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Overview

Nicotine Addiction - Treatment, Symptoms and Causes

What is Nicotine Addiction?

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.

Causes of Nicotine Addiction.

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.

What is the symptoms of Nicotine Addiction?

  • Needing more dose to experience the small initial feelings of high and pleasure and this means smoking more and more.
  • Inability to stop using tobacco products despite making efforts to decrease the intake or to stop the consumption.
  • A desire to keep smoking even when health complications arise.
  • Continuing to use of tobacco products even if it negatively impacts your life.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the user stops taking nicotine.
  • Postponing work or social events just to smoke.

Treatment of Nicotine Addiction.

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.

Prevention to avoid Nicotine Addiction.

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.

Withdrawal symptoms of Nicotine Addiction.

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.

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Popular Questions & Answers

Hello, This is regarding the situation which is facing by my mother in law since last 2.5 years. Some of the observation is as below - 1) Using the abusing language with both the daughter 2) Using the tobacco paste most of the time in day and night. 3) Not taking bath and cleanses in the home. 4) Talking alone and smiling alone. 5) Not having trust on any person even on her daughter. 6) Always taking the things negatively. 7) Not wearing the proper cloths. 8) Not have knowledge about her own condition and not taking the sleep and waking after 1 am and using the tobacco paste again and again. The situation which she has gone in last 5 years was - 1) she has lost her husband 5 years ago. 2) she has lost all the relation from her mother and father since last 4 years. 3) Family members (brothers and sister) are annoying her since last 3-4 years. 4) she has taken retirement from job (government teacher) since last 3 months and not taking interest in any activity socially or personally. Currently she is 53 years of age and living alone also not allowing her daughter to stay with her. So what kind of situation is this and what is the solution for this because she was also not ready to come for phycatrics treatment with doctor. Please help me out in above situation and let me know the possible solution for this condition. Thanks in advance.

Your Mother-in-law is extremely unwell and needs to seek immediate help from a mental health professional. She needs a psychiatric intervention ASAP and may need counselling or psychotherapy to help her understand the extent of her illness.
2 people found this helpful

I having habit of chewing tobacco, I try to quit but I am not able to do that. Due tobacco I have constipation .i am mentally disturb due tobacco.Please suggest me a better way for that.

Avoid situations that crave for tobacco chewing. Drink lots of juices when you need tobacco and consult psychologist for the same. He can help you.
1 person found this helpful

I am habituated to Tobacco Chewing and taking Gutka, Kindly advise me, I want to get rid of these habits, Please suggest me something for that.

Get higher taste by practising transcendental meditation, then automatically there will be no space for lower taste like tobacco or gutka.
2 people found this helpful

I have habit of using cool lip. But now the habit gives me side affect how can I stop It. I am willing to stop but I do not How can stop Please suggest me something?

Use a chewing gum and also start with librium tablet after clinical examination and stop using cool lip
1 person found this helpful
Content Details
Written By
PhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child Care
Pharmacology
Reviewed By
MA Applied Psychology
Psychology

Table of Content

What is Nicotine Addiction?
Causes of Nicotine Addiction.
What is the symptoms of Nicotine Addiction?
Treatment of Nicotine Addiction.
Prevention to avoid Nicotine Addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms of Nicotine Addiction.
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