Tobacco Addiction

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Tons of printed paper and billions of kilobytes on the internet are studded with information on the toxicity of cigarette smoke for those who inhale it routinely actively or passively. But this has not so far given any evidence of deterrent efficacy regarding reduced smoking habit neither in the general population nor in particular categories (e.g., doctors) that should respond to alarm and dissuasion messages.

Addiction

You can be addicted to Nicotine if for at least one month you have used tobacco and experienced the following characteristic phenomena:

  • Having trying to give up tobacco seriously but you couldn’t stop tobacco intake or even reduce the amount you usually use;
  • Your attempt to quit has led to various consequences, including tobacco craving, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, headache, difficulty in concentration, stomach upset, and drowsiness;
  • Continue tobacco even when you got a serious problem physically, for example, a respiratory or cardiovascular disease that you know is exacerbated by tobacco;
  • Have developed tobacco tolerance, in the sense that certain doses of this substance (here it is a certain number of cigarettes have been smoked the entire day) will produce some effects overtime; doses are increased to achieve the sensation desired.

Among the lines of this list of criteria, you can be sure that the primary addiction is that “the nicotine substance controls behavior causing temporary alterations of mood when it is not present in the system.”

Pharmacological Effects

The pharmacological actions of nicotine are predominantly of a stimulating type; the most important are those on the electrocortical activation, the heart, and the endocrine system. The substance, absorbed through cigarette smoke and into the circulation, affects almost all the brain neurotransmitters and neuroendocrine systems. It is now well known that chronic nicotine exposure to cigarettes causes structural changes in the brain, increasing the number of nicotine receptors.

The “acute” consequences of the use of nicotine include: increased heart rate, blood pressure and cardiac output, decreased blood vessel caliber. Other effects, mainly due to other components of smoking, but for which nicotine can play a contributory role, are the reduction of oxygenation of the blood due to the increase of carbon monoxide. The increase in the level of fatty acids of glucose, cortisol and other circulating hormones. The risk of hardening of the arteries and the tendency to hypercoagulation of the blood increases, which leads to heart attack and stroke; and finally, carcinogenesis.

The temporary alterations of mood and behavior derived from the absence of nicotine from the nervous system of those who have become physically dependent arise with phenomenological times and modalities characteristic, so much so that a peculiar nicotine abstinence syndrome has been codified. It consists essentially of irritability, impatience, hostility, anxiety, depressed mood, difficulty in concentration, agitation, increased appetite and increase in body weight, slowing of heart rate. When all this occurs, the services of the best rehab detox centre in Windsor should be taken into serious consideration.

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