Nicotine dependence is when somebody continuously craves nicotine and never stop using the substance.
Nicotine is contained in tobacco and make it difficult for the addict to stop taking tobacco. Nicotine triggers feelings of pleasure in the brain, this is why people are addicted to it. The more people smoke, the more nicotine they need to make them happy.
Symptoms of nicotine dependence
Nicotine dependence is a condition whereby you cannot stop smoking tobacco and its related substance. The following are signs that the person may be addicted. They are:
They are unable to quit smoking: You tried your best to stop smoking but you couldn’t.
You get withdrawal symptoms each time you stop smoking: You tried to stop but it led to mood and physical-related symptoms like anxiety, strong cravings, irritability, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, depressed mood, anger, frustration, insomnia, increased hunger, insomnia, diarrhoea or constipation.
You smoke despite your health problems: You are unable to quit smoking despite having health-related problems affecting your heart or lungs.
You stop participating in social activities: You will find out that you will stop taking part in social activities like visiting friends or family or going to public smoke-free facilities because you are not allowed to smoke in these places/conditions.
Causes of nicotine dependence
Tobacco contains a strong chemical known as nicotine. This is the chemical that makes people addicted to the product. Within a short time of taking a puff (seconds), nicotine gets to the brain. Within the brain, nicotine triggers the release of chemicals in the brain which are known as neurotransmitters. This helps to regulate behaviour and mood.
Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that are released in the brain. This is released in the brain’s reward centre and causes pleasurable feelings. It is also used to improve mood.
It has been established that the more people smoke, the more nicotine they need to recreate that pleasurable experience. Because of this, these sorts of people depend on nicotine daily. This way, it becomes a part of their day-to-day routine. It then gets intertwined with their feelings and habits. This way, they become susceptible to smoking all the time. They become prone to common smoking triggers. These includes:
• Taking breaks or drinking coffee at work.
• When making a phone call.
• Drinking alcohol.
• When with friends
• When driving
For people to become aware of what triggers their nicotine addiction, they have to become familiar with their triggers. After which they will have to plan and strategize on how to deal with them.
Nicotine dependence: Possible risk factors
People who indiscriminately use or smoke any form of tobacco, risk becoming dependent. Various factors influence the use of tobacco. They are:
Age: A lot of people start smoking from their teenage or childhood years. Younger people who start smoking have a higher chance of becoming addicted compared to older people.
Genetics: Genetics play an important role to determine the possibility of a person starting smoking and keeping the habit.
Peers and parents: Children with parents that take to smoking have more probability to become smokers themselves. Children who have friends who smoke have a higher probability of becoming smokers themselves.
People with depression or suffering from other mental conditions: Numerous studies have been able to establish the relationship between smoking and depression. People suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, schizophrenia, depression, or any other type of mental ailment, have a higher likelihood of becoming smokers.
People with substance abuse addiction: People who abuse illegal drugs and alcohol have a higher chance of becoming smokers.
Complications from smoking tobacco
The smoke from tobacco is known to contain 60 known chemicals that are carcinogenic. It is also known to contain thousands of dangerous substances. All herbal or natural cigarettes have dangerous chemicals. In summary, smoking causes the following conditions:
• Lung cancer and disease of the lungs
• Many other cancers
• Circulatory and heart system problems
• Eye problems
• Impotence and infertility
• Pregnancy complications
• Flu, cold, and many other illnesses
• Gum and tooth disease.