Recent smokers more likely to suffer from mental disorders: Study

Recent smokers more likely to suffer from mental disorders: Study

The ill effects of smoking have been proved by researchers time and again and people are well aware of its dangers. Still, nearly 2,100 youths who were occasional smokers turn into daily cigarette smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Now, a recent study at the Columbia University Medical Center has revealed that younger smokers are more vulnerable to psychiatric and substance use disorders.

“Our study confirms that recent smokers, though a relatively smaller group than those who started smoking decades ago, are more vulnerable to psychiatric and substance use disorders,” Ardesheer Talati, an assistant professor of clinical neurobiology at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, who led the research, said in a release.

Though the incidences of mental disorders have gone up in recent smokers, the overall number of smokers in the United States has dipped. According to the figures published by the CDC in November, 2015, 16.8 percent adults smoked in 2014, compared to 25 percent adults who smoked in 1997. “This is indeed encouraging news that suggests that investment in public health and education initiatives to reduce smoking rates among adults are paying off,” said Dr. Charles Powell, Director, Mount Sinai – National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute, New York City.

The findings of the new study, which was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, said that nicotine-dependent smokers who took to smoking in the 1980s had higher chance than older smokers of suffering from psychiatric conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder or antisocial personality disorder.

Other smoking-related problems

According to the CDC, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the country, and cigarette smoking kills over 480,000 Americans each year. The website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that over 20 million Americans have died because of smoking since 1964. Along with cancer, it also causes other respiratory problems. Today, smokers are much more prone to develop lung cancer than they were in 1964.

Other studies

A study, conducted at King’s College, London in 2015 and published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, found that smoking is likely to be associated with psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia. It also said that people who suffer from psychosis have three times higher chance of smoking compared to others. According to the researchers, the probable cause of schizophrenia could be nicotine found in the cigarettes which changes the levels of dopamine found in brain.

“Excess dopamine is the best biological explanation we have for psychotic illnesses,” Robin Murray, study co-author, a professor of psychiatric research at King’s College London, told Reuters. Another data released in 2013 by the CDC said that people suffering from mental illness are 70 percent more likely to take to smoking cigarettes than people without mental illness.

E-cigarettes are another form of taking in nicotine which has found a place among today’s youth. Experts say that marketing by tobacco industry plays an important role in attracting the youth to smoking. Though the manufacturers of e-cigarettes marketed it on the basis of its safety, in September 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) asked the marketers to stop making claims that e-cigs are a “safe and effective smoking cessation aid” because there is “no scientific evidence to confirm the product’s safety and efficacy,” said a report on cnn.com.

Another positive aspect highlighted to promote the sale of e-cigarettes was that it helped in quitting traditional smoking. But a recent study published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal said that e-cigarettes do not help in giving up smoking and that it should not be recommended with this point in mind.

It is common to find people grappling with addiction to suffer from some form of mental disorder, a condition known as dual diagnosis. Most people do not prefer to get any treatment for this dual problem. But treatment for both the issues simultaneously is the only way for full recovery. If you or your loved is in need of dual diagnosis treatment, call the Dual Diagnosis Helpline at 855-981-6047 to seek the best guidance from our experts.