Emily Benitez ● October 09, 2023

Tobacco and nicotine addiction have long been subjects of public health concern. By now, most people know that smoking or using other tobacco products can harm your health in the long run. But beyond the well-known health risks, you may not realize that they’re secretly messing with your mood.

Tobacco and nicotine can have a hidden impact on your emotional wellbeing. While brushing up on the subject, here’s a few of our findings that might surprise you.

1. The Mysterious Nicotine High

Nicotine, the culprit behind tobacco addiction, possesses a remarkable ability to swiftly and stealthily infiltrate the intricate web of neurotransmitters in your brain. As soon as you take that first puff, nicotine hijacks your brain's reward system. The primary weapon in nicotine's arsenal is the release of dopamine, often referred to as the "feel-good" neurotransmitter.

This burst of dopamine is akin to a sudden rush of euphoria, creating a temporary mood enhancement that can make you feel great. The catch is that it doesn’t last long, forcing you into a cycle of chasing that elusive nicotine high. It's this fleeting sense of pleasure that becomes a powerful lure, coaxing individuals to keep lighting up.

2. Anxiety, Stress and the Nicotine Rollercoaster

The relationship between nicotine and anxiety is perplexing. You could even compare it to a rollercoaster ride, with unpredictable twists and turns. At first, nicotine seems like a soothing balm for frayed nerves, promising relaxation and stress relief. Many smokers turn to cigarettes as a coping mechanism during moments of anxiety or stress, believing that the act of smoking calms their jangled nerves.

However, this soothing effect is deceptively short-lived. As nicotine begins to leave the body, withdrawal symptoms start to emerge, and they bring their sinister companions: heightened anxiety and stress. The very substance that initially offered solace becomes the catalyst for a vicious cycle. Smokers find themselves trapped in a perpetual struggle to alleviate the stress they unwittingly invited, with each cigarette exacerbating the problem and perpetuating the addiction.

In short: while the act of smoking may seem calming, NHS studies show that nicotine can actually increase stress levels.

3. Mood Swings: The Nicotine Tug of War

Nicotine addiction is a relentless battle for control over your emotional well-being. Your mood becomes a battleground where brief moments of euphoria, induced by nicotine, clash with the subsequent lows that follow its departure. The oscillation between these extreme emotional states is a cruel tug-of-war, leaving you in a constant state of flux.

During moments of nicotine-induced highs, you may experience elation and a temporary sense of well-being. However, as the effects of nicotine wear off, irritability, sadness, and even bursts of anger can quickly take over. This rollercoaster of emotions becomes a taxing experience, not only for the smoker but also for those around them. It disrupts relationships, makes daily life unpredictable, and fosters a reliance on nicotine to maintain emotional equilibrium.

Nicotine's impact on the brain and your emotional well-being is far from straightforward. While it may offer fleeting moments of pleasure and relief, it locks individuals into a complex web of stress, and mood swings.

Understanding the nature of nicotine's influence is vital for anyone seeking to break free from its grasp and regain control over their choices.
Recognising that nicotine can affect your emotions is a crucial first step for those ready to break free from its grasp. If you or someone you know is struggling, you're not alone – there's help and support waiting to guide you toward a brighter, nicotine-free future.