Tobacco addiction remains an important issue worldwide and in the US. Nicotine is the main addictive substance in cigarettes. It is a drug that affects many parts of the human body, including the brain.
In 2016, an estimated 15 percent (around 37.8 million) of American adults smoked cigarettes.
Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Ohio, are8 states where at least 21.8% of adults are smokers.
In poorer countries, up to 30 percent of income is spent on tobacco, reducing funds available for education, nutrition, and health care.
Smoking tobacco causes lung cancer and many other types of cancer as well as serious breathing problems, heart disease, gum disease, stomach ulcers, and damage to babies of pregnant women who smoke.
Actually, cigarette smoking accounts for 20 percent of US deaths. For instance, smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined:
- firearm-related incidents;
- motor vehicle injuries;
- alcohol use;
- illegal drug use;
- human immunodeficiency virus.
Moreover, smoking-related illness in the US costs over $300 billion per year, including $156 billion in lost productivity and $170 billion in direct medical care for adults.
There are approximately 1.1 billion tobacco users in the world. This number is expected to increase to 1.6 billion over the next 20 years.
Without taking action, about 1 billion people could die from tobacco-related diseases this century.
For some individuals, using any amount of tobacco can quickly lead to nicotine dependence. Signs and symptoms of being addicted include:
- giving up social or recreational activities in order to smoke;
- smoking despite health problems;
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop;
- despite one or more attempts to give up, one can’t stop smoking.
Side effects of tobacco addiction withdrawal include:
- hostility or anger;
- sadness or depression;
- increased appetite;
- trouble sleeping (insomnia);
- mood swings;
- slowed heart rate;
- problems thinking clearly;
- difficulty focusing on tasks;
- feeling restless;
Alcohol is a depressant. This means that it slows down activity in the brain. In addition, alcohol triggers the release of dopamine, an important endogenous catecholamine that’s associated with satisfaction and pleasure.
Alcoholism, also referred to as alcohol use disorder or alcohol dependence, occurs when you drink so much that your physical body eventually becomes addicted or dependent on alcohol.
86.4% of people ages 18 or older drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Important note – women absorb more alcohol and metabolize it more slowly, and they’re also at significantly higher risk for long-term damage from alcohol intake.
In the US, about 14 million adults have an alcoholism problem or abuse alcohol.
Every year, over 80,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths in the US, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Blood Alcohol Content
In general, the following percentage ranges roughly describe the short-term effects possible at different blood alcohol content levels:
- 0.35 – 0.80 percent – profound respiratory depression, coma, death possible;
- 0.25 – 0.40 percent – intermittent unconsciousness, severe loss of muscle coordination, loss of bladder control, a slower than normal heart rate (bradycardia);
- 0.20 – 0.30 percent – marked confusion, nausea, ataxia, vomiting;
- 0.10 – 0.20 percent – delayed reaction time, marked sedation, balance/vision disturbances;
- 0.03 – 0.10 percent – mood enhancement, mild euphoria, lowered anxiety.
Symptoms of Alcoholism
Common symptoms include:
- feeling a strong urge or craving to drink alcohol;
- finding excuses to drink;
- tremors in the morning after you have drunk;
- inability to control how much you drink;
- alcohol-induced illnesses;
- wanting to cut down on how much you drink;
- failing to meet obligations because of your alcohol use;
- recovering from alcohol use;
- spending a lot of time drinking;
- tolerance to alcohol which requires you to drink more than you used to;
- continuing to drink alcohol even though you know it is causing social, physical, or interpersonal problems;
- memory lapses due to blackouts while drinking;
- using alcohol in situations where it is not safe, like – when swimming or driving;
- giving up or reducing work and social activities.
Alcoholism withdrawal symptoms include:
- persistent insomnia (disrupted sleep on several nights a week that lasts for months and years);
- extreme agitation;
- profuse sweating, even in cold conditions;
- an uncontrolled shaking of the hands;
There are numerous risk factors which play a role in the development of alcohol addiction, including:
- having a close relative with alcohol use disorder;
- consuming more than 5 drinks per day at least once a week;
- consuming more than 12 drinks per week if you are female;
- consuming more than 15 drinks per week if you are male;
- living in a family where alcohol use is common;
- experiencing a high level of emotional stress;
- having low self-esteem;
- being a young adult experiencing peer pressure;
- having a mental health problem, like – anxiety, depression (alcohol use actually causes the condition), or schizophrenia;
- having a parent with an alcohol use disorder.
Spiritual Meaning of Tobacco Addiction
The lungs symbolize the idea of freedom and communication – the very thing you are trying to get through smoking. However, your wishes become more confusing during this process.
Become aware of what you really want and then you will be able to give up much easier.
Spiritual Meaning of Alcoholism
Non-discriminatory use of alcohol is often the result of trying to get rid of conflicts. By drinking alcohol you are only trying to wash away the problems and conflicts without having the courage to “chew” them.
People who regularly drink alcoholic beverages, often have feelings of frustration, inferiority or guilt, which are now aggravated by alcohol addiction.
Learn to love yourself with all your weaknesses. Accepting these aspects as being part of who you are at some point in your life will be the first step in overcoming them.
Practicing mindfulness meditation can help you find peace, self-esteem, and well-being and will also give you the power to solve your problems instead of escaping them.