Bipolar Disorder and Smoking Tobacco: An Association More Common Than You Think

There are several types of bipolar disorder (BPD), each based on the length, intensity, and symptoms of mania and depression. If you’ve been diagnosed with BPD, you may be familiar with the level of impulsivity, riskiness, and unhealthy coping mechanisms that may occur alongside the disorder; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that approximately 33% of those with BPD also abuse substances. A publication by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) expressed that cigarette smoking is quite common in addiction recovery, and can even help a person maintain longer-term sobriety. For those with BPD, tobacco may be utilized as a coping mechanism – and it’s more prevalent than you make think.

A 2015 study published in the journal Bipolar Disorders sought to explore the association of smoking behaviors to those with BPD, and to see if smoking occurred moderately compared to those with major depressive disorder (MDD) or schizophrenia. A total of 56 articles were analyzed, and researchers found that smoking rates may be much higher for those with BPD than the general population, but in-between those with MDD or schizophrenia (with schizophrenia showing the highest severity for tobacco use). Why might smoking be so prevalent among those with BPD, or even with other disorders? Let’s explore some common reasons:

  • May help a person cope with stress, depression, etc.
  • Manic episodes could cause someone to smoke more, as their heightened energy and risk for substance abuse increases
  • An addiction to tobacco could have been developed at a younger age and cessation never occurred

Smoking cigarettes may provide immediate relief, but it is not quite the healthiest for your mind, body, and spirit. However, it’s understandable that you may want to focus on your mental health recovery and possibly an addiction (such as alcohol, prescription, or illicit drugs), but may not quite be ready to give up tobacco yet. If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about options to best suit your needs. Recovery is possible.

Stop the cycle of merry-go-round treatment and find the solution you’re looking for in trauma treatment. Through effective residential treatment, Khiron House helps you find the path you need toward health and wellness in recovery. For information, call us today. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours). USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).