A new study has revealed a new negative effect of smoking, this time related to mental health. The research found that people who smoked were 258 percent more likely to be hospitalized for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression.
Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark assessed more than 330,000 participants from the UK Biobank to understand the link between smoking and mental illness, reports Al-Rai daily.
The study indicated that the genetic factor may contribute to the risk of frequent smoking and hospitalization due to mental illness, so if a person has a genetic predisposition to smoke a lot, this same genetic factor can also increase the chances of being hospitalized due to severe health problems.
The researchers found that the chances of a child becoming a smoker were high when the adoptive parents smoked, but the risk was higher when the biological parents smoked.
The study did not evaluate the biological mechanism by which smoking causes mental health problems, but its authors believe the problems may be due to brain damage caused by the nicotine in cigarettes.
The study added, “One of the theories explaining that smoking causes mental disorders is that (nicotine) inhibits the absorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, and we know that people with depression do not produce enough serotonin.”
She continued: “There may be another explanation, which is that smoking causes inflammation in the brain, which in the long run can lead to damage to parts of the brain and lead to various mental disorders.”
The study concluded that its results add to the evidence that helping people to quit smoking can confer many health benefits, including reducing the risk of severe mental illness.