Smoking has been linked to a number of psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, schizophrenia// and substance disorders, among others. Early smoking is shown to increase the risk for emergence of certain anxiety disorders (e.g., panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder), and that presence of certain anxiety disorders (e.g., social anxiety) increases the risk for later development of nicotine dependence.
A recent study compared smokers and nonsmokers with the full spectrum of anxiety disorders across a range of theoretically relevant characteristics including symptoms of anxiety, depression, negative affect and functional impairment.
In the study to be published in Journal of Anxiety
Disorders (available online 3 October 2005), differences between smokers and nonsmokers with anxiety disorders were examined with respect to multiple measures of theoretical and clinical interest.
Compared to nonsmokers, smokers with anxiety disorders reported greater anxiety sensitivity, anxiety symptoms, agoraphobic avoidance, depressed mood, negative affect, stress and life interference; however, these differences were largely accounted for by panic disorder. No differences were found between smokers and nonsmokers regarding social anxiety, worry, obsessive–compulsive symptoms or positive affect. Differential patterns were observed when evaluating constructs within anxiety disorder diagnoses.
Overall, these findings suggest that smokers with anxiety disorders, particularly panic disorder, have generally greater symptoms than nonsmokers with anxiety disorders.
These findings call for additional research examining the ways in which smokers with specific anxiety disorders differ from their nonsmoking counterparts, as well from smokers with and without other psychiatric conditions (e.g., depression, ASAD), which commonly co-occur with anxiety disorders.
Results from this study may have important implications for
adapting smoking cessation treatments to specific populations.
The authors stress that knowledge of factors that increase risk for potentially reciprocal relationship between anxiety disorders and tobacco use/dependence is also critical for prevention efforts of both conditions.
Medindia on Smoking & Health Hazards:
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