Traditionally, it has been acknowledged that mental illness is first and then many of those people will begin smoking. This is because they start smoking or smoke more because an ingredient in the cigarettes relieves their symptoms and makes them feel better.
Newer studies are now showing anxiety disorders and depression can actually be caused from smoking. Here are a couple:
At the University of Cincinnati, researchers studied over 8700 mentally healthy teens and found they were four times more likely to develop depression than their nonsmoking peers.
At Harvard University, researchers looked at cigarette smoking and mental health amongst 4500 teens and adults. Teenagers who had been considered mentally healthy and smoked at least one pack per day had a
- 5 times greater risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
- 7 times great risk of developing serious phobias.
- 16 times greater risk of developing panic attacks and panic disorder.
These experts are fully certain as to how smoking could cause mental illness, however, a few theories have been generated, including:
- The chemicals in tobacco may damage or change the normal activity of brain cells.
- There are high levels of carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke work with the chemicals in tobacco to cause symptoms of mental illness.
- Nicotine and many other chemicals in cigarettes are actually stimulants and are likely to cause “fight or flight” symptoms. This causes a tendency to overreact to the environment and thoughts.
- As a person continues to smoke, this can progress into panic attacks. Once you’ve had a panic attack, it promotes a fear that others will follow and the person will begin to avoid situations that they are beginning to overact to.
This is scary business. Not all of my readers smoke. However, if you do smoke, I urge you to start your plan to quit smoking as soon as possible. I have a two session process that can help a person quit smoking. However, if it has gone further and you are now showing signs of panic or an anxiety disorder, it’s likely to take a few more sessions in order to help your fight or flight system become under your control more. The body can heal itself, we just need to give a safe space to do so.
So if you’re a smoker and you’re ready to quit, give me a call and we can discuss your personal experience with smoking and come up with a plan to maximize your healing and health. If you aren’t a smoker and you know someone who is, please forward this message to them. I can be reached at 734-644-6681