If you experience a mental health condition, there's no reason to see it as a barrier to quitting smoking. Research suggests that people with a mental health condition are as motivated as anyone else. Many people have been able to cut down or successfully quit smoking despite having a mental health condition, especially if they are prepared, have support from their doctor and take it one step at a time.
Quitting smoking can improve your health, confidence, and general quality of life.
The chemicals in cigarettes can affect the way some medications work, meaning that medication levels sometimes need to be adjusted when someone quits or cuts down the number of cigarettes they are smoking. When you first quit or cut down, you may feel more anxious, irritable and sad or have difficulty concentrating. These feelings are normal and are likely to pass. Be prepared, and talk with your doctor or health professional if these feelings worry you.
See your doctor before you quit
If you have a history of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar, personality disorder or any other condition, consult your doctor before quitting smoking.
Are you taking any medications?
Smoking interacts with some medications by increasing their metabolism, making them pass through your system more quickly. When you stop or cut down, your medication may need to be changed. It is important for you to work together with your doctor or health worker to monitor your mental health and medication.
Monitor your moods
After you quit smoking, monitor your moods for any unusual feelings or symptoms. If you have quit smoking before, remember what withdrawal symptoms felt like. If you think that quitting has had an effect upon your moods, talk to your doctor or health professional as soon as you can.
Sometimes quitting altogether may seem like too big a step. Some people find it easier to cut down gradually. This is especially the case for people who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day.
Many people smoke when they feel stressed. When they quit or cut down they need to find other things to do at these times. Having a plan and taking each step at a time is very important. It is usually best to make changes when you are feeling less stressed.
The Quitline provides support and counselling to anyone who is thinking about quitting. Quitline advisors are specially trained to help people with mental health conditions.
If you require further information on mental health conditions and smoking you can contact SANE Australia on 1800 187 263 or visit the Australian Government website on quitting to access and order SANE resources.
If you require information on depression, anxiety or related conditions, contact beyond blue on 1300 224 636.