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Christian Counseling - Smoking and Depression

Recent research has found a link between smoking and depression. Those who smoke tend to be more depressed than non-smoking subjects.

There are several ways to look at this research. One is that there is something about smoking that leads to depression. This is a common perception among those who are against smoking and want the government to set policy banning smoking.

However, another view, which seems closer potentially to the facts of the research is that people who smoke and people who are depressed have something in common. Freud would say that people who smoke potentially are "stuck" in the oral phase of development. The oral phase is when the child seeks gratification and soothing through the mouth. It is also a period when the child has great dependency needs. One could argue that people who smoke are attempting to sooth themselves through smoking. In addition, Freud and other psychodynamic theorists would suggest that people who become depressed have greater dependency needs than others. As a result, they become more Id, or desire driven, in their approach to daily life, seeking immediate gratification for their needs. This way of looking at the link between smoking and depression also then provides an explanation as to why people who are depressed and smoke have greater difficulty quitting smoking.

As more research is done in this area, keep an open mind as the research is correlational in nature. Remember, correlation does not imply causation. In other words, just because the rooster crows and the sun comes up does not mean that the rooster is causing the sun to come up. I will post further thoughts on this area of research as new findings become available.

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