Nicotine Addiction Symptoms

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Nicotine addiction as a result of cigarette smoking is easily the most common addiction in the United States. And although the number of smokers has dropped steadily over the last few years, the number of people using smokeless or chewing tobacco has risen. The amount of nicotine is similar between the two delivery methods, and it is just as easy to become addicted to and depended upon nicotine\ from smokeless tobacco.

Symptoms of Nicotine Addiction

Some nicotine addiction symptoms include the following:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Improved mood and sense of well-being
  • Boosts levels of blood glucose and insulin
  • Increases heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increases rate of digestion
  • Causes sweating and nausea
  • Improves memory

In addition to the above nicotine addiction symptoms, there are also some symptoms of quasi-withdrawal, when nicotine intake is not maintained at the level to which a person is accustomed. The following are some of the nicotine withdrawal effects a person might experience with eliminating or limiting their consumption of cigarettes or chewing tobacco:

  • Craving more nicotine
  • Anxiety and frustration
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lethargy
  • Increased appetite
  • Headaches
  • Depression

These effects may begin to set in as soon as three hours after the last nicotine intake. They will peak within two to three days, and their severity will depend on the cumulative amount of nicotine the person has had in their life and how much they took in each day.

Secondary Effects

Many of the effects of nicotine addiction have other consequences beyond the purely physiological ones. For example, the smell of smoke may cause others to keep their distance, and the mood altering effects of the drug may lead to social isolation. And because it causes physical dependence, many of the "positive" effects of nicotine use will lead to a rebound effect in withdrawal. So while a cigarette a day may make you more alert and improve your memory, withdrawal from nicotine will cause your memory and level of mental alertness to drop below their pre-smoking levels. This is usually temporary.

Additionally, certain side effects of addiction may cause a person to consciously decide to avoid quitting. For example, because one of nicotine's strongest effects is its ability to suppress appetite, many people will choose not to quit out of fear of sudden weight gain.

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