Sources: The British Journal of Psychiatry; BBC Health News

StopSmokingNotwithstanding the belief that smoking can relieve stress, a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry has found that smokers who successfully quit feel less anxious than their smoking peers.

Researchers found a “significant” decrease in anxiety levels among the 68 smokers who had quit after six months. The effect was greater among those who had mood and anxiety disorders than those that smoked for pleasure.

The researchers – drawn from several universities including Cambridge, Oxford and Kings’s College in London – said the findings should be used to reassure smokers attempting to quit that concerns about increased anxiety levels were unfounded.  However, the study did suggest that a failed attempt to seemed to increase anxiety levels by a modest degree among those who had mood disorders.

For those who smoked for pleasure a relapse did not alter anxiety levels. The researchers said it seemed that smokers, in particularl those that smoked to cope with stress, were more likely to have a cigarette soon after waking up to stave off withdrawal symptoms, which include anxiety.  By quitting, they removed these repeated episodes of anxiety and actually felt less anxious as a result.

Add one to your new year resolutions.

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Posted by: David M. Schwadron, Esquire