Integrated Treatment of PTSD and Smoking Leads to Higher Rate of Quitting

By Staff Writer

Many individuals who struggle with post traumatic stress disorder are also smokers. A new study has found that treating these two conditions together in an integrated manner results in a higher rate of quitting than treating them separately.

Particularly among veterans who developed PTSD following military service, smoking is often used as a way to cope with the illness. However, many of these individuals are never offered smoking cessation help.

For the study, a group of researchers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs enrolled more than 400,000 former soldiers who had been diagnosed with PTSD. One group was given smoking cessation treatment at the same time as PTSD therapy, while the other group was referred to a separate smoking specialist.

Researchers found that veterans who had smoking cessation therapy integrated into their PTSD treatment were nearly twice as likely to successfully quit their tobacco habit.

The study’s lead author noted that it has been estimated that 41 percent of individuals who suffer from mental diseases also smoke. Combining therapies may be a simple step that could improve the health of millions of patients.