Is Nicotine a Drug?

Those who say that nicotine is not a drug are likely trying to say that it is not a hard drug like cocaine or PCP. But it is most definitely a drug, as a drug is defined as any substance that has a physiological effect on the body when ingested or otherwise deposited into the body.

What that means is that the substance changes the way the body is functioning or would function naturally. This is something that doesn’t provide anything the body needs but is introduced to change the way the body is operating. That is why its good to know whether is Nicotine a Drug.

cigarette-nicotineNicotine falls into that category easily, because of the effects it has on the body. Let’s look at some of those effects. They physiological effects include its addictive properties, its pharmacologic effects and its psychodynamic effects. We’ll break down each of these categories further and what those effects include.

Most people understand that nicotine is addictive. It creates both physical and mental addiction. Withdrawal from the drug produces a number of symptoms, including anxiousness, nervousness, shaking, moodiness, depression, inattentiveness and cravings. Those who smoke for a while then quit find themselves struggling to overcome these side effects and beat their cravings.

It is difficult for those who have become addicted to cease their habit. They often require outside help in the form of counseling, therapy or coaching to assist them in quitting their nicotine addiction.

The pharmacologic effects are those that are produced when small amounts of the drug are introduced into the body. With nicotine these include an increased heart rate, higher heart stroke volume and an increase in how much oxygen is consumed by the heart. Basically, your heart is working overtime when nicotine is inside your body. This stresses the heart unnecessarily, and continued stress can lead to the development of heart problems.

Psychodynamic effects are similar to psychological effects. They change your mental state. With nicotine these effects are a sense of euphoria, increased awareness and a state of relaxation.

nicotineThere is no doubt that nicotine is a drug and a harmful one at that. In small doses, the harm may be minimal, but over time, prolonged usage leads to greater and greater negative effects. Quite possible, what makes nicotine so dangerous is how it is often perceived as a mostly harmless drug. Because people are not as cautious of its effects as they should be, they treat its use lightly and cause more damage to themselves than they might with a much stronger drug.

It is also important to consider the effects that nicotine use, as relates to smoking, can have on bystanders. Second-hand smoke has long been considered a problem by those who do not smoke or use nicotine. Through this secondary effect, nicotine users are harming those around them who have chosen not to use the drug. It is important to consider these effects when talking about nicotine and its dangers, because it is often a drug that affects more than just those who use it for themselves.

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