Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research attributes high rates of smoking among mentally ill to addiction vulnerability

Date:
September 27, 2013
Source:
Indiana University
Summary:
People with mental illness smoke at much higher rates than the overall population. But the popular belief that they are self-medicating is most likely wrong, according to researchers. Instead, they report, research indicates that psychiatric disease makes the brain more susceptible to addiction.

People with mental illness smoke at much higher rates than the overall population. But the popular belief that they are self-medicating is most likely wrong, according to researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Instead, they report, research indicates that psychiatric disease makes the brain more susceptible to addiction.

As smoking rates in the general population have fallen below 25 percent, smoking among the mentally ill has remained pervasive, encompassing an estimated half of all cigarettes sold. Despite the well-known health dangers of tobacco consumption, smoking among the mentally ill has long been widely viewed as "self-medication," reducing the incentive among health care professionals to encourage such patients to quit.

"This is really a devastating problem for people with mental illness because of the broad health consequences of nicotine addiction," said R. Andrew Chambers, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the IU School of Medicine. "Nicotine addiction is the number one cause of premature illness and death in the United States, and most of that morbidity and mortality is concentrated in people with mental illness."

In a report published recently in the journal Addiction Biology, the research team lead by Dr. Chambers reported the results of experiments using an established animal model of schizophrenia in which rats display a neuropsychiatric syndrome that closely resembles the disease.

Both the schizophrenia-model rats and normal rats were given access to intravenous self-administration of nicotine.

"The mentally ill rats acquired nicotine use faster and consumed more nicotine," Dr. Chambers said. "Then when we cut them off from access to nicotine, they worked much harder to restore access to nicotine than did the normal 'control' rats."

In additional testing, the researchers found that administration of nicotine provided equal, but minimal, cognitive benefits to both groups of rats when performing a memory test. When the nicotine was withdrawn, however, both groups of rats were more cognitively impaired, so that any cognitive benefits to nicotine administration were "paid for" by cognitive impairments later.

“These results strongly suggest that what has changed in mental illness to cause smoking at such high rates results in a co-morbid addiction to which the mentally ill are highly biologically vulnerable. The evidence suggests that the vulnerability is an involuntary biological result of the way the brain is designed and how it develops after birth, rather than it being about a rational choice to use nicotine as a medicine,” Dr. Chambers said.

The data, he said, point to neuro-developmental mechanisms that increase the risk of addiction. Better understanding of those mechanisms could lead to better prevention and treatment strategies, especially among mentally ill smokers, Dr. Chambers said.

A video interview of Dr. Chambers discussing his research is available at http://youtu.be/Gdz6a-eoHNA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah A. Berg, Alena M. Sentir, Benjamin S. Cooley, Eric A. Engleman, R. Andrew Chambers. Nicotine is more addictive, not more cognitively therapeutic in a neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia produced by neonatal ventral hippocampal lesions. Addiction Biology, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/adb.12082

Cite This Page:

Indiana University. "Research attributes high rates of smoking among mentally ill to addiction vulnerability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130927123306.htm>.
Indiana University. (2013, September 27). Research attributes high rates of smoking among mentally ill to addiction vulnerability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130927123306.htm
Indiana University. "Research attributes high rates of smoking among mentally ill to addiction vulnerability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130927123306.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

AP (Apr. 10, 2014) As states slash funding for mental health services, police officers are interacting more than ever with people suffering from schizophrenia and other serious disorders of the mind. The consequences can be deadly. (April 10) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Newsy (Apr. 9, 2014) A University of Pittsburgh study found pop music that mentions alcohol is linked to higher drinking rates among teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins