How to cope with COPD and depression

Written by DanielleBosely MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

COPD, otherwise known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, impacts every breath the affected party takes. The onset of COPD happens slowly. It takes time to develop into a severe enough condition that it is even diagnosed. The primary cause of COPD is cigarettes. Inhaling the toxins and tar in cigarettes over a long period of time irritates the linings of the trachea and lungs. Environmental toxins also contribute to the development of this chronic and debilitating condition.

Depression

There’s a certain sense of responsibility many people who suffer with COPD face. Often, they feel they are to blame for their condition or, they might feel others blame them. It is often assumed that smoking cigarettes and other drugs is what leads to COPD in most cases. Therefore, in the minds of others it is safe to assume it does in all cases they encounter. COPD is not an illness that often garners much sympathy from loved ones the way other chronic illnesses might. Since others aren’t very forthcoming with sorrow and support, it might be difficult for the sufferer of COPD to feel they are worthy of such compassion. Depression affects one in every four people who suffer from COPD.

Treatment

Treating COPD is pretty straightforward. Sufferers will often need prescription medications, like steroids and bronchodilators. Often, oxygen therapy will be necessary. It almost always is toward the later stages of this progressive illness. Lung therapy is a must for many people with COPD. This practice will not only make it easier to breath, but it will allow you to take deeper breaths, too. Through this, you will see your quality of life improve. It will become simpler to engage in physical activity, as well as daily living activities. Things are simple as keeping up with housekeeping will no longer be as difficult when lung therapy is employed for a reasonable period of time.

Managing the symptoms of depression is a bit more complex. One thing that can assist in treating both COPD and depression is physical exercise. Getting the body moving helps to open the airways and allow more oxygen to pass through the lungs and into the bloodstream. Likewise, exercise gives the lungs a much-needed workout and helps to increase lung capacity and improve the health of vital tissues in the lungs.

Exercise is also a great additive for the treatment of depression. It is known to release endorphins that help boost the mood. It also creates more serotonin, which is important for people who are depressed and not making enough of it. In some trials, physical exercise on a regular basis has improved depressive symptoms for study participants more than prescription antidepressants have. Still, if antidepressants are needed, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sufferers of COPD should be up front with their treating physicians about all health conditions, since some medications that are used to treat COPD may interact with certain types of antidepressants. Tandem treatment can be highly effective.

 

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