Home Health & Wellbeing
If you need urgent support, call 999 or go to your nearest A&E. To contact our Crisis Messenger (open 24/7) text THEMIX to 85258.
Read the community guidelines before posting ✨

Smoking And Self Harming - What Could They Possibly Have In Common?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Know anyone who smokes? You smoke? Why?

Now, let us dub our example smoker as Smoker#1. Original, right? Now, Smoker#1 is well aware that smoking is an expensive habit that can effect her children through second hand smoke and can result in her having an illness such as cancer, so the huge question remains unanswered. Why does Smoker#1 smoke, even knowing all of the disadvantages of this habit?

Simple. The one rumoured advantage. It relieves stress.

It relieves stress. One simple rumour can cause oneself to take that many risks. To accept that many disadvantages. Why? Well, the answer to that is quite simple. If Smoker#1 had a headache and you gave her a tablet that did absoloutly nothing, telling them it was a painkiller, the headache would almost certianly go away. Because Smoker#1 believes that it will cure the headache, so she tells herself such, causing her brain to believe it.

The same rule applies with smoking. Smoker#1 is told that it relieves stress, and so she believes as such. The psychological part of this is actually quite intriuging. Smoker#1 believes that as she breathes out that smoke from her mouth, all her stresses and worries around exiting her body with it. It is as if all her worries are washing away. (See government. You have psychology to thank for the millions you rake in each year from smoking.)

Until, of course, Smoker#1 stops smoking. Then at that point she wants more, and that is how an addiction happens. And, most probably, if scientists claimed they had discovered a new pill called the StopperSmoker, saying that it stopped the body from craving nicotine, and Smoker#1 took it, she would probably believe that it had stopped her body from craving nicotine, and would stop wanting to smoke.

(Let it be noted that this part of the theory is on uneasy grounds. To say this would be to run, slightly over, into the physical side of the body, and I am full aware that addictions stem from the body adjusting to said substance and therefor needing it to function. The physical need for the substance may override the psychological belief that you do not need it.)

So, the question lies, what does that have to do with self harming? Well, lets dub our example self harmer as SelfHarmer#1. Original, I know. Now, it is common knowledge that people of all ages self harm because stress becomes too much for them. In most cases, anyway. It is the body's coping mechanism. When you are self harming, you are believing that that is relieving stress. As that blood seeps through your skin, you fully believe that the stress and worries are escaping your body with it. Very similar to smoking.

This shows just how similar and alike smoking and self harming are. They both cause physical harm to you and may cause harm to those around you. They both are based on a psychological fact. They are both done to relieve stress. And yet, if you saw someone walking down the street, smoking, you would not bat an eyelid. But if someone was slitting there wrists while walking down the streets, you would either shout insults towards them or call the men in white coats.

It is also interesting to think that self harming could be cured in a psychological effect. When you give someone a nicotine patch, they believe it will help them stop smoking. Does that mean if you gave someone a anti-selfharming patch, people would not feel the urge to self harm? (This also could shed light onto the true effect anti-depressants and such have on people.)

It is interesting to think about. To me, anyway. Any thoughts? Or have you already fallen asleep?

Just another one of my crazy theories.


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I suppose they could be seen as similar in terms of the effect they have and the reason's why people do it. I don't think smokers intend to harm themselves though, theey relieve stress by smoking which harms them. Self-harmers hurt themselves, which relieves stress. It's slightly different.
    In my opinion, though, the socially acceptable destructive coping methods are the worst ones. I think sugar probably causes more damage than many illegal drugs, for example.
    I think what people expect from certain things is significant, but so is association. My mother buys non-alchoholic beer because she likes the taste because she associates it with having fun when she was younger. Smoking, especially since the smoking ban, seems to be a social thing, and of course you breathe deeply while smoking, which also relaxes you.
    If there was a patch for self harming, the self harmer would probably swap it for another destructive habit. Nothing is dealt with easily, and if you've been doing something for a long time it will probably take a lot of thought and effort to stop.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    But if people were not to believe that destructive things such as self harming and smoking relieves stress, wouldn't the number of people who did said thing decrease? I understand that it would not halt completely, but it may decrease slightly.

    And you will find that most self harmers harm themselves to relieve stress. Only the small few harm themselves for other reasons, such as for attention and then have stress relieved as a side effect. Many harm themselves as a coping mechianism. The same as smoking. My mother smokes mainly when she is stressed. They are alike.

    And yes, while I understand that the deep breaths you take while smoking may calm you, it is also still to do with psychology. Because you are using ciggerettes to do something that you very well could do without anything. And, most of the time, self harmers tend to take deep breaths when harming themselves. For example: some self harmers sniff glue. Essentially, the same effect as smoking.

    There will always be something out there bad for us. The hard task is ignoring it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Doesn't selfharming release endorphins and/or adrenaline? (I'm not entirely sure) that actually do make you feel better, not just pschologically.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    year .. well i do both
    and it helps soo much
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    grace wrote: »
    Doesn't selfharming release endorphins and/or adrenaline? (I'm not entirely sure) that actually do make you feel better, not just pschologically.

    It definately releases endorphins- it's why people get told exercise is good by the doctor :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    nicotine is psychoactive, so that pretty much undermines your whole argument about people self-medicating with i just because they think it helps with stress. That and the painful typeface means I couldn't be bothered to read it all.
Sign In or Register to comment.