Schizophrenia.com

Do you smoke?


#1

Hi all, I was just wondering if it’s true what the stats say. Do people dx with a mental illness tend to smoke, and are they heavier smokers?
I was a moderate (15cigs/day) smoker for six years.
I suddenly stopped last month when I had the flu. Haven’t had any cravings since.
What is it about smoking that we like? Just curious.


#2

Congratulations… giving up is hard work.

I too was nearly a pack a day, chain smoking guy for a long time. Then I ended up at half a pack. Now I’m holding steady at only three a day.

Smoking did a lot for me. It calmed me down. It hid any intruding thoughts. If I couldn’t think of how to reply to someone’s question, I would just take a minute and light up. So my slow answer time looked like a nicotine fit, not an intruding thought. It gave me something to do with my hands so I didn’t fidget and twitch. It always gave me an excuse to leave a busy cafe table… (going outside for a smoke) It gave me an excuse to get away from people. I always met other people outside when I smoked.

But I’m going to stop someday. I hope. LIke I said, three a day thus far. One when I wake up, one after lunch, one before I go to bed. Just like my meds. :wink:


#3

That’s fantastic that you’ve cut down by so much! :smile:
I don’t judge anyone for smoking, it’s a personal choice. We all get lectured/bombarded on how bad it is for us, but if it helps in some way, that’s cool.
I always felt calmer after having a smoke, I can’t explain it. And it always made being drunk even more awesome.
But I tried to continue to smoke when I had the flu, and it was awful. Hopefully, it’ll have put me off for life.


#4

I can’t drink any more either. Sober for four years. In AA.

I’ve heard it said that nicotine interferes with the effectiveness of the meds. So if you don’t smoke, you don’t need to be on higher doses. Just what I’ve heard, can’t find any proof. But what is a doctor going to say… “No their wrong, keep smoking” :smile:

Not that’s why I’ve been cutting down, but if that is a side effect of not smoking… I would LOVE to be on less meds.


#5

I’ve also heard that too, from reading various articles and blogs.
I was strongly advised to avoid alcohol and driving whilst my Seroquel dose is being stepped up. I was always a social drinker, and never had any problems with alcohol thankfully.
My vice was spending money I didn’t have, which I later realised was partly due to being manic.
I’ve saved an awful lot of money by not buying alcohol or tobacco.
The lower the dose of meds I’m on the better. :frowning:


#6

I’m also on Seroquel with a Latuda chaser. I’m also a bit manic. (OK, more then a bit.) There are many people on this forum who say that their meds make them so tired. I’ve heard that from guys in my SZ group as well. I’m the odd man out on this one. The Seroquel does slow me down, but just enough to think. I was over the top hyper-manic when I was young. No one could keep up with me. I know I used to scare a lot of people with the amount of energy I’d come at people with. That’s most likely how and why I became such a heavy drinker when I was too young.


#7

I have to agree with others. The Seroquel is slowing me down so much, but it has made my thinking clearer. I was only manic for two weeks, but it was so good that I became destructive and lost all my insight. I upset a lot of people, and took some pretty big risks that were totally out of character for me.
One thing is for sure, I’d choose being manic over over being depressed every time.


#8

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11524025/

This study indicates that smoking affects the effectiveness of certain psychotropic medications. It’s technical language is a little hard to understand, but you can get the point.

Most people with schizophrenia DO smoke more than a healthy individual. For most people, smoking is a method of self-medicating.

Even in patients whose symptoms are seemingly under control with psych meds, there are residual symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, that are not responsive to the medications. And that’s where smoking comes in. It’s almost like another medication to some people. Hence the smoking large amounts.

For me, smoking is an anti-anxiety medication. It calms me significantly. Especially when I’m feeling paranoid. So I used to smoke nearly 3 packs per day! Which, I know, is horrible on the body.

I’m in the process of reducing that amount. I’m increasing my anti-anxiety and antidepressant meds to compensate for the loss of the calm that smoking gave me.

I applaud everyone who’s been able to reduce or quit! It’s no easy task!

Blessings,

Anthony


#9

YES! I hate negative symptom far more then positive. I know that some people say the voices are the worst, and the hallucinations are horrid. I understand for them. But for me… I get so down on myself and so disconnected when I’m in negative symptom. I Hate that feeling of no feeling. (if that makes any sense) I’m more likely to give up on my meds and myself during a depression.


#10

@radmedtech Thank you Anthony for sharing. I agree that smoking does relieve stress and anxiety. I’ve tried quitting before, and have never succeeded. I eventually had to scare myself with the statistic that if I kept on smoking, I’d be spending over £2,000GBP on cigarettes per year. Scary, when you look at it from that perspective. But it’s about individual choice. I now substitute with coffee.

@SurprisedJ I understand completely what you’re describing. That feeling like there’s an emotional vacuum/void inside you and nothing makes it better. I could never describe to my doctor what that feeling was like. I’ve given up my meds a few times in the past, and have crashed every time. I’m stuck taking them for some time yet.


#11

I have tried to quit once i was successfull for few month but anger and depression kicked in i couldnt handle it, i think its more difficult for schizoaffectives to quit since there is depression evolved and quitting exacerbates the depression. This time i am going to slowly reduce is so my brain will slowly adjust. I am now to 15 a day.


#12

I have never smoked. I think what put me off is some kids at prep school putting tobacco in my cup of tea. I drank the cup and was subsequently violently sick at the end of term assembly .


#13

@Mindwhisperer Thanks for sharing your experience. I don’t think I would have been able to quit if I had been depressed. Being manic actually made it a lot easier, if that makes any sense. I didn’t have to depend on smoking to make me feel better, as I was already high as a kite.

@firemonkey That would definitely have put me off as well! :smile:


#14

I roll my own cos is cheaper. Was smoking a lot for a few months there but now down to one pack a week. Money issues force this.


#15

I was smoking about 12 cigarettes a day but I quit a month and a half ago :slight_smile: They are awful and taste like crap but I am addicted to the stupid things. I am taking nicorette lozenges now. I have been cutting them in half. Hopefully I can quit those too in a few months.


#16

@morkboy_wonder I understand completely how expensive it is. I was spending £40 per week :confused: I had to give up, especially doing the job I do. It’s doesn’t look good being a doctor who smokes.

@zengarden That’s amazing that you’ve managed quit cigarettes, congrats! Nicotine itself isn’t harmful, so don’t fret about using the lozenges. Hopefully, you can wean yourself off them in time. :slight_smile:


#17

Congrats zengarden! I’m so glad you’ve found a successful method to quit!

Blessings,

Anthony


#18

I smoked a pack a day for ten years, but on March 6th, 2012 I quit cold turkey. No patches, no gum, no tapering off, I just threw away the rest of my cigarettes, and never looked back. It was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, I have so much more energy, I can smell and taste things better, and I can take a deep breath without coughing! I recommend quitting, even if nicotine does dull the symptoms of SZ a bit, it’s not worth the health problems.


#19

@RowanAmethyst That’s awesome, congrats. It’s early days for me (3 weeks tomorrow since I quit) but I do feel so much better.
I used to have terrible wheeze/chestiness at night, but that’s now cleared up. Thankfully I haven’t had any cravings since.


#20

I used to smoke from when I was 16 up until I was 22 (which I’m 22 now) and my bf got me and him a electronic cigarette and red hots flavoring. That helped me quit. So now I smoke ecig and the occasional cigarette.