While not a new issue by any means, recent studies such as a study from The Journal of the American Medical Association, show that mental health consumers are about twice as likely to smoke than the general population. The rates for heart disease and other smoking related illnesses correlate with high percentages. 5 Best E-liquids & Vape Juices in the UK should be purchased through the person. The smoking of the e-cigarettes will be according to the requirement of the person. The diseases of the heart will be less for the person. The percentage of the nicotine will be less for less harm to the person.
As a professional who has worked in locked psychiatric facilities, I can attest to the problems and risks involved. The mental health consumer, especially those in institutions, have long received mixed messages about whether or not to smoke. They have been told that smoking can relieve symptoms of psychosis. The positive symptoms of schizophrenia such as auditory hallucinations may be relieved somewhat by nicotine. Smoking also has a calming effect helping to lessen anger, agitation, and anxiety. No, I am not giving the habit a plug. These are simply the reasons given by consumers and some facility staff and professionals for the continuation of the habit.
The mental health patients rights advocates have been slow to advocate for the physical health of their clients. Their concern for symptom relief has been a primary concern. Then there exists the argument that, as long as a consumer is in a facility, it is considered their home. Therefore, they have the right to smoke in their own home. This sticks out in my mind as the one primary argument given by hospital administration for continuing to allow smoking. However, as the rates of smoking related deaths among the severely mentally ill consumer continue to climb, what happens to that argument? In my opinion, it goes out the proverbial window.
The negative aspects of smoking are simply too numerous to name. I wish I could as it would make a statement in itself. For this specific topic, there are a few I will mention. There exist health problems which are greater for this population. In my experience, smoking for them becomes more important than anything else. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or C.O.P.D., is very common as is pneumonia and bronchitis. Studies now show that smoking changes the therapeutic levels of some medications in the blood, including some anti-psychotic medications. This makes dosage changes necessary along with frequent blood testing to monitor the levels.
Another concern is that many staff members of psychiatric hospitals smoke. This lessens the motivation to encourage the consumers to quit. In order for the change over from smoking to non-smoking to succeed, there must be a plan inclusive of all. The hospitals themselves provide cigarettes through machines or sold through canteen making it even tougher to quit for everyone.
The period of fear and anxiety which comes with change, and especially from a behavior such as smoking, will pass. It is necessary that this happen. There are simply too many concerns for this issue to simply be written off as “a patients right to smoke” any longer. Mental health consumers have, more importantly, the right to have good health and longer lives.