Nicotine and mood are connected to each other. Researchers know that nicotine in cigarettes has an effect on your brain, including your mood.
Anxiety is scared, nervous, or panicky. Most people feel anxiety in difficult situations from time to time, but feel better when the situation comes to an end. Anxiety could be a problem if it continues. You may feel sad or depressed and have trouble sleeping or concentrating. Your heart may be racing, or you may feel faint or have problems with your stomach.
Some regular smokers believe that smoking relieves anxiety, and they report that this is a reason they ‘re still smoking. However, that’s because smoking relieves the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. This relief is only a temporary relief. Unless they deal with what bothers them, anxiety is likely to return and the cycle will continue.
Physical Effects of Nicotine
When you start smoking for the first time, you may experience nausea , dizziness, headache, or stomach upset, but over time, as smoking becomes more of a habit, you build up your tolerance for these effects until they become unnoticeable. Tolerance means that it takes more nicotine to have the same effect that we used to get from fewer cigarettes.
Routine smoking causes our bodies to adapt to a certain level of nicotine; without realizing it, we regulate the number of cigarettes we smoke in order to maintain the familiar level of nicotine in our bodies. The tolerance of our bodies to the unpleasant effects of nicotine allows us to focus on the pleasurable effects that nicotine produces. What most people don’t realize is that the pleasurable effects of smoking are the reactions of the body to nicotine, which disrupts the body’s natural balance.
The Psychological Effect of Nicotine
After the habit of smoking has been established, we feel like we need to smoke to feel “normal,” as our daily tasks can not be completed until we have had our smoke. We ‘re starting to connect our smoking routines with many of our daily and social activities , creating triggers, making it hard to do those activities without smoking. An example is to associate a cigarette with a cup of coffee or to talk on the phone. Usually, we are not aware of the psychological effects of smoking. The triggers, the feelings of relaxation, stress reduction, focus etc. become automatic. This is defined as psychological dependence.
- Smoking and Stress
The idea that people smoke cigarettes to help relieve signs and symptoms of stress is known as ‘self-medication.’ Stress is very common , affecting us when we are unable to cope with unwelcome pressure. It can cause physical symptoms such as headache or breathlessness, as well as make people feel irritable , anxious or low. These feelings can change our behaviour, and feeling stressed often makes people drink alcohol or smoke more than usual. Long-term stress is also related to anxiety and depression.
- Smoking and Anxiety
Research into smoking and stress has shown that, instead of helping people relax, smoking actually increases anxiety and tension. Nicotine creates an immediate sense of relaxation so that people smoke in the belief that it reduces stress and anxiety. This feeling of relaxation is temporary and soon gives way to symptoms of withdrawal and increased cravings. Smoking reduces symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which are similar to symptoms of anxiety, but does not reduce anxiety or deal with underlying causes.
- Smoking and Depression
In the United Kingdom, smoking rates among adults with depression are about twice as high as among adults without depression. People with depression have particular difficulty trying to stop smoking and have more severe withdrawal symptoms while attempting to give up.
Nicotine stimulates the release of chemical dopamine into the brain. Dopamine is involved in generating positive feelings. It is often found to be low in people with depression who may then use cigarettes as a means of temporarily increasing their supply of dopamine. However, smoking encourages the brain to switch off its own mechanism to make dopamine so that supply decreases over the long term, which in turn causes people to smoke more.
Most people start smoking before they show signs of depression, so it is not clear whether smoking leads to depression or depression that encourages people to start smoking. The most likely explanation is that the relationship between the two is complex.
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