Asthma / COPD are respiratory diseases, affecting lungs, causing symptoms like Cough, Sputum and Breathlessness.
Depression is a medical condition, where the patient feels sad and unhappy (even without any reason).
Why Depression is co-related with Asthma / COPD?
Some data puts 40% of world population affected by Depression of varying degree.
Unfortunately, Asthma & COPD are chronic diseases and Depression is very common in patients with chronic diseases.
What are the symptoms of Depression? How do I suspect Depression?
Below are some symptoms, which can exist alone or in addition to other symptoms, the basic prerequisite being, all these symptoms maybe without reason:
- Irritable, angry, sad with others
- Crying a lot, feeling hopeless or even suicidal
- Overly sensitive to criticism, feeling guilty or worthless
Other common symptoms of depression include:
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Lack of interest in people or activities you once enjoyed
- Lethargy and lack of motivation
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Inability to enjoy yourself or find humor in things
If there are more than 5 symptoms, then suspicion of Depression is high. Diagnosis is always confirmed by a Specialist Doctor.
How does the co-existence of Depression with Asthma / COPD affect life?
Depression can cause both; over reporting or under reporting of symptoms, which may affect the treatment of Asthma / COPD (unnecessary addition of extra doses or dose reduction can happen, false emergency alarms are raised frequently or serious ailments may be missed)
Depression causes stress, which causes frequent Flare Ups (exacerbations) of Asthma / COPD, All Flare Ups aggravate Depression episodes, forming a vicious cycle.
What should be the best approach?
Simultaneous treatment of Asthma / COPD & Depression should be started.
Drug doses and timing should be strictly adhered to (Depression medication may take up to 8 weeks to show effect). Any side effects should be reported at once.
What are other effective methods to control/treat Depression?
Many people who suffer from depression find relief by:
- Individual therapy and group therapy
- Yoga, Meditation, Daily exercises
- Hobbies like Music, Gardening
- Acquiring a pet of choice (please consult your Doctor before starting)
All these methods can help, cope with the disease and adapt to life with Asthma / COPD, but are not a substitute for medication.
What to do if the patient talks about or attempts suicide?
Suicide contemplation or attempt is considered as a “Silent Cry for Help”, all such patients should be treated and counseled without delay.
Let us all remember, “A Healthy Body requires a Healthy Mind”.