The rise of vaping has come with its fair share of concern from parents, teachers, and lawmakers. While its physical health effects can be damaging, vaping can also have a negative impact on the mental health of those who regularly engage in the practice.
As the world evolves and vaping continues to increase in popularity, it’s important to gain a deeper awareness of its effects on users. Specifically, it’s important that the public is aware of the negative ways that it can impact mental health.
Here is vaping and its effect on mental health.
Increased Risk of Addiction
Vaping can be an incredibly addictive habit that leaves users feeling as if they need to be constantly engaging in the habit. The reason for this is that nicotine, found in almost all vaping devices, is a significantly addictive substance. By becoming hooked on vaping, people face the risk of developing other addictions — oftentimes to even more dangerous substances.
The risk of addiction is even more severe when it comes to youth who vape, which has become dishearteningly common. In addition, there is currently a youth mental health crisis, meaning that more children and teens are at risk of becoming addicted to vaping and other substances than ever before.
Addiction can take a significant and negative toll on the mental health states of people who find themselves addicted to a certain behavior. As such, those who vape are at risk of developing one or more addictions and suffering the negative mental health consequences that accompany them.
Experts believe that vaping may harm brains in several keyways. One of the most significant ways is by making people experience what is referred to as brain fog. Brain fog can be characterized by a decreased ability to concentrate, impaired memory, and difficulty making decisions.
Unfortunately, many are under the false impression that vaping has been proven to be a safer alternative to smoking tobacco. As a result, they are unaware that when vaping they are putting themselves at risk of developing brain fog.
The symptoms associated with brain fog can impair the way people think and feel. This can result in poorer mental health states. In addition, brain fog can also cause individuals to perform poorly at school or work, further harming their self-esteem and confidence.
For most vapers, it’s the concentrated nicotine substances they vape that keep them coming back. Unfortunately, it’s been shown that those who consistently vape nicotine are more likely to experience anxiety than their non-vaping counterparts.
When it comes to students in middle school, high school, and college, this can make it harder to study and socialize. For adults, this can make it difficult to perform one’s duties and collaborate with others at work. As such, vaping can cause people of all ages to find themselves experiencing symptoms of poor mental health.
This can be especially dangerous for boys and men because of mental health stigmas that are incredibly common. As a result of these attitudes, many boys and men refrain from pursuing the proper treatment for their mental health illnesses. As such, awareness should be increased of both the negative consequences of vaping and men’s mental health.
While many vapers stick to nicotine, others use their vaping devices to consume marijuana. Though they may falsely believe that vaping eliminates all risks associated with consuming this drug, that’s far from the case. In fact, consistently vaping THC, the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, can increase one’s risk of developing schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is an incredibly severe mental illness that can be difficult to treat and has no cure. As a result, it’s important to avoid activities that can increase one’s likelihood of developing schizophrenic symptoms.
For those vaping THC, the risks are even higher than their drug-addicted counterparts who only smoke marijuana. This is because the THC levels in vaping juices are much higher than in marijuana which is smoked. As such, vaping has the potential to wreak havoc on the mental health states of those who vape THC.
How to Help Those Addicted to Vaping
Though vaping can be incredibly harmful to people’s mental health, there are ways to help those who are addicted say goodbye to vaping once and for all. Understanding some key tactics can make it easier to help others achieve an optimal state of mental wellness.
Some keyways to help those addicted to vaping include:
Sharing helpful resources: Whether it’s a nicotine hotline, a book about addiction, or a pamphlet about how to stop vaping, providing people with resources can be extremely helpful. Even if the gesture seems small, these bits of encouragement can help someone on their addiction journey.
Offering distractions: Though distractions often are a sign of running away from problems, when it comes to quitting vaping, it’s akin to facing it head-on. Keeping one’s mind off of the cravings to vape is a key part of quitting, so filling someone’s day with fun activities can be a great way to help them curb their vaping addiction.
Being supportive of the journey: For many vaping addicts attempting to quit, it may not go so smoothly on the first attempt. In these cases, it can be helpful to not judge people if they fail but be supportive and encouraging so they continue to try to quit.
Finding a replacement activity: Vaping is an activity that is done consistently throughout the day by those who are addicted. As a result, quitting abruptly can be very jarring and totally change one’s day. To help someone trying to quit vaping, it’s beneficial to help them find a replacement activity, such as chewing gum, that they do whenever they experience a craving to vape.
Vaping Can Harm Mental Health
Though it’s not wrong to believe that vaping can harm the lungs, it’s wrong to assume this is the only negative impact that comes with the practice. For some people, vaping can be devastating for their mental health, decreasing their quality of life. Fortunately, the more that awareness is spread about the damaging effects that vaping can have on mental health, the less people will want to try it.