Read the article, “Neurobiology of Nicotine Addiction: Implications for Smoking Cessation Treatment”. How does the information presented in this paper compare to the research in your text presented about the neurobiology of nicotine addiction? What research is most compelling and helpful in understanding nicotine addiction?
Addiction to tobacco use is sustained by nicotine. Nicotine addiction causes premature disability and death. According to molecular studies by Benowitz (2008), the receptor that mediates nicotine dependence is α4β2 nicotionic acetylcholine receptor. Nicotine activates cholinergic receptors that facilitate release of dopamine hence producing mood modulation, pleasure and stimulation. Consistent and consecutive exposure to nicotine leads to neuro-adaptation resulting to tolerance and other effects.
When a smoker stops taking in nicotine once the neuro-adaptation takes place, nicotine withdrawal syndrome ensures. Anxiety, irritability, increased eating; dysphoria and hedonic dysregulation characterize withdrawal. When nicotine is inhaled, it is absorbed into the pulmonary venous circulation and diffused into the brain and binds into the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) (Benowitz, 2008).
The pharmacologic effects of nicotine aid tobacco addiction. Hence, pharmacotherapy is important in understanding nicotine as the major component of tobacco dependence. Pharmacologic treatment as an aid to cessation of smocking should aim to blocking of positive reinforcement effects of nicotine and reduction of withdrawal symptom.
According to the cited text, other than direct role of nicotine, conditioned stimuli, for example, tastes and smells of smoke aid in sustaining tobacco smoking. Therefore, nicotine addiction is not only maintained by positive reinforcing effects, but also through avoidance of negative consequence withdrawal. Smoking cessation is aided by nicotine medication, bupropion, and pharmacotherapy. According to Tiwari, et al, (2020), Varenicline, which is a partial agonist of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, reduces withdrawal symptoms by maintaining a reduced level of dopamine in the brain. It also blocks the reinforcing effects of smoking during a lapse.
Between the two research, Benowits (2008) research is compelling, but not as detailed as the research in the text since I does not delve deeper onto the full spectrum of the neurobiological mechanisms that underline tobacco addiction and the pharmacological properties of ceasing addiction.
Benowitz, N. (2008). Neurobiology of Nicotine Addiction: Implications for Smoking Cessation
Treatment. The American journal of medicine. 121. S3 10.10.1016/j.amjmed.2008.01.015.
Tiwari, R. K., Sharma, V., Pandey, R. K., & Shukla, S. S. (2020). Nicotine Addiction:
Neurobiology and Mechanism. Journal of pharmacopuncture, 23(1), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.3831/KPI.2020.23.001