Smokers with Depressive Disorders are in Danger

As many researchers showed that smoking cigarettes can harm the smokers’ health. But a recent study found that people with bipolar disorder who smoke appear to have an exaggerated risk of suicidal behavior, possibly because they are usually disposed to impulsive acts.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder, manic depression or bipolar affective disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders characterized by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally improved mood clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also usually experience depressive episodes or symptoms, or mixed episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time.

Depressive smokers

Previous researches have found that bipolar patients who smoke have a higher suicide risk than non-smokers, but the causes have not been found.

High levels of impulsivity, one of the symptoms of bipolar confusion, may also pull some patients to both smoking and suicidal behavior.

Dr. Michael J. Ostacher and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that among 116 bipolar patients they investigated, current smokers generally showed a higher on a standard measure of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

The researchers declared that on the last study smokers were more likely to make a suicide attempt than over the next nine months.

For example five of the 31 smokers in the study (16 percent) tried to suicide during the study period. By comparison, only 3 of 85 non-smokers (3.5 percent) attempted suicide during the previous studies.
The researchers also utilized a standard questionnaire to measure patients’ impulsiveness, such as how often they speak or act without meditating and how well they plan for the future.

But when those scores were studied, the link between smoking and suicidal behavior decreased. According to researchers the high levels of impulsivity partly explain why smokers are at greater risk.

Smoking may not be a strong predictor of patients’ suicide disagreement, but doctors can still regard it as part of a complete patient opinion, the researchers explained.

Researchers concluded that it is unknown if helping bipolar patients quit smoking would have any effect on their risk of suicidal behavior.

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