Monday, November 1, 2010

Self Medicating or Self Destruction

These are some of the facts I have found as a tobacco user requiring mental health services:

Smoking causes a myriad of deathly ailments such as peripheral vascular disease, and hypertension. Smoke contains many carcinogenic products that combine with DNA and cause genetic mutations within the human body. Tobacco also contains nicotine which is a highly addictive psychoactive chemical, the smoke of tobacco, when inhaled causing physical and psychological dependency. This habit may cause also miscarriages and premature births.

Cigarette smokers often speak of cigarettes as relieving stress, though a cigarette smoker’s stress level may be higher than someone who doesn’t smoke, while lessening the amount or quitting the habit of cigarette smoking actually lessens the stress level. Habitual smokers need nicotine to feel normal. Nicotine has a half shelf life in the human bodies system of only 2 hours and withdrawal symptoms can appear after smoking 4 or 5 cigarettes. A smoker with a severe dependency will find that nicotine is removed after 10 – 20 days in the human body though psychological dependence may last months, even years.

A very large group of schizophrenics use tobacco as self medication. Nicotine patches have been thought to be used for a treatment for not only schizophrenia yet also to help them to reduce even quit smoking so that they become healthier, though this is not conclusive for treatment. Smoking linked to anxiety disorders maybe related and not limited to only depression and ongoing research is attempting to explore the addiction-anxiety relationships. There is evidence though that when a smoking treatment program is inserted into a client’s treatment plan, they can (the mental health providers) help their patients to cut down their smoking or even quit. Behavioral therapy and pharmaceuticals have been known to help the mentally ill to cut down smoking, though they have a harder time quitting alone.

By Donald Sammons

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