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Nicotine Withdrawal, bipolar depression


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I had smoked a pack of cigarettes for the last 20 years, and towards the end of my smoking, I was smoking the equivalent of 2 packs of cigarettes through vaping. I quit smoking cigarettes/nicotine pretty much cold turkey in January and cycled into 1 month of hypomania, and then a subsequent 3 month depression with suicidal thoughts/ideations. I didn't know if this was a springtime depression, or if it was from the smoking, but something similar happened 10 years ago when I quit smoking, and I stayed depressed for 6 months. How I got out of the depression this past spring after going 3 miserable months without nicotine was, I started using a 14 mg nicotine patch. Every time I would put on the patch, my day became energetic, worth living, able to exercise, and focused. I've been on this patch for 2 months now. 

There were 2 days I had forgotten to put on the patch in the morning, and towards midday, I felt those same depressed symptoms: low mood, tired, lazy, sluggish, lay down on bed constantly, unmotivated, and so on. It's like nicotine is governing my bipolar. Then when I put the patch back on, I feel energetic again. I don't want to be on this patch for life. I tried cutting a piece of the patch off to slowly titrate, but then started feeling hypomanic symptoms a few hours later, so I stopped messing with the patch. A certain nurse practitioner told me my neurotransmitters might be so reconfigured by nicotine that I may have to be on this patch for a long time.

Does anyone else have experience with this? Any suggestions on how to quit this patch? It's like I'm cornered. My pdoc tried Wellbutrin during my 3 month depression, but I started feeling a little up, and he took it very cautious, and took me off of it, fearing another hypomanic high. 

 

I found numerous articles on bipolar smokers such as the one below where some people actually ended up having a suicide attempt or went into delusions after they tried quitting smoking.

http://www.healthcentral.com/bipolar/c/41/2066/smoking-tobacco

 

 

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I was going to say, there is a lot of literature about smoking and Bipolar and Schizophrenia. There is evidence that smoking helps, and I don't remember why (sorry, I have a headache, so I didn't read your link).

The patch is a lot safer then smoking. Nicotine addiction isn't healthy, but the patch is a lot healthier than cigarettes. Even vaping is worse than the patch, there's all kinds of crap in tobacco no matter how you consume it.

Also, if you drink a lot of caffeine, there can be a cross addiction to caffeine and nicotine, which makes it harder to quit.

I'm lucky, I quit cold turkey when I was in remission (asymptomatic). But even in remission, I was on Wellbutrin (my pdoc didn't want to mess with a good thing), so that helped. I am also lucky in that I don't miss them, and some people crave them their entire lives. I think I was habituated instead of addicted.

I agree with the nurse that said you may be on the patch for a long time, but I am happy for you that you found a solution that works currently.

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I could have written this post! I smoke about a pack a day, have tried to quit several times, and about two weeks in I get depressed, and scared that the depression won't go away, and I reach for a cig again. I thought vaping would help me at least give up cigs, but it didn't and I found it to be a PITA with having to recharge batteries etc. So I've been wondering if tapering off might work.

I wish I had some really good advice, but I don't, but I can totally sympathize FWIW!

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I also could write this post however it's a lil different mood swings wise.

  I've dropped into crying despate after simply cutting down smoking by vaping.

  I wish I had a idea/method that would work,as I've upped my smoking just to take away this despair / depression.

  I wish you all the very best

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