A new study has emerged in which scientists believe that smoking may contribute to the development of pscyhotic and mental illnesses.
Researchers at Kings College London published a study in the Lancet Psychiatry Journal which identified that people who suffer from mental illness, including schizophrenia, are three times more likely to be smokers than others.
Although this research does not present completely new revelations, there is still more knowledge to be found to determine whether smoking is actually a causal factor to mental illness.
The research looked at 61 studies with data on 15000 smokers and 273000 non-smokers collected between 1980 and 2014. After analyzing the data, the analysis found that 57% of people initially diagnosed with psychosis were smokers. Furthermore, the research indicated that daily smokers were likely to develop psychotic illness earlier than non-smokers.
It has previously been assumed that the increased smoking rates among people with mental illness could be due to their intent to releive boredom and distress. However, this hypothesis failed to be proven, as researchers would then expect smoking rates to increase after a diagnosis of psychosis; however, through the research, it was determined that psychosis sufferers were smokers prior diagnonsis.
Currently, researchers believe that the reason for the link between smoking and pscyhosis could be the impact of smoking on levels of dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is a factor in many mental illness cases. Researchers believe that smoking and nicotine exposure may increase levels of dopamine, contributing the development of pyschosis.
More research is required to determine the clear cause and effect relationship between smoking and mental illness, however this research proves to be a strong foundational background for future developments.