Nicotine is a stimulant that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants. Addiction to this stimulant is called “nicotine addiction.” Nicotine is also found in tobacco plant. Smoking is the most common form of nicotine consumption and cigarettes, pipes, and cigars are some ways to inhale nicotine through smoking. Other than smoking, people also consume tobacco products that can be chewed, placed inside the mouth, or snorted and this way of nicotine consumption is even more dangerous. Nicotine was also used as an insecticide in the early twentieth century and during this usage, several cases of nicotine poisoning were recorded. If nicotine is somehow ingested, the small intestine quickly absorbs it and symptoms are visible within minutes to four hours of consumption. Severe exposure might result in death also. The addiction to nicotine can be physical, mental, or even behavioural. Physical addiction means the users crave the chemical. Mental addiction implies that users consciously crave the effects of nicotine. Behavioural addiction implies that users accustom themselves to take it in certain situations or times, such as after meals or when under stress. For these users, consuming nicotine is related to the action of eating meals and thus becomes a part of their daily activities. Addiction to nicotine generally means addiction to tobacco products which produce tars and carcinogens in smoke and thus become even more dangerous.
Nicotine is very addictive in nature, even infrequent use results in addiction. Nicotine is classified as a stimulant as it stimulates body systems, which might sound a good thing, but it does more harm to the body than it benefits. Everyone knows this but, so many people are addicted to nicotine, irrespective of literacy. What is the cause of the addiction? When nicotine reaches the brain, it increases the release of neurotransmitters, which regulate mood and behaviour. One of such neurotransmitter is 'Dopamine”, which is also called 'reward centre' of the brain. Dopamine causes improved mood and feelings of pleasure. Nicotine increases the levels of beta-endorphin, which reduces anxiety.These effects are the main reason that people get addicted to nicotine and thus tobacco products. Consumption might simply start as a thrilling experience with friends for young people, but it is very easy to get addicted.
There are medications that can help in quitting smoking or at least in lessening the cravings. Nicotine replacement therapy via patches, gums or inhalers is also another option, which help to defeat the addiction in a slow and methodical manner. People get addicted to nicotine because of dopamine, so taking antidepressants also help as they increase dopamine production. They should be taken strictly as per doctor’s prescription only. When a person is trying to quit, there are some coping skills which aid in the process. These include regular exercise, choosing snacks that keeps both mouth and hands busy, choosing healthy meals, removing all tobacco products from vicinity, avoiding situations that might trigger a relapse. Setting realistic goals and rewarding oneself also helps. Another way of overcoming the addiction is with the help of support groups. Support groups have people facing the same challenges and they will be helpful in teaching coping skills and keeping the person motivated. Other solutions like hypnosis, acupuncture, herbs, essential oils are also available, but it is important to study the safety and efficacy of each option before trying.
The best way to prevent the addiction is to avoid nicotine consumption, that implies avoiding tobacco products. Making the children aware of the harmful effects of tobacco in schools is really very important. Efforts should be made in the initial stages or when the dependence is low to stop the consumption, so that the dependence doesn’t become high. Most people become addicted even without realizing it. Everyone should be aware of the pattern of transitions from initial to higher stages, so that they can take help in the initial stages only.
Addicted users who are trying to overcome the addiction experience withdrawal effects. These include intense cravings for nicotine, tingling in the hands and feet, sweating, nausea, cramping, headaches, sore throat and coughing, difficulty in concentrating, depression, weight gain, irritability, anxiety, and fatigue. These symptoms peak during the first week but each passing day will get easier. In most cases, the symptoms go away in two weeks’ time, but some people might experience the withdrawal effect for months. One should be alert to sudden cravings, which are common even after the symptoms subside. Having strong willpower and discipline helps in such times.
Smoking is a habit that can easily become an addiction. There are two aspects to this; the physical addiction of holding a cigarette in your hands and the addiction to nicotine. Most people believe that by substituting cigarettes for other forms of nicotine, such as chewing tobacco or snuff, one may wean oneself off cigarettes. However, this is not always the case. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances. It is a colourless, natural liquid that turns brown when burnt. When exposed to air, it emits the odor of tobacco.
Nicotine enters the body through the mucosal lining of the nose and mouth or the skin. Depending on how it is consumed, either in the form of cigarettes or by chewing tobacco, it travels through the blood stream, accumulating in the blood and brain. When smoking, nicotine can reach the brain within 10 seconds of being inhaled. On the other hand, when smoked through a pipe, nicotine is absorbed at a much slower rate. This is because it enters the body through the mouth and not the nose.
By sharing the ill effects of nicotine with a perosn who is addicted to it, will not inspire him or her give up the habit. The easy availability of nicotine products such as cigarettes and tobacco does not help either. Thankfully, there are a number of psychiatric treatments that can be used to treat nicotine dependence. These include counselling, medication, group therapy, hypnosis and behavioral training. The aim here is to make the person feel more confident of his own ability to stay away from nicotine. In addition to this, the support of his family and friends is crucial.
Nicotine replacement therapy may also be used. In this case, instead of smoking a cigarette, the person may be given gums to chew on or a patch that delivers a slow dose of nicotine to the body. The dosage here depends on the amount the person smokes and reduces with time. This can help the person wean off nicotine. However, it is important to undergo this treatment under a doctor’s advice as people may get addicted to this form of nicotine as well.
When it comes to nicotine dependence, some people may require therapy for 6 months while others need therapy for longer. Relapse is common and hence provisions need to be made for an efficient support system and a mode to measure progress.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Addiction can be considered as a behavioural change where a craving for something specific intensifies to such an extent that the consequences are ignored. Addiction controls the brain by diverting it in such a way that it registers only pleasure and does not give any importance to other standard drives like motivation and learning. In general, breaking up an addiction is difficult, but it is not impossible and with strong determination, addiction can be broken.
Effects of Addiction
In general, people are subjected to addiction will not have self-control over what they do. If addiction is not treated or diagnosed on time, it may reach harmful proportions. Addiction is not only related to consumption of alcohol and drugs. It may include other habits too, that cannot be controlled. Sometimes even having a particular craving for a fruit or a vegetable can be termed as an addiction. Among other things, the most harmful can be the usage of drugs, sexual pleasures and other effects that over a period of time can become uncontrollable.
How a person can get addicted?
A human brain registers all types of pleasures in the same way they register a joy from a psychoactive drug, sexual encounter, monetary rewards or a satisfying meal. When any of these things happen, the human brain releases a neurotransmitter dopamine in the nerve cells. If these habits become regular, the enzymes will be released in high quantities leading to the addiction problem.
Drugs usage leads to addiction within a short period of time. Consumption of almost all types of drugs, starting from nicotine to heroin leads to a powerful surge of dopamine in the nucleus accumbency leading to high addiction. Addiction is not exactly a disease, but it is a condition that can occur at any age. It is likely to occur more during the young age where the required maturity is yet to be gained. So it is advisable to be careful during your adolescent period as this is the time when you are more vulnerable.
Various medical tests can diagnose addiction. People subjected to addiction can be treated easily by proper medications and therapies. If addiction is in the initial stage, it can be quickly addressed by counselling process, and if it is severe, then the counselling sessions along with certain medications are needed to curb the addiction habit. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a psychiatrist.
Addiction is one of the most common mental health problems faced by people around the globe. This could be an addition to alcohol, nicotine or drugs. Addition usually begins in a person’s teenage years and if left untreated, may continue into adulthood. As with other health issues, addiction worsens with time and the later it is diagnosed, the harder it is to treat.
An addiction to alcohol is termed as alcoholism. In some cases, it can make the person drink heavily on a day to day basis. In others, it may cause binge drinking at regular intervals. In either case, the person cannot stay off alcohol for extended periods of time. Alcohol addiction is hard to recognize given the social acceptability of having a drink. If left untreated, this condition can be fatal and cause ulcers, bone loss, liver disease, an increased risk of cancer and suppressed immunity.
Like alcohol addiction, nicotine addiction is hard to spot given that people smoke openly. However, when a person cannot stop smoking even though he or she is aware of its ill effects, treatment needs to be sought. Nicotine dependence affects mood swings and has a physical effect on the body as well. It can cause anxiety, restlessness, frustration, loss of appetite, insomnia, constipation as well as heart disease and lung disease. It can also increase the person’s risk of suffering from cancer, infertility and respiratory infections.
This is the most serious of the three. Drugs can take many forms. Some are smoked while others are chewed or injected into the body. It is a misconception that drugs are common only amongst the lower rungs of society. Drug addiction can cause mood swings, social withdrawal, memory loss, shortened attention span, poor judgment and other such changes in behavior.
All forms of addiction can be prevented and treated. Thus, it is important to not ignore early signs of addiction and speak to the person concerned or his or her caregiver. In some cases, treatment can take the form of outpatient therapy while in others; the patient may need to stay in a treatment facility for a specific duration of time. Even after treatment, relapses are possible. Hence, the patient needs support from this family and friends. It is also important for the patient to continue therapy in some form or the other even after coming out of the treatment facility.
Every packet of cigarette comes with the sign "Smoking is injurious to health." With every national budget plan, the prices of nicotine based addictives are hiked. Yet, you cannot quit smoking because you find it extremely difficult to resist the nicotine urge. Ayurveda says that the root cause of addiction is mental stress due to one of the 3 Doshas or forces-Vata, Pitta, Kapha. People try to terminate them through temporary, addictive methods rather than a bit more natural, holistic methods.
Here's how it can be easier for you to quit smoking by adopting Ayurvedic remedies :
* Ayurvedic remedies
- Drink adequate amount of water, especially from a copper vessel. This helps to accumulate the wastes and release them.
- Perform the NitiKriya (inhaling saline water through one nostril and releasing it through the other, and then reversing the procedure).
- Performing the Bhastrika Pranayama twice every day, both in the morning and at night.
- Consume 3 tablets or one teaspoon of triphala everyday before going to bed, to eliminate the deposited nicotine tar in your system.
- Consumption of a measured mixture of ashwagandha, bala, shatavari and ginseng every day, or a chawanprash containing these help in detoxification.
* Changes in diet
- Avoid consumption of alcohol and other addictive drugs, coffee, sugar, etc because they increase the urges to smoke.
- Decrease intake of fatty foods because your metabolism rate is lower than at most other times, so you might risk gaining weight during this period.
- Try a vegetarian diet because it increases the Sattvik quality of your mind. Every fresh food item contains prana or life which rejuvenates both your body and mind.
- Chew anti-nicotine gums or suck on cinnamon sticks which curb your urge to smoke.
- Keep eating low-calorie food items like carrots, apples or celery.
* Regular exercise
- Incorporating regular exercise in your routine may help you to quit smoking more easily. It controls weight gain which is a side-effect of quitting, and also offers you a fitter lifestyle.
- Meditating and doing yoga regularly helps in relaxing your mind. Yogic postures like Sabasan help attain internal peace and divert your mind from craving to smoke.
Besides these techniques, there are various other ways like taking help from a professional ayurvedi ccounselor which will help you quit smoking, or socializing with friends or spending quality time with your family which will keep your mind diverted from the stress of quitting.
Nicotine addiction or tobacco addiction refers to an acute dependence upon tobacco products primarily due to the presence of the nicotine drug. In other words, nicotine addiction refers to an inability to stop using tobacco products despite the knowledge and awareness that it is harmful to you. While nicotine only induces addiction, it is the presence of other substances in tobacco which makes it damaging and injurious to health.
Nicotine has the tendency to produce effects in the brain, both physical as well as mind-altering, that give temporary satisfaction. This is precisely why people get hooked into the habit of tobacco consumption which eventually leads to addiction.
Unfortunately, stopping tobacco use immediately can also lead to several withdrawal symptoms, like agitation and restlessness.
The main reason why tobacco is so addictive is due to the fact that nicotine releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the reward centre; of the brain, which in turn improves your mood and gives you temporary pleasure.
Causes of nicotine addiction can either be physical or behavioral, for instance situations or feelings which make you crave for tobacco. These include:
1. Specific times during the day, say after every meal or during breaks at work
2. While defecating
3. While drinking alcohol
4. Stressful or depressive situations
5. At the sight or smell of a burning cigarette
6. Peer pressure
7. While driving
Symptoms of nicotine addiction include:
1. You are unable to quit smoking despite frequent attempts.
2. You experience withdrawal symptoms after attempting to quit.
3. You continue to smoke despite the awareness that it is injurious to your health.
4. You forego social as well as recreational activities because of your need to smoke.