Smoking and depression

Blog Post created by dr.hurt on Aug 2, 2012

Research has shown there is a complex relationship between smoking and depression. Studies have found current smokers are more likely to have a history of depression. People who stop smoking may experience the withdrawal symptom of depressed mood when they stop, and a depressed mood may lead to relapse.

There are probably a number of reasons underlying this complex relationship between smoking and depression. Some people may use the boost they get from nicotine to treat an underlying depression. To complicate this picture, depression can be a nicotine withdrawal symptom. Another cause of a depresed mood can be the feeling of loss and sadess some smokers experience when they stop using tobacco. When a person stops smoking, daily rituals that may have been a part of their life for many years are missing, and this may feel like a loss. Feelings of loss can lead to other symptoms of depression. 

Depression is not a reason to continue smoking, and many people with depression succeed in becoming tobacco-free. In fact, some thoughts, attitudes, and actions that help in treating depression can help in stopping smoking. 

Addressing depression can be an important part of a plan to avoid relapse to smoking. If you feel you might be experiencing symptoms of depression, talk with your health care provider. There are ways to treat your depression while you continue on your smoke-free journey.

Counseling - Talking about what bothers you can help improve your mood and cope with the loss of no longer smoking.

Medication - Many medications are used to treat the symptoms of depression. Talk to your health care provider if you believe medicines may help you.

Lifestyle Changes - Healthy eating, daily exercise, practicing relaxation techniques, and communicating with others are activities that can help improve your mood.

As you begin to re-learn haits, remember that depending on what is going on in your life, it is sometimes natural to feel down or sad. However, if these feelings continue or become worse, be sure to speak with your care provider about what may best benefit you.