Understanding Nicotine Addiction and Your Brain

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Understanding Nicotine Addiction and Your Brain: Quit Smoking Now with Archstone Recovery

Have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to quit smoking cigarettes? Believe it or not, nicotine—the addictive ingredient in tobacco—is one of the most addictive drugs out there. To know why, it helps to understand how nicotine addiction affects the human brain. You know that little high you get when you take the first few puffs of your cigarette?

The Fight or Flight Reaction of Nicotine to your Body

That rush happens when the nicotine enters your body and the brain reacts by releasing adrenaline—the same substance that makes your heart race when you feel fear, stress, panic, or excitement. The other thing that rush of nicotine tells your brain to do is to release glucose into your bloodstream—otherwise known as blood sugar. This is part of the “fight or flight” reaction our bodies evolved to have back in caveman days—after all, if you see a lion coming after you, you need your heart to pump faster and your blood sugar to rise so that you’ll have the strength to run as fast as you can.

Dopamine,  the “Feel-Good” Neurotransmitter

Nicotine sets off this reaction. At the same time, it also causes the body to release another chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter that our brains release when we feel pleasure. We feel dopamine when we have sex, eat chocolate, or laugh a lot. This is what makes smoking so enjoyable for nicotine addicts. Dopamine also reduces your body’s ability to absorb sugar, which is another thing that increases your blood sugar. This increase in blood sugar is thought to be part of what causes such high rates of diabetes among smokers. Meanwhile, the toxic chemicals and tar in cigarettes reduce your lung and heart function and lead to many kinds of cancer and other health problems. So cigarette addiction isn’t all in your head. It actually has everything to do with your brain chemistry—and that’s why just quitting smoking “cold turkey” doesn’t work for most people. If you’re serious about reclaiming your health and lengthening your life by quitting smoking, you’ll need medical help, as well as counseling to help you change your habits, lifestyle, and attitudes so that you won’t have any more room for cigarette addiction in your life. Archstone Recovery’s state-of-the-art addiction treatment facility in Lantana, Florida, offers the best-quality outpatient rehabilitation care to help you quit smoking. You can do this. If you live in North or South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York or any other state, call Archstone Recovery today and quit smoking today with outpatient smoking cessation programs.