Nicotine Dependence2018-09-27T16:13:15+00:00

Nicotine Dependence

Nicotine Dependence

Nicotine Dependence

Nicotine dependence, also called tobacco dependence is an addiction to tobacco products caused by the drug nicotine. Nicotine dependence means you can’t stop using the substance, even though it’s causing you harm.Tobacco use can lead to tobacco/nicotine dependence and serious health problems. Research suggests that nicotine may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine, or alcohol. Tobacco/nicotine dependence is a condition that often requires repeated treatments, but there are helpful treatments and resources for quitting. Smokers can and do quit smoking. In fact, today there are more former smokers than current smokers.

Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that keeps you smoking. Nicotine is very addictive when delivered by inhaling tobacco smoke into the lungs, which quickly releases nicotine into the blood allowing it to get into the brain within seconds of taking a puff. In the brain nicotine increases the release of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which help regulate mood and behavior.

Dopamine, one of these neurotransmitters, is released in the “reward center” of the brain and causes improved mood and feelings of pleasure. Experiencing these effects from nicotine is what makes tobacco so addictive.

Symptoms of Nicotine Dependence:

For some people, using any amount of tobacco can quickly lead to nicotine dependence. Signs that you may be addicted include:
  • You can’t stop smoking. Making serious but unsuccessful attempts to stop
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop. Your attempts at stopping have caused physical and mood-related symptoms, such as strong cravings, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, frustration, anger, increased hunger, insomnia, constipation or diarrhea
  • You keep smoking despite health problems. When you are aware that you have developed health problems with your lungs or your heart, yet are unable to stop
  • You give up social or recreational activities in order to smoke. You may stop going to smoke-free restaurants or stop socializing with certain family members or friends because you can’t smoke in these locations or situations

To overcome your dependence on tobacco, you need to become aware of your triggers and develop a plan to deal with the behaviors and routines that you associate with smoking.

Nicotine dependence involves behavioral (routines, habits, feelings) as well as physical factors. These behavioral associations with smoking may act as triggers — situations or feelings that activate a craving for tobacco, even if you have not smoked for some time.

Behaviors and cues that you may associate with smoking include:

  • Certain times of the day, such as first thing in the morning, with morning coffee or during breaks at work
  • After a meal
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Certain places or friends
  • Talking on the phone
  • Stressful situations or when you’re feeling down
  • Sight or smell of a burning cigarette
  • Driving your car

How is Acute Stress Disorder Treated?

Your doctor may use one or more of the following methods to treat ASD:

  • A psychiatric evaluation to determine your specific needs
  • Hospitalization if you’re at risk of suicide or harming others
  • Assistance in obtaining shelter, food, clothing, and locating family, if necessary
  • Psychiatric education to teach you about your disorder
  • Medication to relieve symptoms of ASD, such as anti-anxiety medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and antidepressants
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which may increase recovery speed prevent ASD from turning into PTSD
  • Exposure-based therapies
  • Hypnotherapy

What is the Long-Term Outlook?

Many people with ASD are later diagnosed with PTSD. A diagnosis of PTSD is made if your symptoms persist for more than a month and cause a significant amount of stress and difficulty functioning.

Treatment may reduce your chances of developing PTSD. Approximately 50 percent of PTSD cases resolve within six months, whereas others may persist for years.

Symptoms of Nicotine Dependence:

For some people, using any amount of tobacco can quickly lead to nicotine dependence. Signs that you may be addicted include:
  • You can’t stop smoking. Making serious but unsuccessful attempts to stop
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop. Your attempts at stopping have caused physical and mood-related symptoms, such as strong cravings, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, frustration, anger, increased hunger, insomnia, constipation or diarrhea
  • You keep smoking despite health problems. When you are aware that you have developed health problems with your lungs or your heart, yet are unable to stop
  • You give up social or recreational activities in order to smoke. You may stop going to smoke-free restaurants or stop socializing with certain family members or friends because you can’t smoke in these locations or situations

To overcome your dependence on tobacco, you need to become aware of your triggers and develop a plan to deal with the behaviors and routines that you associate with smoking.

Nicotine dependence involves behavioral (routines, habits, feelings) as well as physical factors. These behavioral associations with smoking may act as triggers — situations or feelings that activate a craving for tobacco, even if you have not smoked for some time.

Behaviors and cues that you may associate with smoking include:

  • Certain times of the day, such as first thing in the morning, with morning coffee or during breaks at work
  • After a meal
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Certain places or friends
  • Talking on the phone
  • Stressful situations or when you’re feeling down
  • Sight or smell of a burning cigarette
  • Driving your car

How is Acute Stress Disorder Treated?

Your doctor may use one or more of the following methods to treat ASD:

  • A psychiatric evaluation to determine your specific needs
  • Hospitalization if you’re at risk of suicide or harming others
  • Assistance in obtaining shelter, food, clothing, and locating family, if necessary
  • Psychiatric education to teach you about your disorder
  • Medication to relieve symptoms of ASD, such as anti-anxiety medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and antidepressants
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which may increase recovery speed prevent ASD from turning into PTSD
  • Exposure-based therapies
  • Hypnotherapy

What is the Long-Term Outlook?

Many people with ASD are later diagnosed with PTSD. A diagnosis of PTSD is made if your symptoms persist for more than a month and cause a significant amount of stress and difficulty functioning.

Treatment may reduce your chances of developing PTSD. Approximately 50 percent of PTSD cases resolve within six months, whereas others may persist for years.