A lot of us know from personal experience that smoking is very tough to kick. The fact is that nicotine is addictive. One simply can’t get rid of its dependence easily. In the past, it was thought that nicotine does not cause any harm to your body. So, using tobacco was only a bad habit, not an addiction. But, today, nicotine is admitted as the very addictive drug present in tobacco products. In this article, you will go through the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of nicotine dependence. But, before this let’s see what it is and what are its consequences on you and your loved ones?
Nicotine dependence (also known as tobacco addiction or smoking) influences all areas of your body. It may effects your heart to blood vessels, body hormones to metabolism, and even your brain too. When you don’t have this mess anymore, you go towards withdrawal. Because nicotine levels in your brain drop, so you feel the physical craving and become ill-tempered if you can’t have it. Thus, long-lasting changes in the brain result in nicotine dependence. Furthermore, efforts to stop nicotine cause withdrawal that is comforted with tobacco use.
Nicotine dependence is the leading cause of avertable deaths. Smoker dies 10-years before than nonsmoker. Infect, nicotine releases a chemical (dopamine) in your brain like other addictive drugs. It triggers mood altering changes that make you feel good for the time being. As inhaled, smoke carries nicotine to your brain within 20-seconds, so it makes you very addictive alike to alcohol and cocaine. You go dependent on it and escape from that becomes difficult.
Smoking affects your life
There are approximately 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes. Out of which about hundreds are toxic. These toxic chemicals keep your organs and immune system away from best working, usually, they can. Cigarettes and other tobacco products contain nicotine that increases your heartbeat and blood pressure. It may also cause vomiting, dizziness, and stomach ache.
Smoking affects others life too
Smoking during pregnancy causes a higher risk of premature birth, underweight birth, and sudden infant death syndrome. Moreover, children in secondhand smoke have more chances of asthma, ear infection, and lung infection. Secondhand smoke may also cause heart problems, stroke, and lung cancer in adults.
Effects of smoking reside in surroundings even after it is stopped (third-hand smoke). The ash falls on nearby surfaces and is particularly harmful to children.
Risk factors of nicotine dependence
Nicotine harms almost every organ of your body. As mentioned earlier, smokers are at higher risk of stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer. Besides this, it can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body.
Symptoms of nicotine dependence
Using any form of tobacco can speedily cause nicotine dependence. Signs of addiction may include that you:
- Can’t stop yourself from smoking.
- Experience withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, restlessness, depression, anger, diarrhea, craving, and an increase in appetite. Nicotine contains 2 chemicals; serotonin and dopamine that reduce your hunger. Therefore, when you are trying to get rid of it, you want to eat more.
- Carry on smoking regardless of health problems like heart or respiratory issues.
- Stop going to smoke prohibited areas or giving up fun time with family or friends just because you can’t smoke there.
Besides these symptoms cough, fatigue, mental fog, and constipation are also signs of nicotine dependence. These signs appear when you try withdrawal of nicotine.
Causes of nicotine dependence
If you smoke or use other forms of tobacco you are at risk of nicotine addiction. Some causes of nicotine dependence are:
- Inherited: Genetics may determine the response of receptors in your brain on taking a high dose of nicotine.
- Family and friends: Parents, who smoke in front of their children; chances of taking up smoking are higher for their kids. Similarly, if someone’s friends do smoking chances are more to get addicted to nicotine.
- Age factor: When you start using tobacco at a younger age, then there is a greater risk of nicotine addiction. It is often seen that at young age smoking is started just for the thrill and then this thrill moves forwards to nicotine dependence.
- Mental health Issues: People having mental disorders, such as depression, nervousness, and schizophrenia are mostly get the addiction to nicotine.
- Substance use: People who use alcohol, cocaine, and other recreational drugs are at higher risk of tobacco use.
So, after getting enough information about the causes and symptoms of nicotine dependence, it’s time to learn about diagnosis.
Diagnosis of nicotine dependence
There is no current addiction test for the diagnosis of nicotine dependence. A health professional may help you to determine the degree of dependence by asking relatable questions. However, a diagnosis of nicotine dependence will usually come up once you seek medical assistance for this disorder. As a result, you will seek treatment for certain conditions.
While medications may help to cope with certain physical disorders, behavioral therapy may help you with smoke-free life on a long-term basis. Nicotine treatment counselors are available for assistance in stopping this type of dependence. It is seen that those persons who acquire a combination of medication and behavioral analysis show better success rates.
Treatment of nicotine dependence
As for as treatment for nicotine dependence is concerned, like most smokers, you’ve taken at least one serious attempt to end smoking. As said before, it’s rare to impede smoking on your first try. So, don’t lose heart, and just keep on trying. In this regard, you’re much more likely succeeded to stop smoking if you receive both medications and counseling, which are effective, especially in combination.
It is challenging to deal with the physical part of the dependence. Therefore, you must carry on a change into your behavior and routine. Furthermore, many treatment choices are available for nicotine dependence. They may include medication, therapy, support groups, and also some home remedies. Let’s have a look at it.
Some medications work to minimize smoking cravings. One option is nicotine replacement therapy that provides nicotine while excluding the other chemicals found in tobacco. It treats through patches, gums, lozenges, or inhalers. These methods help you with tobacco cessation slowly and systematically.
Non-nicotine options consist of antidepressants like Varenicline, Bupropion, and Cytisine, etc. These medicines increase dopamine production in your mind to recover your mood.
Support groups (counseling)
Support groups can edify you in coping skills. They may assist you to work through your addiction. They may also offer you the association of other persons facing the same challenges. Counseling treatments for nicotine dependence could be:
- Individual face-to-face counseling
- Group face-to-face counseling
- Telephone quit helpline counseling
- Virtual assistance counseling
Treatment for addiction focuses primarily on medication and behavioral counseling to learn coping skills. You may try these options along with conventional treatment to make your transition easier:
- Regular exercise.
- Keep busy your mouth and hands and take healthy meals.
- Through all tobacco products from your surroundings.
- Avoid events that may trigger a setback such as a smoker’s company.
- Use the hypnosis method (A state in which you are more able to concentrate.)
- Try acupuncture (Traditional Chinese treatment in which thin needles are inserted into the body.)
- Take herbs
- Apply essential oils
However, the safety and efficacy of each option may vary from person to person. You can try these home care methods but if one doesn’t help you then you may move for others.
When to see a doctor
If you have decided to leave the smoking, then it’s time to see a doctor for assistance and treatment. But, remember that you’re not alone, if you’ve tried to stop this habit but couldn’t succeed to stop. Most people do many attempts to stop smoking before they attain a stable, long-term nicotine-free life.
For this, you should follow a road map that guides for both the physical and the behavioral treatment of nicotine dependence. Visiting a doctor and nicotine treatment counselor will help you stop smoking.
Effects to quit smoking:
Why do I quit smoking? This question often arises in your mind. When you succeed to get rid of nicotine dependence; your body sets up to heal itself. The benefits of smoking cessation are:
- Your blood pressure and body temperature return to normal.
- The oxygen level gets normal.
- Nerve endings begin to re-grow.
- The ability to taste and smell gets better.
- Blood flow gets healthier.
- Lungs start working properly and begin cleaning themselves.
- Coughing, tiredness, and shortness of breath reduce.
- The energy level starts boosting.
- Heart disease, lung cancer, risk of stroke goes down and after a long period of quitting, it reaches the level of non-smokers
In this article, we intricate the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, risk factors, and treatment of nicotine dependence. The outlook of critique is that smoking affects you and your family too. You are at higher risk of blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and every type of cancer especially lung cancer. It’s not easy to say no to smoking. Therefore, self-motivation is a vital step towards quitting nicotine. Moreover, once you seek medical assistance try to carry on medication along with nicotine treatment counseling and home care strategies. When you succeeded to stop smoking your body will return to enjoy a healthy life.
Furthermore, keep it in mind that if you could not defeat this disorder in your first attempt. Don’t lose heart and don’t give up. Just keep on trying along with the help of your doctor and health counselor. In the end, success will be yours.