Self Medicating

I have been doing some reading and reflecting on my own family history (putting my father's 2 pack a day smoking habit in context) and started researching the effect of nicotine (since most ADHD drugs are stimulants) and found some pretty compelling data.

I am pretty impressed with this little guy.

Below are excerpts from two VERY interesting articles on nicotine. The key points are below....


"Behavior inhibition was significantly improved by nicotine compared with placebo in the HI group and impaired by mecamylamine in the CTRL group. Go signal reaction time on the stop signal task was improved by nicotine compared with placebo in the CTRL group and was unchanged in both groups on the choice reaction time test.

"Thus, self-administered nicotine induces a persistent amplification in the brain's sensitivity to rewarding stimuli, an action of nicotine that appears fundamentally different from the long-term actions of other drugs of abuse such as cocaine (Markou and Koob, 1991; Ahmed et al, 2002; Kenny et al, 2003) or heroin (Kenny, Chen, Markou, and Koob, unpublished observations) that usually results in long-term compensatory decreases in the activity of brain reward systems during the early abstinence period."


Anyway... If the mechanism works the same way in humans I think this would explain why nicotine works so well for those with ADHD. Nicotine actually makes less interesting tasks bearable by reducing the reward sensitivity. It would also in part explain the reduction in impulsive behavior in people given they don't have to constantly seek things which will stimulate them.

In any case I have ordered some nicotine gum and plan to self-administer 4mg a day and closely monitory my results.

Keeping my fingers crossed....

Update: 6/27/2012
I tried this for one week, and noticed a very relaxing effect, but after seeing other smokers and hearing of withdrawal problems I decided I did not want to get hooked and quit self-administering.