Today is World Tobacco Day. In the special feature, we reach out to those who have been trying to quit smoking or chewing tobacco to help them.
Everyone who smokes knows that smoking is not good for them, yet they do it. There is a reason for this – smoking and mental health are connected. People who smoke or chew tobacco have linkages with anxiety, stress and depression as per research at Purdue, WHO, Hebrew University and Mental Health Foundation UK. And that is why they turn to tobacco for enhanced moods, or simply gaining confidence to be able to face the world
We often associate tobacco with the looming spectre of physical ailments, such as cancer and heart disease. But there is a quieter, insidious battle being fought within the realms of the mind.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, United Kingdom, stopping smoking suddenly through willpower alone is the least effective way to quit. If one plans, has support, and chooses the right time to try, they are more likely to be successful. If one is feeling unstable, experiencing a crisis, or undergoing significant changes in their life, they are less likely to quit, says the Foundation.
Also, if one is taking antidepressants or antipsychotic medicines, they should talk to their physician or psychiatrist before they stop smoking. “The dosage you take may need to be monitored, and the amount you need to take could be reduced. This is because smoking can reduce the levels of some medications in the blood, so you may need a lower dose when you quit.”
Following are some ways to help quit smoking by the Mental Health Foundation, United Kingdom:
Prepare for change
Think about your relationship with smoking. Write down what you will gain by not smoking, such as better physical health, fresher breath, improved concentration, and more money to spend on other things.Get support from family and friends
Stopping smoking can be easier with the support of family and friends. If you live with people who smoke or have friends who smoke, suggest to them that you give up together. If other household members smoke, encourage them not to smoke around you or leave their cigarettes, ashtrays, or lighters where you will see them.
Find other ways to cope with stress
If you use smoking to cope with stress, you’ll need to find other ways to deal with it. Some things people find helpful are meditation and breathing exercises, regular exercise, cutting down on alcohol, eating a well-balanced diet, acupuncture, and hypnosis. Counselling or simply talking to a supportive friend, family member, or religious or spiritual leader can also help.
Find a local stop-smoking service
You’re three times as likely to stop smoking successfully if you use a stop-smoking service. They offer free one-to-one or group support along with stop-smoking medicines.
Talk to your GP
Many people don’t realize their GP can help them stop smoking. They may enroll you in a stop-smoking clinic, prescribe nicotine replacement therapy, or stop smoking medicine.
Nicotine replacement therapy and medication
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), anti-depressants, and other medication have all been shown to help smokers without mental health problems stop smoking. They may also be helpful for people with depression or schizophrenia. NRT appears to be more effective when combined with talking therapy.
You could also consider e-cigarettes. They’re much safer than cigarettes and can help people stop smoking.
Individual, group, or telephone counselling can help people to stop smoking. Talking therapies can help people change their behaviour by thinking and acting more positively. Many counselling programs use the techniques of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and social skills development. Research has shown that CBT may be particularly effective in smokers with or without mental health problems.
Avoid triggers linked to smoking
Removing all tobacco products from your home can help lessen some of the cravings for nicotine withdrawal.
Learn to recognise your smoking triggers. Identify when you crave cigarettes, such as at a party or after a meal. Try to avoid those situations where possible, or plan ways to resist triggers you can’t avoid. Most cravings only last a few minutes. If you can ride them out, you’ll be closer to quitting for good.
Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms
You may experience headaches, nausea, irritability, anxiety, craving cigarettes, feeling miserable, difficulty concentrating, increased appetite, and drowsiness. Drinking more fresh fruit juice or water, eating more high-fibre foods, and reducing caffeine and refined sugar in your diet can all help you cope with withdrawal symptoms.
Don’t give up if you relapse
Many people who quit smoking will relapse at some point. Don’t be put off trying again. Use it as an opportunity to reflect on what went wrong, learn about yourself, and figure out what will help you be more successful in the future.
These findings can be used to tailor intervention programs and strategies, particularly in populations with a high prevalence of smoking and depression. Considering smoking as a potential confound in neurobiological studies of psychiatric illnesses will help treatment programs to yield better clinical outcomes.
It is extremely essential for public health systems to support people with mental illness to quit tobacco. In addition to benefitting physical health, cessation can lead to numerous improvements in mental health, such as reduced levels of depression, anxiety, and stress; enhanced mood; and even improved symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Today is World Tobacco Day. In the special feature, we reach out to those who have been trying to quit smoking or chewing tobacco to
Help is here:
Toll-Free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline Kiran (1800-599-0019)
Name of the Organisation: Indian Cancer Society
The ICS is one of the first voluntary, non-profit, National Organization for Awareness, Detection, Cure and Survivorship of those affected with this disease.
Contact: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: +91- 22-2413 9445 / 5 CANCER HELPLINE: 1800-22-1951
Name of the Organisation: Gunjan Organisation for Community Development
Gunjan Organisation for Community Development is a Government of India initiative. The centre provides services like — Preventive education and awareness generation, Screening and Motivational Counseling, Detoxification and whole person recovery(WPR), Care and Support to families and drug users, Referral Services, After care and follow-up and rehabilitation support.
Contact: Email: email@example.com
24 Hours Help Line: 7018712909
Name of the Organisation: Vandrevala Foundation
Vandrevala Foundation is a non-profit that partners with organizations to help communities thrive by providing education and healthcare. Vandrevala Foundation launched a mental health helpline in India in 2009 to offer free psychological counselling and crisis mediation to anyone who is experiencing distress due to depression, trauma, mood disorders, chronic illness, and relationship conflict.
Contact: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: +91 9999 666 555