Depression Plays a Role in Ability to Overcome Addiction

Can depression play a part in a person’s ability to overcome an addiction? According to this recent Science Daily release, it definitely can. A new study suggests that while depressed smokers want to quit the habit just as much as smokers without a depression problem, depression can actually affect the success the individual can experience in their attempt to overcome their addiction.

The study found that 24 percent of surveyed callers to the California Smokers’ Helpline suffered from major depression. Another 17 percent of callers also had mild depression. Regardless of mental state, more than half of the surveyed callers made at least one attempt to quit after they had called the helpline.

Once these individuals hit the two-month mark, however, the success rate for those suffering with major depression was much lower than that of those who were diagnosed as only mildly depressed or non-depressed. In fact, nearly one in five callers with major depression reported success, compared with one in three of the mildly or non-depressed individuals.

Interestingly, most help lines established to help individuals to quit smoking do not assess callers for depression, even though research has proven that mild depression can reduce the success of quitting. This study also suggests that major depression can reduce the rates of success even further.

This assessment is considered important as the California quitline receives a large volume of calls from heavy smokers and smokers on Medicaid. These two circumstances are associated with depression and with more than 400,000 smokers calling quitlines in the U.S. every year, researchers believe there are as many as 100,000 depressed smokers throughout the nation that are not receiving the targeted treatment they need.


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