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Posted on August 23rd, 2017

Smoking: Spikes the risk of drinking and drug abuse

Smoking: Spikes the risk of drinking and drug abuse

Adolescence is the critical phase when one is extremely excited about experimenting and exploring anything and everything. Smoking is one of the habits that teenagers tend to pick up quite early in their life due to peer pressure. A number of evidences suggest that smoking increases the proclivity of abusing drugs and alcohol among teenagers.

While drinking and smoking are closely associated with teens, drug abuse as a practice has also emerged as a rising trend among teens. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that drinking, smoking and drug abuse often go hand in hand.

Befriending each other, it was found that people who consume more alcohol, tend to smoke cigarettes more. Additionally, people who were diagnosed with dependence on any of the drugs were also found to be commonly diagnosed with dependence on other illicit drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.

Apparently, nicotine boosts one’s interest in alcohol, irrespective of number of hours elapsed after the consumption of nicotine. Though nicotine spikes the level of dopamine that is responsible for triggering the feeling of euphoria, it also diminishes the ability of the brain to respond to the brain. As a result, one needs more amount of alcohol to experience the same level of euphoria.

This is the primary reason why people who smoke are more likely to consume alcohol. In fact, smokers who are dependent on tobacco are four times more likely at risk of depending on alcohol than nonsmokers. While the rate of smoking has been found to be low among the public, the numbers tend to remain considerably high among people who indulge in drinking.

Co-occurrence of smoking, drug and alcohol addiction

Understanding the interaction between alcohol, tobacco and drugs can be challenging as their co-occurrence is quite common and work based on the same mechanisms in the brain. Whatsoever, there are several mechanisms that may explain the contributing factors of alcohol, nicotine, and drug use. Some of these mechanisms could be the role of genes involved in regulating certain brain chemicals, neurobiological mechanisms like cross-tolerance and cross-sensitization to drugs, conditioning mechanisms where cravings for alcohol or drugs are triggered by specific environmental and psychosocial factors like work stress or coexisting psychiatric disorders, etc. As has been noted, the role of genetics has been widely recognized in influencing an individual’s interest toward a particular substance.

Using epidemiological, behavioral and genetic approaches, it was found that early smoking and alcoholism has a strong biological connection. Consequently, drinking and substance abuse are quite predominant along with smoking tendencies in a person, especially teenagers who are much more vulnerable than adults. Some of the findings also suggest that nicotine increases the level of the stress hormone glucocorticoids that tend to decrease the level of dopamine-related pleasure. This increases one’s vulnerability toward other substances.

Moreover, use of psychoactive substances like alcohol or drugs significantly increases during teenage to early adolescent years. Therefore, one needs to implement strict vigilance to avoid early exposure to nicotine in the form of smoking and other illicit practices.

American teens more disposed to alcohol and drugs

According to a study, it was found that many teen smokers in the United States, even those who only light up occasionally, tend to use other drugs. Out of the 176 participants who took part in the study in San Francisco, nearly 96 percent of them said that they had used at least two other substances besides cigarettes.

The study found that the other substances were alcohol, marijuana and other tobacco products. Additionally, about 16 percent of the participants reported using hard drugs like cocaine, hallucinogens and ecstasy, as well as misuse of prescription medications.

The researchers also established a connection between teens’ drug use and the onset of depressive symptoms within one, two and three years later. The study author Karma McKelvey said that the percentage of teens who used harder drugs remained consistent over the study period. This further entails the persistence of chronic pattern of smoking and drug use in later years in these adolescents.

Get addiction-free through holistic treatments

Several studies have confirmed that cigarette smoking is the gateway to illegal substance use. The startling results have reinforced the close relationship between drug abuse and smoking. Different drugs cause different types of reactions in the brain. Usually, treatment varies from person to person and depending on the type of drugs used and the duration.

The first line of a holistic addiction treatment is detox that helps in managing withdrawal symptoms arising due to the abstinence of the drug of choice. It also removes the harmful toxins accumulated in the body due to a prolonged use of the substance, thus aiding in the physiological healing. Post detox, psychotherapies and other experiential treatments are administered to a patient for long-term sobriety.

If you wish to know more about detoxification, you can get in touch with the Arizona Detox Helpline to access more information about the best detox centers in Arizona. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-593-8453 or chat online to learn about one of the best detoxification treatment centers in Arizona.