February 1, 2007
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
Specialist Treatment Can Help Even the Most Addicted Smokers Quit
NEW BRUNSWICK — While many smokers struggle to stick to resolutions to quit smoking, a new paper, published in the February edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry, shows that even those who are highly addicted to tobacco can succeed in quitting if they receive appropriate help. The article, written by Dr. Jill Williams, an associate professor at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and by Dr. Jonathan Foulds, director of the Tobacco Dependence Program at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, highlights the case of a man with schizophrenia who smoked 30 cigarettes per day and who had tried to quit over 20 times on his own before succeeding with expert help from the Tobacco Dependence Clinic at UMDNJ-School of Public Health.
“Tobacco addiction is an important element that should be addressed as part of recovery-based mental health treatment,” Dr. Williams said. “Individuals with schizophrenia smoke at a rate three times higher than the general population and smoking adds to the stigma of having mental illness. Studies have also shown that smoking among individuals with schizophrenia is associated with higher levels of positive symptoms and higher antipsychotic medication doses.”
The article (available at http://www.tobaccoprogram.org/staffarticles.htm), details the background and treatment of 41-year-old man who started smoking at age 14 and who was first diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 19. Through a combination of regular counseling and medications, “Mr. P.” has been smoke-free for the past three years. He has also reduced his dependence on medication to control the symptoms of schizophrenia, enrolled in a college-level program to become a psychosocial rehabilitation counselor and has become active as a group leader in a local mental health self-help center. His wife joined him in treatment and as a result, she has also succeeded in quitting smoking.
“Here at the Tobacco Dependence Program, we have a multidisciplinary team of tobacco treatment specialists who are capable of providing the most effective treatment for smokers,” Dr. Foulds said. “Most of our patients have tried to quit many times before, and are successful here with the right combination of medical and psychological support.”
The Tobacco Dependence Program at UMDNJ-School of Public Health provides smoking cessation services in New Brunswick (732-235-8222) and Newark (973-972-7431), while the Department of Psychiatry at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School provides smoking cessation services in Trenton (609-396-7707). Dr. Williams also conducts research studies of smokers with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. For more information on participating in Dr. Williams’ studies, please contact 732-235-4600.
New Jersey provides a comprehensive range of treatment services for smokers, including free telephone counseling at NJ Quitline (1-866-NJSTOPS); free online information and interactive support at NJ Quitnet (http://www.nj.quitnet.com/ ) and face-to-face counseling and medication support at NJ Quitcenters.
To request an interview with Dr. Williams or Dr. Foulds, please contact Jerry Carey, UMDNJ News Service, at (856) 566-6171 or (973) 972-3000.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.