Frequently, cigarette smokers will state that they want to quit smoking, but can’t. In these cases, is there a difference between dependence and addiction? From a neurobiological perspective, explain why quitting smoking is very easy for some individuals and very challenging for others.
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In substance abuse., addiction and dependence are correlated but differ. A cigarette smoker is an explicit example of assessing the differences between the two associated substance abuse terms. Addiction is a behavioral attribute associated with chronic recurrence., i.e., if a smoker habitually smokes implicitly and consciously, the smoking becomes an addiction. Biological markers in the brain identify the behavioral changes causing addiction in the brain associated with tobacco and any other form of substance abuse (Addiction Center, 2022). On the other hand, dependency for smokers, i.e., nicotine dependence, is an associated disease caused by addictive behavior characterized by several symptoms such as the compulsive craving to smoke and headaches, among other withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking., An example of an assessment used to determine nicotine dependency in smokers is the amount of time they spend when they wake up before caving a cigarette.
Smoking is a major avoidable cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States and across the globe. Quitting smoking causes severe physiological, emotional, and cognitive symptoms of withdrawal. As many as 50%–75% of smokers relapse within the first week of trying to quit smoking (Ashare et al., 2014). Most smokers find it difficult to quit smoking. From a neurological perspective., suppose a smoker can quickly stop the addictive behavior. It indicates a large connection between the insula, i.e., the part associated with the development of addictive behaviors, and the somatosensory cortex, whose function is to receive and process sensory information. The insula lights up when a smoker is craving nicotine. Individuals who suffer damage within the associative brain region can voluntarily eliminate nicotine cravings or the urge to consume cigarettes (Tavee, 2012). The smokers that find quitting smoking hard. are associated with major reward systems, which release dopamine, which takes place in the ventral tegmental region (VTA), which is then released to the nucleus accumbent and the prefrontal cortex. Almost immediately after nicotine intake, the smoker feels mood enhancement, greater attention, reduced tension and anxiety, and remission of withdrawal symptoms. The smoker with heightened reward systems develops dependency symptoms quickly, making it difficult to quit the addictive behavior.
Addiction Center. (2022). Understanding the Dependence Vs. Addiction Debate. Addiction Center., Accessed from: https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-vs-dependence/
Ashare, R. L., Falcone, M., & Lerman, C. (2014). Cognitive function during nicotine withdrawal: Implications for nicotine dependence treatment. Neuropharmacology, 76 Pt B (0 0), 581–591. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.04.034
Tavee J. (2012). Smoking cessation for the neurologic patient. Neurology. Clinical practice, 2(2), 112–121. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1212/CPJ.0b013e31825a7812