Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical found in tobacco products such as cigarettes. One of the most common effects of smoking is the “buzz” which is caused by the neurotransmitter adrenaline being released due to nicotine stimulating your nervous system.
Nicotine is one of the most addictive stimulants in the world and can be difficult, though not impossible to quit. Here’s how nicotine addiction works.
The effects of nicotine on your body and mind
Nicotine affects users both physically and psychologically.
While many people find that smoking makes them feel nauseous or lightheaded when they first smoke, the body quickly becomes used to the effect of nicotine. It enters the bloodstream and causes the release of various hormones and neurotransmitters which change the way you feel, including the “happy” hormone, dopamine.
As smoking becomes a habit, you start to associate it with your daily activities and routine. For example, if you often smoke while drinking your morning coffee, this will become a “trigger” making it hard to get through this part of your day without a cigarette.
Your body and mind both become dependent on nicotine, and ceasing to smoke can cause withdrawal symptoms.
How do you know if you have a nicotine addiction?
As with many addictive substances, the more nicotine you are used to, the more you need to feel its effects due to the body’s adaptation.
Smoking can cause many health issues including various cancers, lung disease, heart disease, gum disease and more. However, nicotine addiction means that despite knowing the risks associated with smoking, you are unable to quit.
You are most likely addicted to nicotine if you have unsuccessfully attempted to quit before, you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop smoking for a period of time and you avoid situations where you are not allowed to smoke.
What are the withdrawal symptoms of quitting nicotine?
The symptoms of giving up nicotine are what make it so difficult to quit.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be both physical and psychological and include:
- Low mood
- Increased appetite/weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
If you are struggling to quit smoking, it’s recommended that you visit your GP to help you come up with a plan to help you quit for good. This may involve the use of a combination of Nicotine Replacement Therapy and behavioural support.