Linda K has tried to quit smoking in the past, but never makes it more than a few days.
“I admit that I haven’t truly committed to quitting in the past, and I’m not sure I ever will.” Why the hesitancy?
“I struggle with depression, and everytime I quit, the veil of sadness I feel is overwhelming.”
Linda isn’t alone; according to various studies, people who suffer from a mental health disorder or more hesitant than others to quit smoking. And apparently, they’re not alone. According to an editorial in the current issue of the British Medical Journal, many adults are reluctant to quite smoking because they believe they will suffer negative mental health consequences. Additionally, health care providers are hesitant to insist patients quit smoking if they suffer from any type of mental health problem.
But a new study may help assuage some of these doubts — over time, the research reveals, those who quit smoking report a significant reduction in anxiety and depression. Additionally, they report a vast improvement in mood as well.
The research team believes this is because of the intense anxiety smokers experience between cigarettes because of nicotine withdrawal.
In the above mentioned BMJ editorial, the team reports that the research is significant not only because it debunks the mental health myth surrounding smoking cessation, but because of the increase in e-cigarette usage.
It turns out that although e-cigarette proponents suggest that e cigarettes can ease the pain of quitting smoking, the majority of e cigarette users are dual users of traditional cigarettes and the tobacco-less version. E cigarette users are also less likely to quite smoking altogether than those who use other methods.
Nicotine withdrawal is very real — those who quit experience anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia and impaired work performance. However, once the major hurdle of early withdrawal is crossed, those who quit experience a higher quality of mental health than they did before they tried to quit.
Good news, indeed.