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Nicotine: Addiction, Withdrawal, Overdose, Detox & Treatment
Did you know that nicotine is a drug? It’s considered one of the most addictive drugs in the world. And while many people think of smoking when they hear the word “nicotine,” it’s actually present in many other products, including tobacco-free e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
In this post, we will discuss nicotine addiction, withdrawal, overdose, and detox. We’ll also provide some resources for treatment.
What Is Nicotine?
Nicotine is a naturally-occurring substance found in tobacco plants. It’s also present in other plants, including eggplants and tomatoes. This substance can also be artificially produced in laboratories.
This substance is dangerous because it has both the properties of a stimulant and sedative. It can induce feelings of relaxation, improved concentration, and mental alertness. One can get a substantial amount of this chemical by inhaling or chewing tobacco plants.
Nicotine is a naturally occurring substance found in plants of the nightshade family, which includes tobacco. Its appearance depends on its method of extraction. For example, pure nicotine extracted from tobacco leaves looks like a white powder, while liquid nicotine appears as a clear or amber-colored solution.
In its natural state, nicotine is relatively harmless; however, when used commercially in cigarettes and other products, it can be highly addictive and potentially harmful to one’s health.
What Is Nicotine Used For?
Nicotine is both used for medicinal and recreational purposes because of its properties. In the medical field, it has shown the potential for treating Parkinson’s disease, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
However, the most popular use of nicotine is in tobacco products, where it acts as a psychoactive drug. When used in this way, it can be extremely addictive and potentially harmful to one’s health.
How Does Nicotine Work?
Nicotine can either be injected or smoked to get inside the body. Once it gets inside, it dissolves in the blood and reaches the brain in around ten seconds. In the brain, it attaches itself to the brain receptor where the acetylcholine brain chemical is bound.
This substance can quickly reach the blood-brain barrier (BBB) within eight to twenty seconds. This enables the effects to be quickly felt by the user after inhalation or injection.
The overall effect of this substance is to cause an adrenaline rush in the whole body. The blood vessels contract which causes an increase in blood pressure. Likewise, brain activity becomes really quick which increases focus and alertness.
How Long Before You Can Feel the Effects of Nicotine?
If you’re a smoker, you know that the effects of nicotine are almost immediate. You feel a little jolt of energy and perhaps a sense of alertness. But what if you’re new to smoking, or trying to quit? How long does it take for nicotine to have an effect?
The answer is 10-20 seconds. That’s how long it takes for nicotine to reach your brain and start having an effect. Nicotine is a very fast-acting drug, which is one of the reasons why it’s so addictive. The effects typically last for about 30-60 minutes before starting to wear off.
How Long Does Nicotine Stay In Your System?
Nicotine has a half-life of 2 hours. This means that it will be 50% eliminated from your system after 2 hours.
In a drug test, the substance can still be detected in the blood and urine 1-3 days after it is taken. In saliva, the substance can still be detected 4 days after it is taken. Lastly, the residue of the substance can still be detected in hair follicles 3 months after it is taken.
Other variables also affect how long the substance stays in the body. These include a person’s health condition, metabolism, and genes.
What are the Short and Long-term Side Effects of Nicotine?
Nicotine is a powerful substance that can have both short-term and long-term side effects. Some of the more common ones include nausea, gut pains (for those who suffer from stomach issues), and inflammation in your upper respiratory tract.
Meanwhile, its long-term effects include an increase in blood sugar level, decreased flow of blood, thickening of the blood, hypothermia, lung failure, and paralysis.
Is Nicotine Addictive?
Yes, nicotine is highly addictive. In fact, it’s one of the most addictive substances known to man. The addiction can be physical, psychological, or both.
When you’re addicted to nicotine, you feel a strong urge to smoke even when you don’t want to. You may try to quit, but find it extremely difficult to do so.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of death among people in the United States. Approximately, 480,000 people die from smoking every year.
What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms?
The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can vary from person to person, but there are some common side effects. These can include cravings for nicotine, irritability, anxiety, depressed mood, trouble sleeping, increased appetite, and weight gain. Some people also report experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, sweating, and dizziness. Tremors are also a common symptom of nicotine withdrawal.
It’s important to remember that these symptoms are temporary and will eventually go away. However, it can take several weeks or even months for them to completely disappear. In the meantime, there are things you can do to help ease your symptoms and make quitting smoking easier.
What Causes Nicotine Overdose? Signs of an Overdose
While it is unlikely that you will overdose from smoking tobacco, it is possible to overdose on nicotine if you use tobacco products in other ways. This can include chewing tobacco, using snuff, or using electronic cigarettes.
Nicotine overdose is caused by nicotine poisoning. It can cause several different symptoms. These can include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, and rapid heart rate.
A dose of 50 to 60 mg of Nicotine can cause sudden death due to the collapse of the respiratory system.
What Should You Do If Someone Is Overdosing?
If someone is overdosing on nicotine, the best thing to do is call medical help. Nicotine poisoning can be dangerous, and it’s important to get assistance as soon as possible.
How Do You Treat Nicotine Addiction? Detox & Treatment
For some people, quitting cold turkey may be the best and most effective option. Others may find that they need a slower approach, tapering off their use of nicotine gradually over time. And still, others may need medication or other medical intervention to quit successfully.
Some of the common methods to treat nicotine addiction include:
- Nicotine gum and patches
- Nicotine sprays and inhalers
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
Final Thoughts: Addressing Nicotine Abuse and Addiction
Ultimately, the best way to treat nicotine addiction is whatever method works best for you as an individual. However, if any of the aforementioned methods don’t work, it may be time to consult with a substance abuse specialist and get professional help.