Smoking is all about nicotine and the calming effect it has on the body. Though most know that nicotine is a drug that causes dependence, few know that it’s the most prevalent form of addiction in this country. It’s just as addictive as the harsh street drugs like cocaine and heroin, and it’s even as powerful as alcohol.
Because nicotine has stimulant properties, one hit it makes you crave more. You may wonder how long does it take to get addicted to nicotine? The reality is that it only takes one cigarette for many to get hooked.
Why Is Nicotine Addictive?
The first cigarette you smoke won’t always be pleasant. Many people report feeling dizzy and having an upset stomach. These feelings may be accompanied by a headache too. However, as you continue to smoke, your body builds resistance to the drug, and the effects are no longer bothersome.
The body quickly builds tolerance and needs more to bring the same euphoric feeling. Once you set a pattern and smoke so many cigarettes each day, your body learns to adjust, and it craves that same level of nicotine to function. The pleasurable effects are hard to live without.
Additionally, the addiction disrupts the body’s natural balance, and without cigarettes, you will no longer feel normal. Just like any other addiction, there are many psychological components as well as physical ones.
How Does the Body Become So Dependent on Nicotine?
Why is nicotine so addictive? When you light up a cigarette and take a puff, you are inhaling chemicals into your body. If you’ve often thought that the first drag of your smoke is the best, it’s because your giving your body the substance it craves. Once inside your mouth, nicotine enters your bloodstream and travels straight to the brain. Did you know that nicotine will reach your brain much faster than an injected drug into your veins?
Shockingly, nicotine changes many things about your body. Your heart will beat faster, and your blood pressure increases. The metabolism changes, and many people can lose weight while smoking. Consequently, when you stop, you will notice weight changes. Lastly, the blood vessels tighten because the drug deprives the body of much-needed oxygen. The vessels adjust to try to assist the body in pumping adequate blood to all the organs.
How long does it take to become addicted to nicotine? Well, one study showed that the nicotine receptors in the brain surge quickly after the second dose of the drug. There’s lots of talk about neurotransmitters and brain chemicals these days. Nicotine, just like any other drug, works to stimulate the nervous system. It has a direct effect on the chemical messengers within the brain.
The body releases epinephrine when you inhale nicotine, and some say it gives them a buzz feeling. Though the sensation is amazing, what’s going on inside is not so great. Your blood pressure increases as does your heart rate; sadly, your breathing becomes labored.
Another chemical affected by nicotine is dopamine, which is known as the feel-good receptor. As your smoking, you can feel your tension release as the body relaxes. Some may experience a buzzed-out sensation. These feelings are all attributed to the stimulation of the dopamine hormone. It only takes about ten seconds after you inhale nicotine for the euphoric sensations to begin, but as your body builds tolerance, it takes more to get the same effect.
The Cycle of the Smoking Habit
The cycle of the smoking habit and nicotine addiction is one that many find hard to quit. Thankfully, there are safer options to get your fix, like vaping. The more you smoke, the more your body needs to sustain those pleasurable feelings. Over time, you will develop a smoking routine that integrates with social activities, work schedules, and other triggers.
For instance, as soon as the phone rings, you may grab a cup of coffee and light-up as a source of habit. You probably aren’t even aware that you’re doing these things because they become second nature.
Triggers are another significant part of nicotine addiction. Do you notice that when you are stressed out, you reach for your cigarettes to calm you down? If the problems of the day are grating on your nerves, you may find solace in a couple of cigarettes in the great outdoors.
The cycle of smoking means that if you want to keep feeling the pleasure that calms you down, you need to keep smoking. Once you break that cycle, your body goes through withdrawal.
When you abstain from smoking, the body experiences cravings as it goes through withdrawal. It has become accustomed to the pleasurable feelings that nicotine gives, and it wants more. The longer you go without this drug, the worse the effects will be. You may experience weight gain, frustration, depression, and anxiety, as well as headaches. These effects are all part of the withdrawal process.
How long does it take to get addicted to nicotine? It can take a matter of minutes. Your body has become accustomed to the euphoric feelings, and it’s not going to let go so quickly. Drug addictions of any kind come with both psychological and physical dependence, and you must fight both.
Thankfully, there are more options than ever before. You can have the nicotine fix your body craves through vaping, and you won’t need to worry about the harmful effects of cigarettes either.
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