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Depression After Smoking Cessation: Case Reports

J Clin Psychiatry 1996;57:467-469

Background: Cigarette smokers with a history of major depression are at risk for developing depressive mood when they attempt cessation. Whether cessation can also provoke more severe depressions, however, has not been well documented.

Method: Six case reports of severe depressive episodes after smoking cessation are described.

Results: Four cases occurred among smokers with a history of major depression but who were not depressed at the time of cessation. Two cases involved smokers with no previous history of major depression. Variability in both the timing and the outcome of the postcessation depressions was observed.

Conclusion: The risk that depressive states may emerge or be exacerbated after smoking cessation, particularly in patients with a history of major depression, must be kept in mind in the treatment of nicotine dependence.