How to Quit Smoking If You’re Enduring Depression or Anxiety

Treatment for Depression and Anxiety

“No more foolin’ around, I really need to quit smoking. I know it’s tough for everyone, but my depression and anxiety make it seem impossible. Help!”

Well, you’re off to a great start. Owning the problem and asking for help in a proactive spirit will take you a looong way.

So let’s work on getting you pointed in the right direction, okay?

No great revelation – many enduring depression, anxiety, and substance abuse and dependence disorders are notorious smokers. In fact, they comprise 40% of the smoking population.

And I’m sure smoking cessation failure stories abound. Of course, that generates buckets of frustration and angst – which only leads to more smoking, depression, anxiety, drinking, and drugging.

So what’s the answer here?

Telling Smoking Cessation Research

A team from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, led by Dr. Michael Ong, have come up with some interesting smoking cessation information.

It seems smokers who endure emotional/mental and substance abuse/dependence disorders would do well to turn to their primary care physician (PCP) for smoking cessation help.

As a matter of fact their chances of kicking the habit would increase five-fold.

The results of the study were just published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Prior to Ong’s work, the role of one’s PCP in smoking cessation, for this particular population, wasn’t clear. Post-study, here’s Ong’s take…

“We found it would be very effective for primary care physicians to provide help in quitting smoking to these patients. However, in the context of everything these physicians are trying to do in a day, smoking cessation may fall by the wayside. It’s also been thought that with this patient population, doctors should only take on one thing at a time, for example treating an opiate addiction and opting to deal with the smoking cessation later. But at the end of the day, we showed that smoking cessation counseling is effective in this patient population and should definitely be pursued.”

So ‘how ’bout some numbers! According to the study…

  • The probability of patients with emotional/mental/substance disorders quitting without smoking cessation counseling = 6%
  • The probability of patients without said disorders quitting = 10.5%
  • The probability of patients with emotional/mental/substance disorders quitting with smoking cessation counseling = 31.3%
  • The probability of patients without said disorders quitting with smoking cessation counseling = 34.9%

I think the numbers are impressive and hopeful.

“My PCP? Are You Kidding?”

I have been critical of front-line PCP care for those enduring a mood or anxiety disorder. Especially when it comes to anxiety.

Here’s a link to an article I wrote some time ago regarding PCP anxiety care.

Keeping an open mind, perhaps the smoking cessation mission might be easier for PCPs to justify in terms of time, attention, and care. I’ve always believed the emotional and mental health disorders are difficult for them to deal with because there’s just no “sure thing” when it comes to cause and treatment.

It’s always seemed to me that’s a difficult set of circumstances for their very logical cause-and-effect minds.

Give It a Go

So the bottom-line: If you decide it’s time to quit smoking, turn to your PCP for help. Why go it alone? And you know what? Research now says you may just increase your chances of success five-fold!

Don’t turn your back on those numbers.

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