Some new findings on Nicotine Addiction

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

14 Mar 2002, 23:56 #11

For all of you science buffs out there. The article on the Internet link does not show some accompanying graphics in the actual Tribune that gave a little more detail about the mechanism that is supposed to shut off the dopamine effects. The other neurotransmitter involved is acetylcholine which is supposed to turn off the dopamine rewarding effect. Nicotine seems to block acetylcholine, so the reward mechanism of dopamine is not shut off in the presence of nicotine, making the reward effect last longer than would normally be experienced from a dopamine release initiated by a good behavior.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

15 Mar 2002, 01:47 #12

Hi Joel!!

Thanks so much for sharing ths article with us - It basically should be no surprise to all of us here at Freedom who have known this all along, but it sure is sweet when scientists - people other than ourselves - can substatiate our claims.

This article, and your subsequent post makes its way into my virtual library, to be printed off for those around me still enslaved.

Diana
7 Months, 2 Weeks, 3 Days.
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:29

15 Mar 2002, 02:25 #13

Joel, thank you again for this priceless information. I have often wondered "what are we getting out of smoking?". It doesn't produce an obvious "high" like other addictive drugs. This article answered my question and then poses others:

What happens to our dopamine production when we quit? Do these years of abuse permanently affect us? Is this why some of us experience depression right after quitting? How do we restore normal function to this part of our brain?

Why did the craving for nicotine seem even stronger after a surge in dopamine from natural dopamine producers such as the events mentioned in the article?:

"Experiences such as falling in love, getting a big promotion, coloring between the lines for the first time, seeing your baby's smile and winning the lottery promote some of the biggest dopamine jolts. Eating a good meal, making a new friend, taking a walk on the first morning of spring, working a crossword puzzle and other less intense learning experiences get less of the pleasure chemical"

Understanding this addiction has been the key to beating it. Knowledge is more powerful than dopamine apparently! Or maybe knowledge produces dopamine?!

*Candy* 4months+
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:04

15 Mar 2002, 02:47 #14

I heard a discussion about this on National Public Radio this morning. I was going to post the info I got, but it seems that you have beat me to it.

As I listened this morning, I was even more amazed that I got out from under this addiction. I also felt cheated. I thought of all the times I was unhappily sitting unstill at a non-smoker's house. I wonder if that vauge unease that I got at the thought of visiting some of our friends was simply because they did not let me smoke at their houses. I am sorry that I have spent 23 years of my life using a drug just to experience normal feelings of contentment and happiness.

I am remembering my family's trip to Disney World (Orlando) last February . I am sad and ironically amused at how I had to plan our path around the park so that I could stop at the smoking stations along the way. And I sat alone (while everyone else was on rides) inhaling my drug, because I could not have a good time without it. On that trip, I first realized that I could no longer enjoy myself without smoking, but I was not enjoying myself while I was smoking either. I resolved to quit.

It has taken me almost a whole year, and a few uneducated tries, but here I am, educated, and finally nicotine free! The information that I got from this site has been the little nudge that has put me over top of this quit. My thanks to all who contribute.

Rosemary--smoke-free for 1 Month 3 Days 13 Hours 14 Minutes. Cigarettes not smoked: 631. Money saved: $157.76.
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Joined: 10 Jan 2009, 00:06

15 Mar 2002, 03:17 #15

Rosemary, I can really relate to that. I remember so many situations where I would be and my mind was really on getting out of there to have a cig. I would be at my inlaws, and I couldn't wait to get outside for a smoke...or shopping at the mall, and dying for a smoke.....or just anything! It was horrible...now I can actually go and enjoy myself in whatever it is and not be waiting for that moment to have my drug! What a waste of time and oh how many precious moments I missed with my kids because my mind was on getting outside for my smoke. Thank goodness they are only 8, 7, and 5 and are home/homeschooled...I plan to make up for those lost moments standing on the front porch smoking instead of sitting down paying attention to what they were saying! thanks again for your email Rosemary! Blessings, Terri~
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Mar 2002, 03:28 #16

Candy those are all wonderful questions and I'll bet that together, as a group, that we've got at least a dozen more good ones to go with your list. I hope I live long enough to see science answer most of them. All we can promise is that if there's ever breaking news on nicotine addiction that it will be a topic of discussion at Freedom! As we've seen today, like some 15th century explorer, they're still mapping nicotine's flow through the brain! It's easy to see why they call the human mind the "Last Frontier!" Knowledge is power! Feel the rush when you take pride in your quit! That was no drug, it was you!
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

15 Mar 2002, 04:38 #17

Oh my God - of course, yes, yes - thank you Joel, thank you Freedom.... I'm Free
yqs mirigirl
2m1w Free
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Mar 2002, 05:30 #18

Hello Candy:

I don't think science has the answers to some of your questions yet. But people here at Freedom and people you know in your real world settings can shed some great insights for you. First, I suspect most things do return to normal. I just brought up the post I feel 100% Better Since I Quit! If dopamine actions were permanently messed up in ex-smokers, I don't think you would hear many people express this sentiment. Sure they might breath better, but most people who express this statement are talking more than just breathing.

Most people find out that within a few weeks of quitting smoking, they are calmer than they ever were when actually smoking--or at least back to their baseline. Most claim they have more energy, and many people who I have had in clinics who were found that there overall concentration improved. When these people are students, they often subsequently find their grades and study patterns improving too.

Some of them attribute this effect to being able to concentrate at the tail end of classes more so than they could while smoking--basically being in withdrawal and focused on getting out of class as fast as they could as opposed to be focusing on the subject matter. Again, if dopamine were permanently messed up I don't think you would see these kind of performance enhancements.

In the first few days of quitting things are a bit out of whack for people. But shortly things do fall in place. One other thing I should point out--dopamine does not answer the whole story when it comes to nicotine addiction. Keep in mind, most other drugs also elevate dopamine. But the addiction to nicotine is very specifically an addiction to nicotine. By that I mean they only way a person is going to relapse to nicotine is by readministering nicotine.

Taking another drug that elevates dopamine does not cause nicotine withdrawals or a nicotine relapse. Accomplishing a great feat and releasing dopamine naturally does not cause the person to go through a full three days of nicotine withdrawal. It may trigger the thought for a cigarette--but that is likely much more from the association that they used to smoke when they felt this level of excitement. Or, as in the case of the new findings here, if they hold up to further testing, they may have smoked to celebrate not so much to just pour in more dopamine, but rather to inactivate acetylcholine making the thrill of the accomplishment last longer.

Again, listen to ex-smokers and listen to your own bodies. You will likely hear the obvious--that you feel better, are healthier and will probably live longer and have a better quality of overall life as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

15 Mar 2002, 06:12 #19

Wow. Again.
YQS
Alice
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

15 Mar 2002, 06:21 #20

What a marvellous explanatory article Joel! I have to admit that I was never aware of getting a 'high' from any of the 50plus cigarettes a day I smoked - feel kinda cheated there lol.
Thanks for the education
Ingrid
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Mar 2002, 06:40 #21

Ingrid, don't you remember the aaaahhhhhhh feeling that arrived within 8 to 10 seconds of a new puff? An almost constant dopamine output was our new sense of normal. Did you go an hour without a new fix? Not this kid! About every 15 minutes I was tanking up again! I was Mayor of Dopamineville! The lure that captured each of us was the unaddicted aaaaahhhhhh sensation but once captive, it was no longer a matter of choice but of necessity. My captive aaaaahhhhhs were the feeling of raising my falling blood serum nicotine level so that I didn't have to keep sensing the signs of early withdrawal that I knew were always just around the corner. Some of Joel's articles talk about the "Perfect Smoke" but for me the best one was always the first one each day after going the whole night without a fix or maybe after a meal where I had not been able to smoke for the better part of an hour.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

15 Mar 2002, 06:50 #22

I guess I smoked too constantly to allow myself to get anywhere 'needing' a fix! However there were times when I couldn't have one for a period of time that I do remember that aaaaahhhhhh sensation. As far as that first one in the morning...well I was too busy coughing to be aware that it was pleasurable! I don't cough at all now by the way - the human body has a wonderful recovery mechanism!!
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:29

15 Mar 2002, 07:28 #23

Right on Brother John!! And very cool "syapse" gif to boot!

Thanks again for your patience Joel, and for answering even more of the endless questions! OK, let me see if I get this...the reason I smoked more during times of "elation" was to possibly arrest the acetylcholine thus insuring continued dopamine release? Very clever that nicotine, double dipping in the pleasure centers! Well, I do think my dopamine has returned to normal and there is so much pleasure in life without the torture of nicotine addiction. Just fearful of the damage I've already done, ironic isn't it? I killed myself daily by smoking without a thought, now that's behind me...I start to worry about the damage done! I can't go back in time, I can only continue to gain more education and of course Never Take Another Puff!!

*Candy* 4months
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

15 Mar 2002, 22:28 #24

I can't let this post rest and slide to the bottom. I love reading what everyone is saying about how controlling nicotine is and how it once controlled us. It's so true. Keep posting. And we'll all learn alot about it's addictive-ness. Is that a word?
Thanks. I love this new information on dopamine and what Grumpy said too about the dual effect - - desire/repulsion, mind controlling, a real nasty drug.
OK
Have another great nicotine free day of FREEDOM
YQS
Alice
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Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 00:32

03 Apr 2002, 14:38 #25

Thanks, Joel. Very informative.

I can't believe the endless power of this "beast."

(e.g., " ...they may have smoked to celebrate not so much to just pour in more dopamine, but rather to inactivate acetylcholine making the thrill of the accomplishment last longer...")

This is ALL making so much sense to me now....

Thanks for the education. I feel like I'm being armed for battle. And I'm grateful.

Laura
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 May 2002, 05:41 #26

Just want to make sure that everyone here keeps a full appreciation of what they are fighting. Cigarette smoking is a drug addiction--pure and simple--and as can be seen by this research, one of the most efficiently devised and powerful drug delivery systems ever developed by man. To avoid ever being trapped in nicotine's grip again always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Jun 2002, 20:42 #27

One more for Dos. Doesn't explain why you took the first one but it sure gives some insight to what caused the tens or hundreds of thousands that followed. The way to stop the future tens or hundreds of thousands now is simply knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Aug 2002, 05:25 #28

Whether it was the first cigarette you ever smoked, the second, the twentieth or the hundreth--one of them finally took you over the edge and addicted you. That addiction is going to be with you the rest of your life now. It will become asymptomatic--there will be no visible or obvious signs or manifestations letting you or anyone else know it is there--but it is still there. Whether the first one you ever smoked hooked you or not, the next one will reestablish your need for nicotine and will be a in every sense of the word a relapse to a potentially life threatening active drug addiction. To avoid ever being trapped in nicotine's grip again is as simple though as knowing now to never take another puff!

Joel

How long does it take to become addicted?
That first puff is a real doozy
Was I addicted?
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:23

04 Oct 2002, 23:19 #29

Just like what the heroin does: tampering with the chemicals in the brain. Numbing pain and mind. When you tamper with that by manually providing the brain with more, the brain shuts down it's creation process knowing it has plenty on hand. Then when you try to stop doing the junk, withdrawal sets in because it takes the brain a few days to generate the chemicals that it had an abundance of.

Peachy - I guess the same goes with nicotine. The withdrawal makes us grumpy enough to become vicious and/or violent.
Frank
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Dec 2002, 20:57 #30

Just want to make sure that everyone here keeps a full appreciation of what they are fighting. Cigarette smoking is a drug addiction--pure and simple--and as can be seen by this research, one of the most efficiently devised and powerful drug delivery systems ever developed by man. To avoid ever being trapped in nicotine's grip again always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 20:39

09 Dec 2002, 21:47 #31

Hi Joel, Thanks for that useful info. I came here this morning because I have been feeling so low the last couple of days (I'm on day 14 nicotine free). I was telling someone the other day that I don't know how to be happy without my nicotine. It's as though I forgot HOW to be happy. After reading the Trib article, I can see why I said that. I have had some positive experiences since I quit - but my lows seems so much lower now that I'm not using that nasty drug. The article helped me to keep things in perspective, and realize that THIS IS ONLY TEMPORARY! I'll continue taking it one day at a time, and remember cigarettes for what they are - a highly addictive drug delivery system! Thanks again!
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Dec 2002, 21:57 #32

Here Marie, be sure to read this one too:
Emotional Loss Experienced from Quitting Smoking
Last edited by Joel on 10 Jul 2009, 16:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

23 Dec 2002, 12:10 #33

for Jill.....not sure if this is the one you wanted, but there are links to other threads about dopomine levels in here.

Linda
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:05

03 Feb 2003, 23:01 #34

Wow, Joel, I knew I was addicted, but never realized how powerful a drug nicotine is. Thanks for sharing this article. It just reinforces why I never want to take another puff, who wants to go through the pain of withdrawal ever again!

I also think this article points out some other things that you've taught us. For instance, how other problems "suddenly" appear when we quit smoking. Most have been covered up with all that dopamine all the years we smoked. I'm not a big proponent of main stream medicine, but I must say that there are plenty of medications and other therepies available now to help overcome the "new" issues once the nicotine is out of the system.

As always, thank you for the education!
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

07 Mar 2003, 22:42 #35

I find that article to be SO interesting (and thanks for the further clarification e-mails, Joel).

This is one of the best threads I have read so far (and believe me, I'm reading and reading and reading). What struck me was this - I found that in my later smoking days - maybe about 6 or so months before my quit, every time something happened that made me happy or excited, I'd REALLY crave that smoke. You always hear how people "need a cigarette" when they are stressed or angry or need to calm down...But one of my biggest needs (besides after eating) was when I was HAPPY.

I wonder if I was trying to more fully experience happiness because the nicotine addiction was minimizing my natural high?

Wow, very interesting. Thanks so much for all of this insight!!

ComicForces - 2 weeks TODAY!!
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