Friday, November 18, 2005

Bipolar and Smoking

Anyone ever notice that a large percentage of bipolar sufferers are smokers? It's in our nature, our personality. I no longer smoke, but I did for many years. It was probably the most difficult thing I ever did to quit.

I read a book one time, a newer autobiography, I'm trying to remember the author, but he hit the nail on the head. He said he was kind of a messed up kid, nervous tics, no confidence, then he discovered cigarettes. Smoking completely took care of those issues. It was the same way for me. It was like my nervous energy needed an outlet, and smoking was it.

My bipolar son smokes, and I have to say it seems to help him. He used to be a marathon runner, now he smokes. That's pure bipolar - from one extreme to the other.

Some experts speculate that nicotine use may be a form of self-medication because of its specific effects on the brain. This absolutely makes sense to me. Another study says "Smoking was less prevalent in patients who were less symptomatic". Yet another study states the following: "These data coupled with the literature strongly suggest that juveniles with BPD (Bipolar Disorder, not Borderline Personality Disorder) need to be carefully monitored for the early initiation of cigarette smoking and substance abuse."

All I know is that when I was smoking it seemed to help me immensely. I quit in 1989, and 16 years later I STILL miss it. If I were to ever pick up a cigarette again I'd be hooked for life. I don't think I'd have the willpower to quit again. It's not a perceived link, this link is very real.


Lisa said...

I never heard that there were any links. I quit last December and recently started again. I so desparately want to quit but I am hooked. I NEED to quit since I had cancer.