When you are living with bipolar disorder, smoking cigarettes or smoking weed not help you that much. They only agitate the relaxed feeling for a short phase of time
Smoking is something that can be considered the opposite of a person’s health. When a person smokes on a regular basis then he/she might face future health challenges. And if a person is suffering from depression then the effect of nicotine from smoking makes things worse.
This depression increases the chances of occurring mental disorders like bipolar disorder. And with regular smoking cigarettes or weed, the case might speed up the depression process and leads a person to bipolar disorder.
In bipolar disorder person can’t able to think, have several mood swings, anger, anxiety, want to live alone, etc. And the person tends to be a pleasure seeker.
This leads a person towards the pleasuring activities. So, if the person is a smoker then he develops more desire to smoke. These events lead to a situation called drug dependence.
Hence, the person gets caught herself in nicotine dependence or weeds or drugs. As they make their brains feel milder and relaxed.
What happens to a person with bipolar disorder and smoking habits?
When I was pursuing my master’s degree, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and things start getting turned-off for me. I first googled how much time it takes to cure this disorder, but the answer was not favorable to me.
After that, many changes start happening to me such as:
- Lose most of the Friends: It was that phase of my life where I felt very alone. I became a person to whom someone hardly talks. They don’t want to talk to me. I don’t blame them because my behavior was not good with them.
- Consumption of Cigarettes increases: Earlier I was not a heavy smoker but a couple of cigarettes a week. But in the bipolar depression phase, three to four cigarettes a day often become common for me.
This condition of mine makes my family very depressed. Then I realized that smoking cigarettes made me selfish. But at the same time, I need that emotion support which I am not getting those days but smoking cigarettes does.
No one is near and behind me to cope with the difficulties of my life. And when I discovered that I have bipolar disorder. Guys, this was the worst day, as I don’t even think that I have to live with this disorder throughout my life.
At the initial stage, I realized that I was unable to focus on my educational work. A lot of thoughts that circle in the brain. I am unable to make a decision, I always have a feeling that my brain slows down several times.
I realized that it can happen to any person. But how one can react and handle this, or how their family and friends support him that’s the key that matters the most.
I was in the third semester of post-graduation when I struck in the bipolar depression phase. My score was only fairly enough that hardly makes me passed.
It gives me a lesson that this is the time, I have to put all thoughts together and achieve what I want to achieve. And guys if your friends and family with you then you can achieve anything.
For me, It is my father who always behind me and always supported me. Though he was a smoker, and this might be the reason why he understands my condition of the urge of smoking very well. And sometimes he brought me a cigarette in a couple of days. And for me, he was my counselor in the journey to improve my life.
Now, I am healthy enough to write a short article like this and as always my father is with me and helps me writing things.
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Should I smoke cigarettes (nicotine) in bipolar disorder?
No, you shouldn’t smoke cigarettes when you are suffering from bipolar disorder. I know it is very hard to cope up the situation without smoking if you have a habit of smoking.
From my personal experience, I know it makes the case of bipolar more worsen if you get caught in cycles of trigger – action process of nicotine dependence.
Why smoking worsen the bipolar disorder depression?
There are mainly two reasons why:
1. Trigger and Action Process of Nicotine.
Trigger: “urge to smoke cigarettes”, and Action: “lighted the cigarettes or cigars”.
So, when you get in the cycle of trigger and action process, then it makes the case worse. You not only facilitate the nicotine to go into your blood and act on CNS or brain parts but also you ease the smoke to damage other body parts.
Some effects of nicotine:
- Heart rate increases or decreases
- Joint pains
- Enlargement of aorta
- Tremors and pain
- Insulin resistance
- Headache and Dizziness
- Increase clotting tendency
- Peptic ulcer
- Abnormal dreams
And it seems that in bipolar disease with smoking trigger-action results in damaging your body to an extreme level. This makes your body to smell entirely with the smoke of tobacco.
The smoke of cigarettes induces nicotine in the blood and make a relaxed sensation. After a few hours’ nicotine levels decrease in blood. This decrease in nicotine further triggers an urge to smoke another one. And this process continued which makes the case more badly.
So, if you get caught yourself inside triggers to smoke cigarettes and take actions to light them. Then, in the long run, this will not make things easy for bipolar people.
2. On Medication of Bipolar Disorder and Smoking.
When you are on medication which is generally anti-psychotic and anticonvulsant and SSRI. When these medications are used along with nicotine it creates various complication to their mental health. And kidney failure, liver enlargement can be one of the major complications. But again, it is very hard to quit smoking when you are living with bipolar disorder.
From my prospectus, it generally depends on how you get engaged in the surrounding. If you surrounded by caring family members and busy at work, then you observed that you might not get time to entertain your nicotine consumption habit.
How does nicotine affect bipolar disease?
The relationship between nicotine and mental illness is complex. At the initial time of my depression, I don’t even think about nicotine which starts making me a person that I have fear of. These are various facts and science stuff to answer this question;
- Addictive drug: Nicotine is an addictive drug that acts on specific receptors on the brain to cause the release of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or dopamine.
- Decrease the effect of Medication: Smoking may, therefore, interfere with the effectiveness of many medications for bipolar since these drugs work by blocking the activity of the same neurotransmitters that are increased by smoking.
The University of Melbourne, 2008 shows that the nonsmokers taking antipsychotic drugs for acute mania showed prominent improvement in symptoms than smokers with bipolar disorder.
- Relaxed Behavior which bipolar person needed most: Stress is very common, affecting us and when a person living with bipolar disorder feels unable to cope with unwelcome pressure. Then they smoke a cigarette.
As nicotine can be stimulating or relaxing. It depends on a person’s mood and dosage of nicotine. Nicotine acts on the central nervous system. And the rapid effects of nicotine include increases in heart rate and blood pressure.
How smoking affects bipolar person mood?
Yes, definitely yes. Nicotine in cigarettes affects bipolar person’s mood. And here the whole circles work.
- Depression leads to smoking. People when depressed, so to seek pleasure they smoke. They hoped that smoking cigarettes or weeds makes them feel better and alleviate their mood.
- Smoking causes depression. It is suggested from research that there is an increase in the risk of depression among the many negative impacts of smoking. As nicotine harms certain pathways in the mind that control the state of mind. Thus, nicotine may trigger emotional episodes and may let one to mood swings.
- And Trigger-action cycle is at play. It can be seen that depression lead to smoking and then smoking leads to depression. So, if one stuck in this cycle, then there will be repetitive mood episodes and mood swings along with abnormally high and low blood pressure and heart rate.
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Tips for quitting smoking with Bipolar
I know it is very hard to quit when you have bipolar disorder, but if you have a reason to quit, then you already win the half race of inspiration.
Here are some tactics and tips that I used to get managed both bipolar depression and smoking at the same time.
1. Take part in family talks.
The most essential element is to participate in family talks and talk to them and take their suggestions and helps to solve the various situation of life.
Talking with family members will give you better interaction and understanding of what happening in your world.
Members of the family too, encourage the person to talk on how he wants to improve his life and talks about the future goals that he wants to achieve. For me, the future goal was to manage my expenses with my own work.
Talking therapies via Individual, group or telephone counseling can help people to cope up smoking and bipolar depressions.
2. Don’t treat them different
A person with bipolar should be treated equally and one should always try to know what is going on in their inner world.
3. Pet animals create social bonding
Dogs and cats are one of the best animals that were cultivated to live with a human. Dogs make eye contact to bond, just like humans.
And a person living with bipolar really needs a pet in their house. So, he can interact with them, play with them, and this also helps them to add some joy in life.
4. Don’t let them sit alone at home
Don’t let the person with bipolar disorder and smoking habit to sit alone. Rather some sort of work should be given to him, so he engages himself in that work.
And while working, one should try to talk to the person. This advice is based on the psychology behavior of human beings. By sitting beside him and talking, do two things:
5. Brains don’t think before speak
As the person’s conscious mind engages in the work. And the subconscious mind is listening to words. This results in conversation without thinking from a conscious mind.
Hence, in this way, he might reveal many things that his conscious mind doesn’t want to say.
6. No Clouds of thoughts in the brain
When bipolar disorder person is alone then his mind gets full of thoughts and gets pressurized. Studies show that nicotine has a depressant and stimulant effect which pleasures bipolar person.
The mind starts to try to seek ideas that pleasure himself which may result in smoking cigarettes and weeds.
7. A friend to, he openly speaks
“Friend in need is a friend indeed” best quote that shows who is a true friend. The bipolar disorder person having a smoking habit truly needs friends who don’t judge him for his thought but listen and suggest what is good for him.
This friend might be parents, husband, best friend, or anyone to whom he can share anything that comes in their mind.
For me, as I already mentioned, it is my father. Mostly friend of mine thought that I am a mentally ill patient.
And I don’t think that I am mental and this is why a cool and great friend is required. Find someone who not only cares you but listen to your thoughts and feeling without judging you.
8. Don’t call them a patient
As I stated earlier, don’t treat them differently. And don’t even use words like patients, ill person, sufferer, etc. in front of them. This makes the person consider himself a patient and lose confidence and never try to live a normal life.
9. Talk when you have a manic episode or withdrawal trigger
When I had triggered to smoke, I preferably stand up from where I am and call my father if I was outside from home.
Then my father distracted me by asking about my work, expenses, and bills. I don’t call and tell him that I have an urge to smoke but I think he eventually knows why I am calling him.
When you get an urge to smoke, call your best friend and just say how you feel. While talking told them, I am not gone to smoke this time.
And when you are consistent in this, you get fruit called happy inner life i.e. you get satisfied with yourself that you start beating the smoking habit.
So, a couple of beats on the face of the trigger of smoking, then life and mental health starts going to be awesome.
Some other thing bipolar disorder person can do when they have no one to talk:
- Starting reading a page of any book loud till the urge disappears.
- Take a walk straight as soon as the urge starts ticking your brain.
10. Use Nicotine withdrawal supplements
Instead of smoking tobacco, a person living with bipolar should use nicotine supplements when he can’t control the urge to smoking. Supplements such as nicotine gums, nicotine patch and nasal sprays are common.
Nowadays, nasal sprays are recommended by physicians for the bipolar person with a smoking habit.
11. Do not compete with yourself too hard to fail
You have to understand that your body and mind are not in the condition that you can fight for it on the first day. But you should have a long term strategy to quit smoking.
For example: Never take a hard start in quitting journey. It may work for a non-bipolar patient but things are different for bipolar people. Don’t start with quotes like, “I am not going to smoke very next cigarettes.” Instead, you should slowly and steadily decrease the consumption of cigarettes over the course of weeks.
12. Break the cycle: Don’t dare to smoke at a specific period of time. This works for me and surely for you too. Let’s understand how you can use these tactics to slow down the consistent smoking cigarette rate.
If you have a habit of smoking cigarettes after a meal, say breakfast. Then in next day, you must have to shift the smoking timing, in any other parts of the day. This process slowly stops the cycle of smoking without noticeable changes in withdrawal symptoms. This slowly and negligence steps help you the most to quit smoking when you have bipolar disorder.
How smoking weed is worse than smoking cigarette for bipolar disorder?
Marijuana’s psychoactive substance called tetrahydrocannabinol referred to as THC. THC has chemical nature to naturally occurring chemicals in the human body called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are parts of various processes related to the perception of time and coordination, pleasure, memory, and cognition. The effects of marijuana include:
- Loss of sense of time,
- changes in visual perception,
- Impaired memory,
- Thought processes and euphoria.
- Mild hallucinogen: Marijuana can also serve as a mild hallucinogen, creating delusions through the altered perceptions of time and space.
Marijuana more harmful to Bipolars than Cigarettes
- Inhale deeply and hold longer breath: Marijuana smokers tend to inhale smoke more deeply and hold the breath longer. This all results in longer exposure to tar and result in more absorption in the bloodstream.
- More Toxins and Carcinogenic: Some research indicates that marijuana smoke may potentially have more toxins and carcinogens than filtered cigarette smoke. So, resulting in more damage to the lungs and body than normal cigarette smoking.
Smoking marijuana can have severe mental effects on bipolar disordered people. Some common effect of marijuana include:
- Additional Impaired memory and cognitive function.
- Delayed brain development in younger people.
- Depression and anxiety.
So, these all symptoms are common for bipolar disorder individual but adding marijuana to your life elevate the symptoms and also elevate the chances of more manic episodes. At all, it affects mental health much more than the cigarette itself makes the case more worsen.
Bipolar and smoking and Pregnancy?
Smoking during pregnancy affects your baby’s health even the baby in the womb. But pregnant women having both bipolar disorder and smoking habits can raise many more obstacles to pregnancy.
As it was seen from many research that smoking affects baby growth and development before and after birth. There are three main points here to consider how critical is the situation;
- She is a smoker with a baby
- Mother has Bipolar disorder.
- She is on bipolar disorder medication.
So, there will be the combining effect of nicotine, bipolar, and medication of bipolar disorder. And all these three scenarios make the problem more complicated.
And if you are planning for a baby then according to me take a couple of months to work upon your smoking habit. Quitting smoking while bipolar reduces complications to several times.
A goal towards the new beginning of life and quitting smoking will reduce the complication several times. So, doing what is right for baby make you also healthier.
Bipolar is a disorder which can only be medicated. So, if a person has bipolar and smoking and he wants to improve his life then he must start with quitting smoking.
Smoking and bipolar disorder are the two things that make a person feel harsh in life. Personally, I do not consider bipolar as a disease. But when bipolar and smoking combine they can birth enormous complications to mental health and diseases.
So make sure you put the smoking habit aside and try to live a tobacco-free life.
I know quitting smoking while living with bipolar is a very hard process. But I know we humans can do any thinks for our goals. God makes us in a way that, each individual has the potential to achieve anything in the world.
So final words of mine, “Make a reason to which you want to quit.” Comment the reason, and say yes, I will quit smoking.
God bless you all.