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Salud mental

Print version ISSN 0185-3325

Abstract

MORENO COUTINO, Ana; RUIZ VELASCO, Silvia  and  MEDINA-MORA ICAZA, María Elena. Association between smoking and minimal-mild depressive symptomatology in heavy smokers. Salud Ment [online]. 2009, vol.32, n.3, pp.199-204. ISSN 0185-3325.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by the year 2020 tobacco addiction will be responsible for 10 million deaths, seventy percent of which will occur in underdeveloped countries. On the other hand, depression affects about 121 million people worldwide, and is projected to reach a second place in the ranking of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) calculated for all ages and both sexes by the year 2020. In Mexico, 14 million people are current smokers and 9.6 million are former smokers, according to the 2002 National Addictions Survey, and almost four million people are diagnosed with depression. Both disorders are classified among the main causes of mortality and disability in Mexico. By gender, major depression in females is the second most prevalent disorder. Two percent of the Mexican population (two million people) present at least one major depressive episode before reaching the age of 18. Several studies have found an important link between depression and smoking. More recently, it was reported that the manifestation of depressive symptomatology predicts smoking addiction. Although the strong association between affective disorders and drug abuse has been documented, they are generally treated independently. For this reason, the need for integral management of comorbid diseases has been highlighted. Little is known about specific populations of patients that simultaneously manifest both disorders, and more knowledge is needed in order to design precise integral treatments for this kind of patients, taking into consideration the gender, severity of depression and level of nicotine dependence. The aim of this study was to describe the association between depressive symptoms, sociodemographic characteristics, and pattern of tobacco consumption of heavy smokers with minimal-mild depressive symptomatology in order to adjust for these relations in a later longitudinal regression analysis after these subjects have been assigned to different conditions of a new integral treatment to quit smoking. A total of 89 heavy smokers were assessed; 74 of them (83%) had minimal-mild depressive symptomatology; there were 35 females and 39 males, with an average age of 44.3 yrs. Level of tobacco addiction was determined by the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence, and the Beck Depression Inventory was used to assess depressive symptomatology. By means of regression models, we found an increase of the depressive symptomatology related to the severity of tobacco addiction (p= .025). Those with a bachelor's educational level, had less depressive symptomatology (p= .025). The high frequency of depressive symptomatology and the protective factor of schooling concur with findings reported in other studies. The better understanding of the characteristics of smokers with different levels of tobacco consumption and depressive symptomatology is suggested. It is important to gain knowledge on the particular characteristics of specific groups of smokers for the development of new treatments that can simultaneously treat smoking addiction and depression, and can also help to norm criteria for their treatment.

Keywords : Smoking; depression; sociodemographic characteristics.

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