Share
Explore BrainMass

How Nicotine Addiction Affects the Body

A brief explanation of how nicotine addiction affects the body. Then explain the physiological mechanisms of nicotine addiction. Explain two ways knowledge of physiological mechanisms of addiction might affect a society's response to the problem of addiction.

Solution Preview

The physiological mechanisms of nicotine addiction define how it affects the body, so let's discuss both of them in unison.

Nicotine is a compound that is chemically similar to endogenous substances in the body, such as acetylcholine (ACh). ACh is a neurotransmitter that is used across all nervous systems in different capacities. The most relevant of these is the usage of ACh as an excitatory neurotransmitter in the autonomic nervous system. When ACh binds to its receptors (there are a few) expressed on target cells, it causes the recipient cell to become physiologically excited. For example, When ACh binds to its receptor on another neuron, the receptor elicits a reaction that causes ion channels in the area to open and cause the influx of cations, depolarizing the cell and exciting the neuron. This ultimately means signal transduction in the recipient neuron. In other systems, such as smooth muscle, ACh binds to its receptor and can cause contraction of that smooth muscle. Such is the case in areas such as the airways, heart and intestines.

In the case of neuron excitability, keep in mind that if this occurs in the brain, certain psychological effects may come about. Since ACh is an excitatory neurotransmitter, many times it activates and enhances cognitive function. So it's ...

Solution Summary

The expert determines how nicotine addiction affects the body is determined. Two ways knowledge of physiological mechanisms of addiction might affect a society's response to the problem of addiction are determined.

$2.19