Smoking and Mental Health
It’s common to think that smoking helps you relax or cope with feelings of anxiety, stress or depression. The truth is, smoking is a highly addictive behaviour that can have a negative impact on your mental health. People who smoke are twice as likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression compared to non-smokers.
Although it can be tough at first, once you quit you will feel a boost in confidence and a great sense of achievement. Quitting smoking is also associated with a number of mental health benefits, including:
- Significant reduction in depression, anxiety and stress;
- improvement in mood and psychological quality of life; and
- enhanced capacity to cope with life stressors.
If you are taking any medications, talk to your doctor. Less tobacco smoke and nicotine in your body may mean you can reduce your regular dosage.
Additional information for health professionals:
- Guide to drug interactions with smoking
- Smoking and mental health Endorsed by: A joint report by the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists
- Tobacco In Australia – Smoking and Mental Health
Do you smoke to unwind or escape from a stressful situation?
It’s common to remove yourself from stressful situations in order to have a cigarette. This makes it seem like the act of smoking is helping to reduce your stress levels, but simply separating yourself from a situation is a stress relief technique itself.
The inhaling action of smoking a cigarette is also similar to deep breathing, which is a common stress-relief practice. Next time your reach for a cigarette, why not try some deep breathing exercises instead. For more tips and tricks to help you quit, check out this blog.