Nicotine dependence is a process that happens in the human body when it is exposed to too much nicotine. Nicotine has the capacity to cause certain changes in a person’s brain chemistry, and over time, the brain adjusts to these changes. In order to compensate, the brain actually produces less of a chemical that is partially responsible for pleasurable feelings. Once that happens, people need the nicotine just to maintain a feeling of normality, and when they stop using it, they will sink into a state of depression and sometimes irritability. It generally doesn’t take all that long for nicotine dependence to develop, and it can be very difficult for some people to overcome.
Any tobacco product has the potential to cause nicotine dependence. In general, cigarettes have the capacity to cause dependence faster than many other products, partly because inhalation is a very efficient way of getting nicotine into the blood stream. Some people may develop an addiction to nicotine after only using tobacco products a few times, and as they use the products longer, the addiction can become more extreme.
For some people, the dependence on nicotine products can be more than just a physical addiction. People can get hooked on these products, and this can make them even harder to give up. For many people, getting past this aspect of nicotine dependence can potentially take much longer than getting over the physical difficulties.
Overcoming nicotine dependence is often a long and slow process, but it’s potentially possible to do it very quickly. If a person gives up his nicotine products and doesn’t use them for a few days, his brain chemistry will generally return to a normal state. After that point, he is generally left with the problem of overcoming the emotional and mental aspects of the addiction. Getting past those first few days can be very difficult because of withdrawal symptoms.
During nicotine withdrawal, some people may experience extreme nervousness, and they may become so irritable that their family members have trouble dealing with them. There are also physical symptoms like headaches. Addicts may find the urge to use nicotine almost impossible to endure. For this reason, there have been several medications and products invented that can help people get through the physical withdrawal. Some products generally work by changing the brain chemistry, while others work by giving the person smaller amounts of nicotine, which can take the edge off withdrawal.