Researchers Explore Link Between Nicotine Dependence and Depression
> 7/19/2007 12:18:05 PM

It has long been agreed upon that there is a link between nicotine dependence (ND) and depression, but the causality is still debated. Earlier studies suggested that depressed smokers were self-medicating, and found that such behavior could be genetically predicted. Dr. Lerman Caporaso found that depressed individuals with the dopamine D4 receptor gene were much more likely to develop ND. A Duke University study lends credence to the self-medicating theory by demonstrating that nicotine does indeed alleviate the symptoms of depression.

A new study by Dr. Qiang Fu from Saint Louis University found that genes for antisocial traits could almost fully explain the correlation between ND and depression, suggesting that smokers were not smoking because they are depressed, but rather responding to one factor that influences both behaviors. Dr. Fu claims that the 3360 subjects chosen from the Vietnam Era Twin registry did not show a ND-depression correlation based on environmental factors. We find the use of only Vietnam veterans a little questionable, however, because the unique pressures of that tragic war fomented depression and addiction on a frightening scale. Most interestingly, when the  genes for conduct disorder are controlled for, there is no longer any statistically significant ND-depression link. Conduct disorder, the persistent flouting of rules and human rights, may indicate an underlying deficiency that leaves sufferers more vulnerable to both mood disorder and addiction.

If conduct disorder really is the common factor, it can be used as a predictive tool to help parents intervene early. Children with conduct disorder should be warned of their vulnerability to addiction and depression, and, because they are unlikely to heed this warning, should be monitored careful for the first sign of either of these problems. There may be an even simpler common denominator explaining both ND and depression, perhaps a neurotransmitter imbalance as suggested by Dr. Caporaso’s work, or the self-medication theory could turn out to be a better explanation, but conduct disorder is clearly useful as a predictor even if it is not the cause of depression or addiction.


About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 2004, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages . God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].PEACE BE WITH YOUMICKY
Posted by: Micky 7/20/2007 7:52:39 AM

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