Nicotine Addiction – An Overview
With every news report there is something about the harms of nicotine and how cigarettes are the new killer. Most offices, businesses and even restaurants have begun banning the use of cigarettes in and around their buildings. Some entire cities have ban smoking all together not only because the personal harms, but environmental as well. Those that suffer from nicotine addiction have trouble quitting with this being one of the toughest addictions to quit. The difficult feat of laying cigarettes or other nicotine products down is often discounted by others making the journey even more trying. Read on for more information about nicotine and what one, who is addicted, might expect or experience.
It Is Just A Cigarette Or Chew, What’s The Big Deal
The problem with the fact that it is just a cigarette or chew is that it contains a deadly ingredient. Nicotine is derived from the leaves of the tobacco plant, but it is actually very poisonous. Small drops of undiluted nicotine can kill a person much faster than arsenic or strychnine ever thought about. Another part of the chemical makeup of nicotine is that it takes only seconds to cross into the brain and alter hundreds of neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain). This leaves the smoker or dipper with an increased sense of peace or ‘awhhh’, with the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that has been found to increase mood and control emotions within humans. So, products containing nicotine, being highly addictive, change the chemical makeup of the brain, therefore leaving the individual with a quick addiction that is very hard to quit.
What Happens When A Nicotine Addict Tries To Quit
Of the millions that smoke most express the desire to quit or reduce the amount of nicotine laced products that they ingest. However, only 6% of them are successful, through any cessation method that they choose. This is because within a few hours of the last signs of nicotine the body begins waging a war on the well intended victim. Symptoms are both physical and mental and are comparable to light withdrawals of their more illegal counterparts. Symptoms can include anxiety, cognitive deficiencies (can’t think straight), changes in mood, increased appetite and cravings. Because these symptoms overwhelm most people and can last for up to two hours, the addict gives in. This is not an easy feat, just look at the statistics, only 6% successfully quit!
The Habit In Nicotine Addiction
Many people from professionals on down to the average citizen commonly refer to smoking and chewing tobacco as a habit. While the rituals associated with nicotine use may well be a habit, the addiction is far more than that. The only habits with smoking or dipping is the behaviors leading up to ingesting, lighting, purchasing, holding…get the point? When cravings are a part of the equation and the individual experiences any type of craving or discomfort while longing for the next nicotine fix, they are addicted. And, while there are no hard or fast rules as far as time lines, most people become addicted to nicotine products within a few months, not years like some claim.
Harms Of Nicotine
The harms of nicotine are quite lengthy, however here we will highlight the most common. These are the most commonly associated diseases of nicotine usage:
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Trouble with the throat, esophagus, tongue, mouth
• Increased risk of breathing diseases, COPD
Can Addicts Quit?
If the person’s heart is beating and they are breathing air on their own, they can give up nicotine. It takes education, support and a few days to rid of the changes that the nicotine has made within the brain, but it is possible. In fact, nicotine has left the bloodstream within 72 hours of the last ingestion. Withdrawals may be harsh for the first two to three days, but after that point the blood has returned and the body slows the desire for nicotine greatly. This is not to say that some will not experience the urge or craving because that can drag on for weeks, however with each day it diminishes. In order to quit, most people need an intervention. Either a family member or other loved one to stand by their side, supporting their desire to quit. There are many treatment options that individuals can try to help ease the cravings and withdrawals during this initial period. However, research has show that the most effective way to end nicotine addiction is to make a commitment within that it is a thing of the past and off limits.