A new research study shows that people who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day are at greater risk for psychosis.
Psychosis – it’s a word we often hear bandied about but what does it really mean? In simple speak, it’s a condition in which a person loses touch with reality.
Examples include delusions, hallucinations, and incoherent speech. In psychological circles, it’s called a psychotic episode. As part of the clinical picture, the person may be living with a mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression.
At any rate, this doesn’t sound like something you want to sign up for, right?
Well, according to a recently released study in the peer- reviewed journal, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, people who smoke ten or more cigarettes a day place themselves at higher risk for this condition [psychosis].
Basically, the investigators conducted a longitudinal study. That’s a fancy term for research that occurs over an extended period of time – usually many years.
In this case, scientists examined the associations between daily cigarette smoking and risk of psychosis, over a 15-year window. More than 6000 people born in Northern Finland took part in this study.
They were placed into three categories:
- People who smoked 1-9 cigarettes per day
- People who smoked 10 or more cigarettes per day
Their findings? People who smoked greater than ten cigarettes a day were at higher risk of developing psychosis. And there was more of a risk if tobacco use started as a teen.
If you are thinking that some of the psychotic episodes the participants reported were attributed to alcohol and drug use, think again. That’s because the research team factored such behaviors into the equation.
According to Jouko Miettunen, the study’s lead investigator:
“This was an extensive longitudinal study based on the general population. It revealed that daily and heavy smoking are independently linked to the subsequent risk of psychoses, even when accounting for previous psychotic experiences, the use of alcohol and drugs, substance abuse and the parents’ history of psychoses.”
Bottom line: Smoking is bad for your mental health.