World Health Day is a celebration of the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. Every year, the World Health Organization chooses a different theme to advocate for and 2017’s theme is depression.
Depression is marked by “persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks”. People with depression may feel a loss of energy or appetite, feelings of worthlessness, and difficulty concentrating. Like nicotine addiction, depression is entirely treatable and is not a sign of weakness.
According to the CDC, there is a link between smoking and depression. Researchers are not entirely sure if smoking causes depression or if those with depression are simply more likely to smoke. Studies have suggested that long-term use of tobacco products may decrease the brain’s production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to depression. Nicotine also causes a person to feel less stressed and to experience an elevated mood, making it also possible that those with depression smoke to self-medicate.
Certain antidepressants, like bupropion and varenicline, help to treat depression and help people to quit smoking. If you are a smoker who also suffers from depression, talk to your doctor about your options.