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Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), with more than 480,000 smoking-related deaths each year. In addition, it is one of the toughest habits to stop, as it takes an average of five to seven tries before a person achieves success quitting. Because of this high failure rate, Enterhealth (a premier drug and alcohol treatment center based in Dallas) has established an innovative smoking cessation program that is open for companies to use for their employees to help them quit smoking, as well as available for the public.

The treatment is done through Enterhealth’s telehealth service platform, Enterhealth Connect, which includes telepsychiatry and teletherapy. The technology is a modern form of health care delivery which breaks away from traditional models by using telecommunication systems and wireless communication methods such as tablets and smartphones to connect patients with therapists or doctors. The 12-week session starts with an initial assessment by a psychiatrist, who is able to determine any underlying psychiatric issues before starting treatment. From there, the experts at Enterhealth create a personalized treatment plan aimed at preventing or lessening the withdrawal, anxiety, depression and weight gain that often accompanies stopping nicotine. After that, each patient is given a customized medication plan and attends therapy sessions via telemedicine, so that the patient never has to come into a doctor’s office, but is still able to receive the latest, science-based care to address this life-threatening condition.

“Nicotine is highly addictive, but smoking is one of the easiest addictions to treat, and we’ve seen great success so far with this program,” said Dr. Harold Urschel, chief medical strategist at Enterhealth. The best part is that employees and the public want to quit, but they didn’t have a resource to whom they could turn for help, and now they do. Smoking hurts companies in many ways. There is a major loss of productivity, and the health care costs are extremely high. On the health side, smokers have weaker immune systems, are at higher risk for stroke and heart attacks and have less energy. Overall, this program offers people a better quality of life and increases the overall wellness and productivity of companies. By offering this service over telemedicine, it is very convenient for patients. No matter where they live in Texas, they can call in to a doctor or therapist for treatment.”

Enterhealth is uniquely qualified to offer this program because the company has extensive experience working with dual-diagnosis disorders, meaning they understand how to deal with the psychological components, as well as the cravings and other elements that can foster the addiction. The program is also offered to patients at Enterhealth not only via telemedicine, but in person. At Enterhealth Ranch (located in Van Alstyne, Texas) and Enterhealth Outpatient Center of Excellence, doctors and therapists are focused on the overall well-being of each patient, and that same care goes into helping the public stop smoking through the smoking cessation program.

“We currently have a similar program in place for patients at the Enterhealth Ranch,” said Urschel. “Right now, e-cigarettes are not allowed, and we have decreased the number of cigarettes patients can have from eight to four a day. By the end of the summer, Enterhealth Ranch will be smoke-free. Data shows that giving up all forms of addiction, including smoking, will help people sustain sobriety longer. Over the past decade, we have helped thousands of Enterhealth patients live not only a drug- and alcohol-free life, but a smoke-free life as well. Our goal is to now help as many people as we can quit smoking.”

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