Nicotine addiction can be defined as a compulsive dependency on the drug nicotine which is mostly found in cigarettes and cigars. When you take a puff of a cigarette,, nicotine and some other harmful substances enter your lungs, from where they get absorbed into the blood. It just takes a couple of seconds for nicotine to get attached to the brain receptors and give fleeting pleasure to the smoker. The feeling of pleasure decreases as there is a drop in nicotine levels, making the smoker anxious and restless. In order to get rid of the agitation, the smoker lights up and the sequence continues until the person gets completely addicted to nicotine.
Effects of Nicotine on body
- Nicotine strongly affects your heart and arteries as it increases your heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, the risk of a stroke or heart attack increases to the maximum level.
- Since nicotine binds with brain receptors, it can cause some chemical changes such as faintness and poor sleeping patterns.
- Nicotine can also have a negative impact on the production of pigments in the eye which can lead to poor vision in the long term.
- Nicotine can also constrict the arteries which can cause trouble in the circulation of blood throughout your body, and may be a cause of erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men. Women can also face the risk of infertility and miscarriage.
- Over a period of time it can also weaken your immune system due to which you get more susceptible to disease.
- One of the biggest possibilities of nicotine addiction is cancer, since it does not allow your body to dispose of the damaged cells.
- Nicotine can bring significant changes in your cellular structures which can result in weakening of your bones.
It is quite obvious to think that if smoking can lead to so many harmful changes in your body then it is better to quit it. However, the common obstacle in giving up smoking is the experience of withdrawal symptoms. You are expected to experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms within a few hours of smoking the last cigarette. The most common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Anxiety, agitation and restlessness
- Inability to concentrate
- Tingling of fingers
Giving up smoking
Fortunately now it is possible to get rid of smoking addiction with the help of medical guidance and support from family. Some of the common methods available are:
- Counselling: You can opt for behavioural counselling which is specifically intended to help you quit smoking and overcome the withdrawal symptoms.
- Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): NRT works by providing your body with doses of nicotine (for example using nicotine patches) after you quit smoking. This helps in minimising the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms and the urge to smoke again.
- Medication: These days you can also take the help of prescription medications. You can quit smoking with Champix tablets, which is one of the effective treatments to stop smoking. Champix is a 12 week treatment, but you may start witnessing positive results within the first two weeks.