Smokers on psychotropic drugs tend to need higher doses of nicotine.
Some studies have indicated that when adolescents consume nicotine, given that their brains are still developing, they are not only more likely to become addicted to nicotine but also to other substances. Moreover, nicotine has been found to affect the dopamine pathway therefore a dependance has has been associated with mood disorders including anxiety and depression and behavioural issues such as impulsivity.
Research has also indicated that nicotine also alters the coping mechanism in the brain increasing sensitivity to stress. This creates a vicious cycle meaning that this sensitivity is increased as nicotine is consumed in higher doses, which in turns leads to more nicotine consumption.
In fact, data keep indicating that mental health patients are more likely to smoke than individuals who do not suffer from psychological or psychiatric conditions. Moreover, these individuals are more likely to find it harder to quit. To this effect, they benefit greatly from having extra support in relation to smoking cessation and access to safer alternatives, that would at least lessen the chances of them also suffering from smoke-related conditions.
Tailor made smoking cessation programmes
On the other hand, a recent report by former stop-smoking service manager in the UK, Louise Ross, the third in a series of five, said that nicotine is not what kills smokers and highlighted the importance of improving the understanding that e-cigarettes are substantially safer than smoking, and can be used to help smokers quit.
She added that nurses are in an especially good position to promote smoking cessation. Given that studies have indicated that smokers respond well to intensive smoking cessation treatments that are tailor made for their needs, explained Ross, nurses who understand individual patients’ needs are ideally placed to give ongoing smoking cessation support.
Moreover, she underlined, smokers on psychotropic drugs tend to need higher doses of nicotine. “The tar (and not the nicotine) in tobacco smoke also increases the need for higher doses of some psychotropic medications, so stopping smoking enables some people to be prescribed a lower dose and experience fewer side-effects (NCSCT, 2018).”