Quitting the smoking habit has been well recognized to be very beneficial in terms of improvement in medical conditions such respiratory diseases, heart-related problems, and cancer. And now it has been shown that stopping smoking will provide significant improvements in mental health, according to the results of a study that was published in the British medical journal BMJ.
Systematic Review of 26 Previous Studies
With the association between smoking and mental health still unclear, a group of researchers from the University of Birmingham, Oxford and King’s College London carried out a systematic review of 26 previous clinical trials to determine the impact of quitting smoking to mental health as compared to continuing to smoke. Assessed by the researchers was the mental health before the smoking cessation and at least six weeks after the participants quit smoking. Used as measures of mental health were anxiety, depression, positivity, psychological quality of life, and stress.
The studies included in the meta-analysis involved adults with an average age of 44 years and who were smoking about 20 cigarettes per day. These subjects were followed up for an average of six months. To minimize bias, the research team took into consideration the differences in study design and quality.
Smoking Cessation Associated with Improvements in Mental Health
After assessment of the data, the researcher were able to conclude that there was consistent evidence that quitting smoking was associated with improvements in the vital areas of mental health that include depression, anxiety, stress, psychological quality of life, and positivity when compared to the continuance of the smoking habit.
This strength of the association, according to the researchers, was the same for both the general population and clinical population – those with psychological issues or mental disorders. It was further pointed out that the results were not affected by any study differences. The research team even went as far to claim that the effect of smoking cessation was equal or even larger than that of having antidepressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders.
Significance of Study
The outcome of this study is very significant since it provides another form of managing mental problems for those who are into the smoking habit. This is an incentive for those smokers to quit smoking even if those without mental disorders. This also straightens out any misconception that smoking may be beneficial to the mental health of a person.
Even with these positive results, individuals with mental concerns should seek assistance with the proper mental health providers. These specialists are in the best position to help patients in putting an end to the smoking habit.