Tobacco addiction is a difficult challenge to say the least. Whether you’re watching a loved one struggle, or you yourself are wrestling with the problem, being addicted to tobacco can have severe consequences. In fact, excessive tobacco use and tobacco addiction has been linked to disease and cancer in the following 12 parts of the body: the mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus, lung/bronchus, stomach, kidney, pancreas, colon, bladder, and the uterus and cervix for women. Even myeloid leukemia has been linked to tobacco use. According to the CDC, smoking cigarettes is linked to 80 to 90% of all lung cancers in the United States. They cite tobacco smoke as one of the main culprits, saying that it has a lethal mix of thousands of chemicals, 70 of which have been shown to cause cancer.
Tobacco use can start innocently enough. In fact, according to cancer.org, many teens try smoking for the first time simply because they say it looks cool or that they just wanted to try it. The major concern is that the younger someone is when they start smoking, the higher the risk that they will become addicted to nicotine. The Surgeon General estimates that if current trends continue, 5.6 million Americans under the age of 18 living today will die prematurely from diseases related to smoking. Tobacco use and smoking have devastating health consequences, particularly for young people, as tobacco addiction can greatly decrease their quality of life for decades to come.
Tobacco addiction occurs when a person develops a dependence on tobacco. Most often, someone addicted to tobacco is most heavily addicted to the nicotine that is found therein. Tobacco is often found in cigarettes, but it can also be chewed. The nicotine contained in tobacco is extremely addictive and it increases dopamine levels. As dopamine is the neurotransmitter linked with desire, motivation, and pleasure, it’s understandable how nicotine-rich tobacco can become so addictive. Since dopamine levels are increased by nicotine, the more nicotine a user takes, the more the behavior is reinforced. Furthermore, tobacco smoke contains nicotine that is quickly absorbed in the blood and immediately sent to the brain. This means the pleasure is not only instant, but also fleeting, meaning that repeated smoking or tobacco use are needed to continue to feel the pleasurable addictive effects.
Tobacco addiction is usually a result of nicotine dependence. There are many signs of tobacco addiction including:
Many turn to tobacco use or smoking in order to escape other problems. Most often, these problems are emotional or psychological in nature. Here are some of the risk factors for tobacco addiction:
Prevention of tobacco addiction is possible with personal commitment. The best way to avoid tobacco addiction is to never try tobacco or smoking, even once. In order to do so, it is important to avoid risk and situations and settings that encourage smoking or tobacco use. Making the simple decision to remain drug and addiction free and to say no and never get involved is the best way to avoid ever becoming addicted. If you are prone to turn to tobacco or cigarettes to relieve stress or escape from your busy life, strive to seek immediate treatment and find alternative ways to decompress and reduce the risk of turning to cigarettes. Introduce healthy, wholesome, and relaxing activities into your life including taking an invigorating walk, reading a good book, or meditating. Prevention is possible. Fill your life with productive ways to unwind so there’s no room to begin smoking or become addicted to nicotine.
Tobacco addiction is the result of nicotine dependence. As such, overcoming an addiction to tobacco is not easy, but it is possible. Treatment options include medication in order to prevent symptoms of withdrawal, counseling, 12 Step Programs, inpatient/residential care.
At the Phoenix Recovery and Counseling Centers, we provide addiction recovery services and specifically treat those dealing with severe depression and/or anxiety. Our services include a Residential Treatment, PHP Day program, Intensive Outpatient program and general outpatient program. Click on each service to learn more about what they entail and how they can help you on a path towards recovery.
In addition, the staff at the Phoenix Recovery Center is passionate about total behavioral health in overcoming addiction. They deeply care about each person who they work with. Often our alumni comment on the profound impact of our staff members in encouraging them on their path to living a fulfilling life. Those who come to The Phoenix Recovery Center can realize a rebirth of their own dreams as they achieve their own sobriety and much, much more. And that makes all the difference.
The Phoenix Difference constitutes a carefully tailored program and recovery experience defined by research. Every effort is directed at supporting outcomes that prepare patients and their families with both the knowledge and applied behaviors to manage mental health disorders and to reclaim a meaningful life.
Furthermore, the Phoenix Recovery and Counseling Centers are driven by the guiding mission statement: “Empowering individuals and families suffering from addiction and mental health disorders, to celebrate life through lasting solutions.” We accomplish the therapeutic and healing experience through a continuum of care that begins with Residential Treatment and traverses across a Day Program, Intensive Outpatient (IOP), to General Outpatient (GOP). Lastly, the continuum of care culminates in a weekly Alumni Support Meeting, which provides a recovery support community to sustain the recovery capital of The Phoenix Alumni.