The psychological effects of nicotine are directly related to its addictive properties. Nicotine fades rapidly from the system. From the moment a smoker puts out a cigarette, her body goes into withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms enhance the psychological effects, creating a greater dependency on the next cigarette.
Pick Me Up
Nicotine is a depressant and a stimulant. Yet many smokers cannot get their day started without their morning cigarette and coffee. The combination of stimulant (coffee) and depressant (nicotine) theoretically cancel each other out. The psychological pick-me-up is difficult to counteract.
Smokers reach for a cigarette when they want to relax, but the stimulant properties of nicotine cause a jolt of energy as opposed to relaxation. The stress reliever in nicotine is the fulfillment of the body's physical craving.
Nicotine dependence can lead to needing nicotine to accomplish basic tasks like writing, reading and detail work. Workers often flock to smoking areas when pushing a deadline to get a little more focus. The stimulant properties of nicotine provide a temporary mental clearing, generally because they relieve the nagging nicotine cravings which can be distracting.
Cigarette smoking and nicotine dependence lead to pattern behaviors such as smoking after a meal or smoking while driving a car. Concentration can be disrupted if the pattern behavior is not completed. These psychological effects of nicotine make quitting extremely different.
The basic need for nicotine is only partially physical and relieved within 48 hours of ceasing smoking. The psychological need can linger for weeks and months after the last cigarette.
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