If you are already familiar with general workings of the human nervous system, you can skip ahead to Neurons, Neural Networks and Neural Pathways.
Nicotine addiction is caused by nicotine hijacking your nervous system. Prolonged exposure to nicotine physically shapes your brain, significantly disrupting your ability to function as a normal, healthy individual.
To better understand how nicotine causes addiction and how addiction adjusts your brain’s physiology, we need to gain a sound understanding of how our nervous system functions.
We observe and interact with the universe via our nervous system. It is how we gain information about our surroundings and how we instruct our bodies to function within those surroundings. In short, the nervous system is an advanced, biological, information processing system.
The nervous system can be broken down into two basic components. The Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous System.
The Central Nervous System:
The Central Nervous System, consists of the brain and spinal cord. The brain sends and receives messages to and from the body’s muscles and organs via the spinal cord.
The Peripheral Nervous System:
The Peripheral Nervous System includes Somatic nerves, Autonomic nerves and Sensory nerves.
Somatic nerves carry voluntary or conscious messages from the Central Nervous System to muscles.
Autonomic nerves carry automatic and unconscious messages from the Central Nervous System to the bodies vital organs.
Sensory nerves carry messages to the brain from body parts that contain sensory receptors that detect things such as touch, taste, smell, temperature and pain.
The Image Below Demonstrates Three Example Messages.
View the You Tube clip below for an animated example.
Now that you are familiar with the basic workings of the human nervous system, we can delve a little deeper and get to know how messages are actually sent and processed.
In the next part to this series, we will look at nerve cells, otherwise known as neurons.