According to research, if you smoke you are may well be more prone to suffering from bouts of depression than if don’t smoke. So what actually is depression and how can it affect you? Depression is a difficult illness where the sufferer typically feels sad, has little desire to do anything, can be grumpy, may feel worthless at times, tired and even experience suicidal thoughts.
Depression is an intense and often difficult condition to have to deal with and it can affect people very differently and to varying degrees. These inconsistencies can create additional problems for people such as erratic behaviour, eating more or less than they used to do and feelings of irritation.
Everyone experiences mood changes or reacts to personal stressors so you may well feel a little depressed at times. Stress, life changes, alcohol or drug addiction, genetic links and even some medication can bring on bouts of depression but it’s worth realising that depression and sadness are very different and not to be confused. Feelings of sadness or low moods may last hours or a few days, depression can last for weeks, even months and the symptoms vary but always interfere with your daily life.
Mood changes are common if you have given up smoking. You may well find yourself feeling down or restless but usually these mood changes start to improve within a week or two and they are not serious, but be prepared that they are difficult. If you are struggling with withdrawal symptoms and also feel very down following your last cigarette, then don’t contain these feelings, instead talk to your family or friends but also go and speak to your doctor and get these feelings out into the open.
Depression is quite common in smokers but no one really knows why this is the case. It may well be that people smoke because they suffer with depression and therefore the depressive illness is the trigger to make people smoke and to stop them from quitting. If you suffer from depression and are thinking about giving up smoking but are too worried to do so, don’t think that it’s not possible to take control over your addiction, but you might need a little extra advice before you do so. Smoking can often become an emotional crutch; you feel that it helps you during times of need although this is false. Smoking does not help in any way other than providing a temporary relief and importantly, smoking doesn’t treat your depression but in fact, can make you feel a whole lot worse because it is linked to some very serious health conditions.
Depression is especially likely and poignant during times that are really stressful. You may have lost a partner through divorce or be grieving, and these could easily become triggers that cause bouts of depression. If you smoke, it is likely that you will turn to cigarettes to help alleviate the stress although it will not actually help. Seek medical advice if you know that your situation is dire and you feel rock bottom.
If you feel that you need something to help you through and that giving up smoking is just too difficult when your feelings are erratic anyway and you don’t feel strong enough or resilient enough to cope with your nicotine addiction, there may be another way to cope and to start taking control over your life.
Electronic cigarettes might seem an odd solution to your withdrawal symptoms but the reality is that they are a healthier option to traditional cigarettes so at least you can be aware that you are doing something positive for yourself. The hardest part of giving up smoking is suffering from withdrawal symptoms which can be greatly exaggerated during times of stress and feelings of depression. Most electronic cigarettes still contain nicotine but it is much easier to gain the hit when you inhale and this means you will satisfy your need for the drug much more quickly and you will not need to smoke as much.
Smoking is a series of behaviours; your addiction becomes patterns formed over a period of time. Lighting up first thing in the morning, having to smoke when you drink alcohol, even walking past a certain point on the way to walk could easily be another trigger. Electronic cigarettes can help you to change the pattern formed with your usual smoking habit but from a health perspective, you can at least have the knowledge that you are inhaling thousands of chemicals less than you would have been doing if smoking a traditional cigarette. This means that your body can start healing and you can start feeling good about yourself as you begin to control your nicotine addiction.