stopping smoking is good for your mental health:
We all know that stopping smoking improves your physical health. But it's also proven to boost your mental health and wellbeing: it can improve mood and help relieve stress, anxiety and depression. Most smokers say they want to stop, but some continue because smoking seems to relieve stress and anxiety. It's a common belief that smoking helps you relax. But smoking actually increases anxiety and tension. Smokers are also more likely than non-smokers to develop depression over time.
stopping smoking can be as effective as antidepressants: 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. Evidence suggests the beneficial effect of stopping smoking on symptoms of anxiety and depression can equal that of taking antidepressants.
smokers with mental health problems:
People with mental health problems, including anxiety, depression or schizophrenia:
> are much more likely to smoke than the general population
> tend to smoke more heavily
> die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than those who don't experience mental health problems - smoking plays a major role in this difference in life expectancy
> need higher doses of some antipsychotic medicines and antidepressants because smoking interferes with the way these medicines work
The idea that people smoke cigarettes to help ease the signs and symptoms of stress is known as 'self-medication'. Stress is very common, affecting us when we feel unable to cope with unwelcome pressure. It can cause physical symptoms like headaches or breathlessness as well as making people feel irritable, anxious or low. These feelings can alter our behaviour and feeling stressed often makes people drink alcohol or smoke more than usual. Long term stress is also related to anxiety and depression.