Smoking so addictive: When a person smokes, nicotine reaches the brain in about ten seconds. At first, nicotine improves mood and concentration, relaxes muscles, decreases anger and stress, and reduces appetite. Regular doses of nicotine cause changes in the brain, which lead to nicotine withdrawal symptoms as nicotine intake decreases. Smoking temporarily reduced these withdrawal symptoms and can therefore reinforce the habit. This cycle is the way most smokers get addicted to nicotine.
Smoking and Depression
Adults with depression are twice as like to smoke as adults without depression. Most people start smoking before showing signs of depression. Therefore, it is not known whether smoking leads to depression or whether depression encourages people to start smoking. There is likely a complex relationship between the two.
Smoking and Stress
Some people smoke as a “self-medication” to relieve feelings of stress. However, research has shown that smoking increases anxiety and tension. Nicotine creates an immediate feeling of relaxation, which is why people smoke in the belief that it reduces stress and anxiety. This feeling is temporary and quickly gives way to withdrawal symptoms and increased cravings. Smoking reduces withdrawal symptoms, but it does not reduce anxiety or address the reasons why a person may experience it.
Smoking and Schizophrenia
People with schizophrenia are three times more like to smoke than others and tended to smoke more. This is likely because people with schizophrenia use smoking to control or control some of the symptoms associated with their illness and to reduce some of the side effects of their medications.
Prepare for Change
Think about your relationship with smoking. Write down what you’ll get from not smoking, such as better physical health, fresher breath, better focus, and more money to spend on other things.
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Ways to Help You Quit
Quitting suddenly with willpower alone is the least effective way to quit smoking. If you plan, have support, and choose the right time to try, the more likely you are to be successful. If you are feeling unstable, going through a crisis, or having significant changes in your life, you are less likely to quit smoking.
Get Support From Family and Friends
Quitting smoking can be made easier with the support of family and friends. If you live with people who smoke or friends who smoke, suggest that they quit together. If other family members smoke, encourage them not to smoke around you or to leave their cigarettes, ashtrays, or lighters where you see them.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Medication
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), antidepressants, and other medications have been shown to help smokers without mental health issues quit and may also be helpful for people with depression or schizophrenia. NRT appears to be most effective when combined with talk therapy.
Don’t Give Up if You Relapse
Many people quit smoking will relapse at some point. Don’t stop trying again. Take the opportunity to reflect on what went wrong, learn more about yourself, and find out what will help you be more successful in the future.