Nicotine addiction and comorbidity with alcohol abuse and mental illness

Abstract

The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the global adult population smokes. Because tobacco use is on the rise in developing countries, death resulting from tobacco use continues to rise. Nicotine, the main addictive component of tobacco, initiates synaptic and cellular changes that underlie the motivational and behavioral alterations that culminate in addiction. Nicotine addiction progresses rapidly in adolescents and is most highly expressed in vulnerable people who have psychiatric illness or other substance abuse problems.

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Figure 1: A simplified illustration of several synaptic connections and nicotine-induced events that control DA release in the NAc.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are supported by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, the National Institute on Drug Addiction and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. We thank D. Balfour, C. Borghese, A. Collins, M. De Biasi, L. O'Dell and the members of the Dani laboratory for comments.

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Dani, J., Harris, R. Nicotine addiction and comorbidity with alcohol abuse and mental illness. Nat Neurosci 8, 1465–1470 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1580

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