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How Does Nicotine Addiction Work?

An image of a woman with a nicotine addiction, smoking a cigarette.

Addictions can be extremely challenging to handle at times. With their long-term impacts and life-threatening symptoms, addictions can play a significant role in all spheres of your life — be it your work, relationships or family. Getting addiction treatment is the first necessary step to recovery. Apart from the traditional drug addictions, yet another kind that tends to grab everyone’s attention is nicotine addiction.

Nicotine is often known to stimulate the release of brain chemicals – neurotransmitters – which help to control mood and behavior. One of these neurotransmitters, dopamine, is released in the brain’s reward area and promotes sensations of pleasure and an enhanced mood.

Let’s explore what nicotine is and the effects caused by nicotine along with the withdrawal symptoms.

What Exactly is Nicotine?

Nicotine is the addictive component of tobacco. Nicotine addiction is the most common type of chemical dependency in the United States. According to studies, nicotine is just as addictive as heroin, cocaine, and alcohol.

Every smoker is addicted to a different combination of “stimulants” in cigarettes, resulting in a unique smoking and nicotine dependence experience. A stimulant is a cigarette’s addictive feature that makes you want to smoke more.

Physical Effects Caused By Nicotine

You may have nausea, dizziness, headache, or upset stomach when you first start smoking, but as your smoking becomes more of a habit, you develop a tolerance to these effects and they fade away. Tolerance refers to the fact that it takes more nicotine to provide the same impact as smoking fewer cigarettes.

Smoking regularly causes our bodies to adapt to a specific level of nicotine, and we unconsciously manage the number of cigarettes we smoke to maintain that familiar nicotine level. 

Our bodies’ tolerance for nicotine’s unpleasant effects permits us to focus on the positive ones it provides. Most people are unaware that the enjoyable benefits of smoking are caused by the body’s reaction to nicotine, which upsets the body’s natural balance.

Nicotine’s Psychological Effects

After we’ve acquired a smoking habit, we feel compelled to smoke to feel “normal,” as if our daily chores are incomplete until we’ve had our cigarette. We begin to associate our smoking habits with a variety of daily and social activities, resulting in triggers that make it difficult to engage in those activities without smoking. 

Associating a cigarette with a cup of coffee or talking on the phone is an example. The psychological repercussions of smoking are often overlooked. The feelings of relaxation, stress reduction, and focus, among other things, become automatic. Psychological dependence is the term for this.

An image of a man smoking a cigarette with a nicotine addiction

Withdrawal From Nicotine

When you don’t smoke for a long time and your body doesn’t get any nicotine, you may experience unpleasant physical and psychological side effects.

Side effects from nicotine withdrawal include:

  • nicotine cravings
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • weight gain
  • headaches
  • problems concentrating
  • drowsiness or difficulty sleeping
  • feeling tense restless, or frustrated

The extent to which you experience these adverse effects depends on how long, how much, and how often you smoke and differs from person to person. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms might appear anywhere between 2 hours and 2-3 days following your last cigarette.

What Causes Nicotine Dependence in the Body?

Nicotine and other chemicals from cigarette smoke are absorbed into the body every time we light up. Nicotine enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain more quickly than medications that pass through our veins. 

The substance affects the hormone epinephrine, generally known as adrenaline. When you inhale nicotine, your body releases adrenaline, which stimulates your body and causes your blood pressure and heart rate to rise, as well as making you breathe faster. Nicotine also stimulates the release of the hormone dopamine, which activates a portion of your brain that makes you happy. 

Treatment with Medication

Addiction is increasingly recognized as a chronic brain problem that responds to therapy, just like other chronic diseases. Treatment for nicotine addiction should ideally combine drugs to reduce cravings with counseling to help people retrain their behavior, just the way therapies for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes do.

Supportive Therapy

Behavioral counseling is an important part of substance abuse treatment and can help people quit. Individual or group counseling, as well as quitlines and internet tools, can be highly beneficial. While the best treatment combines behavioral counseling with medicine, counseling can be helpful on its own if pharmaceuticals are not accessible. 

Despite the short disruption in drug supply, programs to urge people to stop smoking and use medications may be one of the most sensible public health strategies available. This is especially true for younger smokers, who have extremely low medicine usage rates.

Wrapping Up

Overcoming a nicotine addiction by yourself can be a difficult path. There are possible chances of relapse, overdose, and other significant complications. This is where you must reach out for professional assistance and let the experienced healthcare providers guide you better. 

We at the Drug Rehab Centers have experts that look after your needs from the beginning of your addiction recovery till the end of your healing. This also includes a proper plan of action, helpful resources, medical treatments, and more.

Contact us today and get started on your road to healing today!

Madison
Author: Madison

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