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Trauma & Nicotine Addiction

Have you ever been curious as to the reasons behind why people smoke?  If you asked them, you might hear, “I don’t know, it’s just something to do, especially when I’m nervous about something,” or, “I know it’s not good for you, but…”  

Research in the fields of sociology, addiction, and physiology; have shown that addictions can be in many cases, the result of direct emotional and physical abuse during childhood.  This is a crucial stage of life in which our character traits are molded and shaped, whether for good or bad.  Our adulthood, by contrast, is where we are more able to process information from our environment and make conscious decisions based on our experiences. But even this ability, can be impeded by traumatic events that occurred during youth.

One mark of addiction is cognitive dissonance, or the mental separation between the reality of a situation and what a person believes things to be.  In the example above, nicotine addiction, from an emotional perspective, can be triggered by one or more traumatic events in one’s life. From a physiological standpoint, however, cells are damaged, hormone levels are shifted and cardiac and brain functions are severely altered.  Hence, there is difficulty in ceasing addictive habits.  One’s internal and external factors must be changed before both understanding the reasons for addictive behavior, and changing said behavior, can be accomplished.

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