Brookhaven Retreat Observes World No Tobacco Day

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On May 31, Brookhaven Retreat, a unique residential treatment facility exclusively for women with mental health and/or substance abuse issues advises women to protect recovery by reducing tobacco use.

The World Health Organization established World No Tobacco Day, observed annually on May 31, to reduce tobacco consumption and prevent tobacco-related deaths. Because smoking can affect mental illnesses, Brookhaven Retreat encourages women to eliminate tobacco use in order to improve physical and mental health.

Some studies speculate that smoking tobacco may help regulate the adverse effects of psychotropic medications. Women may also attempt to manage anxiety and depression with tobacco use. Studies have found, however, that smokers experience higher rates of substance abuse and mental health issues.

A 1997 analysis of the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-being found that tobacco use is strongly associated with alcohol dependency, substance abuse and higher rates of anxiety and affective disorders. A 2005 U.S. study found that 41 percent of smokers have had a mental health diagnosis in the last month, the most common being alcohol abuse, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders and substance abuse.

Smoking’s physical effects may also have an impact on mental health. The WHO reports that it is the single most preventable cause of death worldwide. The CDC reports that one in five deaths in the U.S. are tobacco related and that tobacco use contributes to higher risk of lung cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke and other cancers. Poor physical condition contributes to mental health issues, so it is important for women in recovery to manage physical health closely.

Because tobacco use contributes to higher mortality rates and mental health issues, it is important for women recovering from mental illness and substance abuse to avoid its use. Brookhaven Retreat believes that treatment should explore why an addiction may exist, examine its effect in a woman’s life and help women if they choose to break their dependency.

On May 31, Brookhaven Retreat advocates reduced tobacco use as a way of improving health. When women feel better, they are better able and willing to take care of themselves. Eliminating tobacco allows women to enjoy improved physical health, reduces the risk of mental health issues and protects long-term mental health recovery.

About Brookhaven Retreat
Brookhaven Retreat is a women's treatment center nestled on a naturally beautiful 48-acre site secluded in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It has helped hundreds of women across the United States overcome depression, trauma, anxiety, substance use and a range of other behavioral health challenges. Brookhaven’s Founder, Jacqueline Dawes, has predicated its gender-specific treatment on “healing emotional breakage” for women. In this way, she has established a sanctuary and a place where women can feel safe, secure and cared for by a staff of highly trained professionals.

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Jessica Wirth
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