Veterans That Smoke While Quitting Alcohol

Research has just been completed by Dr. Timothy Durazzo to confirm that smoking while trying to quit drinking leads to memory, learning and other brain function difficulties, and thus damages a quitter’s ability to successfully stay sober.

The research was conducted mainly in veterans, who have a 10% higher chance of smoking than non-military US civilians, and found that when cigarettes and alcohol are combined, have an increased negative effect on cognitive functions.

This may seem obvious to some, we know that cigarettes are bad for you, and we know that alcohol is bad for you, but the extent to which one dependency influenced the other, and the combined effect on our brains was not exactly known.

In 2007, more than  375,000 patients of Veterans Affairs reported suffering from some kind of substance dependency, and over 500,000 were addicted to nicotine.

Dr Durazzo explains that the research shows that comprehensive treatment for quitting smoking should be offered to all subjects, but especially those who are undergoing treatment for alcohol and other substance addictions. The logic being, so many of these veterans smoke, that the numbers clearly show the connection.

Durazzo’s study followed 70 Veterans who were undergoing treatment for alcohol dependency, and it was found that smokers performed considerably worse in their efforts than those who didn’t smoke, or those who managed to quit smoking as well.

Cognitive function was one of the main measures used, and they found that the longer the period of smoking, the more cognitive damage could be observed.

While it is clear that everyone should aim to have the best cognitive functions possible, in recovering addicts it is even more important, as having complete cognitive functions will allow them to fully absorb and integrate their treatment.

If you are undergoing treatment for alcohol or other substance abuse, quitting smoking is essential. It may seem too much to cope with at once, but the efforts will be easier, not harder, if they are done with better functioning brains.

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