Back to Resilience & Recovery from Post-trauma Stress blog

Quit smoking to protect your brain

Dec 14, 2023

It's commonplace for people who experience post-trauma stress symptoms following a traumatic or severe stressful incident to find ways to cope with their symptoms. Comorbidity is typically higher with people experiencing symptoms such as sadness, loneliness, unhappiness, anxiety, and fear.

To curb any intrusive thoughts and high arousal levels during an episode of post-trauma stress, people often use substances such as alcohol, comfort food, nicotine, etc to self-soothe and self-regulate in the best way they know how.

Many of these coping strategies can be useful in the short term, however, the long term can prove to be something people depend on more and more to help them cope which often prolongs seeking help and their ability to recover from their post-trauma stress symptoms more quickly.

Becoming dependent on any substance at any time, and especially during a period of dealing with post-trauma stress can be a problem, however toxic substances found in say cigarettes can be responsible for significantly increasing morbidity. The link between smoking and its effects on the heart and lungs for example is very well-established in the scientific literature, however, a new study conducted by Chang & Bierut has found another significant link in understanding how smoking shrinks our brains!

The study conducted by Chang & Bierut, published in Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science, analyzed data from over 32,000 individuals in the UK Biobank and provided crucial insights into the long-term neurological consequences of smoking and the importance of smoking cessation, more specifically gaining an understanding as to why smokers are at high risk of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Furthermore, the study highlights not only the damage of smoking on the brain but also how irreversible that damage is even after quitting.  The good news is though that whilst quitting won't reverse the damage already caused it will arrest the damage and deterioration once a smoker quits!

The research provides vital insights into the long-term neurological consequences of smoking and the importance of smoking cessation. 

Recovery from Post-trauma Stress
  ~ Free Webinar Series

Register to receive updates on our free webinars.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.