Anxiety and depressive symptoms and affective patterns of tobacco withdrawal

Adam M Leventhal, Katherine J Ameringer, Elly Osborn, Michael J Zvolensky, Kirsten J Langdon
Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2013 December 1, 133 (2): 324-9

BACKGROUND: The complex concordance and discordance across and within anxiety and depressive symptoms complicates understanding of the relation between emotional symptoms and manifestations of tobacco withdrawal. The goal of this study was to parse the broad variation in anxiety and depressive symptoms into conceptually discrete components and explore their relative predictive influence on affective patterns of acute tobacco withdrawal.

METHODS: We employed a within-participant experimentally manipulated tobacco abstinence design involving: (i) a baseline visit at which past-week depression and anxiety symptoms were assessed and (ii) two counterbalanced experimental visits-one after ad lib smoking and one after 16-h of tobacco abstinence-at which state affect was assessed. Participants were community-dwelling adults (N=187) smoking 10+ cig/day for at least two years without an active mood disorder.

RESULTS: Anxiety-related general distress symptoms (e.g., tension, nervousness) predicted greater abstinence-induced increases in various negative affective states but not changes in positive affect (βs .17-.33). Depression-related general distress symptoms (e.g., sadness, worthlessness) predicted greater abstinence-induced increases in acute depressed affect only (βs .24-.25). Anhedonic symptoms (e.g., diminished interest, lack of pleasure) predicted larger abstinence-induced decreases in acute positive affect only (βs .17-.20). Anxious Arousal symptoms (e.g., shakiness, heart racing) predicted larger abstinence-induced increases in fatigue and depressive affect (βs .15-.24).

CONCLUSION: Different components of anxiety and depressive symptoms are associated with unique affective patterns of acute tobacco withdrawal. These results provide insight into the affective mechanisms underlying tobacco dependence and could inform smoking cessation treatment approaches tailored to individuals with emotional distress.

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