Sunday, December 12, 2010
Anxiety Makes Quitting Smoking Harder
I recently stumbled upon this article:
Sometimes, the blog finds you...
This article covers a study by the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention where 1500 smokers were analyzed.
You can read the study here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03173.x/abstract
What grabbed me most was this, "To understand the relations among anxiety disorders and tobacco dependence, withdrawal symptoms, response to smoking cessation pharmacotherapy and ability to quit smoking."
Pharmacotherapy: the treatment of disease through the administration of drugs.
OH! That! When you see big words like that, feel free to get a little anxious. I know I always do. In fact, I'm thinking about reaching for a smoke right now I'm so anxious!
But I digress, really. Here's the deal, some folks went out to answer the question, "If you suffer from anxiety AND smoke cigarettes, will it be harder to quit?"
Their findings: "Anxiety diagnoses were common among treatment-seeking smokers and were related to increased motivation to smoke, elevated withdrawal, lack of response to pharmacotherapy and impaired ability to quit smoking. These findings could guide treatment assignment algorithms and treatment development for smokers with anxiety diagnoses."
This leaves me with one major question: Who in the #%&* funded this? Are you serious? Is this some kind of joke? Can you say no brainer? I can. If I was 11 years old the phrase "no-duh" would be ringing out load and proud!
So, just so we're clear here, not only is smoking getting put into the disease category instead of the disease CAUSING category, it is now official that if you've been anxious for a while and you smoke, then quitting is going to be a bitch.
Dude, quitting is already a bitch! As if I wasn't anxious enough, now you're telling me withdrawals will be elevated, no motivation, and what's all this pharmaco-whatever talk?
Look, I won't hide it, I've suffered from anxiety my whole life. Why do you think I started smoking? At least the real reason. The subtext of it all... suddenly that nicotine relaxed me. Evened out my brain chemistry or at least covered up the feelings. Why do people become alcoholics? Drug Addicts? Self-Medication is a prime factor. Even if the soon to be addict isn't aware of it. It's quite simple really. The knots and butterflies, the nausea, the tight chest and diaphragm, the sensation that I might crap myself, all that stuff suddenly goes away when I have a cigarette and I can think clearer. These thoughts process faster than a light going on so it never has time to fully register, but there it is. Smoke this, feel better. Self medication.