Monday, February 17, 2014

Do People Light Up To Alleviate Stress

Smoking may calm the nerves breifely, but the end result is more stress.

Cigarettes cause cancer, among several other serious health issues -- so why do people continue to smoke? Short, quick puffs on a high nicotine cigarette stimulate the user more than long, slow drags on a low nicotine cigarette, which may feel relaxing to the user. This is because nicotine acts as a stimulant in small doses, but takes on relaxing properties in larger doses, thus giving off the impression of stress relief.

Causes of Stress

Stress is the body's natural reaction to challenges. You experience stress on a daily basis; some cope better than others. For instance, struggling with bills, arguing with your partner or even being stuck in rush-hour traffic is enough to get the blood boiling. Major life stressors that may affect you for longer periods of time include being laid off, pregnancy and the death of a loved one. Cigarette smokers tend to respond more to stressful situations than non-smokers and consequently use smoking as a way to cope.

Smoking When Stressed

The nicotine in a cigarette releases neurotransmitters in the brain, such as beta-endorphin and norepinephrine, which elevate mood for a short period of time. Also, smoke breaks serve as a time-out from real-world problems and can provide the relief of a support group when around other smokers.

Stress Relief From Smoking

While cigarettes may seem effective at relieving stress and elevating moods, it is not a wise idea to smoke when stressed because the mood heightening effects of nicotine are short-lived. The stress soon returns, and another cigarette is needed to return to normal. Smoking merely masks problems rather than solves them, and leads to bigger problems that cause more stress, such as cancer and death.

Nicotine and Stress

Not only do current smokers add more stress to their daily lives with each cigarette, but ex-smokers also struggle with coping with stress long after quitting. The positive mood changes experienced by smokers is only the alleviation of withdrawal symptoms. Cigarette cravings add even more stress to the daily routine because, according to the American Psychologist, smokers need nicotine to maintain level moods. They also suffer from increased irritability between smokes.

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