Is nicotine an upper or downer

Nicotine acts as both an upper (stimulant) and a downer (depressant). First, it sparks a release of the hormone epinephrine, which stimulates the nervous system and is responsible for the pleasure felt. Nicotine also promotes the release of the hormone beta-endorphin, which blocks pain signals from nerves. Fatigue and a drop in mood soon follow, prompting the smoker to seek more nicotine.

Withdrawal symptoms:

  • Anxiety
    Concentration difficulties
    Increase appetite
    Depressed mood
    Nicotine cravings
    Aggression, hostility, and anger
    Difficulty coping with stress

Not medical advice: Most symptoms diminish within three to four weeks. An increased appetite and cravings may linger for months. Upon request your doctor may prescribe Chantix (varenicline) or the antidepressant Zyban (bupropion), which can help decrease your desire to smoke.

Of interest, an Oregon lawmaker recently proposed a bill that would make nicotine a controlled substance and require a prescription for use. People caught without a prescription would face a $6,200 fine or a year in jail.

Updated on Thursday, January 31 2013 at 05:13AM EST
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