Depression and schizophrenia: smokers get sick more often

Depression and schizophrenia: smokers get sick more often

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Mental illness from smoking?

According to a recent study, smoking appears to increase the risk of depression and schizophrenia. According to this, smokers have a greatly increased risk of suffering from these mental illnesses.

The University of Bristol's recent study found that people who smoke were significantly more likely to suffer from depression and schizophrenia. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Psychological Medicine".

Study included data from 462,690 people

The extensive investigation analyzed the data of 462,690 people. The participants were between the ages of 40 and 69 years. Eight percent of the participants were defined as current smokers, 22 percent gave up smoking.

Smokers are more likely to suffer from depression and schizophrenia

It turns out that people who smoke have a significantly increased risk of developing depression and schizophrenia. These results complement the already extensive list of negative effects of smoking.

Link between smoking and mental illness?

The study found no direct evidence that smoking caused depression or schizophrenia, but a clear link was found. The published results also suggest that people with the above mental illness are more likely to start smoking. Evidence that smoking contributes to poor mental health was stronger, however, compared to evidence that poor mental health leads to smoking.

Why nicotine could promote mental illness

According to the study, nicotine appears to inhibit the dopamine and serotonin receptors in the brain. Dopamine and serotonin regulate our emotions and contribute to well-being. This would be a possible explanation for why smoking favors mental illness.

Measures to limit smoking are necessary

Smoking people with mental illnesses in particular should be better supported to give up smoking. People with mental illnesses are often under-considered in efforts to reduce smoking prevalence. The study suggested that greater efforts must be made to prevent people from starting smoking at all. Smoking cessation must also be promoted to prevent negative effects on the psyche and physical health.

Other illnesses from smoking tobacco

Tobacco toxicity can have dire consequences for human health. For example, smoking is known to cause lung cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, among others. Every year, many people around the world die from the effects of smoking. The current Cancer Atlas also announces that 24 percent of all cancers worldwide are related to smoking.

This can improve the life expectancy of people with mental illnesses

Smoking is the largest single factor in the average reduction in life expectancy for people with mental illness and leads to a shortened life expectancy of ten to twenty years. Helping to quit smoking is a great way to increase life expectancy. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Robyn E. Wootton, Rebecca C. Richmond, Bobby G. Stuijfzand, Rebecca B. Lawn, Hannah M. Sallis et al .: Evidence for causal effects of lifetime smoking on risk for depression and schizophrenia: a Mendelian randomization study, in Psychological Medicine (Query: 06.11.2019), Psychological Medicine

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