Quitting smoking when you have a mental illness
If you are a smoker living with mental illness, research tells us that you are just as likely as the next person to want to quit smoking and there is no reason why you can’t be successful at quitting.
If you are considering quitting, it can be helpful to hear the quitting stories of others, particularly when they have gone through similar challenges to your own:
- Tracie’s story of quitting smoking while managing her bipolar disorder from the ‘Make
Smoking History’ campaign.
- Rebecca’s story of dealing with depression while quitting smoking, which she shared
as part of the US’s ‘Tips from former smokers’ campaign.
Quitting smoking can result in plenty of mental health benefits. You may find you:
- have a boost in self-confidence and feel a great sense of achievement
- are less depressed, anxious and stressed
- have a more positive mood and better quality of life
- have more ability to cope with life stressors
- socialise more – not just where smoking is permitted.
Nicotine withdrawal is tough for most people so can be confused with a worsening of mental illness symptoms. But in the long-term, mental health generally improves after quitting smoking.
You can prepare for nicotine withdrawal symptoms by learning healthy ways of coping, such as:
- being active – walk, swim, ride a bike
- working on good sleeping habits
- talking things over with a supportive person
- practising deep breathing.
Supports and tools available to assist you to quit smoking include calling or chatting online to the Quitline, downloading the My QuitBuddy app to receive helpful tips and tactics, using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gum or patches, and trying doctor-prescribed medications specially designed to help you quit smoking.
Some NRT products are available at a reduced price through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme if you get a prescription from your doctor.
You may also want to talk to your doctor or health professional about how smoking is affecting your health and how they can support you to quit. Many people find their main support comes from family and friends. Ask them to support you, particularly when things get tough.
Check out the wealth of information about ways to quit on the Quit your way page.