People with Substance Abuse Can Quit Smoking with Additional Intervention

Plus 4 Quitting Tips for the Mentally Ill

 Smoking is more common among people with mental disorders. Now, researchers at National Institute of Drug Abuse, a part of the National Institutes of Health, revealed that undergoing treatments for cocaine or methamphetamine addiction may quit cigarettes at the same time.

Cigarette smoking is responsible for one in five deaths in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But people with worry-man-26666420mental disorders have the highest death rates from tobacco use, the researchers note. In 2008, 63 percent of people diagnosed with mental disorders smoke, compared with 28 percent of the general population.

The current study involves individuals receiving treatments for cocaine and methamphetamine addiction. Participants were randomly assigned to receive smoking cessation therapy, which involved weekly counseling sessions for 10 weeks. From week 4 to week 10, those who were assigned to smoking cessation therapy received nicotine inhaler and medications, alongside contingency management, which was aimed to encourage them to stop smoking.

The findings, which were reported in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, showed that patients who went through smoking cessation therapy demonstrated high quit smoking rates during substance abuse therapy, even after a 6-month follow-up. Furthermore, it showed that smoking cessation therapy did not interfere with the treatments the patients received to overcome their addiction.

Quitting Smoking and Mental Health

Individuals struggling with substance abuse, depression, anxiety and other mental health problems are more likely to smoke cigarettes than their mentally healthy peers. The problem is that the health risks of smoking are more profound among these people. Furthermore, when they smoke, they are more likely to experience flare-ups in mental health symptoms than quitters who don’t have mental health issues.


Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your physical and mental health. Once you stop using cigarettes, expect a significant change in your well-being and overall quality of life.

Prepare. If you are having issues with substance abuse, depression, and the like, you can still quit smoking successfully with some preparation and realistic expectations. It can be helpful to plan ahead for all your smoking triggers – physical, emotional and habitual. Examples are stress, sadness, boredom, certain foods, etc.

Address the pain. You also want to give extra emphasis on alleviating the withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing. You can overcome them by practicing relaxation techniques, taking medications, getting enough rest, observing proper nutrition, and seeking professional help. The withdrawal symptoms may be unavoidable but they are absolutely temporary. After several weeks, such symptoms will subside.

Get social support. Seeking support from your friends and family can be really helpful. You can also get support from quit smoking organizations, communities (on and off the web), and from your doctor.

Reward yourself. Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate your success. It can be a trip to the spa, a sumptuous meal at your favorite restaurant, a new pair of shoes, a new gadget, or a vacation. You so deserve it.

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your physical and mental health. Once you stop using cigarettes, expect a significant change in your well-being and overall quality of life.



2 Responses

  1. When I have to visit The shrink I alwase tell them that smoking Is my biggest problem. But they don’t care ,here try this drug ,they say ./ I do not smoke over a pack a day, I tell them I have bad chest pains but when I try to stop I get so much anxiety. When I was 50 yrs old I just got my SSDI and just recently put on clonazepam and methadone for cronic pain was also on trazadone for sleep every thing was going great 5yrs sober .I wanted to go back to work ,one last thing I wanted to do was qwit smoking, I went to the V.A.To get some patches in late 2007 .I was given Chantix ,I did not take It till Feb 1st and for only five days my clonazepam qwit working and I was in worse shape than I have ever been In my life.I now Live In isolation nothing relaxs me ,the VA turned Its back on me .I may as well be dead

  2. Lowell,

    Chantix or any other medication cannot do the entire job of quitting for you. You need to believe that you can quit first. All the anxiety you have about quitting is overwhelming your body and blocking your success. Recall the fact that you were not born with a cigarette in your hands. You did survive for a long time on this earth with out the need for nicotine. Nicotine is not oxygen you can survive without it.

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