Quitting Smoking Helps Mental Health According to Study

From Psychiatric News Alert, March 24, 2014: Stopping smoking is associated with significant improvements in anxiety, depression, stress, positive affect, and psychological quality of life. And the strength of the association appears to be similar for both the general population and clinical populations, including those with psychiatric disorders, according to findings from a meta-analysis reported in the British Medical Journal by Paul Aveyard, a professor of behavioral medicine at the University of Oxford in England, and colleagues.

The meta-analysis included 26 studies that measured subjects’ mental health before and after they quit smoking. The studies examined six measures of mental health: anxiety, depression, mixed anxiety and depression, positive affect, psychological quality of life, and stress. Eleven of the studies were cohort studies, 14 were secondary analyses of cessation interventions, and one was a randomized trial.

“This study illustrates the importance of providing tobacco-cessation treatment to individuals with behavioral health conditions, to help with both improvement in symptoms of mental illness and overall physical health,” Lori Raney, M.D., told Psychiatric News. “Psychiatrists have an important role to play in assisting in this treatment and can provide guidance and support to patients and in helping our colleagues in other medical settings.” In addition to being medical director of Axis Health System in Durango, Colo., Raney has a special interest in the relationship between smoking cessation and mental health.

More information about the importance of smoking cessation for patients with mental illness can be found in the Psychiatric News articles “Decline in Smoking Lags Among Patients With Mental Illness” and “Smoking Cessation for Patients Called an Urgent Priority.”

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