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What are the symptoms of nicotine addiction?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

A person who has nicotine addiction may understand the dangers of nicotine and the relationship of smoking and tobacco use to nicotine. Despite this knowledge and the desire to quit smoking, a smoker who has a nicotine addiction will have difficulty quitting. Instead, someone with nicotine addiction will continue searching for the drug despite the danger. Chemically, nicotine creates pathways in the brain that increase the number of receptors that are sensitive to nicotine.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Like all addictive drugs, nicotine affects your brain, making you feel good and wanting more of it. Nicotine has an upside: It can improve your concentration and alertness, boost your mood, and suppress your appetite. Of course, the downside, like the risk of lung and heart disease, far outweighs the upside, but try telling that to your addicted brain. When your brain doesn't get nicotine for even a few hours, you'll probably find yourself pacing around, feeling irritable and depressed, having a headache, and unable to concentrate.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Symptoms of nicotine addiction come about when your body has an intense craving for more nicotine. That can happen within two hours of smoking your last cigarette. Cigarettes come 20 to a pack to make sure you always have one on hand. When you stop smoking, your body reacts. When nicotine starts to leave the body, you may feel anxious, tense and restless. You may become sad, depressed, frustrated, impatient, irritable or cranky. You may have problems concentrating and thinking, and you may get headaches. You may have less energy to do the things you normally do. You may have trouble falling or staying asleep. You may even have vivid nightmares. It can feel like you'll never get past the cravings and withdrawal, but I promise that you will.

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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.