What Is Nicotine Dependence?
Nicotine dependence is an addiction to tobacco products caused by one of its ingredients – the drug nicotine. It is the second-leading cause of death worldwide.
Those addicted to nicotine have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which temporarily go away when they receive the nicotine through smoking tobacco.
Experts dub nicotine to be one of the hardest of all addictions to break.
While it’s the nicotine in tobacco that causes nicotine dependence, the toxic effects of tobacco result from other substances in tobacco.
Smokers have much higher rates of heart disease, stroke and cancer compared to nonsmokers.
The following withdrawal symptoms are exhibited by those who quit tobacco products:
- A drop in mood (depressed mood)
- Greater appetite
- Heart rate (pulse) slows down
- Light headedness
- Problems focusing
- Tetchiness, sometimes even hostility.
Causes Of Nicotine Dependence:
Nicotine triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which gives people a pleasant feeling.
Obtaining that dopamine rush is said to be a major part of the addiction process – smokers crave that neurotransmitter (especially dopamine) rush.
Some time after the consumption of the last tobacco product, the levels of these hormones drops, leaving the smoker feeling anxious and possibly irritable, and in need of nicotine boost.
Behaviors and cues that you may associate with smoking include:
- Certain times of the day, such as first thing in the morning, with morning coffee or during breaks at work
- After a meal
- Drinking alcohol
- Certain places or friends
- Talking on the phone
- Stressful situations or when one is feeling down
- Sight or smell of a burning cigarette
- Whilst driving a car
The Following Factors Increase The Risk Of Developing Nicotine Dependence:
- Parents who smoke
Children whose parents both smoke are twice as likely to become smokers themselves, compared to children of nonsmoker parents
- Friends who smoke
Peer pressure leads to higher chances of smoking
Geneticists believe that the reason some people try cigarettes and do not become smokers, while others do so very quickly is probably linked to the type of genes we inherit from our parents.
- Mental illness
- Alcohol and substance abuse
Symptoms Of Nicotine Dependence:
Signs and symptoms of nicotine dependence may include:
- Inability to stop smoking
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when one tries to quit
- Continuation of smoking despite health problems.
- Giving up social or recreational activities in order to smoke.
Diagnosis Of Nicotine Dependence:
There is no current diagnostic test, such as a blood test or imaging scan which can determine whether somebody is addicted to nicotine, and to what degree.
Nicotine dependence can be diagnosed via a thorough medical history where the doctor inquires about the daily intake of cigarettes or other tobacco products.
Treatment Of Nicotine Dependence:
The following treatment options are available:
- Nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine nasal spray
Varenicline (Chantix/Champix) – this drug interferes with the brain nicotine receptors, resulting in less pleasure from smoking
Antidepressants – bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban) raise levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, as does nicotine
- Behavioral counseling
By : Natural Health News