Change in anxiety following successful and unsuccessful attempts at smoking cessation: cohort study

Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London, James Clerk Maxwell Building, 57 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8WA, UK. .
The British journal of psychiatry: the journal of mental science (Impact Factor: 7.34). 01/2013; 202(1):62-7. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.112.114389
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Despite a lack of empirical evidence, many smokers and health professionals believe that tobacco smoking reduces anxiety, which may deter smoking cessation.
The study aim was to assess whether successful smoking cessation or relapse to smoking after a quit attempt are associated with changes in anxiety.
A total of 491 smokers attending National Health Service smoking cessation clinics in England were followed up 6 months after enrolment in a trial of pharmacogenetic tailoring of nicotine replacement therapy (ISRCTN14352545).
There was a points difference of 11.8 (95% CI 7.7-16.0) in anxiety score 6 months after cessation between people who relapsed to smoking and people who attained abstinence. This reflected a three-point increase in anxiety from baseline for participants who relapsed and a nine-point decrease for participants who abstained. The increase in anxiety in those who relapsed was largest for those with a current diagnosis of psychiatric disorder and whose main reason for smoking was to cope with stress. The decrease in anxiety on abstinence was larger for these groups also.
People who achieve abstinence experience a marked reduction in anxiety whereas those who fail to quit experience a modest increase in the long term. These data contradict the assumption that smoking is a stress reliever, but suggest that failure of a quit attempt may generate anxiety.

  • Source
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Multiple studies have demonstrated an association between cigarette smoking and increased anxiety symptoms or disorders, with early life exposures potentially predisposing to enhanced anxiety responses in later life. Explanatory models support a potential role for neurotransmitter systems, inflammation, oxidative and nitrosative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, neurotrophins and neurogenesis, and epigenetic effects, in anxiety pathogenesis. All of these pathways are affected by exposure to cigarette smoke components, including nicotine and free radicals. This review critically examines and summarizes the literature exploring the role of these systems in increased anxiety and how exposure to cigarette smoke may contribute to this pathology at a biological level. Further, this review explores the effects of cigarette smoke on normal neurodevelopment and anxiety control, suggesting how exposure in early life (prenatal, infancy, and adolescence) may predispose to higher anxiety in later life. A large heterogenous literature was reviewed that detailed the association between cigarette smoking and anxiety symptoms and disorders with structural brain changes, inflammation, and cell-mediated immune markers, markers of oxidative and nitrosative stress, mitochondrial function, neurotransmitter systems, neurotrophins and neurogenesis. Some preliminary data were found for potential epigenetic effects. The literature provides some support for a potential interaction between cigarette smoking, anxiety symptoms and disorders, and the above pathways; however, limitations exist particularly in delineating causative effects. The literature also provides insight into potential effects of cigarette smoke, in particular nicotine, on neurodevelopment. The potential treatment implications of these findings are discussed in regards to future therapeutic targets for anxiety. The aforementioned pathways may help mediate increased anxiety seen in people who smoke. Further research into the specific actions of nicotine and other cigarette components on these pathways, and how these pathways interact, may provide insights that lead to new treatment for anxiety and a greater understanding of anxiety pathogenesis.
    Brain and Behavior 05/2013; 3(3):302-26. DOI:10.1002/brb3.137
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Nicotine dependence is the leading cause of death in the United States. However, research on high rates of nicotine use in mental illness has primarily explained this co-morbidity as reflecting nicotine's therapeutic benefits, especially for cognitive symptoms, equating smoking with 'self-medication'. We used a leading neurodevelopmental model of mental illness in rats to prospectively test the alternative possibility that nicotine dependence pervades mental illness because nicotine is simply more addictive in mentally ill brains that involve developmental hippocampal dysfunction. Neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions (NVHL) have previously been demonstrated to produce post-adolescent-onset, pharmacological, neurobiological and cognitive-deficit features of schizophrenia. Here, we show that NVHLs increase adult nicotine self-administration, potentiating acquisition-intake, total nicotine consumed and drug seeking. Behavioral sensitization to nicotine in adolescence prior to self-administration is not accentuated by NVHLs in contrast to increased nicotine self-administration and behavioral sensitization documented in adult NVHL rats, suggesting periadolescent neurodevelopmental onset of nicotine addiction vulnerability in the NVHL model. Delivering a nicotine regimen approximating the exposure used in the sensitization and self-administration experiments (i.e. as a treatment) to adult rats did not specifically reverse NVHL-induced cortical-hippocampal-dependent cognitive deficits and actually worsened cognitive efficiency after nicotine treatment stopped, generating deficits that resemble those due to NVHLs. These findings represent the first prospective evidence demonstrating a causal link between disease processes in schizophrenia and nicotine addiction. Developmental cortical-temporal limbic dysfunction in mental illness may thus amplify nicotine's reinforcing effects and addiction risk and severity, even while producing cognitive deficits that are not specifically or substantially reversible with nicotine.
    Addiction Biology 08/2013; 19(6). DOI:10.1111/adb.12082 · 5.93 Impact Factor
Show more