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According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43% of people over age 20 who suffer with depression are also smokers.
The smoking rates of those with depression are similar to the population as a whole, as reported in 1964 when the United States Surgeon General first reported on the dangers of smoking. Moreover, depressed smokers are less likely to quit smoking than those without depression.
Cigarettes provide a temporary mood boost to those with depression. The effect is similar as an anti-depressant. When the mood boost subsides, a depressed smoker will reach for another cigarette to again boost their mood. The more a person smokes, the more reliant upon the chemical reaction the body becomes. This makes eliminating nicotine (along side the thousands of other chemicals including radiation and cancer causing agents) from the body a more grueling process.
Additionally, smokers often lack confidence in their daily lives without factoring in the continuous adding of bans and snide comments and looks stemming from discrimination against those who do continue to smoke. The combination of events continues to bring smokers down. Seeking treatment for depression is the first step in breaking the cycle of smoking.
For those who are not sure if they could be battling depression, tomorrow is National Depression Screening Day. I encourage you to take ten minutes of your time today and go through the checklist at the site provided below. Knowing that you have something treatable is the first step in eliminating the weighing effects of depression from your daily life. In doing so, you will have the opportunity to tackle your smoking addiction without feeling down, blue, or discouraged. The following is from Screening for Mental Health.
Ever feel like you are the only one who is sad in a world of happy people? Everyone experiences stress, sadness and anxiety from time to time – it’s part of life. These feelings often happen when you a lose a job, children move away from home, during divorce, with a death in the family, or during retirement. But when changes in mood and behavior interfere with one’s ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities, it could be a sign of depression. National Depression Screening Day (NDSD) gives people the opportunity to take a free, anonymous questionnaire assessing their risk for mood and anxiety disorders and provides referral information for treatment. Visit www.HelpYourSelfHelpOthers.org to find a local organization offering depression and anxiety screenings or take a screening online today.
We encourage you to take time to check into the screening provided. The results of the screening cannot be substituted for an evaluation from a physician. It is simply a tool to help guide you in the right direction to a happier, more fulfilling life.