Nicotine Addiction and Stop Smoking
Nicotine addiction, for everyone who has ever tried to quit smoking, is one of the hardest things that they have ever had to overcome. Nicotine is every bit as addictive as alcohol or heroin. It meets both the physiological and psychological measures of addiction.
Neuroscientists call anything that turns on the reward pathways in the brain – addictive. This is because stimulating this neural circuitry makes you feel so good that you will keep doing the action over again and again to repeat the good feeling.
People who are addicted to something will continue to use it regardless of negative consequences. For example, some people will use an inhaler to open passages enough so they can have a cigarette.
The strength of the addiction to nicotine depends on:
- The type of the tobacco
- The amount of cigarettes smoked and
- Whether or not the smoke is inhaled.
Small doses of nicotine produce alertness, making cigarette smoke a stimulant. Larger doses act more like a sedative calming the smoker down when anxious. Both consequences are desirable so the result is that smoking becomes a habit.
How Nicotine Works in the Brain
Many drugs can’t penetrate the blood-brain barrier which is a system that selectively allows only certain molecules into the brain. But nicotine manages to indirectly defeat that protective mechanism. In fact, nicotine enters the brain within 8 seconds of inhaling partially due to some of the chemicals which cigarette manufacturers add to tobacco. One such chemical is ammonia which increases the speed at which nicotine reaches the brain. Tobacco industry chemists knew that nicotine makes a person feel a lot better if it was delivered quickly to the brain. This is another factor which also increases nicotine addiction. 100ml vape juice
When in the brain it:
- Increases the levels of endorphins (the “runners high” compounds)
- Affects the availability of dopamine which is responsible for the positive feelings associated with smoking. Signals are sent that say “smoking is pleasurable”. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t also send signals that inform the smoker that “smoking is also harmful”.)
- stimulates the adrenal glands causing the release of adrenaline which causes a spike in glucose levels. This results in an increase in respiration and heart – raising blood pressure which, within limits, is perceived as desirable.
Because the effects of nicotine last between forty minutes to a few hours, people must smoke throughout the day to maintain nicotine levels and thereby their feelings of either relaxation or stimulation. As with other drugs, smokers become tolerant to nicotine so more and more is needed to reach the same levels of relaxation or stimulation.
When someone tries to quit smoking, of course, the brain is no longer getting nicotine and therefore the pleasurable feelings cease causing the stress of nicotine withdrawal. The only way to get rid of all the symptoms is to either stick to it and overcome their nicotine addiction or return to smoking.
So when trying to quit, try to keep in mind that “long-term harmful” is much worse than “short-term pleasurable” and the health benefits that you will achieve by stopping is worth the effort. Also remember that there are many methods that can help you quit smoking, some without the use of drugs or chemicals.