Smoking Addiction & Life

Dr. Purushothaman
September 1, 2013

Nicotine addiction or cigarette smoking is considered by many california drug rehab center across the state as one of the hardest addiction to cure. This is because cigarettes are as much available as alcohols are in most parts of the world, thus every people, and every age, have access to buy a pack of cigarette from a nearby store. Though not as harmful as other illicit drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines, long-term and abusive use of nicotines can have its adverse effects. Technically, nicotine is not significantly addictive, as nicotine administered alone does not produce significant reinforcing properties. However, only after coadministration with an MAOI, such as those found in tobacco, nicotine produces significant behavioral sensitization, a measure of addiction potential. This is similar in effect to amphetamine.

Addictive Effects

Modern research shows that nicotine acts on the brain to produce a number of effects. Specifically, its addictive nature has been found to show that nicotine activates reward pathways-the circuitry within the brain that regulates feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Dopamine is one of the key neurotransmitters actively involved in the brain. According to california drug rehab center researchers, by increasing the levels of dopamine within the reward circuits in the brain, nicotine acts as a chemical with intense addictive qualities.

In many studies it has been shown to be more addictive than cocaine and heroin, though chronic treatment has an opposite effect on reward thresholds. Like other physically addictive drugs, nicotine causes down-regulation of the production of dopamine and other stimulatory neurotransmitters as the brain attempts to compensate for artificial stimulation. In addition, the sensitivity of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors decreases. A study found that nicotine exposure in adolescent mice retards the growth of the dopamine system, thus increasing the risk of substance abuse during adolescence.
Nicotine Addiction Treatments

According to california drug rehab center therapists, various drugs have been used as treatments for nicotine addiction such as bupropion, mecamylamine and the more recently developed varenicline.

* Bupropion - Is an atypical antidepressant that acts as a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor, and nicotinic antagonist. Initially researched and marketed as an antidepressant, bupropion was subsequently found to be effective as a smoking cessation aid.

* Mecamylamine - Is a voltage dependant non-competitive antagonist at nicotinic receptors. Mecamylamine is used to help people stop smoking tobacco, and is now more widely used for this application than it is for lowering blood pressure.

* Varenicline - Is a prescription medication used to treat smoking addiction. As a partial agonist, it both reduces cravings for and decreases the pleasurable effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products, and through these mechanisms it can assist some patients in stopping smoking.

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