

Opioid Addiction Recovery Plan Successful

Suboxone is a unique treatment medication for opioid addiction. One of the ingredients that make up Suboxone is Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is not used as a replacement for opiates, as an opioid blocker, or as a substitution for anything else – rather it is a partial agonist to the opioid receptors in the brain which activates the opioid receptors without allowing the “high,” yet allowing for some of the opioid effect of its own which functions to suppress withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Opioid Addiction Recovery Psychiatrist

If opioid addiction is interfering with your family relationships, work, daily functioning, and health, call the Suboxone doctor in Atlanta to begin your recovery. Return to living life to the fullest once again. Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment to discuss the treatment options which will work for you.

Opioid Withdrawal Triggers Lead to Relapse

Combining the pain, fear, and opioid withdrawal symptoms often trigger relapse during recovery from opioid addiction. Proper management of symptoms during all phases of recovery can significantly improve the rate of success in recovery by alleviating common opioid withdrawal triggers that many fall victim to.

Opioid Withdrawal Triggers

Withdrawal from opioid addiction is often a physically and psychologically painful process where fear, pain, and physiological cravings often lead into a situation where relapse occurs. An addiction specialist can work with you to manage the opioid withdrawal symptoms which include emotional and physical distress, through medications such as Suboxone, Cognitive Behavioral therapy, or utilization of a network of adjunct recovery services.

Opioids in Both Prescription and Illegal Drugs

Opioids are drugs that are typically prescribed to treat pain. Opiates include prescription and illegal drugs such as morphine, Kadian, codeine, heroin, opium, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxycontin, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), Vicodin, Percocet, Fentanyl (duragesic). Opiates may be naturally manufactured from the opium poppy or synthetically formulated. Prescription opioid medications are frequently misused and abused leading to addiction.

Millions Abuse Opioids in U.S.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse report that over 4-million people in the U.S. abuse opioids. Withdrawal occurs when stopping or decreasing the amount of opioids you have become accustomed to taking.

Common Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Opioid withdrawal triggers and symptoms vary from one person to another. Withdrawal symptoms may begin as early as 6 hours after stopping the drug. The most commonly reported withdrawal complaints include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Agitation, irritability
  • Hot and cold sweats or goosebumps
  • Racing heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings
  • Excessive yawning
  • Teary eyes and runny nose

Suboxone Addiction Specialist

Treatment, which includes management of opioid withdrawal triggers by a certified addiction specialist who is able to prescribe Suboxone, is vital to successful recovery and prevention of relapse. Call Dr. Hege for individualized attention to the complex process of addiction recovery.

Suboxone Vital in Opioid Addiction Recovery

Suboxone is vital in successful opioid addiction recovery. In the U.S the statistics show we have a national crisis on our hands – a government report published in March of 2018 indicate more than 115 Americans die every day after overdosing on opioids. The opioid addiction crisis includes misuse of prescription pain relievers where addiction to the medication takes over their lives, leaving them unable to just walk away from the drug.

Suboxone Prescription Restricted

Suboxone is a prescription medication designed for the treatment of opioid dependence and addiction. Following the enactment of the 2000 Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) Suboxone was one of the first medications impacted where prescription privileges were restricted to only qualified Suboxone doctors who have successfully completed specific training and met certification requirements.

Suboxone Vital Ingredients

Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone with each ingredient having a specific purpose:

  • Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist which means that while it does activate the brain’s opioid receptors to help relieve withdrawal and cravings, however works to help break the pattern of compulsive drug seeking behaviors
  • Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which works by discouraging people from trying to get high by injecting the Suboxone. For someone who is opioid dependent, the result of injecting Suboxone leads directly to withdrawal symptoms

Suboxone Vital to Recovery in Two Ways

The ingredient buprenorphine in Suboxone tricks the brain into thinking an opioid is in their system, suppressing the withdrawal symptoms and cravings, yet they do not feel high or get a euphoric effect. Buprenorphine is part of the Suboxone vital key as it blocks the brain’s opioid receptor for approximately 24 hours so that prescription or illegal opioid cannot “get in.” This 24-hour opioid block helps to prevent relapse, one day at a time.

The important second benefit to buprenorphine is the “ceiling effect” which means that taking more Suboxone than prescribed will not result in feeling high. For someone addicted to opioids this is an important feature of the medication that assists in your working toward recovery.

Benefits of Suboxone Treatment

If you are addicted to opioids and need help in your recovery process, Suboxone vital in your comprehensive treatment program when prescribed and managed by a Suboxone doctor. The major benefits of Suboxone treatment include:

  • Reduction in cravings
  • Reduction in painful withdrawal symptoms
  • Stabilization of symptoms experienced through recovery
  • Ability to focus on your addiction treatment program
  • Management by a qualified and certified addiction expert

Suboxone Doctor in Atlanta Area

If the time has come to take control of your life and recover from your opioid addiction struggle, call Dr. Hege, Atlanta psychiatrist, a certified addiction specialist and certified Suboxone doctor.  Confidential and convenient appointments available evenings and weekends to meet your individual life needs.

Chantix Neutralizes Nicotine’s Effect

Smoking related disease result in nearly 6 million deaths every year with tobacco claiming a human life every 5 seconds somewhere in the world. In the U.S. more than 16 million Americans lives with a smoking related disease. In addition, smoking accounts for 1 out of every 5 deaths in the United States. Chantix is a medication prescribed to help those addicted to nicotine stop smoking and begin living without the health risks and financial burdens directly related to smoking.

Chantix Helps People Quit Smoking

Chantix, varenicline tartrate, is a prescription medication that was developed specifically to assist those who want to quit smoking. Chantix has two unique qualities and works on two levels:

  • It mimics nicotine, giving the feeling of mild nicotine effects while it helps ease withdrawal symptoms
  • It blocks nicotine from binding with the nicotine receptors in the brain so that the smoker does not get a “nicotine boost or kick” making smoking feeling flat, bland or no longer pleasurable

Nicotine’s Effect on Brain Chemistry

Nicotine effects the brain’s chemistry within 7 seconds of the first puff on a cigarette. Nicotine attaches to receptors that not only affect breathing, and heart rate, but also influence other neurotransmitters that effect appetite, mood, and memory. When nicotine attaches to its brain receptors, dopamine is released, which is thought to be responsible for reinforcing the pleasure/reward associations with smoking.

Chantix Breaks Cycle

The chemical process that occurs with smoking is tied to nicotine addiction. Since the effects of nicotine on the brain wear off within minutes, smokers continue to “dose” themselves throughout the day to prevent withdrawal symptoms and to continue to feel the pleasurable effects of nicotine. Chantix may take hours to wear off easing withdrawal complaints; in addition, Chantix blocks the “feel good” dopamine boost if a person does smoke while taking Chantix.

Side Effects of Chantix

Some of the most common side effects reported include nausea, headache, vomiting, drowsiness, GI upset, trouble sleeping, changes in taste, feeling dizzy, or difficulty concentrating. Your psychiatrist can help you manage any side effects experienced with other medication, nicotine replacement treatments, cognitive behavioral therapy, or adjunct therapy resources.

Stop Smoking Doctor

If you want to become an ex-smoker and enjoy the health and financial benefits that other non-smokers experience, call the office for a confidential appointment today.

Emotional Numbness or Emptiness Blocks Hope

Many people may find themselves at different times in their lives feeling like there is a lack of meaning or purpose in their life. This emotional numbness or feelings of emptiness can develop into a chronic condition that may point to several other mental health concerns, a side effect of medications, or the body’s reaction to becoming overtaxed emotionally and physically.

Emotional Numbness and Emptiness

Trying to describe the feeling of being emotionally numb or empty is often difficult. Some report an absence of feeling, or feeling that something is missing inside of them. Others may report feeling disconnected, having an “empty space” inside, feeling isolated, despondent, with no hope for the future. Many patients with emotional numbness are unable to express what — if anything — they are feeling.

Causes of Emotional Numbness

Two of the most common causes of emotional numbness or feelings of emptiness are depression and anxiety. Elevated stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, some medications, and becoming physically over-fatigued can also trigger feelings of emotional emptiness.

Emotional Numbness may lead to Unhealthy Behaviors

While feelings of emptiness and numbness may leave a person feeling isolated, anxious, or disconnected, they may choose to fill that void by taking part in activities that are unfulfilling or unhealthy, like compulsive shopping, eating, or use of alcohol or other substances. Reach out to friends and family for support and make an appointment with a mental health professional to determine if your emotional void is caused by current medications, a diagnosable mental health or physical condition.

Getting Help

Review what you’re going through with a mental health professional. Some medications may be helpful, or if you are taking some already, they may need to be adjusted to help you stay balanced. Also, talk therapy in combination with other treatments can be great for working through your feelings, and Dr. Hege has many great references he may recommend to help you get the treatment that is best for you. Call Dr. Hege for a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis to determine the cause of your psychological numbness and emptiness. There is hope for change. Make the call today and begin to experience the joy of living once again.