Tag Archives: smoking

Mental Illness Impacts Physical Health

mental illness

With 2019 underway some Americans are scheduled for their annual medical physical. A yearly checkup for all-things-health is strongly advised, especially for people with preëxisting conditions. The majority of adults know what to expect when they see their primary care physician or PCP for a physical. A trip to the scale is to see if one is overweight, a reflex hammer to the knee, and saying aah. A litany of questions may follow about an individual's physical health, but there is little guarantee that the patient is asked about mental illness. Will your doctor ask if you are depressed or anxious?

Why is inquiring about mental illness significant during an annual physical? Because the mind and body are inextricably linked. Many people may not understand that diseases of the brain can wreak havoc on the body over time. When conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress do not receive treatment—a person's life can take a turn for the worse.

Over the years, researchers have sought to identify a link between mental health illness and poor physical wellbeing with mixed results. However, a new study compares the effect of anxiety and depression on the body to that of smoking and obesity. The latter two are usually a top concern among PCPs, whereas the former couple is not.

Mental Illness May Be Leading Predictors Physical Health Problems

Researchers Andrea Niles, Ph.D., and Aoife O'Donovan, Ph.D., of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and the San Francisco VA Medical Center, found that patients with high levels of anxiety and depression are at severe risk of physical sickness, according to a UCSF news release. Of more than 15,000 patients, 2,225 suffered from high levels of anxiety and depression. First author Niles and senior author O'Donovan found that such patients are:

  • 65 percent more likely to face heart condition;
  • 64 percent for stroke;
  • 50 percent for high blood pressure; and,
  • 87 for arthritis.

Dr. Niles and O'Donovan observed that people with untreated depression and anxiety face similar risks to experience the above conditions as smokers and obese people, the article reports. The study appears in the journal Health Psychology.

Anxiety and depression symptoms are strongly linked to poor physical health, yet these conditions continue to receive limited attention in primary care settings, compared to smoking and obesity," said Niles. "To our knowledge this is the first study that directly compared anxiety and depression to obesity and smoking as prospective risk factors for disease onset in long-term studies."

Interestingly, and contrary to popular belief, the researchers found no associations between high levels of anxiety and depression and cancer. On the other hand, those affected by these issues are exponentially more likely to contend with a headache, stomach upset, back pain, and shortness of breath.

"On top of highlighting that mental health matters for a whole host of medical illnesses, it is important that we promote these null findings,” said O'Donovan. “We need to stop attributing cancer diagnoses to histories of stress, depression and anxiety."

The research highlights the need for PCPs to inquire about symptoms of mental illness. Diagnosing anxiety and depression conditions is the first step toward treatment and recovery.

Orange County Mental Health Treatment

We invite adult males who are struggling with mental illness to reach out to PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our mental health intensive outpatient program (IOP). Our team can advocate for your wellbeing and give you the tools for managing your illness.

We are always available at 800-526-1851, to answer any questions; or, you can submit a confidential online inquiry here.

Quitting Cigarettes Helps Your Recovery

cigarettes

Cigarettes, albeit legal, are particularly harmful to anyone’s health. All of us are taught at a young age to avoid tobacco products of any kind, especially cigarettes. Otherwise we put ourselves at great risk of developing life-threatening health conditions, including: cancer, respiratory and vascular disease. The warnings are everywhere, even on the boxes they are packed in. There are mountains of research to support correlations between smoking and premature death. Yet, smoking in the United States and beyond continues in spite of the clear and present dangers.

The reasons people give for why they began smoking in the first place are varied. Much like the reasons people give for why they continue to smoke. But, one thing is certain. Most long-term tobacco smokers say they wish the never started and they would love to quit. A wish that is extremely difficult to achieve. For the simple fact that nicotine, an alkaloid absorbed into the bloodstream when one smokes is highly addictive. Nicotine is a stimulant, but it also acts as a sedative producing feelings of calmness. Which is why people tend to smoke more when they are stressed. If you are a smoker, then you are no stranger to this tendency.

Smoking cigarettes has inherent risks beyond those listed above for people working programs of addiction recovery. Research published earlier this year indicated that smokers in recovery are at a greater risk of relapse. Researchers at Boston University’s School of Public Health found over a three-year period, smokers were about two times more likely to relapse than nonsmokers.

Such findings are of the utmost importance. Previous studies show that at least two-thirds of people with a history of drug/alcohol addiction, have histories of smoking. What’s more, research from the last decade shows that around 60 percent of people in AA smoke.

Protecting Recovery - Quitting Cigarettes

In the field of addiction recovery nicotine addiction is typically not the zenith of priorities. Treatment facilities stress smoking cessation, yet quitting is not a requirement for achieving long-term recovery. Options to help quitting are always provided and clients are impressed to utilize these while under care.

However, it’s highly unlikely that anyone ever chose to buy a pack of cigarettes over paying their rent. Nicotine is not something that many people have lied, cheated, and stole to acquire. You get the idea. But, it’s worth remembering that cigarettes are often tried before any other substance. Most people don’t usually start down the road of addiction with hard drugs. Substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana tend to be the first chapters of most people’s addictive storylines.

In recovery, any substance that can cause even minute feelings of euphoria can potentially jeopardize one’s recovery. Mind-altering substances that are used to cope with stress versus dealing with a problem in healthy ways — can be risky. Regardless of being considered benign.

Whether you have 10 days clean and sober or 10 years, quitting smoking can help your program. If your program is the most important aspect of your life, then quitting should be entertained. And there is no better time than the present. It is a difficult chore, but with the aid of the 12 Steps, your support network, and cessation aids it’s possible.

Nicotine replacement therapies, such as gums, patches and inhalers can help you achieve the goal. The drugs CHANTIX® (varenicline) and Wellbutrin (bupropion) have helped a significant number of people quit, as well. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), in conjunction with nicotine replacements and a support network typically bears the most fruit.

Long-Term Recovery Requires A Healthy Body

This post began with a focus on the negative impact that cigarettes has on one’s health. With that in mind, anyone looking to continually maintain a program of recovery must prioritize healthy living. Recovery may keep you from a premature death. But, if something else counters it, it’s a serious problem.

Smoking cigarettes for years can wreak havoc on the human body. In some cases, causing irreparable damage that may be irreversible. Have you been smoking for years? If so, you might be inclined to think that the damage done thus far, is done. Set in stone. Which could potentially reinforce a continuation of the self-defeating behavior, on your part. However, one of the most remarkable things about the human body is its ability to repair itself. Of course, it must be given the opportunity.

Tobacco is extremely caustic. Although, new research indicates that shortly after quitting smoking, specific metabolic changes occur — reversing some mal-effects caused by tobacco. The findings were published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research.

Researchers analyzed lab samples of male volunteers attempting to quit smoking—up to three months after smoking cessation. The team observed 52 metabolites that were altered, and several that showed “reversible changes.”

At PACE Recovery Center, we have helped a significant number of young males abstain from cigarettes. We understand that long-term recovery is contingent upon taking care of one’s health. The cycle of nicotine addiction, like any addictive substance, can be broken if one is given the right environment and tools. Please contact us today to begin the life-long journey of addiction recovery.

Differing Views Regarding E-Cigarettes

e-cigarettesE-Cigarettes: A Smoking Cessation Aid or A Temptation?
In a short period of time, e-cigarettes have become extremely popular, with sales growing exponentially with every year that passes. While many e-cigarette users believe that the product(s) are effective smoking cessation devices and are healthier than traditional cigarettes, medical professionals and researchers have varying opinions. A lack of governmental oversight and regulation has allowed e-cigarette sales to grow faster than research can keep up with. Without a complete and accurate understanding of e-cigarettes, many users may be mistaken in their beliefs. A new study has found that a number of former smokers see e-cigarettes a temptation, one that may prompt them to begin smoking again, Reuters reports.
Because e-cigarettes are relatively new products we are only beginning to learn about the health risks,” said senior study author Amanda Amos, a researcher at the Center for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh Medical School.
The Research
In Scotland, the researchers conducted interviews with 64 smokers. In the past year, the research team conducted 12 focus groups and 11 individual interviews with former and current smokers. The findings produced little consistency, the participants had differing views regarding the pros and cons of the devices, according to the article. The varying opinions on e-cigarettes by the participants included:
  • Some found e-cigarettes as more satisfying than traditional cigarettes.
  • Some found the devices to be less satisfying.
  • Others found e-cigarettes to be a potential threat to smoking cessation.
The findings appear to indicate that, while e-cigarettes may help people quit smoking or be used as an alternative to traditional tobacco products, the findings suggest that smokers view e-cigarettes differently than gums, patches and medicines. The findings were published in Tobacco Control.
An Outside View
This paper shows that the public’s view of e-cigarettes is far from being clear, with a great deal of ambiguity around the product and its intended use,” said Dr. Ricardo Polosa, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Catania.
Polosa wasn’t involved in the study, but he believes:
E-cigs are a much safer alternative to smoking and are intended for smokers who are unable to quit using other methods.”
___________________________________________________________________________ More research will be needed to determine if e-cigarettes are a promising smoking cessation option. Nicotine addiction is a difficult habit to recover from, and tobacco products are the leading cause of cancer. If you or a loved one struggles with nicotine addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out for help.

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