Will Vaping Increase The Risk of Depression

- Hi, I'm Dr. Tracey
Marks, a psychiatrist,
and I make mental health education videos.
Researchers at Johns
Hopkins published a study
in December 2019 showing a link
between E-cigarettes and depression.
And this isn't the
first study of its kind,
there have been others.
Depression and vaping are seen
to have a bidirectional relationship.
Depression leads to vaping
and vaping increases
depression symptoms over time.
In the scientific community
study findings need to be replicated
before the ideas presented in the studies
are generally accepted.
That means that we need to see
the same findings or conclusions
from multiple studies
with large sample sizes
and randomized controls.
I mention this because occasionally
I will get a request from someone
to weigh in on an
article like a recent one
that concluded that anti-depressants
increase risk of death.
Well that one article
was criticized for having
a small sample size, not separating out
certain factors that
could skew the results,
and not establishing
enough cause and effect.
So when articles like that are published,
it's important to know how many other
researchers have produced these results.
Study results are so easy
to access on the internet,
and this is a good thing,
but you do have to be
careful with interpreting
new findings, especially when the results
go against established practices,
and in this case the
use of anti-depressants
to treat illnesses.
So back to vaping.
Vaping is another term for the practice
of using electronic cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are battery powered
and they take liquids with nicotine
or other substances like
cannabis and vaporize it.
You inhale the vapor instead
of inhaling the smoke from
the traditional cigarette.
And they were marketed as a way to reduce
your tobacco use or to stop
smoking traditional cigarettes.
The liquid, or the E-juice,
is made by extracting
nicotine from tobacco
and mixing it with a base
like propylene glycol.
Then they add a flavor.
So all of these things are
being inhaled into your lungs,
which is more than what
you were inhaling with the cigarettes.
So even though you're
not exposing yourself
to burning leafs, the vaporized liquid
exposes you to other toxins
that are mixed into the liquid.
Why does this cause or worsen depression?
Well even if we ignore
all the other toxins,
prolonged nicotine exposure disrupts
the dopamine pathways in your brain
and increase your stress sensitivity.
Also nicotine increases oxidative stress
and free radical formation in your cells.
I talk about this in a video
that I did on how oxidative stress
effects your brain and
is linked to several
psychiatric illnesses.
Unfortunately, vaping
has become very popular
among teenagers,
but there has been recent news about
vaping related lung disorders,
and that's pretty scary.
But even if you don't vape enough
for it to cause lung disease,
keep in mind that it can
also effect you mentally
by worsening depression,
or even causing depression.
Also, the effect may not be immediate.
Some people in the studies
had stopped vaping,
and then later on developed depression
as a recurring illness.
So vaping in the short term can set you up
for depression in the long term.
Wanna improve your brain health
without medication?
Take a look at this video
on stress and your brain.
It comes with a free download
on how to eat your veggies.
For more mental health education topics,
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See you next time.