Monday, 4 July 2011

A Bright Sunshiney Day


Well, it is a bright sunshiney day...and it's not always easy thinking up titles for these posts, you know.  Been to a clarinet concert at my daughter's school - the lucky pupils have been taught to play a wonderful musical instrument for the whole year.  As we were leaving at the end of the concert we overheard a boy in the front row speaking for all of them, 'Now we can get rid of the thing'.  I don't think they quite appreciated the opportunity they had been given.

The house is reasonably tidy because I blitzed it yesterday morning, and hubby mowed the lawn last night.  Lovely.  So the next job is to walk the dog.  But first I thought I would just sit down at the computer and see if I had any thoughts on mental health...Nope.

Rossa Forbes has done a brilliant blog post, 'Whatever happened to the Nervous Breakdown?' over on her blog 'Holistic Recovery from Schizophrenia.  Well worth a look.  Do it now!  (I will learn to do proper links soon Rossa, I promise!).

I may well get back on here at some point later in the day and air my own views, if and when my brain starts working again.  But for now, here's my poem about smoking.  It's also one I wrote a while ago.  (I hope I don't need to explain that I am a rabid anti-smoker.  I think it is particularly bad for the mentally ill or mentally vulnerable.  Actually I feel a blog post coming on - smoking may be my next one.) Anyway,

It's called:

An Ode to Cigarettes

An ode of praise to cigarettes
For years they've kept me thin
Some say I look and smell like ash
But one can't always win

Each smoke I raise to willing lips
Fair takes my breath away
I never met a man who could
Quite satisfy this way

The cash I spend on cigarettes
Matters not to me
I don't need fancy food or drink
Just nicotine, you see

My family warn me I'll die young
And wouldn't that be sad
More likely I'll be sick and poor
Which isn't such a drag

'Cause when I'm homeless, on the streets
Possessions in a bag
I can break the ice with strangers
By asking for a fag.

Have a good day.  Louise. x.


  1. Go to the URL on the blogpost you want to link to and copy it. (it begins with http://) Then, go back to the post you are working on in edit mode, and double click on the word you want to link to. In the tool bar on top of your edited post you will see LINK. Click on link and paste the copied URL into the space. Click OK. Don't forget to test the link!

  2. Great poem, BTW. Interestingly, though, Dr. Abram Hoffer says that nicotine craving can be a sign of schizophrenia, because it means that you are low in niacin (also called vitamin B3 and also called nicotinimide.) It helps stem the hallucinations, if I recall correctly. Dr. Hoffer also claims that "schizophrenics" and their immediate family members do not get cancer. He has observed this in his thousands of patients over the years, and is obviously, anecdotal. I would hate to rely on this as a reason to keep smoking! Maybe he is referring to the period when a person is floridly psychotic, I don't really know. But, he seems to be saying that there is a natural immunity factor at work. He has always claimed that "schizophrenics" are abnormally healthy.

  3. Wouldn't it be preferable to give patients niacin supplements then? I know from personal experience that smoking does not help mental health, especially when one is in the throes of psychosis. It helps one to drift further away from reality - not a good thing in the circumstances. I will happily subscribe to the notion of being immune from cancer though...long live me!

  4. There are many interesting things associated with niacin. Bill W., one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, was basically kicked out of AA after he got on the niacin cure. He was so enthusiastic about niacin cutting his craving for alcohol, that he oversold it with the AA members.

  5. I can not remember the sources--but I remember coming across references to smoking lessening 'side-effects' of neuroleptic drugs. I know that smoking seems to do the same for my son. I notice that when he is clearer, he smokes much less---

    Here is what Wiki has on nicotine and shizophrenia:

    Studies suggest a correlation between smoking and schizophrenia, with estimates near 75% for the proportion of schizophrenic patients who smoke. Although the nature of this association remains unclear, it was recently argued that the increased level of smoking in schizophrenia may be due to a desire to self-medicate with nicotine.[82][83] More recent research has found that mildly dependent users got some benefit from nicotine, but not those who were highly dependent.[84] All of these studies are based only on observation, and no interventional (randomized) studies have been done. Research on nicotine as administered through a patch or gum is ongoing.
    Nicotine appears to improve ADHD symptoms. Some studies are focusing on benefits of nicotine therapy in adults with ADHD.[85]
    Nicotine (in the form of chewing gum or a transdermal patch) is being explored as an experimental treatment for OCD. Small studies show some success, even in otherwise treatment-refractory cases.[86][87][88]
    [edit]Research as a potential basis for an antipsychotic agent

    When the metabolites of nicotine were isolated and their effect on first the animal brain and then the human brain in people with schizophrenia were studied, it was shown that the effects helped with cognitive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Therefore, the nicotinergic agents, as antipsychotics which do not contain nicotine but act on the same receptors in the brain are showing promise as adjunct antipsychotics in early stages of FDA studies on schizophrenia. The prepulse inhibition (PPI) is a phenomenon in which a weak prepulse attenuates the response to a subsequent startling stimulus. Therefore, PPI is believed to have face, construct, and predictive validity for the PPI disruption in schizophrenia, and it is widely used as a model to study the neurobiology of this disorder and for screening antipsychotics.[89] Additionally, studies have shown that there are genes predisposing people with schizophrenia to nicotine use.[90]
    Therefore with these factors taken together the heavy usage of cigarettes and other nicotine related products among people with schizophrenia may be explained and novel antipsychotic agents developed that have these effects in a manner that is not harmful and controlled and is a promising arena of research for schizophrenia.

  6. Oh I forgot--Love your poem!

  7. Thanks for posting. I am glad you like the poem. My anti-smoking stance is instinctive and un-budge- able (what kind of word is this?!)- I just feel that if people give up smoking it would help them to get better. Mentally and physically. Obviously as an ex-smoker I am biased.

    I know that giving up is a tall order, people need a crutch in life sometimes, and so on. But smoking is a really unpleasant addiction - and yes, people with addictive natures may well have a tendency to mental disorders - they/we are not as grounded as others. I just can't see any way that smoking helps anyone.

    Nicotine - that's another matter, any research that would help develop new drugs or other treatment methods for those who are unwell - great.
    Although to be honest, and without any scientific knowledge or data to back this theory up, I have an idea that nicotine is just a stimulant, and that another stimulant such as tea or coffee might be just as beneficial to the mind and body.

    I am a strong believer too in the placebo effect, which I translate as 'Anything that you believe is good for you is good for you', so bring on the alternative remedies too - maybe some herbal teas, homeopathic remedies, definitely exercise and healthy eating and plenty of sleep will aid recovery, in my opinion.

    But I think smoking holds people back from getting better - it marginalises them for a start. I really don't think that cigarettes can be justified on any medical grounds, and as much effort should be put into helping the mentally ill to give up smoking as is invested in the other, more fortunate sectors of society.

  8. Oh, I should have said that I am really sorry for you and your son. He is in there somewhere, you know - by which I mean even when he is really unwell there is a part of him which is not. Does that make sense? It's true. As for the drugs - they can have awful side-effects, but sometimes there is other medication available to negate those side-effects. This might be healthier for him in the long-term than smoking.

    Sorry, I must sound awfully puritanical and po-faced, but I do so hate cigarettes. I also despise the awful companies who make them and profit from them and who are now hawking their goods to the occupants of the third world (as if those people didn't have enough problems already), to boost their profits because those in the developed countries are gradually getting wise and giving up smoking.