Substance Use

Does Nicotine Help You Sober Up?

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Nicotine, which is the main psychoactive ingredient found in cigarettes, increases alertness but will not help you get sober. With time, your body will naturally eliminate alcohol, decreasing the blood alcohol. Cigarette smoking or vaping will not speed up this process.

If you’re having difficulty staying sober, you’re not alone. Addiction is a disease that causes intense cravings, making it harder to stop.

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What is Nicotine, and How Does it Work?

Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical compound found in tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and vaping devices. (1) Its interaction with the body’s systems, particularly the brain, plays a crucial role in addiction.

  1. Chemical Nature of Nicotine:
    • Alkaloid Compound: Nicotine belongs to the alkaloid class of chemicals known for their psychoactive effects. (2)
    • Stimulant Properties: Nicotine acts as a stimulant, leading to increased alertness and heightened cognitive functions.
  2. Effects on the Brain:
    • Dopamine Release: Nicotine stimulates the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This surge in dopamine creates a sense of satisfaction and reinforces addictive behavior. (3)
  3. Behavioral and Perceptual Impact:
    • Addictive Behavior: The pleasurable sensations induced by nicotine contribute to the development of addictive habits.
    • Enhanced Cognitive Function: Nicotine can temporarily improve concentration, attention, and memory. (4)
  4. Nicotine and Alcohol Interaction:
    • Combined Effects: When nicotine and alcohol are consumed together, they can interact in complex ways.
    • Mutual Reinforcement: Both substances influence dopamine release, potentially reinforcing each other’s effects and increasing the likelihood of co-use.
  5. Impact on Health:
    • Addiction Potential: The combined use of nicotine and alcohol may increase the risk of developing a dual addiction.
    • Health Consequences: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are independently linked to numerous health issues, including cardiovascular problems and an increased risk of cancer.

Understanding the workings of nicotine provides insights into its addictive nature and the potential consequences of combined use with alcohol or drug abuse. Acknowledging the risks associated with these substances is essential for making informed decisions about their consumption.

Can Smoking Make You Sober Up?

Smoking cigarettes can make you appear sober by temporarily giving you an energy boost, but it will not eliminate alcohol from your system. The process of elimination takes place in the liver. The amount of alcohol you consume and your current state of health can slow this process.

Toxins must naturally work through your bloodstream before leaving the body unless you’re given medication to speed up this process. (5)

No, smoking a cigarette will not help you get sober. The thought behind smoking cigarettes to sober up is related to their inclusion of nicotine.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, nicotine causes the release of dopamine. This helps you feel more alert by binding in the limbic system, which is the part of your brain responsible for pleasure and reward.

This is thought to counteract the effects of intoxication, which makes you tired. However, there are no studies or evidence supporting this claim or the claim that nicotine can speed up the process of getting sober. 

Nicotine is highly addictive and may actually enhance some of the adverse health effects of intoxication.

Healthy Alternatives to Nicotine for Coping with Alcohol Effects

A few things you can do to minimize alcohol-related side effects are:

  • Stay hydrated — Staying hydrated can help flush toxins from your system. However, drinking excessively will not speed up the process in which your body eliminates these toxins.
  • Exercise — According to the National Library of Medicine, physical activity can improve your blood circulation, which helps your body metabolize drugs and alcohol.
  • Abstain from further alcohol use or substance use — drinking more alcohol can slow down the process of elimination. It can also increase your risk of developing toxicity, which is dangerous.

Disclaimer: If you’re suffering from alcohol addiction, these methods will only make you or your loved one feel better temporarily. There are more suitable treatment options for alcohol abuse. Speak to your healthcare provider if your alcohol consumption is out of control.

Do You Have a Nicotine Addiction?

Chronic tobacco or nicotine vape use can cause addiction. If you smoke a cigarette or vape whenever you drink, you may have a nicotine addiction.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that the long-term effects of nicotine use are often caused by nicotine dependence, leading to withdrawal.

Heavy smokers are more likely to suffer from the negative effects of nicotine, but almost anyone who smokes will have some degree of withdrawal.

The following are the most common withdrawal symptoms: (6)

  • Craving a cigarette even if you no longer want to smoke.
  • Feeling irritated or cranky when you’re not smoking.
  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
  • Difficulty concentrating and focusing.
  • Eating more and gaining weight shortly after quitting.
  • Feeling nervous, anxious, or jittery.

The best way to avoid the risk of nicotine addiction is to quit smoking and find effective ways to counter the effects of alcohol. 

Negative Effects of Cigarette Smoking and Vaping

Cigarette smoking and vaping can have significant negative effects on both short-term well-being and long-term health. It’s crucial to understand the potential risks associated with these behaviors.

  1. Short-Term Effects:
    • Immediate Nicotine Impact: Smoking and vaping deliver nicotine quickly to the bloodstream, causing a surge in heart rate and temporary adrenaline release.
    • Respiratory Impact: Irritation of the respiratory system can lead to coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
    • Reduced Oxygen Intake: Inhaling smoke or vapor reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the body’s cells, affecting overall energy levels. (7)
  2. Long-Term Health Impacts:
    • Respiratory Issues: Prolonged smoking and vaping increase the risk of chronic respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
    • Cardiovascular Risks: Both activities contribute to cardiovascular problems, including an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure can be present.
    • Cancer Risk: Smoking is a major cause of various cancers, including lung, throat, and mouth cancers. While vaping is considered less harmful, long-term effects are still under research.
  3. Addiction and Mental Health:
    • Nicotine Dependency: Nicotine in cigarettes and vaping products is highly addictive, leading to dependency and difficulty quitting.
    • Mental Health Impact: Smoking has been linked to mental health issues, including increased anxiety and depression risk.
  4. Secondhand Smoke and Vapor:
    • Environmental Impact: Secondhand smoke from cigarettes and aerosol from vaping can expose others to harmful substances, impacting their health.
    • Youth and Adolescent Risks: Smoking and vaping during adolescence can interfere with brain development and increase the likelihood of addiction.
  5. Quitting Challenges:
    • Withdrawal Symptoms: Quitting smoking or vaping may result in withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, cravings, and mood swings.
    • Health Benefits of Quitting: Despite challenges, quitting offers numerous health benefits, including improved lung function and reduced risk of associated diseases.

Understanding the negative effects of cigarette smoking and vaping is essential for making informed choices about these behaviors. Recognizing both short-term discomforts and potential long-term consequences can motivate individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Health Risks of Combining Nicotine with Drugs or Alcohol

Using nicotine after drinking or getting high is not recommended. Due to nicotine’s highly addictive nature, it comes with its adverse effects.

Continual nicotine use is linked to heart disease, lung disease, and stroke. Funding a nicotine addiction in conjunction with binge drinking or drug use will cause financial strain. Smoking while drunk or high can also impair your judgment.

Aside from the negative consequences of nicotine and alcohol, you may develop symptoms when trying to quit. This is called withdrawal syndrome.

Withdrawal symptoms may start out mild. However, as the brain becomes more dependent on alcohol, it can include hallucinations, seizures, and heart attacks. According to the National Library of Medicine, serious signs of withdrawal indicate a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

Get Help for Substance Abuse Today

If you tried to get sober on your own, but without any luck, there is hope. More than 46.3 million Americans struggle with addiction and tobacco use, so you are not alone. (8)

By recognizing you have an addiction, you’ve already taken the first step toward getting better. Even if you’ve relapsed or struggled to find a way to stop, there are treatment options to help you achieve lasting sobriety.

Enrolling in a residential drug rehab program will give you the support you need. In rehab, you’ll learn ways to address the issues that cause you to drink or use drugs. Rehabilitation facilities like Zinnia Health provide comprehensive treatment programs to help support you on your road to recovery.

These programs include medication-assisted detox, cognitive behavioral therapy, SMART recovery, and 12-step. After graduation, outpatient and aftercare services are available to help remain sober and avoid relapse.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards a happier life, contact Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439, and we’ll help you the rest of the way.


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(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us