Cutting back on cigarette smoking linked to improved mental health outcomes

Published on February 12, 2014 at 12:28 AM · No Comments

The researchers focused on data from 4,800 daily smokers. Those who had addiction or other psychiatric problems at the time of the first survey were less likely to have those same problems three years later if they had quit smoking. And those who hadn't had psychiatric problems at the initial survey were less likely to develop those problems later if they already had quit.

At the time of the first interview, about 40 percent of daily smokers suffered mood or anxiety disorders or had a history of these problems. In addition, about 50 percent of daily smokers had alcohol problems, and some 24 percent had drug problems.

Forty-two percent of those who had continued smoking during the years between the two surveys suffered mood disorders, compared with 29 percent of those who quit smoking. Alcohol problems affected 18 percent of those who had quit smoking versus 28 percent who had continued smoking. And drug abuse problems affected only 5 percent of those who had quit smoking compared with 16 percent of those who had continued smoking.

"We really need to spread the word and encourage doctors and patients to tackle these problems," Cavazos-Rehg said. "When a patient is ready to focus on other mental health issues, it may be an ideal time to address smoking cessation, too."

Funding for this research comes from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study also was supported by the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research and by the American Cancer Society.

Source: Washington University School of Medicine

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