The first step towards nicotine de-addiction is understanding what makes the chemical addictive in the first place. There is a lot more than habitual development to nicotine dependency, making it difficult to quit. Tobacco causes the highest preventable causes of death and disease in Australia. The latest data obtained from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) estimated that 11.6% of adults smoked every day in 2019. Due to the successful public health strategies and online nicotine prescription from Smokefree Clinic, there is a significant decline in the daily smoking proportions in Australia. Despite these changes, the harm from smoking cigarettes continues to affect current smokers, ex-smokers, and non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoking.
Addictive Nature of Cigarettes and Tobacco
Nicotine is the drug that causes dependence on tobacco in people. It is one of the most common forms of chemical dependencies in the nation that is on par with cocaine, alcohol and heroin. People are addicted to different combinations and variations of the stimulant present in cigarettes, making them crave more. When a person initially smokes, they might experience headaches, stomach ache, nausea or dizziness. But in time, smoking can become more of a habit if they build enough tolerance towards its effects. Routine smoking causes one’s body to adapt to its effects and would require a higher level of nicotine to get the same effect. And as the body builds more tolerance to the cigarette’s negative effects, people focus more on the positive experiences of smoking. But many people don’t realise is that the pleasure they experience is the body’s reaction to nicotine, which disrupts its natural balance.
The Role of Neurology in Nicotine Addiction
Until recently, smoking was considered to be an issue of habitual behaviour. But recent MRI scans and neurobiological studies show that addiction is a neurological disorder. It develops due to an imbalance in the brain’s reward system or the mesolimbic dopamine system. Addictive chemicals like nicotine stimulate these pleasure centres of the brain upon use and trick the brain into thinking that something great has happened and it must happen again. This experience of pleasure is what compels a smoker to indulge in the habit again. Over time, this stimulation causes relatively permanent neural changes where the reward system requires a higher dose of stimulant to experience pleasure.
The nicotine that enters the system through cigarettes or nicotine patches releases specific hormones or neurotransmitters that affect different parts of the body and the brain. Dopamine and epinephrine or adrenaline are the most common neurotransmitters that release due to smoking. They stimulate the body, causing increased heart rate, blood pressure, relaxed mind and muscles. Addiction is now diagnosed as a chronic neurological disorder, and hence medical professionals have developed treatments to help people keep it under check. Nicotine replacement therapy and online nicotine prescription from Smokefree clinic are some of the most popular treatments recommended by professionals to reduce dependency.
Psychological Effects that Encourage Dependency
When the smoking habit is established through higher tolerance and stronger neural connections, people feel the need to smoke regularly to feel ‘normal’ and experience their feelings and surroundings. Those who are dependant on nicotine might feel that they cannot complete their everyday tasks without having a smoke. They then start developing connections between their smoking routines and daily activities and inadvertently create triggers that stimulate their need for nicotine. An example is to have a cigarette with a cup of coffee every morning or taking a smoke break to socialise. These habits and effects are usually unconscious, and they experience feelings of relaxation, focus and stress reduction when they indulge in them, resulting in automatic dependency.
Author Name:Alison Lurie