Overcoming Addiction

A cigarette smoker addicted to nicotine can allow the nicotine to dominate his or her thoughts, moods, actions, time, and health or the individual can take control and eradicate the poor habit, forever. Nicotine not only triggers the release of dopamine, which binds to dopanergic receptors, but can even create more dendritic dopamine receptors. Because of the increased dopamine receptors people can develop more of a tolerance that requires additional nicotine to acquire the same effects. Don’t say, “I can’t stop smoking.” Why worry about a shot not going in before you’ve even taken it? All shots not taken don’t go in. Try try again until successful. Believe that you can and do it. Once you stop, think of yourself as a nonsmoker, saying, “I don’t smoke.”

Healthy Habits

Exercise can release endogenous endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, thus producing natural peak mental states of feeling phenomenal. Illicit drugs and deadly foods containing cosmic amounts of salt, sugar, and saturated fats are not necessary to get an unsustainable fleeting high, which may lead toward requiring more of an unhealthy stimulus to obtain similar effects. The problem with poor habits, such as eating excessively, gambling, smoking, extreme shopping beyond one’s means, or illicit drug use is that they all release dopamine that binds to dopanergic receptors, thus giving a temporary state of feeling good. That brief state leads to more consumption or possibly looking for other harmful and unhealthy ways to achieve those short-lived feelings.

Dopamine

Major neurotransmitters and hormones that create positive or negative effects on us include dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, cortisol, and epinephrine. Dopamine aids in concentration, motivation, and is responsible for our reward feedback loop. Dopamine is released in response to eating, consuming caffeine and sugar, gambling, pornography, sex, alcohol, shopping, smoking cigarettes and consuming other nicotine releasing substances, illicit stimulants, and various things that feel good to us. Dopamine releasing behaviors done carelessly or irresponsibly can give us a temporary state of feeling good, thus the rewarding response facilitates cyclical repetitive behavioral patterns. In the long run, poor behaviors have the potential to wreak havoc on ourselves and everyone around us. Alternatively, healthy ways to elevate the neurotransmitter dopamine include physical activity, meditation, sunlight, hobbies, music, love-making, massage, and other enjoyable and beneficial activities. What beneficial modalities are you incorporating each day to increase dopamine in your life? What nonproductive activities and habits can be eradicated and replaced with productive responsible routines?

Changed Mind Equals Changed Life

Downregulation decreases neurotransmitter receptors, whereas upregulation increases receptors. Sensitivity to molecules decreases with downregulation. Smoking anything containing nicotine can cause upregulation, necessitating more nicotine to obtain similar effects. Additionally, note that nicotine has an affinity for the hemoglobin molecule, which is on the red blood cell carrying oxygen to every cell in our body. Nicotine takes the place of approximately half of the oxygen molecules on hemoglobin. Remember that oxygen is life and life ends when our oxygen supply ends. In ischemia, lack of oxygen perfusing or circulating to tissue and vital organs, cells can die. If this sounds scary, it’s because it is! If you’re serious about stopping smoking—do it! Read the book, “The Little Engine That Could,” each night for 30 days. You can do anything with a changed and made up mind.