The Effect of Nicotine Withdrawal-induced Stress on Chronic Anxiety in Adolescence and Adulthood




Taylor, Kathryn

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Tobacco users generally start their habit during adolescence; 80-90% of tobacco-using adults report that they had their first tobacco experience before they turned 18 (Manhaes, Guthierrez, Filgueiras, & Abreu-Villaca, 2008). According to Manhaes et al. (2008), evidence found early in adolescence indicates that the brain of an adolescent is easily more susceptible to gaining and maintaining a strong dependence on tobacco. Smoking during adolescence is associated with future use that is typically chronic and this usage lessens the likelihood of decreased nicotine consumption over time. There are many factors that play a role in adolescent nicotine use. Anxiety is known to be a crucial factor for initiating nicotine use because of the motivating factor to continue consumption due to elevated anxiety. Although nicotine temporarily alleviates anxiety for tobacco users, increased anxiety is also a symptom of tobacco withdrawal (Manhaes et al., 2008). The differences between adolescent and adult nicotine consumption differ greatly. This study sought to understand these anxiety differences through withdrawal symptoms associated with cessation of chronic nicotine use. This study was essential in order to better understand how nicotine consumption illustrates and modifies behavior after withdrawal symptoms occur. Adults and adolescents were divided into eight groups: adolescent/adult saline familiar, adolescent/adult saline unfamiliar, adolescent/adult nicotine familiar, adolescent/adult nicotine unfamiliar.. The nicotine was administered to nicotine withdrawal groups at 4.7 mg/kg for adolescents and 3.2 mg/kg for adults for 7 days via osmotic minipumps to promote chronic nicotine addiction. A dose of 1.5 mg/kg for adolescents and 3.0 mg/kg for adults of mecamylamine was given to all groups during EPM testing and on OF trial day 3 to test the effects of withdrawal-induced stress that promotes anxiety-like behavior. Once tested, adolescents showed no significant differences when environment type was manipulated. Adolescents exhibited less anxiety-like behavior during withdrawal on the OF task. Even when exposed to a novel environment, adolescents still maintained a lower amount of anxiety-like behavior than adults.This further supported the notion that adolescents differ in their reactions to withdrawal when compared to adults.



Nicotine, Anxiety, Adolescence, Mecamylamine, Withdrawal, Stress