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It’s a proven fact that those who begin to smoke at an early age are much more likely to become depressed. It’s also true that a high percentage of those who have depression are smokers. However, the association between depression and tobacco is not completely clear.

Effects of nicotine

Many forms of chronic or long-lasting depression are thought to be caused by brain chemistry that is not quite working correctly. For instance, some types of depression are associated with low levels of brain chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin. Nicotine can trigger the brain to release these chemicals, making the smoker “feel good.” So someone who’s depressed may temporarily feel better when smoking. This also means that when trying to quit, their depression symptoms may actually get worse – since they’re no longer getting those extra doses of dopamine and serotonin.

Depression and quitting

So should a tobacco user with depression try to quit? The answer is YES! Better health can inevitably lead to a better frame of mind, and quitting tobacco is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Here are some tips that can make your quit effort more successful:

  1. If you’re seeing a health care professional for depression, let him or her know you’re trying to quit. If you’re taking depression medication, your caregiver may want to monitor those levels and make adjustments as needed.
  2. Talk to your doctor about using a quit medication such as nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, bupropion or varenicline. These medicines can help stimulate your brain to release dopamine or serotonin.
  3. Get some support! Quit Coaches are specifically trained to help people successfully quit, including those with depression.

Remember – you can do it. Quitting is the very best thing you can do for your health. Studies show that tobacco users who suffer from depression have the same success quitting as those who don’t. Remember, QUITPLAN® Services is here to help.