Drugs, Depression & Antidepressant Drugs > Depression > Depression and Smoking Cigarettes

Depression and Smoking Cigarettes

Starting smoking vs developing a habit: While many people begin to smoke due to cultural cues, the continuation of the habit is an entirely separate issue.

How most antidepressants work: Most antidepressant drugs aim at elevating serotonin levels in one way or another. Curing depression is tied to cutting the addiction to cigarettes, but serotonin is not the only neurotransmitter associated with depression.

How smoking acts as an antidepressant: Often smoking is a form of self medication for depression by those lacking adequate levels of two other neurotransmitters. Dopamine and norepinephrine are also associated with depression. By smoking a person temporarily elevates the levels of these two neurotransmitters.

Why its hard to stop smoking cigarettes: On top of being highly addictive and having cultural cues associated with it, quitting smoking may actually spiral people into a worse state of depression. As it turns out you can't make up for low levels of these neurotransmitters by having more serotonin. If you created a drug which helped boost the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine then you could help curb the smoking habit in those who are depressed...

Zyban and smoking: Overwhelming feedback from Zyban proves this theory correct. Now Zyban is one of the most effective smoking cures on the planet. Zyban works to increase dopamine and norepinephrine levels.

Stopping teenage smoking: Smokers start smoking not because smoking is cool, but because some other smokers are cool. Many continue to smoke not only due to addiction, but also because depression. The war on cigarettes movement is rather wasteful. It treats symptoms and not the problem. Thus by looking a step further and looking at depression we can fight the spread of smoking. (Idea and story paraphrased from my favorite book The Tipping Point)

Drugs, Depression & Antidepressant Drugs > Depression > Depression and Smoking Cigarettes