Posted by: Anonymous | 2009-05-26

smoking and bipolar

My daughter of 21 was diagnosed with bipolar about 4 or 5 years ago. After a number of years of trial and error she seems settled on the correct meds, and with ongoing therapy and support. She started smoking at the age of 14, when going through her first bipolar mood swing. She managed to give it up when going through an 18month stable period but then resumed after another severe bout of moodswings that lasted nearly a year. I know she wants to give up for the sake of her health, but it is extremely hard when she has been through so much instability. I don' t want to put pressure on her as I understand her dependence but wish I could somehow encourage her to stop. Sometimes though, I wonder if stopping would be better or worse for her health in the long run? In very bad times, smoking has been a lifesaver! She quit drugs at the age of 16 and alchohol a year ago. Any suggestions?

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Our expert says:
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There is no doubt in scientific literature that smoking has numerous harmful effects on the body and it is definitely linked to certain cancers.

It is never a good idea to try quit smoking when you are going through a difficult time. The withdrawal and craving for the smoking will certainly cause much further distress.

My advice is that when your daughter is well emotionally - which sounds like she is now - have a chat with her about the risks of smoking. I also suggest that she joins a stop-smoking program such as Smoke Enders, etc.

Good luck!

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