Vaping and mental health have long shared a common problem; they’re both extremely misunderstood. When comparing how healthy vaping is to smoking, it’s a no-brainer. Vaping has been scientifically proven to be 95% less harmful than smoking. The real question is how does vaping affect your mental health?
Full disclosure, I’m not a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. I’m just a vape blogger that transitioned from smoking to a healthier alternative a few years ago. I’ve lived with various mental health issues; before and after smoking/vaping. This article is based on my personal experiences and scientific journals.
The purpose of this article is to present you with some facts and first-hand insights. With this information, you should be able to make up your own mind about vaping and its connection to mental health.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness, please remember that help is available. I would recommend checking out the following mental health resources below and also speaking to your local GP.
oSuicide Prevention Lifeline ( USA )
oMind ( UK )
oBeyond Blue ( Australia )
Is Vaping Addictive?
Vaping isn’t addictive unless you add or use nicotine in your eliquid. Nicotine is a chemical stimulant that’s naturally found in tobacco plants. The addictive properties of nicotine are said to be very similar to cocaine and heroin. When smokers say they’re addicted to cigarettes, they’re in fact addicted to the nicotine inside a cigarette. That’s why it’s important to understand what nicotine is and how it affects your brain. Especially if you’re new to vaping.
When nicotine is inhaled, it rewards your brain with a dopamine hit. This brain disorder is called addiction. Addiction is a common mental health condition that everyone experiences. For some it’s having a cup of coffee in the morning, for others, it’s vaping. While some addictions are obviously more harmful than others, the ideology is still the same. Addiction is a compulsive action that results in a good feeling.
Some addictions can be harmless while others can attract dier consequences.
Is Vaping Bad For Your Mental Health?
When we talk about vaping and mental health, we’re specifically talking about nicotine. All other vape juice ingredients that you’ll find in most eliquid mixes are relatively harmless to your brain and body. This includes Propylene glycol (PG), Vegetable glycerin (VG), and flavorings. If you’re vaping with nicotine you should be aware of the following effects.
opsychoactive effect on several neurotransmitters in your brain
oreaches your brain within 10–20 seconds after inhalation
ousually wears off after two hours
onot known to cause mental health issue
As you can see from the above list, nicotine isn’t really that bad for your mental health. Smoking on the other hand can accelerate the metabolism rate of some antidepressant and antipsychotic medications. As a result, reducing the overall benefit. Smoking has also been linked to future suicidal behavior, but that research has come under some scrutiny for its accuracy.
Vaping, Anxiety & Depression
Vaping with nicotine does not cause anxiety or depression, but nicotine withdrawals can mirror its symptoms. If you vape with nicotine on a repeated basis your brain will naturally adjust to accommodate its presence. Without nicotine in your system, physical and mental symptoms will appear. This can include,
oconstipation or diarrhea
Withdrawal symptoms will only appear when there’s a lack of nicotine in your bloodstream. Some people who live with anxiety and depression disorders use vaping as an alternative to prescribed medication. I wouldn’t recommend this as it’s more of a coping mechanism. It also doesn’t actually deal with the real source of the problem.
Nicotine vs. Non-Nicotine Vaping
Whether you choose to vape with or without nicotine, it won’t cause you to develop a serious mental illness. But it’s always good to be fully aware of the risks associated with using an addictive chemical. Studies do suggest that people with existing mental illnesses are more likely to use addictive substances like nicotine to manage their problems.
While some people may categorize this as avoidance, I personally think it’s a reasonable reaction to the ever-increasing stresses humans face in a modern world. Non-nicotine vaping is ultimately the safer option and I’d encourage all nicotine vapers to gradually reduce their nicotine intake until they no longer need it.