Smoking is one of the most common types of addictions taking root in the country, especially among the younger population. However, most people who smoke do not realize how addicted to smoking they have become, especially since they believe that they just smoke a few times and can easily give it up whenever they want. Since it is difficult to determine how much is too much when it comes to nicotine consumption, you will find it difficult to make the distinction between casual smoking and addiction.
In most cases, people start smoking as a social habit, having one or two cigarettes with friends without any intention of becoming a chain smoker. However, they do not ever realize when nicotine addiction can creep up on them. So if you are also unable to determine whether you are really addicted to cigarettes or not, here are some things to know.
Questions to Ask Yourself
To determine whether or not you are addicted to smoking, here are some questions you should ask yourself.
- Do you smoke more than five cigarettes every day?
- If you do not smoke, do you feel a craving for cigarettes?
- Do you smoke when you are alone and there are no friends around you?
- Is your smoking level increasing gradually every day?
- Have you ever felt like you need a cigarette before you can do anything?
- Have you ever tried quitting and failed?
- Do you find yourself reaching out for a cigarette unconsciously at times?
- Is a cigarette the first thing you need in the morning?
- Do you light up your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up?
- Do you find it hard to keep away from cigarette in places where it is prohibited?
- Do you usually smoke more in the morning?
- Do you smoke more when you are sick or frustrated?
If your answer to most of these questions is ‘yes’, you are clearly addicted to nicotine to some extent. If you are still not sure, there are other ways to find out whether you are addicted or not.
Experiment by Giving Up Smoking
The best way to find out whether you are addicted to smoking or not is by trying to give it up. If you are addicted, you will most likely start experiencing withdrawal symptoms right away. This will show you that your body is addicted to nicotine. Some of these symptoms include depression, irritability, anger, restlessness, inability to sleep, weight gain, strong craving for cigarettes, and physical sensations like flu or nausea. Headaches, disturbing dreams, hallucinations and dizziness are also some conditions that few people can experience. While these conditions are not as extreme as in case of other drug addictions, nicotine addicts do experience them to some extent, which would clearly indicate whether the addiction exists or not.
Usually, the withdrawal symptoms are worst when you first give up smoking. However, they eventually start subsiding after a few weeks or a month has passed. In some cases, these withdrawal symptoms might linger beyond a month, but they become easier to bear in the long run. In between, you have to be careful so as to not give in to the urge and start smoking again. It is usually observed that craving for a cigarette does not last for more than 10 to 15 minutes on average for most smokers, so getting through these few minutes without giving in is the right strategy to adopt.
If you experience any of these symptoms when you try to give up smoking, there is no doubt about it; you are addicted to nicotine. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and falling into further depression about it, you should get in touch with a health care professional right away to figure out strategies for quitting.
On the other hand, if these symptoms are not as intense, you can simply give up smoking on your own and find something to distract yourself whenever you feel the craving. However, if your withdrawal symptoms get worse, causing you trouble, you will have to consult a professional medical expert to see how deep-rooted your addiction is and how you can make your body free of this nicotine addiction.
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