Quitting whilst suffering from depression?

Hi,

I've had a look around the forums and found some great advice on quitting, but nothing that answers this question, so I'm hoping that there's others who might have experienced what I'm going through.

I've been suffering from and being treated for depression for the last two years. In that time, I've made 3 or 4 serious attempts to quit smoking (the longest successful attempt being about a month).

However, every time I've quit, the cold turkey period has been no worse than the general irritability and tiredness, etc symptoms that you'd expect, but the effect after that on my mood and general sociability has been awful.

A friend who's a drugs advice worker has suggested links between smoking and the effect it has on lowering your dopamine and serotonin levels, which obviously isn't very good for someone who's trying to stabilise them in the first place!

I'd really like to quit again, but am afraid of this effect it'll have again if I do (especially on my friends and family) and am considering turning to hypnotherapy, as I've tried various other techniques (Allan Carr and Neil Casey's books, cold turkey, NRT) but can't even seem to get a straight answer out of the hypnotherapist I contacted or my doctor over hether they think it's a good idea or not!

The hypnotherapist has suggested that hypnotherapy may well help the depression too, but I don't want to lay down over £100 on it only for it to make me feel worse, and then to have the failure of starting on the fags again!

Has anybody else been in a similar situation and can offer any advice?

Sorry for the rambling post!

P.S. My wife and all my friends smoke too, which probably adds to the feeling of lonliness when I've quit and obviously increases temptation, but as I can't really demand anyone else quits I'm not sure how much of a contributing factor that is!

12 Replies

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  • Dear Andy,

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for posting. I don't know whether hypnotherapy would work and to be honest there isn't much evidence out there to say it helps people quit.

    My greatest concern is you trying to quit on your own without medical help. Have you tried the NHS stop smoking services? They will usually have someone who is trained to help smokers who have mental health issues and have experience of the best route for you.

    You are right about the dopamine levels, nicotine does effect that and that is why NRT is helpful to slowly ease you off nicotine instead of the sudden shock of going cold turkey.

    The NHS helpline is 0800 169 0 169 and they will tell you where your local service is or look on the website gosmokefree.nhs.uk/what-sui...

    There is another charity that we work with called Quit and they have a very useful website regarding mental health quit.org.uk/guides/smokefre... they also have a free helpline with trained advisors on the phone.

    I hope you find this information useful. You are not alone, we are all here ready to support you.

  • Dear Andy,

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for posting. I don't know whether hypnotherapy would work and to be honest there isn't much evidence out there to say it helps people quit.

    My greatest concern is you trying to quit on your own without medical help. Have you tried the NHS stop smoking services? They will usually have someone who is trained to help smokers who have mental health issues and have experience of the best route for you.

    You are right about the dopamine levels, nicotine does effect that and that is why NRT is helpful to slowly ease you off nicotine instead of the sudden shock of going cold turkey.

    The NHS helpline is 0800 169 0 169 and they will tell you where your local service is or look on the website gosmokefree.nhs.uk/what-sui...

    There is another charity that we work with called Quit and they have a very useful website regarding mental health quit.org.uk/guides/smokefre... they also have a free helpline with trained advisors on the phone.

    I hope you find this information useful. You are not alone, we are all here ready to support you.

    Thanks for the reply and links. Unfortunately I've tried going through the NHS route before and, to be honest, found the advice to be awful. All they said was to use exercise as an alternative to smoking!

    Given that I'm not a very sporty person anyway and added to that I find getting motivated after working all day (due to the depression) it wasn't very helpful. In one of my failed attempts, I even took up kickboxing as a way to channel my energy, only to find that the trainer and over half the other students were smokers (the trainer had smoked 30 a day for 25 years and was still awesomely fit!). Of course, my motivation soon went out of the window anyway, but attending the classes only to find other smokers there didn't help much!

  • Hi there

    I do not myself suffer from depression but a close friend successfully quit with NRT and psychotherapy.

    I would speak to your therapist to see what the best approach could be for you. Note that the bad moods, anxiety etc are part of the quit process - but I can understand why you would not want these to be exacerbated.

  • Hi there

    I do not myself suffer from depression but a close friend successfully quit with NRT and psychotherapy.

    I would speak to your therapist to see what the best approach could be for you. Note that the bad moods, anxiety etc are part of the quit process - but I can understand why you would not want these to be exacerbated.

    Firstly, I'd prefer not to use NRT as I don't believe that keeping an addiction to nicotine will successfully break the subconscious association with smoking.

    Secondly, I'm seeing a psychotherapist nd both her and my GP are unsure themselves whether quitting at the moment is such a great idea.

    Catch-22!!! :(

  • Hi Andy

    Welcome, I dont know if this will help but i too suffer with depression i quit last year for a few months but was really low so caved. About a month before i started this quit I got myself some St johns wart I have been quit now 6 months and 10 days fingers crossed feeling ok. Please come here if you decide to try again we will support you all we can. All the best Linda xxxx

  • Hi Andy

    Welcome, I dont know if this will help but i too suffer with depression i quit last year for a few months but was really low so caved. About a month before i started this quit I got myself some St johns wart I have been quit now 6 months and 10 days fingers crossed feeling ok. Please come here if you decide to try again we will support you all we can. All the best Linda xxxx

    Thanks Linda for your tip, but I think St John's Wort is contraindicated with anti-depressants :(

    To be honest, the more I think about the (lack of) options the more depressed I'm feeling about the whole thing, and therefore smoking more!

    Oh well! :mad:

  • Hi Andy - Welcome to the forum. You have taken the first step by coming on here. (Or rather the second step, the first being naming a quit date). Once you have your quit date come back on here as you will find all the support you need. We are on the whole very serious about our quits but you will also find we can be humorous as well which also helps.

    No doubt John will post soon advising of any websites to go on so I will leave that to him as he is the expert:rolleyes::D

    All the best Andy.xxx

  • Thanks for the replies guys. You're right Grumpy, I should probably try and stabilise the depression first, but even about 5 weeks ago when I finally thought that depression was on the turn for the better, my doc wanted to keep me on the anti-depressants (citalopram)for at least another 6-12 months!

    That was before work stress made it go really bad, and now I'm signed off for work for 2 weeks (probably longer).

    To add to my work stress, the place I work in deals in epidemiology & clinical research and discovered the link between smoking & lung cancer. So obviously a very health-conscious place with lots of people telling me not to smoke and to quit the evil fags! Being the only smoker in the place plus not having it widespread knowledge that I've got depression ups the feeling that I should be quitting!

    It's all a jumbled mess as I'd like to quit; on one hand I'm being 'told' to quit when in my 'work-life', then my wife & friends all smoke in my 'social life'!

    Gah! :confused:

  • Hi andy - i'm sorry to hear your feeling so low mate. if its any help a guy i worked with was on anti depressants for about 6 months but sucessfully quit the fags with zyban. his doctor was happy to prescribe them in order to help him with his quit because he believed that the smoking wasnt helping with the depression. He wanted to quit, was getting more and more upset that he couldnt and just ended up feeling worse. i cant remember what tablets he was taking for the depression but he was taking them alongside the zyban, so in some cases you can take the two together. i would have another chat to your doctor and stress to him that you really are serious about quitting.

  • Thanks for the replies guys. You're right Grumpy, I should probably try and stabilise the depression first, but even about 5 weeks ago when I finally thought that depression was on the turn for the better, my doc wanted to keep me on the anti-depressants (citalopram)for at least another 6-12 months!

    That was before work stress made it go really bad, and now I'm signed off for work for 2 weeks (probably longer).

    To add to my work stress, the place I work in deals in epidemiology & clinical research and discovered the link between smoking & lung cancer. So obviously a very health-conscious place with lots of people telling me not to smoke and to quit the evil fags! Being the only smoker in the place plus not having it widespread knowledge that I've got depression ups the feeling that I should be quitting!

    It's all a jumbled mess as I'd like to quit; on one hand I'm being 'told' to quit when in my 'work-life', then my wife & friends all smoke in my 'social life'!

    Gah! :confused:

    You have too much to deal with for only one person!

    I've been on all sorts of tablets in the past, I had a bad run of things for a while and the depression was horrendous. I wish there was something I could think of that hasn't been suggested here already or tried by yourself!

    I wish you all the best for your quit, i've been there with depression and tablets and I don't ever want to go there again. It was herbal tablets and a clinical psychologist that got me straightened out in the end.

    Welcome to the forum, hopefully you will make some good friends here :D

  • Thanks for all the really positive replies - your comments have really touched me and made me feel a lot better about myself today :o

    I'm due to see the doc again next week, so will definitely talk to him in more depth about my desire to quit and see if he can be of any help. My situation probably sounds worse than it is - my life's not all doom & gloom, I mean I have a lovely wife & daughter and a great group of friends surrounding me. Whilst my wife doesn't think quitting now is the best idea (she has had to put up with the 'bad me' every time I've tried to quit before after all!) she has and will support me every & anytime.

    Maybe with some positive support from my doc and psychotherapist too and a positive plan of action, I may well succeed in quitting the smokes. Eventually the work stress and depression will be cured too!

    If & when I do quit the fags, I'll be sure to stay in touch with this forum as already it's been a great help for my mind.

    Thanks,

    Andy

  • Hi Andy

    I am probably way off the mark here but were Zyban and Champix not initially used to treat depression and the stop smoking aspect just a side effect of that. PLEASE ask a doctor about that tho' dont just take my word for it.:)

    Also remember there is NO magic cure for smoking, but one thing most of us agree with on here is EDUCATION is a huge help.

    There are many links to different types of stop smoking sites on the forum which can educate and inspire and maybe reading something on one of them could help you.

    Your doctor was also right, in a way to discuss excercise as a possible method to counter some negative thoughts. Something to do with the release of endorphines etc.

    I understand your negative thoughts about the kickboxing class, particularly in relation to the smokers etc, but dont give up on the Martial Arts route as i can guarantee that other types of class would probably be far better than that Kickboxing class. The disciplines involved in many martial arts are a BIG help with things like quitting smoking. (pm me if you want more info on this.)

    Posting on here should also be a big help as the support is fantastic with many different opinions (mine is usually the right one tho :rolleyes::D) and generally the people on here want to help.

    Good luck and keep posting

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