As it is know smoking cigarettes is dangerous for people’s health, but a recent study found that it is more dangerous for unborn children. For example the results of a new study showed that mothers who smoke during pregnancy could be putting their children at danger for the development of psychosis.
Psychotic disorders are severe mental disorders that cause abnormal thinking and perceptions. People with psychoses lose touch with reality. Two of the main symptoms are delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are false beliefs, such as thinking that someone is plotting against you or that the TV is sending you secret messages. Hallucinations are false perceptions, such as hearing, seeing or feeling something that is not there. Schizophrenia is one type of psychotic disorder.
Treatment for psychotic disorders varies by disorder. It might involve drugs to control symptoms, and talk therapy. Hospitalization is an option for serious cases where a person might be dangerous to himself or others.
The study investigated the link between smoking during pregnancy and risk of psychosis in children by conducting a study of 6,356 12-year-olds from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
At the end of the investigation scientists found that more than eleven percent of the children had symptoms of psychosis that involved hallucinations or delusions.
The results revealed an increased risk of psychosis among children whose mothers smoked the most heavily during pregnancy. Researchers also examined the effects of alcohol and cannabis use during pregnancy, and they found that the risk of psychosis can be caused also by other bad habits.
As it is known cannabis is an unpleasant drug with a wide range of adverse effects, but its use by pregnant women did not show the same effects as tobacco. Mothers, who drank alcohol early in pregnancy, and more than 21 drinks per week, were also found to put their children at risk for psychosis.
Dr. Stanley Zammit, a psychiatrist at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, said: “In our cohort, approximately 19 percent of adolescents who were interviewed had mothers who smoked during pregnancy. If our results are non-biased and reflect a causal relationship, we can estimate that about 20 percent of adolescents in this cohort would not have developed psychotic symptoms if their mothers had not smoked. Therefore, maternal smoking may be an important risk factor in the development of psychotic experiences in the population.”
Dr. Zammit thinks that tobacco exposure in the womb somehow affects impulsivity and cognition during fetal development. However the reasons to why tobacco smoking during pregnancy is associated with psychosis in children are unclear yet.