Whenever we go for a movie in the theatre, a statutory warning always plays about how smoking and tobacco chewing causes lung and oral cancer but no one ever talks about the most important organ of our body - The Brain.
And this is where what I’m writing about comes into play - If you don’t think tobacco is addictive, it may have already altered your brain.
Did you know that 42% of cigarettes are smoked by someone with a mental illness?
In addition to that, every third person with a mental illness is addicted to cigarette smoking.
As we all commonly know, smoking reduces stress and anxiety levels. However, right at this point our thinking goes for a complete toss. The reduction of stress is only at the short term level and having silent effects on a long term level.
When one smokes, the nicotine binds with the receptors on the cell surface to produce dopamine- more commonly called as “the happy hormone”. This thus gives a temporary relief to the smoker. On a long term level, smoking in fact increases stress due to increasing withdrawal symptoms which are also equivalent to anxiety. One craves more and more for nicotine and thus more receptors are made and this vicious cycle just never ends.
Research also backs this up proving that people who smoke are likely to be stressed and depressed.
Moving on to ‘life and death situations’, tobacco intake is the 2nd largest killer for people with a mental illness. They face heart, lung and liver diseases which are commonly encountered due to smoking.
It also decreases life expectancy, something that mentally ill paitents are already at a risk of.
Talking about Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorders, almost 75-80% of patients are addicted to smoking.
With this, it all boils down to that mentally ill patients give reasons that smoking helps reduce their symptoms but it should be understood that this is completely outnumbered by the ill effects it causes. A variety of options like finding different ways to cope with stress, abstaining from triggers that link smoking, using nicotine supplements can be used to quit.
Lets take control of our body, and most importantly, lets take control of the organ which controls us: The Brain