Researchers at Indiana University released a study showing that mental health issues should be treated with smoking. They found that adults with substance abuse disorder who smoked were two times more likely to have mental health problems than those who did not have substance abuse disorder and didn’t smoke.
According to the lead study author and assistant professor at IU School of Public Health, Bloomington, Maria Parker, the study shows that mental health, smoking, and substance abuse should be treated concurrently. In addition, a patient who stops smoking does not interfere with the progress made in treating substance abuse and mental health.
How researchers conducted the study
The researchers gathered data from the U.S National Survey on Drug Use and Health to find their results. They split the participants into four groups, that is non-current daily, current daily, former, and never smoked. They then studied the prevalence of mental health for these groups in ten years.
Psychological distress was worse among the group that engaged in substance abuse and smoking. Those with substance abuse disorder had 3-5 times more distress than all the other groups. More than a quarter of the participants who smoked and had substance abuse problems reported mental health issues.
These results remained consistent regardless of the marital status, income, race/ ethnicity, age, and sex of the participants. In addition, psychological distress worsened across all groups as more time went by. These increases were more for the group with substance abuse disorder.
Researchers say that smoking should be addressed when treating mental illness
The study comes at a crucial time as mental health issues in the U.S increase. Experts agree that poor mental health can impact health. For instance, it can cause chronic illnesses and increase incidences of premature mortality. As a result, Parker believes that experts should identify groups with a higher risk of mental illness and provide treatment.
Parker suggests that mental health experts should discuss substance abuse problems and smoking when treating mental health issues. Moreover, it could be beneficial to add a broad assessment of psychiatric symptoms for treating drug abuse or encouraging cessation of cigarette smoking. Experts could also look for signs of psychological distress when treating smokers and drug abuse patients.