Depression is one of the most common mental health issues present across all age groups in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in 2015, approximately 16.1 million adults aged 18 or older had at least one major depressive episode in a year prior to the survey.
Most people with depression tend to use illegal substances like drugs and alcohol to feel better. On the other hand, studies have shown that smokers are more likely to have depression than non-smokers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 36.5 percent of adults experiencing any kind of mental illness used tobacco to curb their symptoms, as compared to 25.3 percent of adults with no mental illness, in 2013.
An observational study, conducted recently by researchers from the Czech Republic, and published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine has highlighted the importance of quitting smoking in people with depression. Although having depression may hinder one’s efforts to quit smoking, a complete abstinence from smoking can be the best way to ward off depressive symptoms, observed the study.
Kicking the smoking habit linked to improved mental health
People with depression mostly smoke to feel better or to improve their mood. This is because nicotine stimulates the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine in the brain, which, in turn, triggers positive feelings and uplifts one’s mood. Since the level of this hormone is low in people with depression, they take up smoking to relieve their pent-up feelings and to improve the dopamine supply. However, when smoking continues for a prolonged period, the dopamine level does not increase, or rather begins to decline, which prompts the patient to increase the frequency of smoking sessions.
Evidently, depression and cigarette smoking form a vicious circle. However, quitting addiction to the substance can actually help one improve his or her mental health. As per the study, those who gave up their smoking habit experienced a remarkable decline in their depressive symptoms, with the effects being stronger than antidepressants.
Recovery from dual diagnosis is critical
Those suffering from dual diagnosis need to undertake a unique treatment plan that includes remedy for both substance use disorder and mental illness. An integrated treatment plan may include components such as detoxification, medication and therapy, apart from other mindfulness interventions. Moreover, a good follow-up program should include a treatment plan that caters to the patient’s needs on an ongoing basis. Numerous studies have shown that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) can help dual diagnosis patients learn coping mechanisms to fight the irregular pattern of thinking.
If you or a loved one is dealing with a co-occurring disorder, it is better to seek professional help from the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1736 or chat online with our experts to seek advice about the best facilities offering treatment for dual diagnosis in California.