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Young smokers at increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders: Study

Young smokers at increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders: Study

Young smokers at increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders: Study

June 30th, 2016 | ASAH Team

It is known that smoking tobacco is associated with the risk of developing numerous ailments because of the harmful effects of nicotine in it. Smoking habit is disdained, considering the innumerable disorders and addiction tendencies linked to it.

A recent study, published online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry in January 2016, has pinpointed that the rate of addiction to nicotine has increased by over two times, with a high probability of tobacco smokers developing substance use disorder and mental disorders.

For the study, titled “Changing relationships between smoking and psychiatric disorders across twentieth century birth cohorts: clinical and research implications,” the researchers evaluated more than 25,000 respondents from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). The participants in the NESARC were questioned in accordance with the Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule – DSM-IV Version (AUDADIS-IV).

They were grouped into five birth units based on their birth years such as 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The participants were then segregated into three groups based on smoking habits, such as non-smokers, never-dependent smokers and ever-dependent smokers.

Smokers now exhibiting drug and alcohol use disorders

The scientists observed that though the rate of smoking diminished across the five birth units, there was an overall increase in the number of smokers dependent on nicotine, as evident from the figures showing 30.8 percent smokers born in 1940s and 70.4 percent smokers born in 1980s. The results also suggested a substantial increase in the association between smoking habits and disorders related to drug and alcohol use. A similar relationship was noticed between nicotine dependence and psychiatric disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder and antisocial personality disorder across all birth groups.

Elaborating on the observations made, lead author of the study Dr. Ardesheer Talati, assistant professor of clinical neurobiology/psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said, “The findings extend previous work showing that as smoking becomes less normative, psychiatric vulnerability among smokers increases.”

In addition, smokers with or without a history of nicotine dependence exhibited an increase in drug and alcohol use disorders, corresponding to the rise in smoking habits. The scientists, however, did not find much variation in association between major depressive behavior and nicotine dependence across all birth units.

Previous researches focused on possible associations between nicotine dependence and psychiatric disorders, but the probability of smokers being more prone to mental illnesses had remained elusive within wider smoking cohorts observed earlier. “The group of vulnerable people has always existed, but what we are saying, perhaps, is that many decades earlier, the vulnerable people were not isolated within smoker groups the way they are now or to the extent they are now”, said Talati.

Considering the rise in number of people afflicted with psychiatric illnesses as a result of addictive habits, it is important for medical practitioners to differentiate between people smoking occasionally from those aggrieved with prolonged nicotine dependence. This differentiation in smoking habits can further assist in conducting studies related to mental illnesses and help those in immediate need of treatment.

Road to recovery

Though the study revealed important statistics correlating smoking dependence with increased tendency to suffer from mental illnesses, it could not shed light on biological conditions responsible for the comorbidity between psychiatric disorders and nicotine dependence.

People who start taking drugs generally find it difficult to restrain themselves from following their impulses. They are more likely to give in, in most circumstances, making substance abuse a compulsive addiction. If you or your loved one is battling addiction, contact the Arizona Substance Abuse Helpline to know about various substance abuse treatment centers in Arizona. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-857-5777 or chat online to get information about one of the best substance abuse rehab clinics in Arizona that work relentlessly toward helping addicts in their recovery.

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