Wednesday, April 1, 2015
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Based on a new review on past studies, smokers are indeed benefiting from their change of lifestyle.
Quitting smoking will bring some improvement on mental health. The effects are like any antidepressant drugs, but minus the side effects.
Dr. Paul Aveyard, one of the review’s authors said that the main message is that when people stop smoking they will feel better. At first, you might feel grumpy, irritable and bad – those feelings are comparable to feelings of stress and people have mistaken the latter with the former.
“For clinicians like myself, when we see people who smoke who also have mental health difficulties, there’s often a feeling that we are depriving them of a way to deal with the stress,” he said. “But in fact we are helping these people to get better” as said by Aveyard
There are many reports that quitting smoking saves lives, but, there are no proof that smoking is the culprit behind specific health problems, or that prevents such issues in that matter.
For the new review, the researchers studied the data from 26 studies of smoking cessation. Some studies integrated smokers in the general public and the other studies are centered on those people in psychiatric hospitals. On an average, the participants smoked 20 cigarettes daily.
Every single one of the studies considered the mental health of the participants before they quit smoking and about six months later, on average.
Now, when you compare them to people, who never stopped smoking, there was a clear improvement. The study showed that people that give up their smoking habit lessened the occurrence of anxiety, depression and stress. Their lives also improve psychologically.
Researchers noted that other explanations related to mood improvements among quitters need to be considered. There are plenty of life events that could contribute to an improved mod among smokers.
With all the benefits of quitting, people still hold on to their cigarettes because they believe that it calms their nerves during stressful situations, according to psychiatry researcher Benjamin Le Cook of the Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Brian Hitsman of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago said that the recent review only reminds us that withdrawal symptoms like anxiety can easily be confused with mental health problems. Both he and Le Cook were not part of the new review.
“It’s possible that the emotional withdrawal symptoms are interpreted as an acute worsening of psychiatric symptoms,” Hitsman wrote in an email to Reuters Health.
Aveyard and his colleagues presumed that quitting smoking will help people to have a better mood.
“It’s getting harder and harder to find any real benefits of smoking,” Jha said.