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JOURNAL

Quit Smoking To Improve Your Mental Health and Wellbeing

4 min read
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Clients often want to know what to expect when they quit smoking – what happens to your body, health and lifestyle when you quit?

Here we want to look at the effect that smoking has on our mental health, and what changes you can expect to see when you quit smoking.

Smoking & Mental Health

The NHS states that people with mental health problems – including anxiety, depression or schizophrenia – are much more likely to smoke than the general population, and tend to smoke more heavily.

One report found that people with mental health disorders smoke at 2-4x the average rate of the general population.

However, there is a common misconception that smoking cigarettes actually benefits mental health!

False Assumptions

The assumption is that smoking helps people to deal with stress and improve mood, as a form of soothing self-medication.

There is a further assumption that quitting smoking may even have a negative impact on mental health, contributing to irritability and a reduction in their social wellbeing.

One study highlights that smokers (and even some mental health practitioners) believed that smoking offers benefits for reducing stress and anxiety, whilst also assuming that quitting smoking would have zero positive impact on mental health.

However, numerous studies have shown that smoking can have a negative impact on people’s mental health, and that stopping smoking can contribute to a reduction in anxiety and depression.

In a recent review, a group of researchers set out to understand how stopping smoking really affects people's mental health.

The Study

The review of 102 studies in more than 169,500 people aimed to find out how stopping smoking affected:

  • symptoms of anxiety
  • symptoms of depression
  • symptoms of anxiety and depression together;
  • symptoms of stress;
  • overall well-being;
  • mental health problems;
  • social well-being, personal relationships, isolation and loneliness

The review’s lead author, Dr. Gemma Taylor from the University of Bath, UK, said, “smokers often believe that cigarettes are the crutch they need when they feel low, but there is good reason to think that smoking is actually making them feel worse.”

“The daily cycle of waking up with cravings, satisfying the cravings through smoking, only to be back wanting another cigarette within hours has an understandable impact on how people feel.”

“But get past the withdrawal that many smokers feel when they stop, and better mental health is on the other side.”

“From our evidence, we see that the link between smoking cessation and mood seem to be similar in a range of people. And most crucially, there is no evidence that people with mental health conditions will experience a worsening of their health if they stop smoking.”

The Findings

Contrary to common misconceptions around quitting smoking, the review found that people who quit smoking saw a greater reduction in mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and the symptoms of stress than those people who did not quit smoking.

Compared with people who continued to smoke, people who stopped smoking showed greater reductions in:

  • anxiety (evidence from 3141 people in 15 studies);
  • depression (7156 people in 34 studies); and
  • mixed anxiety and depression (2829 people in 8 studies).

Compared with people who continued to smoke, people who stopped smoking showed greater improvements in:

  • symptoms of stress (evidence from 4 studies in 1792 people);
  • positive feelings (13 studies in 4880 people); and
  • mental wellbeing (19 studies in 18,034 people).

There was also evidence that people who stopped smoking did not see a reduction in their social wellbeing, but instead their social wellbeing may have actually increased slightly.

What This Means For You

If you’re ready to quit smoking, this information comes as great news!

The evidence in this review suggests that when you stop smoking, your mental health is unlikely to worsen. In fact, it is likely that when you quit smoking your mental health will improve!

Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, Deborah Arnott, suggests that now may be the perfect time to quit smoking once and for all.

“After the year we’ve all had, some smokers might feel now is not the time to stop. The opposite is true — put smoking behind you, and a brighter future beckons”, says Arnott.

Watch our Quit Smoking Timeline video to see how your body will begin to repair itself once you quit smoking.

Quit Smoking With Heal

You can quit smoking for good with Heal’s comprehensive Stop-In-7 smoking cessation treatment plan, combining clinical hypnotherapy with evidence-based C.B.T and Mindfulness.

Peter from Hartford has recently had great success with Stop-In-7 and so could you!

Since taking your Stop Smoking course It’s been a revelation ! It’s not even like I am an ex-smoker… I am a NON SMOKER ! I literally have not had a single thought about wanting to have a smoke ! For years on and off I have stopped and started again.. The lead up to the main event and the fact that the videos are available after the main session have proven to be just what is needed ! I have tried various methods including hypnosis sessions previously, but to no avail. So I just wanted to say a big thank you from me and my wife.
– Peter, Hartford

Click below to begin your breakthrough and stop smoking once and for all.

Quit Smoking Now
"
5 MONTHS A NON-SMOKER

I had wanted to give up for ages but always failed until I came across this treatment.

Before treatment my day was geared around when I was going to have a cigarette and I would rush home sometimes to have one or rearrange my day around them. I only smoked when I was alone as I felt ashamed and the smell upset others. I can honestly say that the Stop-in-seven treatment was excellent and the support wonderfully reassuring. It was all encompassing about how one was making oneself ill but also encouraging about how much better one would feel after giving up. One of the hardest aspects of the week was when we had to change the brand of cigarette. Oh how I craved for my own brand of cigarette I had smoked for 30 years. As I write this I think I can now call myself a non-smoker and it is amazing I have given up. I had wanted to give up for ages but always failed until I came across this treatment. Physically I don’t cough anymore and I can smell better and am eating healthier and enjoying it more. Emotionally I feel stronger clearer and realise I am proud of myself for eventually stopping the habit which I never thought I would. I would recommend Stop-in7 treatment to anyone trying to stop smoking. It is well organised extremely supportive and it works. Thank you.

Gill, Brighton
"
6 WeEKS A NON-SMOKER

I have tried various methods including hypnosis sessions previously, but to no avail.

Alex, I just wanted to take a moment to contact you. Since taking your Stop Smoking course It’s been a revelation ! It’s not even like I am an ex-smoker… I am a NON SMOKER ! I literally have not had a single thought about wanting to have a smoke ! For years on and off I have stopped and started again.. The lead up to the main event and the fact that the videos are available after the main session have proven to be just what is needed ! I have tried various methods including hypnosis sessions previously, but to no avail. So I just wanted to say a big thank you from me and my wife.

Peter, Hartford
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Heal’s online Stop-In-7 Smoking Cessation Treatment Plan is expertly curated and accessible from the comfort of your own home, without the need for face-to-face therapy.

Combining techniques from Hypnotherapy, C.B.T, and Mindfulness-based therapies, this 7 day course provides you with — and guides you through — everything you need to break through your habit and stop smoking once and for all.

Stop Smoking TodayExplore Treatment Plans

References

  1. Sheals, K., Tombor, I., McNeill, A., and Shahab, L. (2016) A mixed‐method systematic review and meta‐analysis of mental health professionals' attitudes toward smoking and smoking cessation among people with mental illnesses. Addiction, 111: 1536– 1553. doi: 10.1111/add.13387.
  2. Taylor GMJ, Lindson N, Farley A, Leinberger-Jabari A, Sawyer K, te Water Naudé R, Theodoulou A, King N, Burke C, Aveyard P. Smoking cessation for improving mental health. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2021, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD013522. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013522.pub2.
  3. NIDA. 2020, June 9. Do people with mental illness and substance use disorders use tobacco more often?. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-nicotine-e-cigarettes/do-people-mental-illness-substance-use-disorders-use-tobacco-more-often on 2021, March 16
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