E Cigarettes and Mental Health
Anytime a new product hits the market there are supporters and detractors. This certainly is the case with e cigarettes. E cigarettes have been billed as the answer for people who smoke tobacco. However, there are plenty of people out there who believe that there are possible harmful side effects. The truth of the matter is that much more research needs to be done on them, over long periods of time. UKPPG members have different opinions regarding the ways in which e cigarettes hurt or help patients with mental illness. Here are some factors to consider if you are a pharmacist, doctor, or advisor to patients who wish to switch to e cigarettes.
E cigarettes and e-liquids are certainly a better alternative to tobacco. While they do contain nicotine, they do not contain the harmful carcinogens found in tobacco. Pharmacists might choose to advise patients to use them in order to help ween themselves off of other drugs. One of the key factors involved with treating a mental illness is identifying things that contribute to the severity of the illness. Tobacco use can alter a person's mood, and it affects a person's cardiovascular system. Addiction is a powerful part of life, and it might be hard for a patient with a mental illness to stop smoking cigarettes. E cigarettes provide nicotine in a safer format.
Many patients who have obsessive compulsive disorders are addicts. They struggle to stop using alcohol and other drugs. Finding an alternative to these drugs is a key to reversing the harmful effects. E cigarettes provide a way for patients to continue to inhale nicotine without having to quit cold turkey. A patient who quits tobacco immediately might feel extreme anxiety. E cigarettes aid the process by allowing themt o gradually move away from the harmful substances that bring them major problems.
Although e cigarettes tend to be viewed as a safer alternative, the truth is that there is still a risk. They have not been in use long enough for long term studies to be conducted. Certain risks include more addictive behaviours, loss of money to feed the habit, and improper use of the e liquid. E cigarettes, or vapes, are popular because they allow the user to complete customisation options. This factor might not be a good option for someone who obsesses over using them.
Another key factor is whether or not nicotine interferes with other drugs designed to help patients with mental illnesses. Some psychiatric medications have side effects, and nicotine has the potential to make them worse. Pharmacists should always consult their mentors before they advise patients on the use of e cigarettes to curb the cravings for other drugs. Education and communication are the keys to success.