Does Smoking Drive Us to Drink: Nicotine, Combined with Stress Hormones, Affects Brain Chemistry in a Way That May Increase Alcohol Use

By Hetrick, Keturah | The Futurist, March-April 2014 | Go to article overview

Does Smoking Drive Us to Drink: Nicotine, Combined with Stress Hormones, Affects Brain Chemistry in a Way That May Increase Alcohol Use


Hetrick, Keturah, The Futurist


Smoking has been associated with a risk for alcohol abuse, but, until recently, nobody quite understood why. Research from Baylor College of Medicine, published in the journal Neuron, sought a connection between nicotine exposure and the brain's subsequent chemical response to alcohol. What the scientists found was that smoking makes your brain want to drink more.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter--a chemical that transmits information from one neuron to another. Neurotransmitters serve a wide range of purposes. The neurotransmitter melanin helps to regulate our circadian rhythms; oxytocin promotes bonding between mothers and infants. Dopamine plays myriad roles, from influencing attention span to altering mood to aiding us in voluntary muscle control. It also factors into addiction.

When a person is exposed to certain mind-altering substances, such as alcohol or cocaine, dopamine levels increase. As the drug's effects wear off, dopamine levels return to normal. Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to frequent floods of dopamine as a result of drug or alcohol use, creating a chemical "need" for that particular substance.

In the experiment, rats were first injected with either nicotine or saline. Three hours later, they were intravenously administered alcohol until their brain alcohol concentrations reached roughly the same levels as a human's might. Nicotine's half-life--the time it takes for nicotine levels to fall to half their original concentration--is about 45 minutes in rats. Researchers chose to wait three hours after nicotine injection to minimize the nicotine's pharmacological effects.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The rats that had been injected with saline (the control group) experienced an increase in dopamine compared with their original, pre-saline and pre-alcohol levels. Those that had been injected with nicotine did not show higher dopamine levels. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Does Smoking Drive Us to Drink: Nicotine, Combined with Stress Hormones, Affects Brain Chemistry in a Way That May Increase Alcohol Use
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.