Nicotine Withdrawal Linked to Depression | The Knowledge Dynasty

Nicotine Withdrawal Linked to Depression

It’s difficult to quit smoking; everyone knows that.  The addictive quality of nicotine ensures that many are unable to stop, and many more that do inevitably come back to cigarettes no matter how many times they earnestly try to kick the habit.  The bad news is that the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatryhas made some extremely negative findings in association with quitting smoking.  A study they conducted found that those who quit smoking heavily often experience increased levels of monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A), consistent with observations of depressed mood.  That’s why it’s all the more important that smokers attempting to quit look into weaning themselves off with options like electronic cigarettes.

MAO-A levels may increase by as much as 33% during withdrawal from heavy or even moderate smoking, which is around twelve to twenty-four cigarettes a day.  “The increase in prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex MAO-A binding and associated reduction in plasma harman level represent a novel, additional explanation for depressed mood during withdrawal from heavy cigarette smoking,” Ingrid Bacher, PhD, of the University of Toronto, and coauthors wrote in the report.

“This finding resolves a long-standing paradox regarding the association of cigarette smoking with depression and suicide, and argues for additional clinical trials on the effects of MAO-A inhibitors on quitting heavy cigarette smoking,” it continues.  The reason why these findings were just discovered now is that scientists had previously been completely focused on nicotine modulation of dopamine-releasing neurons, and not on the other side effects of smoking and what happens when smokers try to give up smoking.  So this is the first time that this aspect of giving up smoking was investigated. 

Most of the components of a cigarette can survive for only an extremely short time inside the body.  It has thus been theorized that swift desertion of the substances from plasma could potentially be the cause of the rapid elevation in MAO-A binding.  Keep in mind, though, that this is just a theory and has by no means been scientifically proven.  Whatever the cause, the punishing bout of depression that can coincide with quitting cold turkey is yet another reason why smokers should consider electric cigarettes for help with kicking the habit.

Lindsay Powell is a young professional improving her writing skills and finding inspiration around her.

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