Top 5 Psychological Effects of Nicotine

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

The psychological effects of nicotine are directly related to how this addictive substance damages the brain. Many people think that smoking improves certain mental functions, such as concentration and focus. This is because cigarettes are stimulants. They cause a sudden surge in the endorphin levels, which lead to a heightened feeling of alertness. However, this effect doesn’t last long. Actually, it only stays for a couple of minutes. What is left is the severe damage on the neurons, cells, and veins. As a consequence, smokers experience one or more of the following psychological effects:


  1. Addiction. Nicotine addiction is a combination of both the physical and mental responses of a person to cigarettes. Psychologically speaking, the euphoric feelings, coupled with the false perceptions about its ability to improve mental performance, are the root cause of nicotine addiction.
  2. Anxiety. Many smokers think of cigarettes as a cure-all. When they feel bored, they smoke. When they are tired, they smoke to relax. When they are under pressure, they smoke to calm themselves down. Little they know, tobacco is already lifting their anxiety levels and making themselves more vulnerable to mental disorders, such as severe anxiety. One study suggests that nicotine is the cause of anxiety in smokers, and another research says quitting lowers anxiety.
  3. Substance Abuse. In a study by the Oregon Health & Science University, researchers found that people who smoke are twice more likely to develop substance abuse disorder than those who don’t. Also, people with this disorder are less likely to quit than regular smokers. Experts are still unsure whether smoking causes the disorder or vice versa.
  4. Depression. Many people who are depressed resort to smoking to ease the negative feelings. But scientific studies show that smoking doesn’t relieve, rather aggravates depression. Also, research finds that people who smoke are more likely to get depressed than their non-smoking colleagues.
  5. Memory loss. If you are a smoker, you increase your risk of developing memory problems in the future, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. These debilitating conditions do not have cure until now. But you can always prevent them by adopting healthy lifestyles and quitting smoking.

Remember, smoking appears to be psychologically helpful AT FIRST. And it’s all because of its ability to stimulate the production of the feel-good chemicals in your brain. But in the long run, smoking will cause severe damage on your brain, changing its structure and causing the death of healthy cells and neurons. As a result, you experience mental decline. You really don’t want this to happen do you? A good life begins with a healthy mind and body. When you are mentally fit, you become more in control of your life, finances, relationships, and all the things that matter most to you.


Quitting smoking today can certainly save you from the ill psychological effects of smoking. There are many smoking cessation strategies that can help you bust the habit. You can also seek help from professionals. This way, you are securing a healthy, sound, and happy future!



Previous post:

Next post:

Click here to subscribe to my mailing list