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If you have a long-term medical condition for which you need to take medication (e.g. asthma, diabetes, or other health problems), or a mental health condition, it can be useful to discuss quitting with a health professional.

Some medications can be affected by quitting. There may be a need to change the dose. See your doctor regularly while you’re quitting and seek advice if you experience symptoms that worry you. The Quitline can also offer advice and support while you’re quitting.

Doctors and pharmacists are a good source of advice about quitting, especially for advice on nicotine replacement therapy or quitting medication. Quitting medications are only available on prescription and you can get nicotine patches cheaper if you have a prescription.

Quitting and Mental Health

If you have a mental health condition, there's no reason to see it as a barrier to quitting smoking. Research suggests that people with a mental health condition are as motivated to quit smoking as anyone else. Many people have been able to successfully quit smoking despite having a mental health condition, especially if they are prepared, have support from their doctor, and take it one step at a time.

Quitting and depression

Is it harder to quit if you have depression?

If you’ve had depression in the past, your chances of quitting for good are about the same as someone who has never had depression. If you have depression it can make quitting more challenging. With the right support you have a good chance of successfully quitting smoking.

Will quitting make my depression better or worse?

At first, it may feel like quitting is making your depression worse. It can be hard to tell the difference between nicotine withdrawal and symptoms of depression – both conditions can include low or depressed mood, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and feeling restless. Talk to your doctor about using nicotine replacement therapy or quit medication to reduce withdrawal symptoms. You may also find it useful to fill in a daily mood chart or keep a journal to monitor your mood. If after quitting, you feel your symptoms of depression are worse every day for two weeks or more, see your doctor.

Once nicotine withdrawal subsides

After a few months, most people who quit smoking report either improved or the same level of mood as when they were smoking. However, occasionally people do experience depression in the months after quitting smoking. Sometimes these feelings may be related to quitting, but often they’re not.

You could be more vulnerable to developing depression after quitting if:

  • you’ve had symptoms of depression following previous attempts to quit
  • your symptoms of depression have been getting worse lately
  • you’re in the process of changing your mental health medication
  • you have current or past problems with drugs and alcohol.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have. Overall, the benefits of quitting for people with depression are far greater than any possible risks of quitting.