Learn About Ailments | Smoking Addiction

Smoking Addiction

Smoking addiction is an uncontrollable dependence on the highly addictive nicotine stimulant present in tobacco products. Nicotine alters the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that causes smokers to experience pleasurable changes to mood and concentration. When a smoker stops smoking they crave the nicotine effects and can suffer withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression and irritable moods.
Smoking Addiction

In This Article
Did you know? Causes Of Smoking Addiction
Symptoms Of Smoking Addiction Diagnosis
Related Terms

• 70% of smokers want to give up smoking
• Over 100,000 people a year die from smoking related diseases
• Life-expectancy of a smoker is 8-12 years less than a non-smoker
• There are 60 substances in cigarette smoke that are cancer causing
• Cigarettes contain DDT, a harmful chemical banned from most insect repellents

Smoking addiction is caused by the psychoactive drug nicotine and its stimulating effects on electrical/chemical activity in the brain. Nicotine alters the dopamine and noradrenaline chemicals that affect mood. When the nicotine is inhaled, smokers have a rush that is pleasurable and the more nicotine that is smoked the more people become dependent on it.

Smoking addiction typically begins during adolescence. People who start smoking from an early age are more prone to developing a nicotine addiction than those who start later in life. Smoking addiction is difficult to overcome as it not only causes physical dependency but also forms habitual behaviour. When trying to give up smoking, nicotine addiction can be suppressed by nicotine substitution products but these won't necessarily alter the psychological and emotional dependency on smoking.

There are various signs and symptoms of a person with a smoking addiction. The physical symptoms of smoking addiction include high blood pressure, increased heart rate, ageing skin, gum disease, bad breath, weight loss and respiratory problems. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risks of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or low birth weight and long-term growth of the child.

Other symptoms of smoking addiction can include repeated failed attempts to give up smoking and severe withdrawal effects when trying to give up. These physical and mental symptoms include cravings for tobacco, headaches, a disturbed and agitated state of mind and digestion problems. Smoking addiction can also cause social problems such as avoidance of places or people where the freedom to smoke has been taken away. Smoking addiction can also be linked to specific places or situations such as pubs or after meals.

Signs that someone has an addiction to smoking include smoking more than five cigarettes a day, deep and frequent inhalation, smoking within 30 minutes of waking in the morning and a need to smoke even when sick. Most smokers are able to identify their addiction to smoking but a visit to a GP can confirm the physical effects by testing blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate.

Therapies to consider
Acupuncture Aromatherapy Ayurvedic Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Counselling
EFT Herbal Medicine Hypnotherapy
Life Coaching Naturopathy NLP
Psychotherapy Reiki Thought Field Therapy


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