Depressed? You May Find It Harder to Quit

Quitting smoking may be more difficult for depressed patients, especially women

(RxWiki News) Managing depression and trying to quit smoking at the same time can be a balancing act. But do depressed patients need additional support to quit?

A new study found that, not only are patients with depression about twice as likely to smoke cigarettes as the general population, but they may also find it much more difficult to kick the habit than other smokers.

To reach this conclusion, researchers used data from the International Tobacco Control Four-Country survey, a phone survey involving 6,811 smokers from the UK, Australia, Canada and the US.

The study's goals included finding out if depression could predict a patient's desire to stop smoking, and seeing if those who tried to quit had success in avoiding the habit for one month.

It also looked at the effects of gender and support on depression patients trying to quit smoking. Many people quit smoking with the aid of support programs, counseling and/or medication.

Researchers found that smokers who showed symptoms of or were diagnosed with depression tended to be more likely to try to quit than those who were not depressed. This was not the case in the US.

Depressed patients were at a greater risk of relapsing within the first month of quitting, however. Depressed patients also reported longer and more severe nicotine withdrawals than those without depression.

Researchers said this may account for the higher rate of relapse among smokers with depression.

This study was published Feb. 18 in the journal Addiction.

Information on funding sources and conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

The International Tobacco Control Four-Country Survey was funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and others. No conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Review Date: 
February 17, 2016