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How hard is it to break a nicotine addiction?

Nicotine is a drug that causes physical dependence, so quitting can be very difficult. Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal typically peak in the first three days and include mood changes, anxiety, increased appetite, irritability and trouble sleeping. If you are trying to quit, set a quit date. See your doctor if you are unable to quit. He or she may recommend counseling or medications that can help you quit and remain tobacco-free.

Armin Brott
Pediatrician

Research indicates that nicotine addiction is one of the most difficult to break. Like other addictions, it works in a fiendishly clever way to keep the smoker smoking, signaling the “reward” circuits of the brain to release dopamine, which produces feelings of pleasure. One of the many problems, of course, is that keeping those pleasurable sensations going requires ever-higher levels of the drug (in this case, nicotine). That means that today’s three-cigarettes-a-day habit could gradually turn into three packs a day.

Smoking can be one of the hardest addictions to break. It's importatnt that patients find support to cope with symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.