Life with a COPD diagnosis can be physically and mentally challenging. This challenging diagnosis can lead to depression in some people with COPD.
There are many reasons why COPD and other chronic lung diseases may cause depression:
- Feeling lost or hopeless after diagnosis
- Inability to do beloved activities or hobbies any longer
- Difficulty eating and sleeping
- Adjusting to new treatments, symptoms and physical limitations
- Stress from exacerbations
Depression can also worsen physical symptoms of COPD. People with COPD who are depressed may have trouble following their treatment plan, following through with quitting cigarettes or coping with their disease, turning to unhealthy habits instead.
The good news is that depression is treatable with the proper care. There are many ways depression can be treated in those with COPD, starting with seeking a physician’s treatments recommendations, which may include medication. Other helpful strategies can be:
- Exercises designed for those with COPD
- Pulmonary rehab which is designed to help those with lung disease cope with the diagnosis
- Support groups can be helpful in sharing experiences with fellow COPD patients to lessen the feeling of loneliness
For patients with COPD, it is important to remember they are not alone.