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Smoking is quite prevalent among the men of our society, especially the younger ones, who believe that it will make them look cool. Although it all begins for fun, smoking soon turns to an addiction that is hard to get rid of. And those of you who are unaware, smoking and mental health have a huge connection. Let’s know more about it.
So when was the first time you started smoking? In college because of peer pressure? Or perhaps when you started feeling that work stress and could not relax even when you were getting a massage at a spa? These can be some of the most common reasons why a man starts smoking, however, it is quite easy to get addicted to smoking. And quitting smoking is another story in which not all men are able to be successful.
However, there is a huge connection between smoking and mental health, which not all men are aware of. While most men smoke cigarettes or cigars to let go of their stress or tension and to relax a little bit, smoking actually increases your anxiety and tension. So, scientifically speaking, smoking can actually lead you to mental health disorders rather than relaxing you. Let’s get to know about this in detail.
Smoking and Relaxation
You take a few drags of a lighted cigarette and eventually it feels that the world is a better place. However, why does it feel so? The fact is that smoking interferes with certain chemicals in the brain. Cigarettes contain nicotine that give an immediate sense of relaxation. So men believe that smoking reduces stress as well as anxiety. However, it is a temporary feeling and soon gives way to withdrawal symptoms and increased cravings. Once you start smoking, it reduces the withdrawal symptoms, but not the anxiety or stress.
Apart from physical benefits of quitting smoking, there are some great mental benefits that a man can get, once he quits smoking:
- Anxiety, depression as well as stress levels become lower.
- Quality of life and mood improves.
- The dosage of medicines to treat mental health problems can be reduced.
Smoking and Mental Health
There is no doubt that smoking can negatively affect your mental health. While it is quite addictive and can cause cancer; majorly lung cancer, some of its other effects are stress, depression and schizophrenia. Let’s have a look at these disorders in detail:
Some men smoke in order to ease feelings of stress. However, smoking actually increases anxiety and tension. Nicotine develops a sense of relaxation, so these men smoke in the belief that it reduces stress and anxiety. But later, they end up with increased stress as well as cravings.
A man with depression is twice as likely to smoke than someone not suffering from depression. However, it is important to note that many men begin smoking without showing signs of depression. Smoking leads to the release of a chemical dopamine in the brain which triggers positive feelings. People with depression often have low levels of dopamine, so they may then use tobacco to experience pleasure or happiness.
Men with schizophrenia are three times more likely to smoke than those men who are not struggling with it. Apart from that, these men are known to smoke heavily. It seems to them that they can manage the symptoms of schizophrenia by smoking.
If you have been smoking all this while, perhaps it is time for you to think again before you light up another cigarette. While handling the urges and cravings would be difficult, quitting smoking would be the best decision that you ever make. It would not only make you physically healthy but also mentally healthy. Along with that, it will keep mental health disorders at bay.