Cigarettes are available in grocery stores, gas stations, and bodegas all across the US and yet nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on the planet. It’s as addictive as cocaine and heroin and typically even harder to quit than both of those drugs. Fortunately, nicotine and tobacco addiction treatment is a safe and effective way to leave nicotine behind.
Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) has a tobacco and nicotine addiction treatment center to support those who want to stop smoking and end their nicotine dependence. If quitting cigarettes is your goal, let PAATC help. Reach out to learn more about our nicotine and tobacco addiction treatment and why nicotine is addictive. Let one of our staff answer any questions you have. Complete this online form or call us at 844.442.8673 today.
Why Is Nicotine Addictive?
The addictive chemical in cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and vaping products is nicotine. There is a widespread misconception that nicotine helps minimize anxiety, but nothing could be further from the truth. Nicotine interacts with the adrenal glands, stimulating the release of adrenaline. This hormone helps smokers focus and experience a burst of energy. Nicotine also interacts in the brain, similar to many other addictive substances including heroin. It triggers the release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that helps nerve cells communicate.
Dopamine allows people:
- Feel pleasure
- Think, strategize, and plan
- Strive and achieve goals
- Feel interested in things
When a drug like nicotine takes over the part of the brain that produces dopamine, the brain no longer takes care of that on its own but instead becomes dependent on the drug to run the show. It’s no wonder that tolerance, dependence, and, ultimately, addiction happens when nicotine is abused. People addicted to nicotine need it to experience the effects of dopamine. When it is withheld, withdrawal begins.
Signs of Addiction
Are you a casual smoker or addicted to nicotine? The problem is the transition from one to the other can happen without your noticing. Consider whether your answer to any of the questions below is “yes.”
- Have you tried to quit and found that it was a lot harder than you thought it would be?
- Do you ever choose not to do something or go somewhere because you know you won’t be able to smoke?
- When you go without a cigarette for too long, do you feel unwell, as if you are in withdrawal?
- Do you continue to smoke despite knowing that you have or can develop serious health issues related to the habit?
If you’re addicted to nicotine and want to break the habit, you can. Thousands of people successfully stop smoking and vaping every year.
Quitting Cigarettes and Withdrawal Symptoms
Though many people understand that smoking can lead to addiction, they don’t see it as a drug the way alcohol, meth, coke, or heroin are. They also don’t think about entering addiction treatment and assume that they can quit on their own when they’re ready. They often find out, however, that quitting smoking is as hard as quitting any other addictive drug, and in some cases, more so.
When you go through withdrawal from nicotine, you are likely to experience some or all of the following:
- Strong cravings to smoke or chew tobacco
- Irritability and unprovoked anger
- Difficulty focusing
- Increased hunger
In nicotine addiction treatment, professionals can prescribe medications to ease many of these symptoms so you can rid your body of the toxins related to your physical dependence on the drug.
Let PAATC Help You Quit Smoking
PAATC can help you leave nicotine behind and begin to live a healthier life. Whether you smoke, vape, or chew, this addictive substance does not have to control you. Reach out to us today to learn more about our nicotine and tobacco addiction treatment program. Our number is 844.442.8673, or you can use this online form.