Nicotine Addiction Symptoms

Nicotine addiction is almost inevitable amongst smokers of cigarettes. While cigar smokers and pipe smokers can sometimes get away without succumbing to the addictive nature of nicotine, occasional cigarette smokers are rare.

This is because every puff on a cigarette delivers a shot of nicotine to the brain, instantly releasing dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel good. This feel good sensation occurs within ten seconds of every puff on a cigarette and disappears within a few minutes, causing you to want to take another puff. The reward is so great and the craving following the reward so intense, that smoking quickly becomes addictive, leaving you at the mercy of your body's craving for dopamine.

Most cigarette smokers take about 300 puffs-that's 300 hits of dopamine-a day. That's a lot of "feel good" to have to resist if you quit smoking. This is why smoking is still so prevalent, even with medical evidence showing smoking to be dangerous and a leading cause of death. Unfortunately, only 7 percent of nicotine addicts who try to quit smoking on their own succeed for longer than one year. In fact, most of that 93 percent will relapse within days of trying to quit.

Nicotine addiction symptoms are easy to spot. You probably feel intense cravings for a cigarette, cigar or smoke on your pipe all day long, especially when stressed. Symptoms include feeling anxious, agitated and irritated. You may experience headaches, nausea and vomiting.  You may find yourself eating all the time to make up for the smoking. Your cravings for a cigarette may seem unbearable; you may feel as though you can think of nothing else. While trying to quit, you may feel depressed and lethargic, since you are no longer receiving all those hits of dopamine throughout the day.

The best nicotine addiction treatment plans involve active support through a doctor's surveillance, a support group and supplemental treatments such as nicotine gum or a nicotine patch. You may find acupuncture, hypnosis or a retreat where smoking is not allowed to be helpful. By weaning yourself off the nicotine as you chew the gum or wear the patch, you can focus on quitting the physical end of the habit-raising that cigarette to your mouth-which your body adjusts to a lower amount of dopamine release in your brain.

With support, you should be able to kick the habit. Do not be discouraged if you fall of the wagon and have to start over again; you are always farther along towards recovery each time you start the process of quitting again. Pay attention to why you relapsed and try to protect yourself from situations that will tempt you to smoke.

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