Smoking is known to have a negative impact on your physical health, but what you may not know is that it can also have a devastating effect on your mental health
Research has shown that smoking is linked to depression and schizophrenia, two serious mental health conditions.
The impact of smoking on our physical health
This post is about mental health, but it is impossible not to also mention the impact of smoking on our bodies.
Smoking can have a negative impact on our physical health in a number of ways. First and foremost, smoking is a leading cause of cancer. It can also lead to heart disease, stroke, and a number of other serious health conditions. Not to mention, it can also make us look older than we are and can cause bad breath.
In short, smoking is bad for our physical health. But what about our mental health?
Smoking can trigger serious mental illness
According to a study by experts at the University of Bristol, smoking raises the probability of acquiring schizophrenia by between 53% and 127% and of developing depression by between 54% and 132%.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that can have a devastating impact on quality of life. The main symptoms of this disease are hallucinations, delusions, and problems with cognition.
Depression, on the other hand, is a mental health condition leading to consistent low mood and loss of interest in activities. It can also lead to a range of physical symptoms, such as fatigue and sleep problems.
The impact of smoking on mental health
“There is no longer any doubt that smoking is bad for mental health and this needs to be a priority in the forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan.
Those working with people with mental health conditions need to understand and address the vicious cycle of bidirectional effects, whereby having symptoms of mental illness causes individuals to smoke more and to be more likely to become addicted.
At the same time, smoking also increases the risk of subsequent mental illness and exacerbates mental health symptoms. Lower rates of smoking will improve overall levels of good mental health as well as physical health.”Professor Marcus Munafo, Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Bristol
New information on the number of smokers who have mental health disorders was also provided at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress.
People with mental health disorders have substantially greater smoking rates than those without, and it is estimated that among England’s 6 million smokers:
Smokers with severe mental disorders number 230,000 (e.g., schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder)
There are 1.6 million depressed and anxious people.
To understand why this is the case and to support other mental health issues like anxiety or bipolar illness, more research is required.
“Smoking addiction is not a trivial matter; it causes serious harm to both body and mind. Smokers with mental health conditions can quit with the right support from healthcare professionals. It’s our duty as psychiatrists to offer them the help they need to succeed.”Dr. Adrian James, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists
If you are a smoker, it is important to be aware of these risks and take steps to protect your mental health. If, on the other hand, you are struggling with mental health issues, quitting smoking can be an important step in your recovery.
Tips on how to quit smoking
If you’re a smoker, it is clear that quitting is one of the best things you can do both for your physical as well as for your mental health.
Here are some tips to help you quit smoking:
Once you decide to quit smoking, get rid of all the cigarettes in the house. This way, you won’t be tempted to smoke when you see them.
Tell your friends and family that you are quitting smoking. You need their help to make it through and stay on track.
Think about what triggers your smoking. For example, if you smoke after dinner, try to find another activity to do instead, like taking a walk. Avoid places like bars where everyone is puffing away and the temptation to light up a cigarette can become overwhelming.
Find a way to relieve stress that doesn’t involve smoking. For example, try exercise or deep breathing exercises. You could also try listening to calming music.
Choose a method of quitting that works for you. There are many options available, including nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications, and counselling.
Get professional help to quitting smoking. Talk to your doctor about medication or therapy that can help you quit smoking for good.
Quitting smoking is not easy, but it is definitely worth it. Your physical and mental health will improve dramatically once you kick the habit for good. So, if you’re ready to quit, get started today. Your mind and body will thank you for it!
For Further Reading
- The Devastating Impact of Smoking on Your Mental Health
- The Therapeutic Benefits of Knitting for Mental Health
- How Music Therapy Can Improve Your Mental Health
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- Breaking the Stigma Around Mental Illness: Why It’s Important and What We Can Do About It
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- How to Overcome Your Fear of Flying: Tips to Make Traveling Safer and More Enjoyable
- What Is Venting and Why Do People Do It? How to Respond Appropriately
- The Scourge of Toxic Positivity
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