Cigarettes for anxiety seem to be a solution for many anxiety sufferers, but, unfortunately, they really aren’t a great idea. Some interesting new studies have recently shown that up to 50% of cigarettes are smoked by people who already have anxiety disorders and other personality or mood disorders. This alarming number should lead us to understand more about cigarettes for anxiety and the real effect they can have.
While at first cigarettes for anxiety may be helpful for some anxiety sufferers, in the long run, they’re not a fantastic idea. Originally, the nicotine in cigarettes may help calm anxiety, particularly once the user is already addicted to the cigarettes. However, using cigarettes for anxiety in the long term may actually lead to worsened anxiety problems.
It was originally thought that cigarettes for anxiety were used by people who already had anxiety disorders. However, some recent studies, one through the Children in the Community Study, seem to show a different relationship between cigarettes and anxiety. This study seems to show that people who smoke heavily in their teenage and early adult years are more likely to experience anxiety disorders later in life, even if they didn’t have anxiety problems when they first started smoking!
While the connection between cigarettes and anxiety still isn’t very clear, what is clear is that smoking cigarettes for anxiety can lead to a whole host of problems, including the following:
A greater dependence on cigarettes
Anxiety sufferers who believe that their cigarette smoking is giving them relief from anxiety may continue to smoke because they’re addicted but also because they think they can’t deal with their anxiety without cigarettes. This means they are even more dependent on cigarettes than the average smoker, which may make it even more difficult for these individuals to quit smoking.
Increased anxiety, eventually
Eventually, cigarette smokers who want to kill their anxiety may find that they have to become very heavy smokers, indeed, in order to quell anxiety and other problems. What starts off as a five or six cigarettes a day habit may become a two or three pack a day habit, which can dramatically increase the health risks of smoking and, of course, costs a small fortune, as well!
Anxiety about health problems
Clearly one of the best ways to get over anxiety in your life is to be as healthy as possible, but that’s just not a possibility when you’re a heavy smoker. Those who smoke are more at risk for a variety of health conditions, which can cause the anxiety to worsen because it just gives the anxiety sufferer more to be concerned about.
You can quit smoking, even through anxiety
If you’re a smoker and think that you can’t stop using cigarettes for anxiety, you’re wrong. Even though you might go through a bit more hardship at withdrawal, it’s well worth the effort it will take you to quit smoking, especially if you are already suffering from an anxiety disorder.
The first step is to decide you’re going to quit, and the second is to get as much help as you need. For you, this might mean just talking to a friend through your withdrawal period. You may also need to withdraw from the nicotine gradually by using patches or gum to help your body get used to less and less nicotine. Electronic cigarettes may even pose a high-tech new option for those who use cigarettes for anxiety but want to quit smoking for the good of their health.
If none of these steps works, try using cognitive behavioral therapy throughout your quitting period, as it may be able to help you modify behaviors and thoughts that lead to more anxiety.