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So what does having too much norepinephrine in your brain do? Well, it's basically an anti-depressant because it causes an increase of another neurotransmitter, dopamine, in the prefrontal cortex. In essence, it makes you feel “good”. This is why when you smoked your first cigarette or had your first chew of tobacco, you may have gotten a “buzz”. But now that you're an addict, you never experience the buzz any more. The buzz is now gone, and you may not even remember it.
So why can't you feel the buzz? Here's why: if you continue to artificially stimulate norepinephrine levels by ingesting nicotine, your brain starts to think there is a problem. It's like your brain says “Hmmm, the levels of dopamine and serotonin seem to be too high. I will slightly decrease production of the these neurotransmitters to see if that fixes the problem.” This happens slowly, over a period of weeks. You won't even notice. It is during this time, that you, without even realizing it, are becoming an addict and the buzz is being diminished.
After a while, if you've been regularly using nicotine, your brain has now lowered normal production of several neurotransmitters to counteract the artificial stimulation you're creating. This is the point at which you don't “feel normal” unless you're taking nicotine. In addition, you no longer get a buzz. And this is the point at which you start becoming an addict. Because if you don't take nicotine, you feel like crap and start to experience withdrawal, both physical and mental, and you develop a craving for nicotine that takes control of your mind.
Why do you start to feel bad? If you don't get nicotine at regular intervals you feel like crap because your dopamine and serotonin levels are down. These are very important neurotransmitters that greatly affect your overall mood. When they're levels are down, you're irritable, grumpy, grouchy, maybe even irrational and depressed. You may even experience “nicotine fits” where you find you'll do almost anything to get some nicotine into your body. Because when you finally do smoke another cigarette or dip some tobacco, all of a sudden your dopamine and serotonin levels come back up and you start to feel better. Not normal, just better than you did.
Congratulations, you are now hooked on nicotine! You're trapped in a neverending usage cycle trying to feel normal again but only feeling marginally better than you feel while craving nicotine.
Keep in mind, this process isn't something that happens overnight. Depending on your body and brain chemistry it takes anywhere from two to six weeks to get solidly hooked on nicotine. But after you're hooked, it's very difficult to stop. Very difficult indeed. It's why you haven't been able to stop despite having tried a few times.
So why is it so difficult to stop using nicotine? Read on to find out.
Go to the Helpation Smoking Forum!
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