Smoking cigarettes interferes with certain chemicals in the brain. Quitting is scientifically proven to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
Why it feels like smoking helps you relax
Many people think smoking helps them to relax. But in fact, smoking increases the stress, tension, and anxiety that you feel.
When you haven’t had a cigarette for a while, the craving for another one makes you irritable and anxious. These feelings are temporarily relieved when you smoke. Not long after reliving these cravings, your body will start to crave another, making you feel irritable and anxious again.
Scientific studies show that people’s stress levels lower after they stop smoking. And it can take just six weeks for quitting smoking to improve your mood and mental health.
The mental health benefits of quitting smoking
When people stop smoking, studies show:
- anxiety, depression and stress levels are lower
- quality of life and positive mood improve
- the dosage of some medicines used to treat mental health problems can be reduced
Top tips for dealing with stress
- get the right help and support to take the stress out of quitting
- know your triggers and how to avoid them
- stay positive and take it one step at a time
- write down your reasons to remind yourself why you’re quitting
Stopping smoking can be as effective as antidepressants
People with mental health conditions are likely to feel much calmer, more positive and have a better quality of life after giving up smoking. Evidence suggests the beneficial effect of stopping smoking on symptoms of anxiety and depression can equal that of taking antidepressants.
If you take antipsychotic medicines or antidepressants, talk to your GP or psychiatrist before you stop smoking. The dosage of these medicines may need to be monitored and the amount you need to take could be reduced. This is because smoking can reduce the levels of some medications in the blood, so you may need a lower dose when you quit.