12 Nov Crucial Connections: Tobacco and the Development of Addiction
Tobacco smoking is a widely abused substance in this world. Smoking gives people a sense of relaxation and that’s the reason so many people crave it.
Smoking gives people a high and an escape from crappy situations and life. Do you think you’re smoking more than three cigarettes a day?
Do you need a cigarette as soon as you wake up?
Do you feel like you need to smoke every half an hour? If yes, you might be addicted to tobacco and should get yourself checked at the best de addiction center in Patna, Dr. Vivek Pratap Singh.
What is nicotine?
Nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco that’s the reason behind people’s craving. There’s an experience of adrenaline rush when inhaled via tobacco smoke.
Along with that, it also causes release of dopamine known as the ‘happy’ hormone. This activates the reward system in the brain causing people to become addicted to the feeling smoking gives. Due to this people wonder what type of drug is nicotine?
Nicotine gets quickly absorbed in the blood from lungs and then spreads throughout the body that causes harmful effects to the body. Taking nicotine helps a person distract from the things they don’t want to deal with.
Nicotine reaches the brain within a few seconds of taking a puff and helps people light up instantly.
Although, the effect wears off after a few minutes leaving the person irritated and upset. To chase away the feeling, they smoke again repeating the cycle.
As an individual keeps smoking everyday, gradually the level they need to achieve pleasure and relax increases. Soon, the body develops tolerance and the amount of tobacco they smoke increases. This causes addiction.
Where does nicotine come from?
Nicotine is an alkaloid found naturally in plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants. However, it is found highest in tobacco plants and used recreationally as a stimulant and anxiolytic.
It is even used in cessation of smoking and aid with withdrawal symptoms. When a person quits, and starts developing withdrawal symptoms, nicotine is used in the form of patch and gums.
Signs and symptoms
The nicotine addiction symptoms are difficult to hide from close friends and family because of the need to smoke again and again.
The craving for smoking gets so strong that if an individual doesn’t smoke they tend to get mood changes. This continuous need to smoke causes and addiction that can have following characteristics
- Attempts to quit smoking but cannot stop
- If you try to quit, you develop withdrawal symptoms like mood-related changes, anxiety, irritability, anger outbursts
- Sleep disturbances
- Changes in eating habits
- Changes in bowel movements
- Knowing and developing the harmful effects of smoking, you cannot stop yourself
- Interpersonal relationship issues
- Socially distant
What respiratory conditions does smoking cigarettes cause?
Tobacco smoking has innumerable cancer-containing chemicals with other harmful substances. It mostly affects the lungs causing severe respiratory conditions.
Smoking causes bronchitis and emphysema. It has also been known to make asthma symptoms worse. Chronic bronchitis is long term inflammation of bronchi causing cough with mucus production.
Emphysema is a condition that affects air sacs leading to symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. It can even cause serious symptoms such as weight loss, and depression.
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer with abnormal growth of cells. This abnormal growth can be called lumps, masses, or tumors.
They are typically present in the lining of bronchi, and other areas of the lungs. It causes symptoms like
- Weight loss
- Bloody sputum
- Pain in shoulders, and hands
Smoking increases vulnerability to lung cancer but it also increases risk of other cancers like cancers of nose, sinuses, throat, and other GI conditions.
Second hand smoking is just as dangerous in causing respiratory conditions in people who don’t even smoke. It can lead to lung conditions and heart diseases.
Children and infants exposed to this smoke can cause sudden infant death syndrome.
Why do people smoke when they know it’s bad for their health?
Smoking is an activity that leads to a lot of health problems and it’s long term can be fatal. However, addiction is a condition that people can’t control no matter how much they try to quit.
And, cutting back on smoking can lead to physical withdrawal symptoms.
Mentally, it affects the brain chemistry causing altered mood. An individual will go through a rollercoaster of emotions when they are trying to quit that it feels like an impending doom. They cannot control the cloud of gloom that surrounds them and they crave for tobacco like their life depends on it.
People who have abused tobacco regularly for a few weeks can experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms on quitting it.
They are not harmful, but quite intolerable. Some of the symptoms that smokers undergo are
- Frustration, and impatience
- Trouble concentrating
- Weight gain
- Cough, dry mouth, and sore throat
- Chest tightness
These are some of the nicotine effects that an individual has to go through.
The long-term effects of smoking can be seen on heart causing stroke, hypertension, and vascular diseases. Smoking slowly and gradually affects the whole body, draining the life out of it.
It can shorten your life significantly affecting your bodily functions. Smoker’s are at a great risk of developing coronary syndrome because of lowered oxygen to the heart.
It can even cause sexual dysfunction in a man like erectile dysfunction, and decreased libido.
How long does it take to get addicted to nicotine?
People who smoke occasionally when they are stressed or want to relax, don’t get addicted to nicotine easily. Smoking regularly, like four times a week that can gradually increase to everyday can get addicted to nicotine.
Depending on people’s use of the substance it can determine how long before they get addicted to it. For example, there’s no specific fixed time frame where it can be known exactly how many days, or month it takes to get addicted.
However, once a person starts smoking everyday, it can only take them around a few months to get addicted. If someone is smoking to avoid facing difficult situations in their life, they can become addicted easily.
They smoke to escape their feelings and slowly the habit becomes survival because of the reward system. That said, sometimes people don’t easily get addicted to nicotine.
They have questions as, why am I not addicted to nicotine? The answer is simple that some people inherit a cluster of genes on chromosome 15 that decrease the vulnerability to get addicted.
These people are lucky to have this gene who can smoke up a cloud and still not get addicted to nicotine.
Is tobacco addictive without nicotine?
There have been a lot of controversies and research stating that as nicotine is the addictive chemical, removing it might make tobacco less addictive. However, people smoke to get a high that can give them an escape from the normal routine.
If people smoke tobacco without nicotine, it might lead them to smoke more to achieve the pleasurable effect.
It will be just like cutting down on alcohol by switching from beer to wine, which can be healthy but if the same amount is being consumed, it doesn’t make a difference.
So, even without nicotine, people are still going to remain addicted to smoking.
Nicotine addiction treatments
Nicotine addiction can cause severe life threatening effects on the body.
Quitting it can be beneficial to you and even the people surrounded by you, because of the second hand smoke they are exposed to due to your smoking habits.
There are several different treatment options to deal with nicotine addiction such as
- Patch – it is a small bandage applied to the arm and is called nicotine replacement therapy. It releases low levels of nicotine to help the body fight off the craving.
- Gums – people who quit smoking have a habit of putting something in their mouth. With gums, they can keep chewing it and that releases small amounts of nicotine to deal with the craving.
- Sprays or inhalers – nicotine sprays or inhalers taken by mouth deliver low doses of nicotine without using tobacco.
There are medications available to aid with tobacco addiction. Varenicline, and bupropion are some of the medications prescribed by the physician that can help manage nicotine addiction.
These are a type of antidepressants that decrease the desire to smoke.
Along with all of these options, there are rehab centers and de addiction center in Patna, Dr. Vivek Pratap Singh that can deal with these addictions.
They have professionals who can help people with their withdrawal symptoms and detoxification process. With them, you can know you’re in safe hands.