Ever wondered why smoking and mental health go hand in hand?
Has your partner reached the point of wanting to quit smoking but needs a solid navigation path?
While we all know that quitting smoking increases our chances of living a healthy life, it somehow tends to appeal to us as the perfect quick fix for mood swings, stress, anxiety and depression. Smokers tend to harbour this common belief that smoking helps you relax. But in reality, all it does is increase your anxiety and tension, leading to depression in the long run.
Studies have shown that while smoking is 100% detrimental to mental health, it also is a prime factor responsible for the increase in mortality rate due to depression. Smokers tend to be more prone to depression than non-smokers, attributing to two to three times higher rates of clinical depression in smokers than in non-smokers.
Why does smoking seem relaxing?
Smoking tends to increase your risk factor towards mental illnesses making you more prone to depression. This is because of the constant influx of nicotine interferes with certain pathways in the brain that regulate moods. Nicotine acts as a receptor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and ultimately stimulates the release of dopamine. Eventually, the brain becomes so dependent on the drug, that it no longer functions normally without it.
Smoking in a way encourages the brain to switch off its own mechanism of creating dopamine, urging people with hectic and stressful lives tend to instantly reach out for cigarettes as their mood lifter. However, 20-30 minutes after smoking your last cigarette, the nicotine withdrawal begins. This then leads to anxiety.
When smokers haven’t had a cigarette for a while, the craving for another one makes them feel irritable and anxious. This makes them reach for a temporary fix by lighting up their next cigarette. So, smokers associate the improved mood with smoking. But in reality, it’s the very act of smoking itself that’s likely to have caused the anxiety in the first place.
Quitting: The magic potion for mental and physical health
Kicking the Butt has a drastic positive impact on mental and physical health. In fact, quitting can be as effective as antidepressants as people with mental health problems are likely to feel much calmer and more positive, and have a better quality of life, after giving up smoking.
Quitting Smoking enables
- Lower risk levels of anxiety, stress, and depression
- Better quality of life
- Improved Moods and mindset
- Reduction in the dosage of strong mental health medication
5 ways to help you kick the butt for good
- Try smoking cessation aids like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
- Join a Quit smoking support group. Interacting with other smokers will help you realize you are not alone in this struggle. These groups also share a lot of information on which smoking aids work best for you and can provide valuable tips on how to manage cravings
- Exercise is another great habit to adopt. Exercising helps release happy endorphins which stimulate your frame of mind for the good
- Seek the help of a counselor who can help you navigate your addiction patterns and behaviors that lead to it