Tobacco use is directly connected to disease, disability and death! Smoking cigarettes or other forms of tobacco products can lead to an increased risk of physical dependence that is difficult to treat and deadly to live with. The active ingredient, nicotine, which is found in ALL tobacco products, causes both physical and psychological dependence that can be more challenging to beat than heroin addiction.
Am I Addicted?
When you smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products, you may not realize that you have developed a physical dependence until the damage and the stronghold has already taken over. First comes the addiction to the nicotine, then the habitual use of cigarettes followed by emotions tied to the use of cigarettes. You may be addicted to smoking if:
- You smoke cigarettes regularly
- You smoke in a habitual nature such as, right when you wake up, immediately following a meal or when stressed out
- You have emotions tied to smoking such as feelings of anxiety or nervousness if you don’t smoke
- You feel smoking withdrawal symptoms or nicotine withdrawal when you don’t smoke for a prolonged period of time
- You cannot refrain from or find it difficult to refrain from smoking
- You smoke when you are sick
- You smoke more than you plan
These are just a few of the signs that smoking addiction is a potential problem in your life. Additional signs that smoking addiction is a problem and that you should consider professional treatment or help include:
- You’ve suffering adverse health complications as a result of smoking
- You know that smoking is bad for you and you continue to smoke anyway
- You have tried to quit and have failed
- You smoke despite other health complications that may be agitated or made worse as a result of the smoking
Why Smoking is Addictive
Nicotine causes a chemical imbalance in the brain which leads to increased dopamine and noradrenaline production. Mood and concentration levels are adversely affected when an individual smokes and the changes that the person feels will actually “feel good” to some people at first. As nicotine is inhaled into the lungs, an immediate rush comes over the brain, but this rush doesn’t last very long. This leads the smoker to develop a craving for that rush once again and to smoke more.
The chemical imbalance that occurs as a result of the nicotine begin administered into the lungs and the brain can create a habit forming dependence that results in the desire and cravings to continue smoking. The more an individual smokes, the more he or she will come to depend on the nicotine that comes from smoking cigarettes and the greater the nicotine withdrawal symptoms will be if he or she tries to quit.
If you are addicted to smoking, you may find that quitting isn’t as easy as you may wish. In fact, it can be very difficult to quit smoking and the cravings that you feel when you do quit can actually last for weeks or even months after your last puff. Sometimes, willpower is simply not enough to help an individual fully attest to their commitment to quit and professional treatment is needed in order to fully overcome a smoking addiction.
Getting help to quit smoking can help you to remain abstinent even when the going gets tough. Some of the help options that are available to people who suffer from nicotine addiction include:
- Support groups
- Replacement therapy such as nicotine patches or gum
The methods of treatment that help you to effectively quit smoking will vary depending on your own personal situation. For some, a support group is sufficient to stay away from cigarettes while for others there may be a need for medical treatment in addition to the added support. The most important thing to remember if you are trying to quit smoking is that you are not alone and that you can do this! Help is available to meet your needs and to help you kick this potentially deadly habit!