Suicide And Smoking Could Go Hand in Hand - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Suicide And Smoking Could Go Hand in Hand

    Recent data suggests smokers are two-to-four times likely to commit suicide than non-smokers, saying they’re also prone to mental illness and substance abuse.

We spoke with psychologists around Wichita Falls and found that this area sees higher than national average rates when it comes to suicide.

Dr. Leon Morris, a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, believes the reason smokers are more likely to commit suicide is fairly simple.

"Smokers have a very high rate of mental illness," said Dr. Morris. "People with mental illness are more than likely to commit suicide. I think it's that simple. I don't think that smoking makes them suicidal, I think it's the fact they have mental illness."

Dr. Morris said if you want to look at it another way, smoking is suicidal. Although, he doesn't believe everyone who smokes has a mental illness.

"But the truth is most of them are able to quit," said Dr. Morris. "But the ones who can't quit are frequently the ones with a serious mental illness."

Kim Robinson, a certified Psychologist, said it's hard to determine why smokers are more suicidal. She said many people self-medicate with nicotine, which it acts as an anti-depressant. Saying smoking may actually make you feel better and give you more energy.

The Food and Drug Administration has recognized the more people who take anti-depressants, the higher the rates are of suicide.

"Maybe it's because I feel better when I’m smoking and I have the energy to implement the plan that I hatched two months ago when I was depressed," said Dr. Robinson. 

She understands smokers who abuse drugs and alcohol are taking part in the same process.

"The binge drinking and using other street drugs in addition to the smoking is again an effort in self medication," said Dr. Robinson.

She suggests talk therapy, exercise and setting long-term goals to combat this issue and solve any underlying problems.

Psychologists say there is no study that says nicotine causes suicide. There are only relationships that suggest people who smoke could suffer from mental illness and those with mental illness are more likely to smoke.

Brody Carter, Newschannel 6
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