Category Archives: Mood Disorders

How Does Stopping Smoking Affect Mental Health?


When working with client’s who are dealing with mental health issues, whether it be emotional, cognitive, or relational and they have a nicotine addiction how do you address that? As a professional mental health therapist do you address your client’s holistically? Do you consider that overall physical health also may be having an impact on mental and relational health? Do you recommend that the client not add stress to their life by trying to quit smoking at the same time as working on other, seemingly, more important issues?

The BMJ, British Medical Journal published an article based on a study that looked at the mental health changes that took place as they analyzed the results of 26 studies dealing with smoking and mental health

The study essentially looked at:

Measures of mental health included anxiety, depression, positivity, psychological quality of life, and stress. Participants had an average age of 44, smoked around 20 cigarettes a day, and were followed up for an average of six months.

The researchers concluded that:

The effect sizes are equal or larger than those of antidepressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders.

Click here to read more about this important study in an article published by Science Daily.

Make assessment of nicotine addiction a regular part of your intake interview by using a comprehensive intake form that you can download immediately.

The Cause of Anxiety Attacks

Anxiety is the number one mental health issue today. Panic attacks are the number one mental health issue for women in the US. But what causes anxiety?

There are different theories. Dr. Archibald Hart in The Anxiety Cure book states that “Humans were designed for camel travel, but most people are now acting like supersonic jets.” It is likely that most doctors and therapists would agree with Hart that much of what causes anxiety is due to high adrenaline, caused by a high stress life-style, which results in a depletion of the brain’s natural tranquilizers.

In The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook there are several contributing factors that are outlined by Dr. Edmund Bourne in his popular anxiety workbook:

  • Heredity
  • Childhood Circumstances
  • Biological Causes
  • Triggering Causes like acute stressors
  • Trauma
  • Imbalances in neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, serotonin and GABA

He also sites the very important aspects of maintaining cause of anxiety attacks:

  • Avoidance of Phobic Situations
  • Anxious Self-talk
  • Mistaken beliefs
  • Withheld Feelings
  • Lack of Assertiveness
  • Lack of self-nurturing skills
  • Muscle Tension
  • Stimulants and other dietary factors
  • High-Stress Lifestyle
  • Lack of meaning or sense of purpose

No matter what the cause, there is much you can do to help relieve your anxiety. An important approach to therapy is to identify and address your maintaining cause of anxiety.

The answer to the cause of anxiety however is to get more information that will allow you to help yourself. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook is one of the most thorough manuals available.

If you or a loved one is experiencing anxiety don’t wait until your level of functioning is severely impaired. Find a therapist now to help you conquer anxiety!

Anxiety And Chest Pains

Anxiety Attack Symptoms

There are many different reasons for chest pains. Of course, the cause that is most concerning is cardiac related chest pains. Therefore all chest pain should be taken seriously. If you are experiencing chest pain, see your medical doctor so that it can be properly diagnosed.

However, anxiety and chest pains is very common and is what this article is all about.

It’s what happens to the body during a panic or anxiety attack that leads to chest pains and other physical symptoms. Panic is like an alarm that goes off in your body to signal danger. Unfortunately, this alarm tends to activate whether there is a real or psychological threat. For example, feeling emotionally overwhelmed would be a type of psychological threat.

To better understand how anxiety and chest pains go together, we must look at the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is divided into two parts: the somatic nervous system which governs bodily functions that are voluntary and the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which controls bodily functions which are automatic. The ANS governs things like heart rate, respiration, digestion, organ regulation, endocrine gland secretions, etc.

The ANS is further divided into 2 parts: the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system is what prepares your body to deal with impending danger through the well known flight or fight response. The parasympathetic nervous system maintains smooth, normal functioning of your organs when you are in a state of calm and rest.

Anxiety Attack Symptoms What Causes Anxiety and Chest Pains?

In a panic attack, one may experience anxiety and chest pains because adrenalin begins to course through your body, causing your heart to race and your muscles to contract. Anxiety or panic attacks often cause chest pain, heart palpitations, throat tightness etc. because of muscle contractions. Other reactions that could contribute to anxiety and chest pains would be excess release of stomach acid and inhibition of digestion.

Chest pains can be caused by many different things. Therefore it is important to get them properly diagnosed. If you are having chest pains of an unknown origin please see your medical professional. If you would like more information on anxiety and panic attacks an excellent resource is The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. A thorough, concise, step-by-step manual for mastering various types of anxiety.

One of the best resources available for reducing and managing anxiety is through the use of biofeedback techniques.



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