alcohol and drug abuse
Smoking Psychosis: Bipolar Disorder and Tobacco Use
Community Member August 07, 2006
Anyone ever notice that a large percentage of bipolar sufferers are smokers? It's in our nature, our personality. I no longer smoke, but I did for many years. Quitting was probably the most difficult thing I ever did.
I read a book one time, a newer autobiography, I'm trying to remember the author, but he hit the nail on the head. He said he was kind of a messed up kid, nervous tics, no confidence, then he discovered cigarettes. Smoking completely took care of those issues. It was the same way for me-- my nervous energy needed an outlet, and smoking was it.
My bipolar son smokes, and I have to say it seems to help him. He used to be a marathon runner, now he smokes. That's pure bipolar - from one extreme to the other.
Some experts speculate that nicotine use may be a form of self-medication because of its specific effects on the brain. This absolutely makes sense to me. Another study says "Smoking was less prevalent in patients who were less symptomatic". Yet another study states that juveniles Bipolar Disorder need to be carefully monitored for the early initiation of cigarette smoking and substance abuse.
A study I find particulary interesting ties smoking to severity of bipolar psychosis. The more significant the psychosis, the heavier the smoker, and vice versa.
There are a few studies out there that attempt to link smoking with the onset of bipolar disorder. This I find laughable. Those that smoke seem to develop bipolar disorder at a higher rate than non-smokers? Just goes to show that if you have an outcome you want to prove, there’s always a way to do it.
My wife asked me the other day what I would do if I was given a year to live. Without batting a eye or hesitating, I said I’d start smoking again. It was THAT helpful and satisfying. I quit in 1989, and 17 years later I STILL miss it. If I were to ever pick up another cigarette I'd be hooked for life. I don't think I'd have the willpower to quit again. It's not a perceived link, this link is very real.
Smoker? Non-smoker? Ex-smoker? Give us your opinion on this. Leave a comment or let’s discuss it in the message boards.