Women may now have a better understanding on why it is so hard to quit smoking.
A recent study shows that a woman’s brain reacts differently to nicotine than for men.
It was once thought that once you start smoking, the number of nicotine receptors increased in the brain. While this still holds true, it is only accurate for men. During the study the researchers saw something completely different with the female smokers.
The research showed that women smokers didn’t have anymore nicotine receptors than the non-smoker participants.
“When you look at it by gender, you see this big difference,” study researcher Kelly Cosgrove, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine told Rachael Rettner from MyHealthNewsDaily.
This finding is important for a few reasons. For one, it has been believed by some that nicotine has been the primary reason behind people being addicted to smoking. This study shows that this belief is truer for men than for women. The other reason this study is important is because it shows that women will not benefit as much using quitting aids as men. The popular nicotine patch and gum will still be helpful to men, but women finding it harder to quit smoking may need to try other methods.
The study suggests women smokers may find behavioral therapies to be more successful in their attempt to quit. It appears for women, other elements of smoking is what fuels habits and not specifically the nicotine. The smell, holding a cigarette or the act of smoking may be what causes the triggers.
Treatments that are more behavioral related could help a women be more successful at quitting; such as relaxation techniques, exercise and non-nicotine medications.
In Rettner’s article she talked to Dr. Len Horovtz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, about why there is such a difference between men and women’s brain. He agreed more attention is needed on the non-nicotine related smoking therapies.
Not only is non-nicotine related smoking therapies good for women, but because sometimes the addiction goes further than just the addiction to nicotine, even for men. For many people, smoking is a big stress reliever, just the act of taking a deep breath is part of what calms them down. Breathing exercises may be an option because they mimic puffing on a cigarette.
April 4th, 2012