The mind is incredibly influential in the way people interact with the world, but most of us underestimate its true power. In a new study from the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute showed that the way people see their cigarettes has a major impact on how they inhale the nicotine that fuels their cigarette addiction. Those who believed they were smoking nicotine-free cigarettes had significantly different brain activity than those who thought they were smoking regular cigarettes, even though the tobacco products were identical in both groups. This information could play an important role in drug addiction therapy in the future.
How Your Brain Impacts Nicotine Addiction
In the study, researchers gave two groups of smokers identical sets of cigarettes to smoke. One group was told that the cigarettes were nicotine-free, while the other group was told they were smoking regular cigarettes. After smoking the cigarettes, the participants played a rewards-based game while the researchers assessed neural signals from their brains. The results were fairly surprising.
The group who believed they were smoking non-nicotine cigarettes did not respond as strongly to the cigarettes as the other group. In the rewards game that followed, the nicotine group had much more brain activity in their reward-learning pathways. This suggests that the way people perceive cigarettes plays a pivotal role in nicotine addiction, and possibly other forms of substance abuse.
How This Belief Study Differs From Placebo Studies
Countless placebo studies have drawn conclusions about the mind’s influence in tobacco addiction, showing that people experienced addiction relief simply by believing that they were getting treatment. This study goes beyond the placebo effect though, illustrating how beliefs enhance or negate nicotine’s effect on brain activity.
Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said, “The current findings extend the relevance of dopamine-guided learning processes to the experience of how drug intoxication influences the way the human brain works and orchestrates our behaviors.”
Using Cigarette Addiction Therapy To Control Your Addiction
While it may seem optimistic to think you can control your cigarette addiction just by changing the way you think, the fact is that your mind is the biggest obstacle in your addiction. With drug addiction therapy, you can identify the real reason why you are addicted and find new ways to get through the stress in your life. One of the counselors at Perspectives Of Troy would be happy to assist you in conquering your cigarette addiction for good!