Tobacco use, smoking in particular, is known to cause many health-related problems. These health concerns are not limited to the cardiac and respiratory system, nor are they limited to various forms of cancer. Smoking also has a considerable and negative impact on your nervous system and mental health.
Sure, you may say, but is this a ‘chicken or the egg’ question? Does depression and anxiety cause a person to be more likely to smoke in the first place, or is it that smoking causes an increase in the risk of depression and other mood disorders? For any one person, the answer may not be so simple. The good news, however, according to research released in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2014; 348:g1151), cessation of smoking is associated with a reduction in anxiety, mixed anxiety and depression, depression, stress while being associated with a significant improvement in a person’s quality of psychological life.
Some of this may seem counterintuitive for the person trying to quit smoking. Nicotine withdrawal is associated with feelings of anxiety, nervousness, irritability and depression. Once you make it over the ‘hump’, the benefits of improved mood come into play. Not only will you benefit by quitting smoking, but also contact smoke is known to be associated with health-related problems for others, including depression in teens from second hand smoke. By quitting smoking, you are not reducing exposure risks to others – some may be very important and close to you!
There are many forms of traditional medical and natural methods available that may help ease those nicotine fits. It is very important that you discuss your plans to quit smoking with your healthcare provider to minimize the ill effects associated with nicotine withdrawal. Treatment is varied, but may include smokeless cigarettes, nicotine patches, oral medications or even cognitive behavioral therapy. Individual success with natural therapies and hypnosis varies greatly, but they may be considerations for discussion with your healthcare provider as they may fit in well for your personal lifestyle.
The benefits of quitting smoking are not limited to your mood either. Think of the added health benefits: better heart health, stopping further damage to your lungs, diminishing the negative impact on your skin and premature aging, improved overall quality of life, and so much more. Smoking costs a lot more than that pack of cigarettes a day – much more. Come to think of it, cigarettes aren’t that cheap either.
When you are depressed, the whole world may feel like it’s against you and there is nothing you can do about anything anyway. Wrong! Take a look around you. If you are a smoker, one thing you can control is whether you not only desire and choose to quit, but that you act on that desire. You can do something, and that something may very well positively impact your life by easing depression’s grip on you. With the support of others in your life, your healthcare provider, with or without treatment, you can take charge!
Again, quitting smoking can be one of the best choices you make at this point in your life. You can feel better; decrease the long-term negative effects of smoking while improving your mood and your pocketbook to boot. There is no time like the present to start your path on the road to a smoke-free, happy and healthy life!