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It is known that prolonged nicotine use alters the brain's connectivity. Nicotine exerts its neurophysiologic action principally through the brain’s reward center.2 Neuroadaptation develops with repeated exposure to nicotine, resulting in tolerance to many of the effects of nicotine.3

Recovery involves a major change in thoughts and feelings, and such changes require ongoing neural development or neuroplasticity. 4 So quitting a long term addiction will involve rewiring in the brain. Which in turn is dependent on neural plasticity.

Thus, age-related dysregulation of calcium signaling may underlie deficits in neural plasticity, and may ultimately be responsible for cognitive decline that occurs in the healthy, non-demented aging population. 5

To summarize: quitting a long term addiction requires brain plasticity, which in turn is in deficit in older populations.

So are the elderly neurologically just as capable of overcoming addictions as the young?

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice job revamping this question. I added one final tweak by removing your second question that was entirely an opinion poll. $\endgroup$ – Carey Gregory Apr 4 at 5:29
  • $\begingroup$ I also wonder (as the question seems to centre on calcium signalling and neuroplasticity) whether this question may be better with the neuroscientists at Psychology&Neuroscience.SE $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Apr 4 at 6:28
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers Yes, I think it would be a better fit there. $\endgroup$ – Carey Gregory Apr 4 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisRogers Yes, you are right, that would be a much better fit. I even have an account and had asked a question on the psychology and neuro SE. Somehow it didn't cross my mind while asking this question. $\endgroup$ – Yogesch Apr 4 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ @CareyGregory Yes, even I like the revamped version better; thanks for pushing me in that direction. $\endgroup$ – Yogesch Apr 4 at 16:45

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