Nicotine addiction is a type of drug addiction resulting from the use of tobacco in one form or another. By the strength of addiction, nicotine is on a level with alcohol, and surpasses almost all known drugs, including LSD, cocaine and heroin. The addiction rate to nicotine is almost on par with heroin, but superior to all other drugs, with the exception of some methamphetamines. After 3 – 4 doses, addiction to nicotine occurs, and with a new dose, the strength of dependence increases. Nicotine addiction is considered one of the most severe forms of drug addiction. The effect of nicotine on physiology is destructive and practically never goes unnoticed.
Effects of nicotine
- Disease of the cardiovascular system
- Damage to the respiratory system
- Damage to the central nervous system
- Weakening of the bioelectric activity of brain cells
Smokers very often claim that they are not addicted to tobacco. According to them, with one desire, they can stop the smoking process once and for all. Unfortunately, practice shows a completely different result. Moreover, it has long been proven that there is both physical and psychological dependence on nicotine.
Physical addiction to nicotine
When it comes to physical addiction, it is understood that the physiology of a smoker, in the event of a long break, requires another dose. Physiology of a smoker is used to receiving a considerable amount of various substances, including poisonous ones. Consequently, the body will already experience very strong discomfort, not receiving the required dose of nicotine. In turn, nicotine itself, for which a person smokes, is poison.
Psychological addiction to nicotine
The psychological side of nicotine addiction is that nicotine promotes lust, it has an exciting effect on the nervous system and the brain, and thus develops not only physical but also psychological need. The smoker deliberately tries to suppress any feeling of discomfort. In turn, the state of arousal is pleasant to most people, and, of course, there is a great desire to prolong the lust itself. Consequently, the trap is triggered, and the person falls into nicotine addiction, and, moreover, completely unaware of this process.
Also, young people with a lack of confidence, many complexes and delusions use a cigarette – smoking, as a means of saving their image. That is, cigarettes give, though false, but still an opportunity to assert themselves. And many people want to fill their inner emptiness with the help of a cigarette.
It is believed that the psychological side of nicotine addiction is formed as a result of a lack of maternal love and affection. After all, when a child cries, they give him a pacifier or a mother’s breast. It sits so deeply in our minds that as adults, many of us replace that very nipple with a cigarette, from which an adult child immediately calms down.
Also, it can be noted that the cause of psychological dependence can be the usual ritual of smoking (after eating, with a cup of coffee) – a certain, familiar way of life.
But, by and large, the reasons for psychological dependence are hidden in the depths of the subconscious and are inaccessible to a smoking person. The conclusion is simple – almost not everyone can cope with this problem on their own. Therefore, there is nothing shameful in seeking help from specialists, for example, a narcologist, a person who is thoroughly versed in these aspects. But, a step in this direction should be taken when there is a clear decision to get rid of nicotine addiction. Otherwise, it’s a failure.
Forecast and recommendations
The prognosis for nicotine addiction is determined by the time of the beginning of smoking, the number of cigarettes smoked daily and the characteristics of the patient’s body. According to statistics, the average life expectancy of people who started smoking in adolescence is 8 years shorter than that of non-smokers. After quitting smoking during the first year, the respiratory and circulatory functions are restored, after a year the risk of developing coronary artery disease is halved, after 5 years the risk of malignant tumors of the oral cavity, upper respiratory tract, cervix and bladder becomes twice as low. After 10 years, the risk of developing lung cancer is halved.
Smokers seeking help are the most resistant therapeutically. The effectiveness of treatment programs in these cases does not exceed 20%. At the same time, 95% of people who quit smoking did not receive medical assistance. Poor social adaptation, female sex, high level of tobacco consumption before starting treatment, and pronounced manifestations of nicotine addiction are considered as predictively unfavorable factors.
Medical experts say that smoking is such a serious disease that it can be safely called one of the varieties of drug addiction, the treatment of which is very difficult. That is why the fight against nicotine addiction requires tremendous effort and, often, the intervention of a specialist.
Key recommendations for tobacco control:
- There are a number of medications with proven effectiveness in the treatment of nicotine addiction, and the clinician should make every effort to use them in patients trying to quit smoking, unless there are medical contraindications or we are talking about special groups in which there is insufficient evidence of effectiveness (pregnant , chewing and snuff users, low smokers and adolescents).
- Treatment of nicotine addiction is effective both clinically and economically. Free provision of advice and medication for the treatment of nicotine addiction to the patient increases the likelihood of a successful outcome.
- Individual, group and telephone consultations are also effective, and their effectiveness increases with the intensification of treatment (medication). Two components of counseling are particularly effective and should be used by clinicians when working with patients trying to quit smoking: practical advice (Q&A / training), social support as part of treatment.
- Tobacco dependence treatment is effective in a wide range of subpopulations (gender, age, health status, educational level, etc.). Clinicians should encourage each patient to try to stop smoking, advise and recommend medications that have been shown to be effective.
Be sure that after quitting smoking your life will be transformed and sparkle with completely different colors, and do not postpone the fight with nicotine on the back burner.
Remember that the longer the use of tobacco products lasts, the faster your body’s dependence on nicotine, tar and other harmful substances is gaining momentum, which means that it is much more difficult to overcome it every day.
Treatment for nicotine addiction to cigarettes
The problem of treating nicotine addiction has not lost its relevance to date. More than 120 methods of treating nicotine addiction are known, of which about 40 are widely used. The main methods of treating typical nicotine addiction include various options for reflexotherapy, suggestive forms of psychotherapy, auto-training, behavioral therapy, nicotine replacement therapy (intranasal spray, inhaler, transdermal patch, chewing gum), etc.
To get rid of a pathological habit, you first need to determine its severity. For this, a variety of psychological tests are used, where the patient answers questions. Based on the answers, the specialist determines the number of points from 0 to 10. In case of dependence from 7 to 10 points, complex treatment, including drug therapy, cannot be avoided.
What is used for treatment:
- drugs with medical nicotine or its synthetic analogue;
- sedative medicines;
- psychological assistance;
There are no radical remedies for eliminating nicotine addiction yet. In the course of treatment, various methods can be used, including replacement therapy using nicotine-containing drugs, reflexology, behavioral therapy, hypnosuggestational effects, and so on. Many patients try to cope with nicotine addiction on their own, immediately abruptly quitting smoking, but this method is effective in only 7%.