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Quitting Cigarettes: Alcohol Use Disorder Patients' Recovery Depends On This

First Posted: Sep 30, 2015 01:43 PM EDT

Patients dealing with an alcohol use disorder are more likely to smoke. Yet quitting cigarettes could help those suffering from repeated, compuslive drinking patterns stay sober. 

A new study conducted by researchers at Yale University found that patients with an alcohol use disorder who continue to smoke after they quit drinking are more likely to relapse within a three-year-period.

"What we found is that adults with a past alcohol use disorder who were smokers were more likely to meet criteria for alcohol-use disorders three years later, compared to adults with a past alcohol-use disorder who were not smoking," Andrea Weinberger, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University, told the Yale Daily News.

Researchers at both Yale and Columbia examined data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. They studied the relationship between survey responses from over 9,000 participants in first part of the survey that was conducted between 2001 and 2002 regarding smoking status as well as the second part of the survey, which was conducted from 2004 to 2005, zeroing in on alcohol use, dependence and substance abuse. The study results showed that cigarette smokers--even those who did not smoke every day--were more likely to relapse from their alcohol use disorder when compared with nonsmokers. 

The researchers are uncertain why this is happening. However, they believe that certain behavioral and neurochemical links between both smoking and drinking may play a role. 

For anyone with an alcohol use disorder who's trying to stay sober, it's even more important to never pick up a pack again. 

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the journal Alcoholism. 

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